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.
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.
To get close, try: Ambassadors Bloomsbury
The 100-room Ambassadors Bloomsbury is located in the historic literary heart of London, just 15 minutes from the Business Design Centre via the tube. Beyond the convenient location, this hotel also offers bright rooms with crisp white linens and flat-screen TVs. Bathrooms are sleek and modern — guests can choose between wet rooms or larger bathrooms with tubs — and the stylish lobby offers free apples and filtered water. Number Twelve is the popular on-site bar and restaurant, serving three delicious meals a day along with traditional afternoon tea. This hotel offers good value for the location, especially with free Wi-Fi and a small fitness center.
To feel like a local, try: Langham Hotel London
When in London, do as the British do: Enjoy afternoon tea after a day spent at the art show. The Langham Hotel’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 the drink to London’s elite. This 380-room hotel is among the city’s best and most “authentically British,” exuding an air of prestige without the usual Union Jack pretention. The ultra-luxurious Chaun Spa, 16-meter pool, and salt sauna don’t hurt its high-end credentials either.