It seems like ages since we last visited London. Since the start of the dreaded pandemic, travelling around has been much more difficult – and more expensive! However, we decided that because we had a reason to travel up, we’d make a weekend of it and ‘spoil’ ourselves for a couple of days. So we booked a couple of nights at the Sloane Place Hotel.
Now as you may, or may not, know, taking a car into London is an expensive business. Firstly, there’s the fuel… Then on top of that, there’s Parking, ULEZ fee, Congestion charge, each applying daily, so add that up over a long weekend and it’s a small fortune! So, weighing it all up, we decided to ‘let the train take the strain’ and booked a couple of train tickets and a hotel.
Getting to The Smoke
Why don’t we do this more often? It’s pretty much door-to-door for us and it’s a lot quicker than driving too. There are no traffic jams to deal with and you can sit back, read, have a coffee and before you know it you’re there. The First Great Western service from Cardiff to London Paddington uses their new fleet of trains, which are quiet, comfy and fast. When you add up everything it makes for great value for money and it also takes away all the stress of driving at the same time. In future I think it’s going to be our first option for getting from home to ‘the smoke’.
Staying at the Sloane Place Hotel
Our hotel was the delightful Sloane Place hotel in Chelsea. It’s a newly-renovated hotel, only a stone’s throw from Sloane Square underground station and a short walk from the trendy shops of Knightsbridge. It’s an understated, yet luxurious small hotel where service is given great value. Every single staff member we met was friendly, helpful and genuinely wanted to make us feel welcome.
Our room was beautifully decorated with a super comfortable bed and our window overlooked the pretty courtyard below. It was quiet and we both slept like logs on both nights. The bright, modern bathroom topped it off nicely. The other guests we spoke with were full of praise too, which is a very good reflection on the consistency. It’s luxurious, convenient and comfortable. What more could we want!
Food and Drink
On our first night we treated ourselves to the full Lee Westcott tasting menu in the restaurant. It’s so nice to experience a great chef’s best work. Complete with the wine flight it proved to be a real treat for the senses. The restaurant is an intimate venue looking out onto Sloane Place and we had a thoroughly enjoyable evening.
Their bottomless ‘boozy’ brunch is definitely worth a mention too. Lots of amazing food, including the loveliest blueberry pancakes and as much Prosecco as you could possibly want to wash it down. It was an indulgent and extravagant way to start a day.
Our real reason for the journey was for Kathryn to visit Harley Street Skin Clinic. She’d recently discovered a couple of seborrheic keratoses that she wasn’t too happy about. She was horrified to learn that many in the medical profession actually refer to them as ‘geriatric warts’! ‘But I’m only 59‘, she kept saying. As we know, despite its amazing strengths, our NHS won’t do anything that could possibly be remotely construed as ‘cosmetic’, so we decided that a trip to a private clinic would be the only option.
More Food and Drink!
Another highlight of our visit was the fabulous Kasa and Kin on Poland Street in Soho. Specialising in Filipino dishes we attempted one of their Imbento Box lunches, each offering a selection of dishes. The food was tasty and filling and the decor in the restaurant is stunning, with its brightly coloured murals reflecting life in the Philippines. Again, the service was flawless and the cocktail waiter surprised us with some ‘off-the-menu’ specials. It’s an informal but immersive experience and one we won’t hesitate to repeat next time we’re in the area.
Our journey back on our last day was wonderfully uneventful. That’s a good thing of course! Our train left and arrived on time and we were back far sooner, far fresher, and somewhat wealthier than we would have been had we taken our car.