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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

02/19 - Luxury in London's Mayfair to Exploring Historic Bath - our UK Sojourn!

Slow Living's Stephen Andrews and Sally James come to you from their travels in London and Bath, bringing you just a teaser of their experiences.  And for a look at some of their personal highlights, go to

We begin with a delightful stay at the historic Chesterfield Hotel in Mayfair, Enjoy hearing the story of Red Carnation Hotels who founded this charming property and some insider tips on Mayfair from the Chef and Deputy General Manager.

We then continue to Bath, where we stayed at the delightful Hill House, hosted by proprietors, Douglas, Harry and their lovable dog, Jasper.  Douglas gives us the low down on where to eat, drink and explore, and some of the history of this enchanting city.

Situated in the heart of London's most prestigious district, the quiet and understated elegance of The Chesterfield Mayfair is celebrated for its style, comfort, and exceptional levels of personal service. Discreetly tucked away near Berkeley Square and a mere stone's throw from Green Park Tube station, the quiet, calm and efficient service blended with supreme comfort characterize this luxurious four-star hotel. The 94 deluxe guest rooms and 13 luxurious suites are each uniquely designed and equipped with the latest technology.

Butler’s Restaurant is renowned for serving “the best Dover Sole in London”, the light Conservatory provides an airy setting for cocktail parties, light lunches, and award-winning traditional afternoon teas, while the Terrace Bar provides the perfect early evening retreat.

Mons Henningson
Deputy General Manager

Having come to the UK from Sweden I started my career in sales. Over the last 13 years I have worked through positions within Front of House including The Eton Collection and later took on the role as General Manager in Bloomsbury for 5 years. I have now joined the prestigious Chesterfield Mayfair hotel and look forward to being a part of the great team here. My approach in the hotel industry has always been to provide a service that is above and beyond expectations that will make your stay unforgettable

Ben Kelliher
Executive Chef

Born and bred in London I started my career at North West Kent Collage where I trained as an apprenticeship chef for three years. After finishing my course I started my culinary journey where I learned my passion for this great industry. Working at some of London’s top hotels my passion for food has grown and grown. I am please to be here at the Chesterfield Mayfair where, using fresh local seasonal produce from around the United Kingdom I am sure me and my team can create a dining experience that you will remember forever.

The Heart Of Red Carnation

The Red Carnation Hotels (RCH) story is a love story. It started over fifty years ago, and has lasted a lifetime.
It all began, back in the 1950s, when a beautiful young South African woman named Bea caught the eye of a distinguished hotelier named Stanley, who was known for wearing a small red carnation in his lapel. In 1954, as newlyweds of modest beginnings, their shared love for, and innate understanding of, world class hospitality, exquisite style, fine cuisine, grand architecture and inspiring travel, set the foundations for the establishment of leading hotels in South Africa.
Groundbreaking for the times, each hotel was hailed as the height of taste and excellence in dining, accommodation and service, while staying true to the promise of value. In 1975, their journey took them, and their four young children, to Great Britain. It is there that the next chapter of their story unfolded. In 1984, starting with purchase of London-based “The Chesterfield Hotel”, Bea Tollman, decided to create RCH. RCH is where her lifelong love for the hotel business, and her husband’s signature flower, first came to life.
 RCH evolved since into what is now an award winning, family owned and run collection of fourteen five and four star boutique luxury hotels, along with a gastro pub and a South African inspired London restaurant. From Africa and the USA to Europe, RCH has established a reputation for timeless décor, exceptional locations, highly personal and genuine guest care, and celebrated cuisine. RCH has become a ‘home away from home’ for the business and holiday travellers who know, feel and appreciate, the RCH difference.

Stylish Mayfair – Your Chic Residence For Exploring The Best Of London

Mayfair has a cachet that the rest of London cannot match. No other London address is as smart while no other area offers so much exclusive shopping.

From The Chesterfield Mayfair, you can easily explore central London on foot. The glittering shops on Bond Street, Regent Street, and Piccadilly are just a few minutes away. To the south, the Royal Parks offer an inviting stroll towards Buckingham Palace and the Changing of the Guard. Nearby attractions include the Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington Arcade, and Fortnum& Mason – all situated on Piccadilly.

