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Walking round London’s Belgravia, luxury hotels, luxury cars and a train, too

Christmas decorations, West Halkin Street, London

Christmas decorations, West Halkin Street, London

A gal knows that a good walk is good for her, so she takes a few more circuits around Belgravia.  A little florist’s – next to Mosimann’s, that fabulous private club run by the superb male trio of Mosimann maestros – goes in for colour decoration this year.

The Sheraton Belgravia has been a long-established venue on London’s hotel scene.  Closed for some time, it re-opens January 12th, 2012, as Thompson Hotels’ first outpost outside North America (love their US properties and the superb Thompson Toronto, with its rooftop bar and pool).

Belgraves, a Thompson Hotel, new name, is merely showing outside boarding at the moment, but GM Joseph Kirtley and his marketing supremo, Dagmar Noe, were waiting.  It was hard hats, yellow jackets and big policeman-like boots yet again.  My boots were at least five sizes too big and plodding up and down ten rough flights of concrete steps was, well, tricky.

A sign announces the forthcoming Belgraves hotel

Non-seasonal decoration announcing the forthcoming Belgraves hotel

Belgravia's General Manager Joseph Kirtley and Mary Gostelow

Joseph Kirtley conducts a hard-hat tour









No rooftop pool here, but who wants one in London?  There will be a massive Thompson Suite, and a terrace on the first floor, English numbering, is being partly left open for smokers. Highlights will include ‘living walls’ behind banquette seating in the ground floor restaurant (is this going to be Hix by Mark Hix? He has not yet signed).

The first floor bar will have a working fire. Bedrooms have wood floors, some with real ponyskin rugs (designer is Tara Bernerd, daughter of real estate tycoon Elliott Bernerd of Chelsfield fame).

Luxury car at a luxury hotel: the The Berkeley's Ferrari Atelier

Reflections in the Ferrari Atelier window

Joseph, in a striped green and white shirt, white collar and plain green tie, personifies the dapper hotelier, even when clad in health-and-safety over-pinnings. The hotel will be ready, he promises. The contractors, Overbury, are working 24 hours, even through Christmas and New Year.

Time to walk on, past The Berkeley and its Ferrari Atelier.  This is an enormous empty space fronting Knightsbridge that has variously been movie cinema and oriental rug parlour.  Now, working with dealers H.R.Owen, this clever luxury hotel offers Ferrari weekends.

Edmund (the Porsche Rimowa) takes a train home

Come here to buy your Ferrari California (only about $199,000), or a Ferrari 458 Italia (around $225,325) or, if you are really feeling generous, to someone else or yourself, a Ferrari 599 at $410,000).

You can alternatively merely gaze at new, and racing models, in the Atelier window, or bring your old one in for botox and clean, and stay the night and enjoy, say, a duck burger in Koffmann’s.

But a train awaited.  And the gal and her bag headed finally for home.