Tripping: A London Getaway
By Bill Zwecker
FROM LEFT: St Martins Lane lobby; St Martins Lane exterior
Truly one of the world’s most exhilarating and enduring destinations, London is the perfect vacation spot, no matter the season. Obviously, the first decision is where to stay. Two excellent hotel choices are the St Martins Lane London and the Sanderson London—both very hip yet friendly, comfortable and in great locations.
Located in Covent Garden near Trafalgar Square, St Martins Lane was designed by Philippe Starck with dramatic touches echoing the stages of the surrounding West End theater district. Highlights include the Asia de Cuba restaurant and the state-of-the art Gymbox health club, featuring Olympic-size boxing rings, as well as all the usual cardio and resistance equipment. Starck also put his stamp on the Sanderson (another Morgans Hotel Group establishment), transforming a 1950s landmark just steps from the Oxford Street shopping district. Once a wall-covering showroom, the building has retained two of its most striking features: an amazing stained-glass window and sweeping central staircase.
Don’t miss the Long Bar, with eyes on the back of each bar stool, or the Purple Bar, where they mix up martinis inspired by the original, The Martinez, a recipe dating back to the mid-1800s. Suka, where Malaysian delicacies meet French technique, is a great dinner option. The Agua spa includes a wide range of holistic-themed treatments in addition to James Read, London’s favorite celebrity spray-tanning artist—a must for those desiring a guaranteed glow in often-cloudy London.
Representing 37 countries, the Sanderson’s staff are happy to provide suggestions on Bond Street restaurants, Oxford Street shops, the latest West End theater offerings or exhibits at such awe-inspiring museums as the Tate (Britain and Modern), V&A South Kensington, The British Museum or the National Portrait Gallery. Given the British capital’s notoriously dicey weather, just make sure you have the means to layer your wardrobe up or down, especially in the springtime, and always carry a travelfriendly “brolly.”