Afternoon Tea

New York Fashion Week may be coming to a close, but don’t fret — London Fashion Week has arrived. And with hot U.K. labels like Stella McCartney, Temperley London, and Burberry Prorsum showing this season, we know that the catwalk will be just as innovative across the pond as it was here in New York. Plus, tons of celebs, models, and designers will be out and about in their finest fashions. (Duh.) They’ll be hitting up the hottest restaurants, bars, and clubs in the city — so get ahead of the curve and check out the see-and-be-seen spots in London for the fashion elite.

THE HOTEL: Langham Hotel London; Marylebone

THE HOT SPOT: Afternoon Tea

Restaurant at the Langham Hotel London; London, England

Restaurant at the Langham Hotel London; London, England

WHY IT’S HOT: One thing London has that New York doesn’t? Afternoon tea. The Langham Hotel, a 5-pearl spot that oozes exclusivity (which the front-row crowd loves), has a great West End location in Marylebone that’s within walking distance of numerous designer shops (should you have forgotten that must-wear LBD). But the Langham’s Palm Court is noted as the birthplace of the afternoon tea tradition, dating back to the hotel’s opening in 1865. Fashionistas can enjoy sipping on tea selected by their sommelier and nibble on dainty finger foods before heading off to the next show — without popping your pants button.

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Yesterday marked the kick-off of the wildly popular London Art Fair. A four-day event, the art show features pieces from Britain’s hottest new artists, and everyone from gallery owners to over-eager Art History majors crowd the city’s Business Design Centre to get a peek at the avant-garde display. We know it’s a little last minute, but it’ll be worth it: grab your non-ADD friend (you know, the one who can spend more than 20 minutes in a museum), pack a suitcase, and hop across the pond to check out some of the world’s up-and-coming artists.

The St. James's Hotel and Club; London, England

The St. James's Hotel and Club; London, England

To get inspired, try: The St. James’s Hotel and Club

Previously owned by Sirs Michael Caine and Sean Connery — and frequented by Winston Churchill and Gregory Peck — this striking building, located on a quiet cul-de-sac in Mayfair, now houses lavish accommodations. A recent multi-million renovation brought in bespoke furnishings, and rooms offer high-tech perks such as iPod docks and free Wi-Fi. An outstanding feature here is the Michelin-star restaurant directed by executive chef William Drabble. Plus, the hotel is filled with notable cubist paintings so you can get inspired before you head to the art show.

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You were always a good kid — especially around Christmas time — so Santa rewarded you with gifts from your wish list: the coveted doll, the electric train, the drum set, you name it! But what of those items you asked for that didn’t make it under the tree? Your parents had promised that Santa wanted to give you your own private island, but it couldn’t fit down the chimney…but Santa is magical, right? It just didn’t add up…

Is there no pony in any of those presents? Don't worry, we have something so much better.

Is there no pony in any of those presents? Don't worry, we have something so much better.

But you’re an adult now and you’re over it…or maybe not. If you fall into the latter group, let us first say – no judgement here. We’re still holding a grudge against Father Christmas for never delivering  ”a diamond the size of my face”; that is definitely no wider than a chimney chute! More importantly, let us say that there’s still hope for you to get your wish — in fact, the cooler, “grown-up” version of your wish. Santa may have denied you a tea set, but a measly plastic set can’t beat afternoon tea served in the birthplace of the tradition itself. And sure, a BB gun would have been fun, but biathlon training combines your love of dangerous weapons with skiing — how did you not think of this sooner?! Check out our list below of the ultimate grown-up Christmas wish list.

Palm Court at the Langham Hotel London

Palm Court at the Langham Hotel London

On Your Kiddie Wish List: A tea set
On Your Grown-Up Wish List: Afternoon tea at the Langham Hotel London

Santa must have been pretty stingy that year if he didn’t bring you a tea set (unless, of course, you asked for one like this). But at least his stinginess gives you all the more reason to make your adult tea experience as luxurious and over-the-top as possible. How about a hop over the pond to start? Then you can head to the Langham Hotel, a 5-pearl hotel that exudes an air of exclusivity with a top-notch spa, an excellent West End location, and an in-house butler whose sole job is to supply guests with classical literature to read during their stay. But best of all, the Langham’s Palm Court is noted as the birthplace of the afternoon tea tradition, dating back to when the hotel first opened in 1865 and the Palm Court began serving tea to London’s elite. So treat yourself to a lavish high tea experience with the Wonderland Afternoon Tea menu, complete with your choice of tea (selected with the assistance of a tea sommelier) and a sampling of finger sandwiches and pastries. So much better to have waited all of these years for the real thing.

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