A gal likes to be ahead of the game. Tomorrow, 1st December, The Berkeley London opens its winter wonderland. Kids are invited to come in, meet Father Christmas and see the beautiful blue-lit grotto.
The preview made the gal feel young again. But then the entire Christmas décor in this luxury hotel is breathtakingly simple. It is simply – white. The lobby has a blazing real-log fire. There are white boughs, branches and baubles all around, and in one corridor there are lifesize white reindeer.
We walked through the Blue Bar, which David Collins designed in Wedgwood blue in homage to the subject of his design thesis, potter Josiah Wedgwood. This is the bar which immediately became popular when Madonna just happened to walk in, its first week (her favourite table remains, left at the top of the steps as you walk in).
Through the bar you get to Koffmann’s, which once housed the rather-dark Gordon Ramsay Boxwood Café. Now it is light, bright, and great fun. It is always nice to find a restaurant where you can sit comfortably, see the menu, not hear neighbouring tables talk… and so on. Add to this the simple, folksy-card menu and you have a winner.
There is a Plat du Jour but we went for a special of the house, the duck burger. While we waited, we were brought an olive wood trough of sensational breads, made right here at the hotel. Golly, if I could have a lifetime supply of the garlic puffs, sensational, like lightest croissants but round-shaped, and just enough garlic to inhale the flavour but not subsequently exhale the same (wonder if you can get these at other hotels in the Maybourne Group? They are SOOO good).
Then, great idea the burger, with fries that were slim-line string and yummy, and the cheese trolley had Chaource on it. And the glass of Pallières 2007 Gigondas was just perfect. Then, again, exercise needed, so we footed it up 146 stairs – they do have elevators but the gal always thinks of the Queen Mother, who is reputed to have said each step walked up adds three seconds to life, as well as appreciation thereof – right up to the hotel’s eighth floor rooftop.
There is an (indoor) pool up there but, an inside luxury travel hidden secret, there is also a squash court-size (outdoor) garden, complete with year-round greenery. They show retro black and white movies here, and you keep warm with Bordeaux vineyard burners, thick blankets and cashmere throws and hot chocolate.
Sadly, no time this visit so we legged it down the 146 steps, and past more winter wonderland in the hotel’s lovely lobby – and out into the real world that is London on a cold blowy night.