Get a taste of luxury living in London’s grand hotels

When I think of London, I think posh.

As a British Lit major back in the day, I want my London visit to be literary, but also well-appointed, pretty and proper.

That was the theme of my recent stay.  From easy walks to all the best spots to properly historic accommodations, London through a luxe lens is bucket list material.

Here’s how it went:

I hopped off a JetBlue direct flight from Boston and headed straight for my first home base, the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park (

Located in Knightsbridge, it overlooks Hyde Park on one side and faces famed shopping spots like Harvey Nichols and Harrod’s on the other.

My sprawling suite overlooking the park featured a fireplace, bright and lovely sitting room, a massive bedroom and a bath with state-of-the-art fixtures.

Despite my plan to get out and around first thing, I was compelled to linger. I ordered room service breakfast and soaked in the setting.

The hotel, built amidst controversy in 1889 because of its height at the time, still echoes the grandness and aesthetic of that era. The hotel was renovated in 2016 and then, after a roof fire in 2018 underwent another major refresh.

Today it embodies its traditional Victorian roots with Art Deco details.

Royals have visited, there’s a private entrance for them. There’s a massive spa downstairs, and the dining options are simply amazing.

There’s Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, a restaurant with two Michelin stars, a bright and beautiful room for afternoon tea, and my favorite, the unique blend of Japanese cuisine in a library-like setting at the Aubrey.

Out the door, it feels like everything is a quick jaunt away. Using the Diana Princess Of Wales Memorial Walk, which I can pick up right outside the door in Hyde Park. It’s a seven-mile figure-eight walk that passes through Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park, Green Park and St. James’s Park. I explore palaces, gardens, public artwork and more. The Churchill Museum wows me.

Two days later, I’m reluctant to move on, until I arrive at my next home base, the Kimpton Fitzroy London ( at Russell Square in Bloomsbury.

My plan for this stop is to take a deep dive into the literary life: I yearn to drink a pint where my literary heroes did. I find that, and so much more, again at my posh and perfectly placed perch.

The Fitzroy is a revelation. Debuted in 1900 as the Hotel Russell, the Fitzroy’s design is said to be based on the Chateau de Madrid, a 16th century Parisian building.

My suite, with a fireplace, cozy couch nook, a deep claw foot tub and a canopy bed doesn’t take itself too seriously: a bright red phone delivers the pop of whimsy.

The grand marble staircase gives the sense of making a grand entrance, even when I’m heading for a cuppa  – and it’s no wonder.  The architect Charles Fitzroy Doll used this design as the basis of the Titanic dining room, a grand entrance if ever there was one.

There’s a beautiful solarium room called The Palm Room”  where I plan to enjoy afternoon tea later.

Out the door, I cut across a lovely park toward Bloomsbury to find my literary moments. I can walk, too, to Piccadilly Circus, Soho and more, all easy steps from the Fitzroy on this warmer winter day. Close by too I find the theaters of the West End, the famed British Museum and, as I hoped, pubs where the literati of the day imbibed.

At tea, I savor the spread while rereading “Middlemarch,” which seemed appropriate.

That night, lounging on my couch and gazing at the twinkling night sky, I feel I’ve chosen well. Posh, pretty and perfectly proper is the way to see London.


Traditional design meets modern touches at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park in London. (Photo Moira McCarthy)


People in a sparsely populated Hyde Park, with the Serpentine lake, in central London, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, Sunday May 3, 2020. The highly contagious COVID-19 coronavirus has impacted on nations around the globe, many imposing self isolation and exercising social distancing when people move from their homes. (Yui Mok / PA via AP)
Visitors take in the view of the Serpentine River in Hyde Park. (Yui Mok / PA via AP)


People sit outside the London Review Bookshop in Bloomsbury, London, Friday, June 26, 2015. Many visitors to London know Bloomsbury as a neighborhood of books, B&Bs and the British Museum. But it?'s also a district of elegant architecture, hidden parks and upscale boutiques that?'s a pleasure to explore on foot. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
People sit outside the London Review Bookshop in Bloomsbury, London.(AP Photo/Tim Ireland)

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