The last 16 months have completely changed how we holiday and take time off, with us collectively rediscovering staycations. This summer, I’ve been exploring my hometown city, London, with new eyes. As most Londoners will attest, living in such a big city can make you stuck in your ways (and borough), which hasn’t been helped by the pandemic. I hadn’t left my local East London, apart from to occasionally go to the office, for almost a year. This brings me to Charlotte Street, where I staycationed in July for a weekend.
Set in the heart of Fitzrovia, just five minutes from Oxford Street, Charlotte Street feels like a little taste of luxury and calm in the city. Despite being London-born, I’ve only walked down this road once before – this time, taking it all in, realised it has everything you need for a weekend getaway: bustling bars, an array of restaurants, galleries, spas, hairdressers, and theatres.
Where to stay
As famous as its namesake location, Charlotte Street Hotel is a renowned luxury spot. The hotel has 52 individually designed bedrooms and suites with unique interior touches in every corner, a private cinema room, gym, and is also home to the popular Oscar Brasserie. If you’re looking for quintessentially British interiors, mouth-watering food, friendly and fun staff, and the comfiest bed (literally the best night’s sleep ever), then Charlotte Street Hotel is the place for you.
Where to eat
For breakfast, why would you leave your gorgeous hotel room? I ordered french toast, fresh orange juice, and a side of hash browns. Best. Morning. Ever.
For dinner, I’m a firm believer in treating myself when on holiday, even if it is a staycation. Twenty years ago, the now Michelin-starred, modern Chinese cuisine restaurant brand, Hakkasan, was born in London. Now let me tell you – this restaurant is an EXPERIENCE. As soon as you arrive at the Hanway location, the journey begins; stepping down a long flight of stairs into a dark, modern, atmosphere. Thudding music, glamourous guests, and, of course, mind-blowing food. There’s an array of different set menus, being a vegetarian I opted for Chrysanthemum – the meal started with multicoloured vegan dim sum, fresh plum, and rice cracker salad – perfect sharing food with friends or a date. For the main, our table was filled with stir-fried dishes, vegetables in many different ways, and a hero tofu and aubergine dish. But the star of the meal, for me, was dessert – I don’t have a sweet tooth but the mint ice cream and caramel crumble were *drool* worthy.
What to do
It’s been a tough year, so I think holidays should all be about pampering – I’m usually one for running around and exploring a city, but the beauty of a staycation is that you can guilt-free relax because you already know the area.
Get a massage and facial at Radiance London
Ah, Radiance. If you look up relaxation in the dictionary, a picture of Radiance would come up. All the feelings of a calming spa, in the center of London.
With such a long menu of treatments, sometimes it can be hard to pick – so let me recommend my favourites to you: If you need to destress, the Decléor Aromatherapy Hot Stone Massage is what to chose, with heat-releasing basalt stones that help release tension, reduce stress, soothe aches and rebalance energy levels. If your skin needs some extra special attention, then opt for the Dermalogica ProSkin75 Super Deluxe facial. This treatment gives you an hour facial, as well as fifteen minutes of touch therapy to wherever you need attention.
Get a blowdry at Saco Hair
Founded in 2006, Saco Hair has become renowned for its structured cuts and creative colouring. The boutique-feeling salon is the perfect place to visit for a blow-dry; because nothing feels better than having your hair sleek and bouncy for a fancy night out. And trust me, their blow-drys are elite.
Charlotte Street made me remember how great being a tourist in your own city is, and how great London’s food and wellness offerings are.