London

Best City Secret

London's Roman Amphitheatre

Almost 2,000 years ago, the Romans conquered Britannia (England) and set up a capital in Londinium (London), where they built a Roman amphitheatre that was discovered in 1988. Guildhall Yard, EC2. (44-207) 332-3700.

Best Shopping Neighborhood
Covent Garden
The Piazza of the “new” Covent Garden and surrounding streets—King Street, Seven Dials, Monmouth Street—are loaded with small shops, unique boutiques and brand retailers. www.coventgardenlondonuk.com.
Top Day Trip
Stonehenge
Rising from the flat Wiltshire plain north of the cathedral town of Salisbury, Stonehenge's 5,000-year-old sarsen stones form the most famous prehistoric stone circle in the world. A344 Road, Amesbury. (44-870) 333-1181; www.stonehenge.co.uk.
Best Cocktail with a View
Vertigo 42
In the heart of London’s financial district, this reservations-only Champagne bar commands impressive views over the British capital. www.vertigo42.co.uk.
Best View
Greenwich Park
From the hilltop in Greenwich Park, near the Observatory and next to the statue of General Wolfe, there’s a memorable view of Greenwich Palace with the Thames and East London beyond. (44-208) 858-2608.
Museum Must-See
The Crown Jewels at Tower of London
Among the Tower of London’s many treasures are the Crown Jewels, which include the largest diamond in the world and breathtaking gems set into royal crowns, swords and scepters. Tower Hill, EC3. (44-207) 709-0765; www.hrp.org.uk.
Best Restaurant Classic
Le Gavroche
Opened in 1967, Le Gavroche in Mayfair was the first UK restaurant to be awarded one, two, and then three Michelin stars. The classic French cuisine and impeccable service are legendary. 43 Upper Brook St., W1. (44-207) 491-4387; www.le-gavroche.co.uk.
Best Activity/Excursion
London by Helicopter
For a high-flying experience, book a helicopter ride down the river Thames to give you a bird’s eye view of London’s historic landmarks.

Hotels

One Aldwych

London, England

Located in the former Morning Post newspaper building designed by star-architects Charles Mewes and Arthur Davis, One Aldwych is a stunning hotel with a striking contemporary design. Ideally located in the heart of London’s theatre district, it is a short walk from the shops and restaurants of the capital’s bustling West End and close to the financial district. In-house restaurant Axis at One Aldwych draws a large number of guests and locals for its Modern British menu, as does Indigo restaurant with its Modern European food. Overnight guests can relax in the new and private Lounge at One. Another highlight is the double height Lobby Bar, named one of the top five hotel bars in the world by The Sunday Telegraph; it is a buzzing hot spot where those in-the-know order the signature Gin & Tonic Martini.

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Milestone Hotel

London, England

The Milestone reportedly sells more Champagne per guest than any place in London, so it’s not surprising that a jovial mood pervades this quintessentially British property, which dates to the 19th century and once housed a military academy. Occupying two buildings, the hotel has sixty-two lavishly furnished rooms, including six long-stay suites, some with remarkable views of Kensington Palace and its gardens. Thoughtful details abound, such as sweet treats, fresh fruit and books of poetry placed in guests’ rooms each night. The hotel restaurant, Cheneston’s (reflecting an early spelling of Kensington), serves modern British fare in an intimate setting; for special occasions, guests can order private dinners in the Oratory, originally a chapel, and a romantic turn-down service.

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The Ritz London

London, England

When César Ritz was building his now-iconic hotel in 1906, he wrote his neighbor Lord Wimborne, asking him to sell his house to the hotel. Lord Wimborne replied, “I am thinking of enlarging my garden. How much for the Ritz?” A century later the Ritz purchased the 18th-century mansion, now known as William Kent House. Connected to the hotel on two levels, it adds three magnificent suites and five stunning dining rooms, including one overlooking The Green Park. Throughout the rest of the hotel, the Louis XVI decor evokes an era of old-world opulence. The air of luxury is reinforced by the two-to-one staff-to-guest ratio, private members club and casino, chauffeur driven Rolls- Royce service, plus fine dining in the magnificent Restaurant, one of the most sought-after dining destinations in London.

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The Langham, London

London, England

When the Prince of Wales opened the Langham on Regent Street in 1865, it was London’s first grand hotel. Through its doors passed such literary greats as Mark Twain and Oscar Wilde. The hotel has preserved its distinguished reputation, aided by an GBP 80 million renovation in 2010 that included the addition of the new Regent Suite, with expansive views of Regent’s Park, and a GBP 2 million luxury health-and-wellness center, the Chuan Spa. Voted Top London Afternoon Tea in 2010 by the Tea Guild, the traditional meal served in the Palm Court, on the ground floor, consists of delicate finger sandwiches, miniature pastries and thirty blends of tea. The glamorous cocktail bar, Artesian, offers martinis made by award-winning mixologist Alex Kratena.

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Rocco Forte Brown's Hotel

London, England

In the heart of Mayfair, one of London's most desired locations, Rocco Forte’s Brown's Hotel has a fascinating history and has hosted many distinguished guests since it opened as London’s first hotel in 1837. To this day, this glamorous hotel welcomes guests “in-the-know”, and after an extensive refurbishment, it personifies the refined sophistication of modern British luxury. Guest rooms and suites are decorated in a contemporary style while maintaining original features and details. Everyone flocks to HIX at The Albemarle, to sample famed chef Mark Hix’s seasonal menu of classic British dishes and admire original British artworks by Tracey Emin and Bridget Riley. The Donovan Bar displays fifty of Terence Donovan's photographs, and award-winning afternoon tea at Brown’s is a must.

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Baglioni Hotel London

London, England

Located near Royal Albert Hall amidst the hustle and bustle of Knightsbridge, this Italian export is a perfect base from which to view the British capital’s best sides. The most luxurious of the rooms and suites is the Royal Suite, which overlooks Princess Diana’s former residence, Kensington Palace, and boasts fireplaces, glass chandeliers and sofas upholstered in silk and velvet. All accommodations have butlers who can handle such requests as appointments at the newly renovated spa, complimentary bike rentals and tickets to London’s most popular attractions. The stunning Kensington Suite and Boutique 60 are available for intimate weddings, for which the hotel will provide a wedding planner, spa treatments and a first-anniversary dinner at romantic Brunello restaurant.

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The Landmark London

London, England

Built in 1899 during the golden age of steam, the luxurious Landmark London is one of the finest grand dame hotels in London and has a unique combination of classic British elegance and grandeur with deluxe facilities. It is perfectly located in one of London’s most fashionable districts and close to main attractions and amenities. The hotel’s guest rooms and suites are among the largest in London and are decorated in a soothing palette of cream and white, with impressive marble bathrooms. It also boasts a 15-meter, chlorine-free swimming pool, state-of-the-art gym and three stylish bars and restaurants with late openings.

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Hotel Café Royal

London, England

The contemporary and luxurious Hotel Café Royal is a member of The Set Collection. It is located in the heart of London facing the prestigious Mayfair to the west and the creative diversity of Soho to the east. London’s major attractions, including Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, The National Portrait Gallery and some of the world’s best shopping streets and theatres, are just a short walk away from the hotel.

Hotel Café Royal combines a sense of heritage with the 21st Century. David Chipperfield Architects has sensitively restored the property’s listed interiors, dating from the 1860s and 1930s whilst adding contemporary design to create a visually stunning hotel. Hotel Café Royal has always been the preferred haunt of the intellectual, political and artistic literati. Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, Virginia Woolf, Cary Grant, Elizabeth Taylor, Winston Churchill and Muhammad Ali were all patrons.

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