The location couldn’t be better: a side street in London’s upscale Mayfair within walking distance to quality shops and restaurants, around the corner from Park Lane and Piccadilly. Just as important: they’re around the corner from the COMO Metropolitan London. The recently opened two to four bedroom COMO Metropolitan Residences, Hertford Street, an offshoot of this long-established hotel, have the best of both worlds: the room service, concierge, access to COMO Shambhala Urban Escape, the brand’s holistic wellness retreat, along with the privacy and space of townhouse apartments with outdoor patios for the days when London’s weather allows.
Overall, the tone in the 1,119-1593 square foot apartments is serene, sophisticated, and contemporary with neutral color schemes of white, creams and greys and pillows and rugs adding design patterns to the mix. Pops of color appear by way of art pieces by Spanish artist Moyra Montoya Moyano and light floods the apartments from floor to ceiling windows. For those who want to cook, the spacious kitchens are stocked with top of the line cookware, appliances, utensils and serving pieces but the tablet in the living room provides online ordered room service for dishes ranging from excellent pasta to healthy Shambhala specialties and items from Nobu located at the hotel. A chef from the hotel can also come around the corner and prepare dishes in the apartment.
Afternoon tea is obviously a staple in London but for those who want to try a different spin on the that service, sibling hotel COMO The Halkin, a ten minute walk away, just introduced a holistic but also delicious spread. No clotted cream here: the choices include spiced crispy prawns with orange blossom puree, kaffir lime, coriander and citrus, a marinated chicken lolly with a wild rice salad, pomegranate seeds and pomegranate glaze and mango and passionfruit cheesecake plus healthy juices and fragrant teas. It’s worth trying.
East of Mayfair, in Soho, Ham Yard Residences at One Denman Place, the apartments attached to Firmdale Hotels’ Ham Yard Hotel, are also spacious, separate, stacked with hotel services and convenient for forays to Covent Garden, Regent and Bond Streets and the West End. But the look could not be more different. Co-owner and Creative Director Kit Kemp specializes in exuberant blends of patterns, textures and colors that might clash in less skilled hands but are whimsical, sharp and utterly charming in hers. Each of the Residences, which range from a studio to a two bedroom duplex, has a different design and many have sizeable terraces for hanging out or dining in on fair weather days.
Guests have the choice to access through the separate entry with a dedicated receptionist for privacy or through the main hotel, switching over to the Residence side through a key operated door; on rainy days, this enables them to get to the hotel’s restaurant if they’re not ordering room service instead (at the very least, guests should try the traditional, lush afternoon tea served on Kit Kemp designed Wedgwood bone china), the Soholistic spa, gym, theatre and the colorful, 1950s style Croc bowling alley without going outside. But just outside the door in this cul de sac development are places worth emerging for in Ham Yard Village: boutiques such as the Australian Dinosaur Designs featuring housewares and jewelry in unusual materials and fanciful designs and Engawa Restaurant serving teppanyaki and sushi. Tucked away just off bustling Shaftsbury Avenue, you feel far away from the city here. And since these Residences are for extended stays, usually 10 days or more, they’re the perfect place to settle in.
While in London: for special insider access ranging from a private tour of Kensington Palace,a dinner arranged within the Tower of London and a private session at royal jeweler Garrard trying on tiaras to themed itineraries designed around Winston Churchill’s London, entry into noble estates not usually open to the public in the countryside and many others, Linda Hugo, founder of Beyond Curated can arrange experiences that surprise and enlighten even repeat visitors to the country.