With my trip to Spain cancelled, a London staycation was much needed. Some might say that booking a hotel room in London is an indulgence but surely these days, when it comes to cheering moments, all the rules are out the window…It was with this determination to break up my current interminable routine and missing my regular diet of work trips and weekends away that I looked for a spot in town to satiate my hotel habit.
Getting There – our Jaguar XE P300
Driving to London in a new Jaguar XE was just what was needed. The car is sleek, turns heads and performs with 0-60MPH happening in around 5.4 seconds. It’s quick and importantly, this Jaguar is fun to drive and stylish with an eye catching grille design and premium all-LED headlights and tail lights with distinctive LED daytime running lights too.
The car also feels safe especially when it comes to my bad luck with tyres so I was pleased to see a tyre pressure monitoring and repair system which we thankfully did not need. The touchscreen-controlled tech inside includes connectivity with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as the latest navigation system that took us to London and back.
As someone in love with travel and a great supporter of the industry I was pleased to see that hotels in London were filling up. Less pleasing though were the resulting high prices! The city’s grand dames had rates to match so I knew a boutique option was the way to go. Intrigued by a newcomer to that scene, I grabbed a room at The Guardsman, boasting a stellar location tucked just behind Buckingham Palace.
Describing itself as a boutique hotel with the feel of a members club, this was what we wanted for our London staycation. The Guardsman’s façade certainly lives up to this claim with discreet signage and the architecture of a luxury contemporary apartment building.
With my partner arriving a few minutes later I decided to take up the offer of a drink while I waited and took a seat in the beautifully decorated lobby lounge. The hotel calls this the ‘Drawing Room’ and it really did feel like I had gained entry to one of London’s smart member’s clubs or even the living room of a slick penthouse, complete with striking contemporary art and stacks of chic coffee table books. There was even a feature deep buttoned sofa; identical to the one in the music room of The White House during the Presidency of JF Kennedy. Happily all this design, club-like atmosphere and well thought out decoration never felt austere or intimidating, and with the arrival of a perfectly chilled Chablis and some truffle crisps I felt fully at home.
As soon as John arrived, he too was swiftly offered a drink and we were checked in at our table with the receptionist letting us know they had kindly upgraded us to a Guardsman Room, which she assured us was her favourite type in all the property.
This is a real knock out space that managed the trick of feeling chic and sexy but also welcoming at the same time. With an enormous roll top bath, separate rain shower, Noble Isle toiletries and underfloor heating the bathroom ticked all the boxes but it was the enormous, supremely comfortable bed and giant flat screen tv that was the real draw. Floor to ceilings window furthered the sense of space and thoughtful mini bar choices and a generous fresh fruit bowl were all the final touches we needed to convince us The Guardsman had been the perfect choice.
Look out over Buckingham Gate or the rooftops of St James’s and revel in the rich colours, soft natural textures that created a warm, welcoming and luxurious feel. If you want to stay a little longer at one of the most sought after locations in London, there are six self-contained residences too.
The Dining Room
We wanted to stay in for our London night out. Like any good Members Club, The Dining Room is exclusively for hotel residents and their guests. It is also open whenever you choose to arrive and if you give the team a little time and notice, you can ask them to prepare your favourite dishes too.
Although I have a soft spot for room service and our room had plenty of space to dine the chance to experience a real-life restaurant felt like something not to be missed in these times. We duly decamped to The Dining Room, a small and similarly elegant space staffed by a duo of the most hard-working and passionate staff I have encountered in some time.
Over making a couple of excellent cocktails the bartender talked about how challenging the past months had been for him and his peers, unable to do what they love best which was to entertain and make guests happy and his joy at the slow return of normality. We raised our glasses to him and moved to our table where an equally lovely waitress gave us her recommendations from the short but cleverly put together menu of British classics and international favourites. A faultless Caesar Salad was shared to start followed by a brilliant fish and chips for me and steak and chips for John, simple choices certainly, but when done well, as they were, unbeatable!
Our London staycation comes to an end
With the roll top bath and expanse of crisp linens beckoning we retreated to our room for the sort of night’s sleep that only a hotel’s soundproofing and exorbitantly priced mattress can provide. Taking advantage of an extra late check out in the morning and fuelled by a top notch English breakfast we skipped out into the early summer sun, utterly convinced of the wisdom of our London staycation.
To discover more, visit: guardsmanhotel.com
To discover more about our Jaguar XE P300, visit: jaguar.co.uk
All imagery courtesy of Preferred Hotels & Resorts/Jaguar Land Rover
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