A meeting place for the bon ton since its opening in 1906 by Swiss hotelier César Ritz, The Ritz almost needs no introduction. On arrival, the outside world drops away as I am introduced to my handsome French butler, Baptiste and taken up a frescoed staircase to the Royal Suite. Perhaps second only in grandeur to Buckingham Palace (glimpsed from the room’s long windows), the Royal Suite took my breath away at first sight. Carved from an 18th-century mansion, the lofty rooms, draped in 24-carat gold, seem endless and are filled with glorious antiques, gold mirrors, and towering flower arrangements. The oval panelled bedroom, with sun-dappled views over the park, could be Marie-Antoinette’s chamber, its bed festooned with a silk canopy. The Ritz does romance like no other, and champagne (Château Mouton Rothschild, of course) and rose petal hearts await as a welcome. Nothing fazes the immaculate Baptiste—even when my six-year-old goddaughter appears in the suite in her best dress and proceeds to order french fries and broccoli, she is seated with a silver dome and treated like a princess. Also in Mayfair is the famed hotel, The Beaumont. An art deco palazzo, this is a step back to a more polished age. The very personal service gives a feeling of a family-run property and the hotel is home to one of the most striking and unique suites in the world, created by iconic artist Antony Gormley. Enjoy romance while staying inside an actual artwork. I never wanted to leave The Beaumont’s cocoon of old-fashioned warmth and luxurious comfort.
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June- July 2020 (Ali Fazal and Richa Chadda)