We stayed at the?The Marylebone. This Doyle Collection hotel is all pros and just off Oxford Street - a skip from Selfridges, AKA our favourite beauty hall in London. The rooms are spacious, which isn't all too common in London. This is an especially important factor if you're mini-breaking in the traditional sense, i.e. with a lover. While we know cooing intimacy is often the goal, no one likes constant crowding and it can be nice to lounge in between shop opening hours and reservations without the worry of navigating the furniture and your strewn luggage.
Staff were helpful, the lobby area was relaxing, our mattress was a dream, and the breakfast was the perfect prep for a busy day in the capital. We had the smoked salmon and eggs and all the toast. Also, wifi is provided for guests, so you can Instagram your gorgeous surroundings without any data roaming stress.
The Marylebone's restaurant 108 Brasserie offers an impeccable menu. We dined there on a weekday night and the atmosphere was just the right side of busy. We had the Dorset crab on toast with apple and watercress to start - fresh and comforting - and then followed with seared Isle of Skye scallops with spiced lentils - perfectly wholesome. Steamed kale and pine nuts made up our Good Behaviour Sides, but don't worry, we had dessert. If you chose to eat here and leave without trying the brown bread ice cream with carmelised walnuts, you shouldn't be let go on holidays. It contains actual chunks of brown bread and honeycomb pieces - comfort food at its finest.
Lunch in Soho's Suvlaki?was mightily affordable and tasty. This Greek restaurant specialises in grilled skewers with a great choice in salads. We had wild boar souvlaki. The menu said the meat came from animals reared in the foothills of Mount Olympus.
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Not a drinker? The Marylebone offers a juice menu - The Juicery - until 6pm every evening. We had the Hollywood, which was a carrot and turmeric blend, and the Greenwich, packed full of antioxidant beetroot.
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Another bar across town we enjoyed during one of our other visits is The Island Queen in Islington. The interiors are like something from period drama set in a non-depressing Cornwall. Think wood panelling, a lot of ale, palm plants. Definitely worth shortlisting on the to0drink list.
The British Museum - free in - is a tad exhausting, especially if you're on a flying-catching-up-with-the-emigr's visit. The?National Portrait Gallery is a less time-consuming dose of culture and the exhibitions, while ticketed, are usually excellent. At the moment, British Vogue?have a centenary showcase running until late May and there is an ongoing series about The Great War, as well as the permanent collection upstairs.
We always try to find time for a trip to Liberty, the iconic Regent Street department store famed for its prints. The beauty hall here has a holistic feel - as if you're wandering around the home of a rich person with The Best Taste but also The Most Welcoming Demeanour. & Other Stories?may be Dublin-bound this Autumn, but until then we still have to venture across the Irish Sea to our nearest bricks and mortar. This two-store treat is just off Oxford Street and is the ultimate in grown-up gal glamour. Make sure to time your trip with their Rodarte co-lab.
Cleanser, moisturiser, SPF. London air is not kind to one's skin. You'll flinch at the end of each day when you see the results on your cotton wool. We'd recommend packing some La Roche-Posay 50 ml treats, including their Nutritic Intense Moisturising Cream for Dry Skin 50ml, and when it comes to SPF Bioderma is aces. Their Photoderm MAX Aquafluide SPF 50+ is 40 ml and will save your smug hide.
Leave at home:
Clothes. There's nothing like the micro-stress of finding your backpack can't deal with your return journey purchases. Land, then head to & Other Stories for some urbanite dresses and Primark for opaques and cardigans.