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Archive for October, 2013

Hotel Spy: Rosewood Hotel

So another month and another hotel opening in Old London Town. But this one has already been dazzling a wealth of guests and it’s barely been open a fortnight!

 

Formerly known as the Renaissance Chancery Court, The Rosewood Hotel is now open at 252 Holborn. A midtown location you might think but don’t be fooled by the uninspiring address as you can easily gain access to Covent Garden as well as the bright lights of the theatre district.

 

Housed inside a stunning neoclassical building, this particular site dates back to 1914. Created by  H Percy Monckton, some of the buildings are actually Listed sites including The Bar at Rosewood London and the impressive Grand Staircase.

 

Rosewood

(c) wikimedia.org

 

Yet Rosewood has been causing a real flutter in the blogosphere and among several guests thanks to a number of different features. Check out the incredbile courtyard which is vibrant and atmospheric, whilst the Bar really has all the makings of an elite library minus all the toff.

 

Warm, inviting and certainly appealing, the long bar takes centre stage which is beautifully combined with plush fixtures and a generous bar area which also offers an extensive cocktail list.

 

Rosewood-London_Bar

(c) barchick.com

 

The Mirror Room at the Rosewood Hotel exudes plenty of elegance and utilises plenty of mirrored glass for a sophisticated yet chic look. It really is a tribute to the designers who have used the £80 million plus very wisely indeed. The Chinoiserie effect can certainly be felt and seen around this particular area.

 

So to the rooms and the Rosewood does not pull any punches as far as the mod cons are concerned. Ceilings are raised more than 10 feet in the air with marble bathrooms and deep soaked tubs…but that’s just for starters.

 

Rosewood London_Low Res

(c) suitcasemag.com

 

Other amenities provide sound systems and docks for your iPod/iPhone, 40 plus LED flat screens, luxury Italian linen, a pillow menu and toiletries by Czech & Speake.

 

On the other hand, there is still more to come when it comes to the facilities as the Holborn Dining Room is due to open its doors in February.

 

Rosewood

(c) rosewoodhotels.com

 

From the design stable of Martin Brudnizki, this space is set to open in the former East Banking Hall with the Sense wellness centre launching in November. If you want to work up a sweat then you can even enjoy an on site fitness centre.

 

Fancy an escape from the hustle and bustle of urban life? Well let Sense tickle your senses with its wide variety of both modern and ancient treatments.

 

There are six individual treatment suites to choose from that guarantees both support and genuine nourishment. Heck if you think your partner or friend is missing out on the holistic action, then you can always book one of their Duet Suites!

 

Relaxation rooms are covered in gold leaf and teak materials, whilst you can relax and while away the afternoon in one of their dry heat saunas or amethyst crystal steam room.

 

Looks like things are hotting up in Holborn!

 

 

More information about the Roswood Hotel London

Hotels in Holborn district of London

 

 

Simon Lazarus is an experienced PR/Business Consultant and copywriter with a number of clients across different territories including the US, Europe, Asia, China and the Middle East. His vast portfolio includes writing content for a variety of sites on food and drink, travel, personal finance, news, showbiz, sport, technology and much more. He also advises businesses on strategies and marketing across different sectors

Get up to speed in London with a Boris Bike

 

 

boris-bikes-london

 

If you know what “Boris Bikes” are then you probably have been to London before and seen them, but for those that don’t know;  Boris is Boris Johnson is the Mayor of London and his “Boris Bikes” are a grand scheme that he introduced to be able to rent cycles by the hour, so “pay as you pedal”,  in London.

 

Sponsored by Barclays Bank, you pick up a bike from a secure stand, use it and drop it off at any other stand in London.

 

You can easily recognise them as they are liveried in the Barclays blue colours.  The bank paid £25m for 5 years advertising on the bikes and at the time that contributed 18% of the total cost.  The scheme was launched in 2010 and the peak rental period was during the Olympic Games when in one day there were 47,105 hires.