Just minutes walk from Chesterfield, you'll find the bustling hub of Shepherds Market, home to some marvellous pubs, Euro-centric and Middle Eastern restaurants.   (We loved Boudin Blanc, a cosy, warm French restaurant with great food and wine list - the carafe wines were a reminder of how fantastic regional simple French wines are!)

A little further to the east takes you to Soho and London's vibrant theatre land, or towards Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, and the London Eye.  When in Soho, hunt down either Flat White or Milk Shake for some seriously good coffee!

And towards the other direction brings you to Sloane Square and Chelsea - great shopping and more great restaurants.  For coffee and organic smoothies, try Joe and the Juicer, for a Copenhagen import, and snuggle down to a basement for French small plates and a great eclectic wine list at Le Cercle.

Park Lane is a few minutes to the west of the hotel. At one end, you'll find Marble Arch and Speakers' Corner, while at the other there's Apsley House, the magnificent home of the Duke of Wellington. Beyond Park Lane lies Hyde Park and its popular boating lake, The Serpentine.

A few other spots to lay your head at night and explore this exciting city.......

If you'd like to stay just a few blocks from Harrods, in the heart of Knightsbridge, yet in a quiet residential street, try The Beaufort, an elegant guest house offering complimentary champagne (yes the real thing), and drinks through the evening and high tea on request.  It's close also to the Victoria and Albert Museum and Hyde Park.

Or if you'd like to be nestled in the heart of South Kensington, surrounded by gastro-pubs, shops, all manner of restaurants, and a stone's throw to Notting Hill, try the Millennium Baileys.  A renovated Victorian London Townhouse, right on the tube station to Heathrow and Piccadilly. Bonus? Lovely spacious rooms!  Try dining at La Bouchee, cosy, romantic, and very French!  Or Bibendum for locally sourced dreamy seafood dishes.

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A Glimpse into Bath
Douglas Yeates, Proprietor
Hill House Bed and Breakfast

Proprietors, Harry, Douglas and Jasper

Hill House is a three storey Georgian end of terrace situated in the heart of historic Bath. Originally built around 1760 it has formerly been a hotel, wine merchants and public house. In 2011 it underwent extensive renovation into a 6 bedroom guest house retaining much of its original charm and character with all the amenities expected of the traveller in the 21st century.

ll the guest accommodation has refitted contemporary en suite shower rooms, flat screen TVs with Freeview, and complimentary White Company toiletries. The central location opposite Camden Crescent means you are literally only a few minute’s walk from all the major sites, places of interest and wonderful restaurants that Bath has to offer.

Their satisfying and delicious breakfast menu changes seasonally, even to making their own marmalade and preserves!. There is a freshly prepared buffet each day or you can order a hot breakfast cooked to order and made from locally sourced ingredients where possible.

A bit on Bath....

From the World-renowned Roman Baths, the unique Christmas Market in the run-up to Christmas, Premiership Rugby at the Rec, guided walks around ‘Bizarre Bath’, the Jane Austen Centre and many other museums to the renowned Bath International Music Festival, there is no shortage of things to do.
The Weir used in the Movie, Les Miserables,
where the fatal dive took place.

Bath is the home of Bath Rugby, Bath City Football Club, flat horse racing at Bath Race Course, motor racing at Castle Combe as well as a well known base for hot air ballooning and many other activities.

Bath has a wide range of local restaurants, bars and nightlife.
Further afield and easily accessible from Bath are Bristol, Glastonbury, Wells, Stonehenge, Longleat and the Cotswolds as well as many National Trust sites, all with their own unique appeal and charms.
Click here for the official Visit Bath listing of the hundreds of things to do while you are in Bath.

The Chequers

For dining, we enjoyed two terrific British meals - one at Circus Restaurant, for a more refined, seasonally focused approach, and The Chequers for an up-market gastro pub experience housed in a building dating back to 1776.  The fish and chips in ale batter was to experience indeed!

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