By Patricia Cotti, Bayside Travel
London is such a wonderful city, full of the high energy of a great capital. For east coast U.S. residents, London is a short hop “across the pond.” Once there, you are immersed in the history and culture of our English neighbors.
I was able to spend some time not only exploring the city but also its accommodations. My focus was the London Red Carnation Hotel Collection. Red Carnation Hotels are 4 and 5 star award winning boutique hotels. The Collection is owned and run by a South African Family, the Tollman Family. Mrs. Tollman’s hand is apparent in the design and décor of all the hotels. All of the hotels are elegantly appointed. There is a focus on attention to detail from the chandeliers and antique furnishings to the beautiful ribbon trim that formed borders around the wallpaper and wall switches. No detail was overlooked.
The South African heritage was visible throughout the hotel collection as there were Leopard Bars; leopard carpets; wildlife drawings—all very tastefully appointed. Mrs. Tollman’s recipes were served in the restaurants. There is a strong focus on hospitality. Guests feel the warmth of the welcome throughout their stay. The staff is committed to serve the guests in order to create the memories and experiences of a lifetime. There is a “family vibe” that permeates their business model.
There is, however, uniqueness to each hotel in the collection. The individual character of the hotel reflects it neighborhood and culture. The Milestone Hotel is a mansion occupying a prime location across from Kensington Palace and its gardens. It is an elegant historic property with rich furnishing and exquisite artwork. Feel like royalty. Indulge in an elegant Afternoon Tea at the Milestone. The Egerton House is a boutique townhouse consisting of 28 rooms and suites. It is located in Knightsbridge close to Harrods and Knightsbridge shopping venues and only a short distance from the V&A Museum and Royal Albert Hall. Try one of the Signature Martinis in The Bar.
The Chesterfield is Red Carnation’s first hotel. It is centrally located in Mayfair with easy access to all major attractions. The lovely Conservatory is a hidden gem within the streets of Mayfair. In literary Bloomsbury, you will find The Montague on the Gardens. This Georgian Townhouse is so inviting from the beautiful flower boxes outside the steps of the hotel to the elegant English Charm within. It is located adjacent to the British Museum but overlooks a private and peaceful garden. There is a seasonal beach bar or ski lodge for some fun!
The Rubens at the Palace overlooks the Royal Mews and is a very short walk to the entrance to Buckingham Palace. There is easy access to Victoria Station. I “slept with the Queen” in the Nottingham Suite. The room was decorated in red. Above the red sofa was a portrait of the Queen. Outside my window was the entrance to the Royal Mews. The English Grill was the fine dining choice and the bbar was the casual dining choice offering the traditional fish and chips—something for everyone. Finally, adjacent to the Rubens is Hotel 41. There are only 30 rooms and suites exquisitely decorated in black and white. The concept was that of a small hotel where all the guests were on the concierge level.
So, all you must do is identify your favorite London neighborhood. There will be an equally wonderful Red Carnation property where you can experience that British charm and, perhaps, you too may “sleep with the queen.”
For the record, Red Carnation Hotels are part of The Travel Corporation (TTC) family of brands. You may be familiar with these fine brands which include: Trafalgar, Insight Vacations, Contiki, Uniworld Boutique River Cruises, African Travel and Lion World.
Call Bayside Travel at 833-8880 to book your stay at one of these fine hotels or tour operators. Happy Travels!