 

There are more than 400 locations in central London where you can locate a cycle.  If you find that the stand is empty then the docking station will direct you to the closest available bike. Present areas covered are Kensington, Chelsea, Westminster, Camden and the City with Hammersmith, Fulham and Wandsworth as the latest additions.

 

 

boris-bikes-london-docking-station

 

 

Bikes are available to everyone aged 15 or more who can ride without assistance. You must be aware that helmets are not supplied.

 

If you are going to use the cycles regularly then join the membership scheme. You can do this online at www.tfl.co.uk. Annual membership will cost you £3 per year. You the pay an access fee when you withdraw a bike which is £1 per day, £5 for a week or £45 for the year. On top of this you will also pay a usage fee.

 

If you are only in London for a short while, then you can still ride the bikes as a casual user. You can pay online, by telephone or at any cycle docking station. A one day access charge is £1 and a week is £5 per person. Once you have paid this access charge you will receive an pin code which will unlock any bike in the scheme.

 

On top of the access charge there is also the usage cost which is based on hire duration.  The first 30 minutes is free of charge and then the ensuing costs start at £1 per hour  up to £50 for 24 hours.  You can keep checking in your bike every 30 minutes at any docking station and ride all day without any usage charges.  There are presently more than 400 places to check bikes in and out and if you are sightseeing in the Zone 1 area (central), then 30 minutes will easily get you between docking areas.

 

If the docking area is full and there is nowhere to check in your bike, the docking station will direct you to the nearest available place and allow you an additional 15 minutes free usage.

 

 

boris-bikes-london-map

 

 

 

If you encounter a mechanical issue with your bike then simply dock it and use the keyboard report the fault. The bike will be automatically locked  and a replacement issued.

 

There are cycle “Superhighways” radiating out from central London. These offer the novice and also the experienced cyclist a faster and more safe journey around London (see map above).

 

If its stolen or not returned, then  your card will be charged £300.

 

There are issues and complaints about the scheme including claims about excessive charges. You must remember there are two charges, access and usage.  Its all clearly explained when you book online so you only have yourself to blame if you get the maths wrong.

 

If you are an experienced cyclist then you will find the hire versions quite heavy and unresponsive as they are designed for everyday amateur users.

Restaurant Spy: The Magazine

Extra extra read all about it…no it’s not another news alert about the gusty winds and storms but an altogether different type of element to watch out for.

 

Ladies and gents it’s time to put your hands out and give a great big London welcome to The Magazine. Set to open on the 1st of November, Magazine is the official brainchild of famed architect Zaha Hadid. This site is considered to be her first official restaurant interior in the capital.

 

She has won a number of different awards which she can hang around her famous designer sache. This includes the Pritzker Architecture Prize as well as the Stirling Prize in both 2010 and 2011.

 

02_Serpentine_Sackler

(c) wallpaper.com

 

The brand new Serpentine Sackler Gallery will be the centrefold of this magnificent venue, in the heart of Kensington Gardens.

 

Formerly the private gardens of Kensington Palace, it is within close proximity of Hyde Park where you will be able to walk, jog, debate and relax the whole day in.

 

 

Adrian-Villar-Rojas-exhibit-at-Serpentine-Sackler-Gallery-7

(c) wordlesstech.com

 

Oliver Lange takes up the reins at Magazine which can be found less than a ten minute stroll from the actual gallery and moments from the Serpentine Bridge.

 

But Lange brings so much more to the table thanks to his considerable experience working in the Far East, where he familiarized himself with innovative Japanese cuisine and culture.

 

So what’s on the menu? Check out impressive sushi dishes such as spicy salmon which sits harmoniously alongside quail egg, black pudding and langoustine.

 

Zaha-Hadid-102185.XL

(c) woont.com

 

There’s plenty of treats from the Robata grill from fresh water eel to duck liver terrine. Now that’s something to go quackers about!

 

Mains feature hints of the Orient with classic Iberico pork cheeks finished with plum and scintillating crackling or prawns fresh from Dublin Bay served alongside baby pak choi.

 

Hungry for more? Well desserts deliver with gusto including warm chocolate bread pudding or tapioca tonka rice pudding.

