A veritably cosmopolitan city, London has been the playground of royalty and aristocracy for centuries. Steeped in tradition the beauty of London is only matched by its glorious history.
As the city really began to grow in the 18th century beautifully grand residences and commercial buildings started to flourish.
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A History of Royalty & Aristocracy & Limitless Cultural Attractions
As the city really began to grow in the 18th century beautifully grand residences and commercial buildings started to flourish. Nowhere is there a better example of this luxurious transformation than in the exclusive locations of Knightsbridge and Mayfair. Roughly divided into two aristocratic landholdings Knightsbridge encompasses the unrivalled red-brick Queen Anne revival buildings mainly found on the Earl of Cadogan’s Estate and the white stucco fronted residences that comprise the Grosvenor Estate, as envisioned by Robert Grosvenor 1st Marquess of Westminster and developed by Thomas Cubitt.
The famous road Knightsbridge has its roots in the early 12th century where the citizens of London greeted the new Queen Matilda at Knight’s Bridge. The renowned Kings Road in historic Chelsea earned its name through its use as a private royal road that allowed King George IV to travel unimpeded from Hampton Court to his new residence Buckingham Palace. One of London’s greatest attractions is that this long and illustrious history is still palpable in amongst all of the stylish amenities no other modern city can offer.
London is home to almost limitless cultural attractions, however, there are a few venues that are notable for their architectural and historical importance.
The Royal Opera House was constructed in the 18th century at the height of the British Empire, as its imperious colonnades would suggest. Here you will be able to see performances by the famed Royal Ballet and Royal Opera.
In the heart of Knightsbridge is the Royal Albert Hall, built as a memorial by Queen Victoria to her beloved husband Prince Albert. Queen Victoria was overcome by emotion upon entering the hall to inspect it when it was completed. It still to this day retains the ability to take your breath away.
London hosts some of the most important galleries and auction houses, including the renowned Sotheby’s and Christie’s. Saatchi Gallery on the other hand, created its own legacy for hosting upcoming artists.
The Global Elite of Nightlife
London is also home to some of the most refined members clubs in the world where you can find the global elite enjoying cocktails or dinner in their acclaimed nightlife venues. Annabel’s Private Members Club can lay claim to a distinguished heritage that rivals that of luxury establishments across the world. Founded in 1963 by legendary entrepreneur Mark Birley, and named after his wife, it was the country’s first of its kind: a Members-only nightclub that catered to an exclusive clientele. Frank Sinatra was among the first to join and, since then, its illustrious clientele has included representatives of the British Royal Family and legends of the music and film industry, including Ella Fitzgerald, Jack Nicholson, The Rolling Stones and Dames Elizabeth Taylor and Shirley Bassey. Annabel’s offers the finest of elegant nightlife in London and consistently provides members with unforgettable nights.
A more recent addition to the elite member’s club scene, is the exquisite Loulou’s at 5 Hertford Street in Mayfair. With Loulou’s 5 Hertford Street, Robin Birley has updated the classic London club for a new generation. Loulou’s at 5 Hertford Street breaks the rules of classic members’ clubs in London. With two restaurants, LouLou’s nightclub, three bars and a cinema room this new venue offers a truly entertaining experience.
Amongst the most discerning of nightclubs is Tramp, which has played host to three generations of upscale partygoers since its founding in 1969. The naming of Tramp occurred when during a documentary about Charlie Chaplin’s famous character The Little Tramp, the narrator remarked that “this was the greatest Tramp of all”. The statement provided Oscar and Johnny with the perfect name for their new club. Their idea was to create a nightclub unlike any other, a place with no formal dress code, which was somewhat revolutionary at the time, where members and their guests could dine and revel to their heart’s content, something they achieved with stunning success.
The Culinary Capital of the World
London has become the culinary capital of the world with a great number of quality dining venues to choose from. Whether it is Michelle Roux Jr.’s Le Gavroche, or Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck, the grace and sophistication of London’s dining venues is unmatched.
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, located just off the elegant Chelsea Embankment, is a truly intimate restaurant that has created exquisite cuisine since 1998. Gordon James Ramsay, is one of the most celebrated British chefs, restaurateur and television personalities. Together with Chef Patron Clare Smyth, they lead their team in providing elegant and unsurpassed modern French cuisine.
Le Gavroche founded by Michel and Albert Roux has consistently been considered one of the most outstanding restaurants in the world let alone London. Serving classic French cuisine with a contemporary twist Le Gavroche, under the Stewardship of Albert Roux’s son Michelle, has continued its historical excellence delighting all that grace the inimitable venue.
The Fat Duck located in Bray, a short journey from London, has been surprising and satisfying diners in equal measure with Blumenthal’s wonderfully creative and outside of the box dishes. A table at this small restaurant is highly coveted and incredibly hard to attain, and once you are there you understand why. The Fat Duck has become synonymous with the gastronomic world in England and keeps diners flooding back for more.
Zafferano first opened in the heart of London’s exclusive Belgravia area in 1995. Since then Zafferano has been acclaimed time and again for its honest wholesome take on Italian cuisine, making it a regular for discerning clientele seeking the finest Italian fare in London. There is also an elegant bar offering a selection of cocktails, aperitifs and digestive as well as a bar menu with a mouth watering choice of regional Italian favourites.
Luxury Lifestyle Hotels of History and Opulence
No other city has been able to recreate the marriage between history and opulence that you can attain in London’s luxury lifestyle hotels. If you are looking for contemporary luxury The Bulgari Hotel & Residences, moments away from Harrods and Sloane Street, is the ultimate in modern sophistication. It is a perfect expression of the Bulgari aesthetic of timeless glamour. Innovative artistry and a lavish use of precious marble and silver blend harmoniously, exuding an understated elegance. The quality of the service, magnificent elements such as the spa, pool and private screening room, all contribute to an uncompromising sense of excellence.
The Lanesborough, located across the street from beautiful Hyde Park in Knightsbridge, captures the gracious style and warm hospitality of an early 19th century residence. This landmark hotel building of 1828 has been meticulously restored to its original grandeur taking ts name from the country house that once stood at this prestigious location. The Lanesborough represents a revival of traditional hospitality.
The Ritz in London was built in a neoclassical design meant to evoke the style of the Rue de Rivoli in Paris. The Ritz in London came to be regarded as, and still is, the most opulent and luxurious of all London hotels, even surpassing Cesar Ritz’s old employers The Savoy Hotel.
The Savoy Hotel opened in 1889 on the site of the 13th Century Savoy Palace and is regarded as London’s first luxury hotel. The Savoy Hotel set the standard for luxury hotels in London, and would create its own greatest rival when it dismissed their famous manager Cesar Ritz, the creator of the Ritz Hotel Group.