?Lucy White goes A-list at London's The Arts Club.
WHAT & WHERE
The venerable Arts Club is nestled between the equally salubrious Brown's Hotel and the cocktail-treasure-chest toting nightspot Mahiki, and just a sashay away from Christian Louboutin and Victoria Beckham boutiques. ?Co-founded by Charles Dickens in 1863 on nearby Hanover Square (Monet and Renoir were members), the club has been welcoming artists and intellectuals to this townhouse address since the early 1900s (Peter Blake, Grayson Perry). Gwyneth Paltrow is such a fan of its 16 understatedly plush rooms and suites that she and its chairman, Gary Landesberg, are launching a West Hollywood off-shoot in 2018, lending not just her celebrity but her cash, as an investor. (40 Dover Street, Mayfair, +44 20 7499 8581; theartsclub.co.uk).
DOWN TO BUSINESS
Personal butler anyone? A (heated) terrace suite here is so fancy that you even have your own 'staff?, summoned by an electronic fob. Do Not Disturb signs are tassels to hang on your door - no commonplace cards here, luxe fans - while vintage dial phones, chevron American walnut flooring, Calacatta Oro marble and silver, clawfoot bathtubs strike a gorgeous Art Deco chord (the flatscreen TV at the far end of said tub is distinctly 21st century). If money is no object then book the penthouse, which has a retractable roof over a private patio. Guest rooms are so beautiful that it's difficult to consciously uncouple with one's plush bathrobe and have a mosey. But that would mean missing out on enjoying the property's dapper, unpretentious public spaces, across which contemporary art changes every four months. B&B from €480; membership €2,000 to join and €2,000 per year, subject to being proposed by an existing member.
Members and hotel guests are allowed to invite up to three pals, and its exquisitely designed Brasserie and bar on the ground floor is a fine place at which to raise a flute. Or, head upstairs to the buzzy Kyubi and try a sake flight: a trio of very different flavours, ideal for washing down exemplary Japanese dishes, from butter-soft sushi and sashimi to innovative tea-infused desserts.
Afternoon Tea at Sketch
Independent boutique Wolf & Badger is also on Dover Street, where its quirky range of accessories, clothing, homewares and curios from British and international designers includes our very own jewellery powerhouse, Chupi. wolfandbadger.com
Take afternoon tea at Sketch, less than a ten-minute walk from The Arts Club: pink upholstery makes you feel like you're sat in a big, fat, stylish blancmange (in a good way); sandwiches, scones and sambos are delightfully quirky; and artwork by David Shrigley will broaden your sweet-toothed smile even wider. (9 Conduit Street, +44 20 7659 4500; sketch.london)
This feature appears in the September issue of CARA magazine, the inflight publication of Aer Lingus. Aer Lingus offers multiple flights from Dublin, Cork, Shannon and Knock to London Heathrow and London Gatwick.