 

Drink it up at Magazine with a global wine selection incorporating both Old and New World varieties, whilst the signature Magazine cocktail will have you singing and dancing back to the tube. Plum jam is blended together with chilli and cognac which is then charged together with Champagne for a bubbly finish.

 

Serpentine bridge

(c) 69drops.com

 

With lots of natural light surrounding this majestic building, you should look out for the inspirational landscaped garden that will turn you into a green fingered fanatic in no time.

 

Watch out for the charge of the culinary brigade as Magazine hits the London restaurant stands this November.

 

 

Simon Lazarus is an experienced PR/Business Consultant and copywriter with a number of clients across different territories including the US, Europe, Asia, China and the Middle East. His vast portfolio includes writing content for a variety of sites on food and drink, travel, personal finance, news, showbiz, sport, technology and much more. He also advises businesses on strategies and marketing across different sectors

Brent Cross – the grand old lady of UK malls

Brent Cross Shoping mall

Brent Cross Shoping mall

 

“When Brent Cross Shopping mall opened in 1976, it broke all the rules. The UK retail sector was used to opening at 9am,  closing at 5.30 and having a half day closing day in the week.”

 

 

The then new kid on the block threw out convention and opened until 8pm and eventually opened on Sundays. This opened the flood gates for out of hours shopping for the thousands of people who had daytime jobs. Over the years this retail model has been copied many times over.

 

The Brent Cross Shopping Mall in North London

The Brent Cross Shopping Mall in North London

It is estimated that the Brent Cross mall has a catchment area covering more than 7 million potential shoppers, not only in North London but as far west as High Wycombe and north to Luton. It has evolved into a “day out” where you can shop, be entertained and also eat.

Other retailers, seeing the success, followed suit and now within a short distance there is also a massive Ikea which is equally as busy.  Now the giant and more upmarket Westway Shopping centre in west London is larger and more popular, but the grand old lady is still going strong and continually evolving with new units and entertainment lures.

 

It lies at the bottom of the M1 motorway on the North Circular Road and is actually a great place to deposit your car, free of charge, and venture into Central London.

Drive in Movie club at Brent Cross

 

The latest attraction is the Drive In Film Club.  Copying the American versions, this is a drive in cinema. You book and pay online, then drive to the Box Office. You are issued with an FM special frequency to dial into your car radio and directed to your allocated viewing slot.  You can order popcorn, hot dogs, ice cream or even Mexican hot food and its delivered to your car by the roller skating staff.

As an adage to the Brent Cross success, many of the original superstore occupiers,  John Lewis, Fenwick, Boots and Marks and Spencer are still trading there!

Over the years, it has been extended to house more than 140 outlets offering in excess of 2000 branded products including an Arsenal Football outlet and an Amazon Locker location. This latest innovation from Amazon enables you to buy online and collect at the store via a secure locker to which you have a unique access code to open the door.

Children at Brent Cross
Brent Cross is as child friendly as it gets. All car parks have free of charge mother and baby parking close to the entrances. Many of the restaurants offer hi chairs, feeding bottle warming and entertainment. Every month, the mall features some type of live entertainment, usually featuring a television character. Of course during December it’s always Father Christmas.

topsy-turvy-world-brent-cross

A nice touch for those with children are the Stay Safe wristband. They detail where to take a lost child and have space for you to write your phone number. You can pick these up  from the Information Desk on the Upper Mall close to Marks and Spencer’s.

Topsy Turvy World is a huge soft play centre for kids up to 12 years old. You pay a one off charge of £15 for lifetime access. There is even a special area for those under 3 years old.

Travelling to Brent Cross

By car, simply enter NW4 3FP into your sat nav system. If you are coming from the M1, then at the island take the first exit and follow the signs.

By bus the mall is also very easy to access and you can take any of these services: 102, 112, 113, 142, 143, 182, 186, 189, 210, 232, 266, 326 and C11.  From the bus station in Barnet, there is a service direct to the mall.

By tube, take the Edgware service on the Northern Line to Hendon Central or Brent Cross and its then a short walk.

