While we cover a wealth of cities here at Hg2, our hedonistic hometown is London. Which is why we’re thrilled that there’s a royal wedding in town on 29th April, bringing with it star-struck tourists from across the globe. Because of such, we’ve combed the city for the poshest venues to make your trip to our fair capital that little bit more regal. So make like Wills and Kate, and do London in true blue-blood style.
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Off With Their Beds!
While you won’t be able to check into The Goring come April – it’s now a well-known fact that Kate Middleton’s family has hired out the entire place for the wedding party – you can check into other suitably swanky venues to enjoy the festivities. Highly recommended alternatives include; The Athenaeum Hotel & Apartments – its five-star bedrooms back onto the royal parks; Brown’s – trad with a twist, just like Britain’s golden couple; Claridge’s – whose past guest register includes Queen Elizabeth II herself; and The Connaught – for over a hundred years, the five-star property has been synonymous with royalty, celebrity and glamour. Our all-time royal favourite, however, is The Dorchester; proving that a classic never dies, this imposing building on Park Lane was deemed regal enough to host Prince Philip’s very own stag party. We can only image the chaos he caused inside.
Fit For A King
Once you’ve checked in, you’ll want to pound the plastic ahead of the big day (presumably, on pashminas and pearls). While you won’t be able to have the entire store closed down like Prince William does late on Christmas Eve, we still recommend hitting Selfridges for designer duds galore; housing everything any would-be king and soon-to-be princess could ever need, it’s a shrine to materialism of the highest (and most high-end) order. Afterwards, hail a cab to Knighstbridge and Chelsea; these posh neighbourhoods are where well-heeled shoppers such as Kate head, and where reassuringly large price tags hang from comfortingly conservative objects of desire. Ladies who lunch and talk of summers in St. Tro worship in the holy houses of Harrods and Harvey Nichols, as well as the numerous other shrines to designer fashion on Sloane Street, a less busy, but more staid, version of Bond Street. And while it may have lost some of it’s swing since the Sixties, the King’s Road is still a stretch of Sloaney heaven befitting of royal custom; check out Jigsaw at number 124, the company Kate herself once worked for, and boasting palatial-like interiors with curved stone staircases, beautiful balustrades and reclaimed flooring.
More Prince, Less Pauper
No trip to London Town is complete without a night on the town, particularly for wild child princes such as Harry and Wills. While mere mortals head East for the dive bars of Dalston, the princes and their Sloaney Pony, blazer-clad friends stick to what they know best; and what they know best is West. Favourite haunts of theirs include South Kensington’s Boujis, where William and the likes of Paris Hilton dance side by side (thank God she didn’t get the Prince’s ring on her finger), Maggie’s on Fulham Road, opened by royal chum Charlie Gilkes to cater to an elitist crowd, and Mahiki, where it takes the pocket money of a prince to afford mixologist Papa Jule’s lavish sharing cocktails served up in treasure chests (the club has even sent some of its signature rum to Clarence House for the princes to enjoy pre-stag party). Recently-opened Public on King’s Road (headed up by none other than contemporary royal court jester Guy Pelly) is another new contender for the royals’ affections, and is brimming with Chelsea types any night of the week. Those of an older disposition may want to opt for a more low-key affair at White’s Gentleman’s Club in St. James, where Prince Charles celebrated before tying the knot with Princess Diana.
While Wills gets rowdy with best man Prince Harry at London’s most boisterous bars, Kate makes like a lady and heads somewhere a little more refined on a night out. If whisperings are to be believed, the princess-in-waiting and sister Phlippa will be enjoying the hen party at newly-opened Bar 86 on Fulham Road; the converted Chelsea townhouse has all the makings of an elegant evening out, with gold panelling on the walls and dazzling mosaic patterns underfoot. But the ladies won’t come here for interiors, no matter how inspiring; they’ll come for the modern European menu and cool collection of cocktails, sure to see even the most serious lady stumbling onto the street afterwards. Other princess-worthy haunts include dinner at Kensington’s San Lorenzo restaurant – once the eatery of choice for the late Princess Diana – followed by decadent drinks and a dance-off at the Nick House-owned Whisky Mist in Mayfair. The décor is themed on that posh pursuit of hunting (a stuffed stag here, crystal antlers there) while Moet buckets wait in anticipation on every table for those who can afford them.