Looking for a London hotel that will spoil you as Dubai does, but with all of the charm of the UK capital?
Words by Sherry Aggarwal
London Hilton Park Lane is a smart hotel in the exclusive Mayfair district that opened in 1963, making it positively historical by Dubai’s standards.
That’s certainly enough time to give it a rich and eventful history – it can lay claim to being the first Hilton hotel to open in the UK, as well as being where (almost all of) pop legends the Beatles attended a lecture by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who went on to become their some-time spiritual guru.
Will we achieve the same levels of zen during our one-night stay? Elegant rooms with magnificent views, world-class dining and a stellar location bode well against the countdown!
Tourist must-sees Piccadilly, Soho, Covent Garden and Oxford Street are only a few minutes away, with easy access to Buckingham Palace and Hyde Park Corner Underground station.
A bus station close by links to Victoria Station, from where you can catch one of London’s famous red buses and trains to Gatwick Airport.
We recommend public transport as the best way to get about the city and Transport for London will help you do just that.
“I know your eyes are looking for me,” the hotel’s well-groomed doorman calls out to us as we fumble over GoogleMaps.
We’re checked into our room much more quickly and effortlessly than our journey to the hotel. Our Mayfair Suite is contemporary and cool-toned, with incredible views over the green expanse of Hyde Park (more about this historical outdoor space later)
We wind down with drinks and a little bit of dancefloor action at the hotel’s Trader Vic’s Mai-Tai lounge – a taste of Dubai in the capital!
Feeling flush? Find the Michelin-starred Galvin at Windows restaurant and bar on the top floor of the 28-storey building, where diners are served exquisite modern French cuisine with spectacular views of London.
We get up early and dig into the breakfast spread at the ground level Podium restaurant. If you’re feeling homesick, the spread includes Middle Eastern dishes such as pita, halloumi and hummus. Freshly brewed coffee and eggs made our way complete the morning feast.
If you need time to unwind after travelling, Hilton Park Lane’s ‘Spa To You’ offers a lavish 24 karat massage that’s reminiscent of Dubai-style pampering (approx AED 450 for 50 minutes), or alternatively sweat it out at the hotel’s well-equipped fitness centre.
We prefer to go out and explore London’s shopping streets – Regent Street, Oxford Street and more – which can all be found just five minutes away from the hotel. Bargain hunters should head directly to the huge Primark in Oxford Street, where you can pick up the latest fashion trends for much less than AED 100.
After a hectic shopping spree, we return to the hotel and sit down for afternoon tea in the Executive Lounge. Served here between 2pm-4pm, the bite-sized canapes and scones are a quintessentially English treat.
Can’t miss London landmarks
Hankering for some green space? This 350-acre Central London park certainly has plenty of that. The largest of four Royal Parks of London, it’s also not short on water, as it’s divided by the Serpentine and the Long Water lakes. Head to Speakers’ Corner, where anyone can deliver a message to the crowds – and they do!
Buckingham Palace is the London residence of the UK’s monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. During the summer, you can tour its 19 spectacular State Rooms, studded with all kinds of bling from the Royal Collection, including paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens and Van Dyck. The exterior shouldn’t be missed either, especially the famous Changing the Guard ceremony.
Europe’s busiest shopping street runs from Tottenham Court Road to Marble Arch via Oxford Circus. You’ll be among half a million daily visitors and more than 300 shops, including the best of the British high street.
Ready for some spending? Regent Street is home to world-class flagship stores including Tory Burch, Burberry, Coach, Kate Spade, Burberry and J. Crew, and award-winning restaurants such as the Araki, Stem and Sabor.
Blazing neon displays and the famous statue of Eros topping a bronze fountain make Piccadilly Circus one of London’s most popular tourist destinations.
The writer stayed as a guest of Hilton Hotels. For rates and more information, visit www.hilton.com