If you are travelling by train then get off at Hendon Station and its a 15 minute walk.

Staying at Brent Cross

The Holiday Inn Brent Cross

The Holiday Inn Brent Cross

If you want to make the most of the shopping and entertainment, you can stay at the Holiday Inn Brent Cross. This is a 4 star purpose built, 154 bedroom hotel is walking distance to the mall.  There is a free shuttle to Brent Cross tube station (8am until 11pm) which allows you to travel into central London in just 20 minutes, so shopping in the daytime and nightlife in the evening.

It has a large car park and so you can avoid the Congestion Zone charges and travel into the West End stress free.

Useful Links for your visit to Brent Cross

Official Brent Cross Website

Topsy Turvy World

Book a room at the Holiday Inn Brent Cross

 

London rated worst place in UK – “Crap Town” Award

 

 

Maybe we are biased living in “Crap Town” as they called it but personally I think its the best place in the UK!

 

 

I am also quite depressed with some of the comments that have been posted on the Youtube page for this video – what kind of a world are we living in? Or am I really looking at life in London through rose coloured lenses ????

 

 

 

Restaurant Spy: 100 Hoxton

Yes folks we have already hit the month of October. However the restaurant openings come thick and fast in the capital! So what is the new culinary kid on the block?

 

Well the our moles focus their attention on Shoreditch and Hoxton to bring you the lowdown on a brand new restaurant and cocktail bar.

 

Taking its inspiration from the exact same address, 100 Hoxton Street opens its doors to  hungry diners. The team behind this particular venue is none other than Zilouf which can be found in the heart of Islington.

 

100-Hoxton-restaurant-in-shoreditch

(c) birthdaycash.com

 

It’s concept is simple…to deliver a mouth-watering array of Asian fusion specialities. In addition to this, you will find Tim Yates as well as Francis Puyat behind the pass at this 40 cover venue.

 

This double act are as strong as Morecambe and Wise minus the funny walks! Their experience has seen them come in from Nopi, whilst a carefully constructed menu has been thought out in detail.

 

Morecambe and Wise Greatest Moments

(c) uktv.co.uk

 

A simple sharing selection incorporates a number of different Thai not to mention Vietnamese influences that have been separated into different sections.

 

So what’s cooking? Why not check out such delights as Out of the Garden offering a salad of aubergine, toasted coconut, cherry tomato not to mention zingy apple, beetroot and chopped hazelnuts.

 

Other specialities which you can sink your teeth into include the likes of succulent Lamb Kofte tagine and selections as they say From the Sea. This features chargrilled prawns with a fiery chilli salt, lime and garlic mayo.

 

Street-Sign

(c) madeinshoreditch.co.uk

 

But don’t assume we have forgotten desserts. Sweet treats provide a cardamom and mango shrikhand. So to the drinks list. You can have the opportunity to choose from a wide variety of innovative cocktails at the 100 Hoxton Cocktail.

 

Wrap your lips around a  Kate, Kate, Goose which blends together a melange of gooseberry and fennel jam finished with elderflower, gin, lemon and egg white.

 

When it comes to the design, you will be able to see  a wealth of Bahaus interior style which is mixed together with retro 1960′s factors. This is mainly thanks to the former council building that 100 Hoxton sits under.

 

On to the other hand, other highlights inside range from the main steel bar with concrete pillars to plenty of urban New York style exposed brickwork.

 

restaurant

(c) 100hoxton.com

 

With handmade couches made from fabric and lots of stools to park your figure on, you might want to experience the site’s very own glass exterior which is ideal for al fresco dining. You don’t have long before the Indian summer concludes.

 

If you really want to explore what the area has to offer then have a peek at some of the hotels in Shoreditch that might take your fancy.

 

 

 

Simon Lazarus is an experienced PR/Business Consultant and copywriter with a number of clients across different territories including the US, Europe, Asia, China and the Middle East. His vast portfolio includes writing content for a variety of sites on food and drink, travel, personal finance, news, showbiz, sport, technology and much more. He also advises businesses on strategies and marketing across different sectors