A long weekend in London focused on decorating and design!

Whether staying at the Metropolitan or the Halkin by COMO or dining on delicious food at Daylesford Organic, a trip to this favorite city always means getting treated like a royal.

Photographs courtesy of COMO Hotels and Resorts (metropolitan and halkin facade); Grosvenor (motcomb street)

London has always held a special place in my heart.
I visited as a child, and the lights of Christmas still glow in my mind. I also lived there for a semester during my junior year of college. This time I was ready for a different trip: a long weekend that would focus on decorating and design (but not feel like work!) and still be relaxing. Could I do it?

I began my trip across from Hyde Park in Mayfair at the Metropolitan by COMO, London (comohotels.com/metropolitanlondon). Sleek in design, the Metropolitan’s contemporary architecture stands apart from the surrounding traditional buildings. The minimalist interiors are tempered by warm tones of coffee and cream with accents of plum.

I have come to appreciate the healing benefits of a massage, so upon arrival I headed to the Como Shambhala Urban Escape spa. An hour treatment worked out the travel kinks, and I had new energy to join the Saturday shoppers. A fascinating promotion at Harrods focused on Morocco and its influence on design, furniture and fabric. Next I was off to Pimlico Road. At Joanna Wood’s eponymous shop (joannawoods.com), I loved the starburst mirrors and a classic check throw, this time in a delicious pink. At Linley (davidlinley.com), desk accessories of both the Stars & Stripes and the Union Jack were done in walnut, sycamore and oak marquetry inlay—and would be great back home!

I headed back to the Metropolitan to reward myself for all that hard work of shopping. The newly renovated Met Bar offered the solace I needed. And I didn’t need to go far for dinner that night. The hotel boasts Michelin-starred Nobu (noburestaurants.com). Its original mix of Peruvian-Japanese cuisine is a delight. Think raw fish with marinades of chilies, citrus, garlic and coriander. I worked my way through the tacos and fried rock shrimp.

To change things up a little, I moved to Belgravia and into The Halkin by COMO, London (comohotels.com/thehalkin), which felt like a royal retreat. Well rested, I was off again. I poked around the Victoria & Albert Museum, which never fails me. I then fell into the charms of Elizabeth and Motcomb streets, where all of life’s luxuries can be found. At Rachel Vosper’s shop (rachelvosper.com), I took a candle-making class. Imagine creating your own bespoke candle with fragrances like rosemary and mint, sandalwood and cedar.

What’s a weekend in London without having tea? I headed back to The Halkin for treats by William Curley (williamcurley.co.uk), who was named Britain’s best chocolatier four times. I had found my savior! And, again, I had no reason to leave the hotel for dinner. At Nahm, coconut cupcakes of crab with red curry followed by curried beef transported me to Thailand.

But I soon had to be transported back to Connecticut: inspired and, yes, rested.

D.J.’s Favorites

> Rachel Vosper: I loved the Scottish ceramic bowls by Tom Hopkins Gibson at Rachel Vosper boutique. (69 Kinnerton St.)

> The Grenadier: a small cozy pub with an impressive beer menu (but I had port!). (Wilton Row, Belgravia)


> The Cow: a pub owned by Terence Conran’s son. Delicious partridge, Guinness and oysters, all served up amid quirky architecture. (89 Westbourne Park Rd.)

> Les Senteurs: shop for perfume classics and half-forgotten masterpieces. (71 Elizabeth St.)

> Daylesford Organic: food straight from Gloucestershire to London. Community tables, marble counters in a wonderful “farmshop.” (44B Pimlico Rd.)