After several frustrating, sweaty trips which involved dashing manically from one end of the city to the other - and back again - I’ve finally figured out how to make the most of a weekend in London. Pick an area, stay there and explore it.
And, preferably, base yourself at the Radisson Blu Edwardian, New Providence Wharf.
This four-star hotel really took us by surprise. Known for its friendly, boutique style of service – unexpected from a sleek, contemporary hotel in a very corporate part of town – there is a real warmth of welcome and attention to detail that sets the place apart.
Special treatment is a theme that runs throughout the tripadvisor reviews; little touches like being greeted by your name, the weekend candy cart for guests and the complimentary shuffle service to and from Canary Wharf all make a big impression.
As do the staff: without fail, they are warm and friendly, yet professional to a tee. (A special shout out to the awesome Emma Adams, Guest Relations Manager, for all her transport help throughout our stay!)
We chose the area because our friend Ryan lives nearby. It might not have the same after-dark appeal as other neighbourhoods (so we headed to Shoreditch for drinks after dinner), but there’s lots to see and do.
|London eye (left), Ryan and Allsun and Tower Bridge from the Thames|
From the hotel boardwalk, we looked out across the river to the O2 arena and the cable cars behind, from Royal Docks. The next day, we looked back at the hotel from those self-same cable cars and a Thames Clipper boat cruise – both come highly recommended and offer amazing views.
Speaking of the boardwalk and the views, the restaurant, Scoff & Banter, takes full advantage – the large terrace and conservatory overlook the Thames, making it a lovely setting for food or drinks.
Here, we gorged on dinner, breakfast (seriously impressive) and afternoon tea, finishing every meal with some contemplative gazing out across the water. The city – with its traffic and crowds – feels very far away (when actually, it’s just 20 minutes to Central London and 5 to Canary Wharf).
The afternoon tea is worth a special mention; you may have seen more photos if you follow me on Facebook. The Wonderland theme is executed to perfection, with heart-shaped sandwiches, drink/eat me tags attached to mis-matched china, and the daintiest cakes and pastries. A glass of Prosecco rounds it all off nicely (this is currently on offer for £29.50 for two).
And should you be so inclined (we weren’t), you can work it all off in the gym, or further unwind with a treatment at the hotel’s East River spa – which, alas, was fully booked, though I did stick in my head to sneak a peek.
There’s so much to do in London – amazing shopping, buzzing nightlife, landmark buildings, massive parks and a host of cultural pursuits – that it can mentally and physically exhaust you. But not this time. We left relaxed, happy and feeling absolutely spoiled - no small part of that is down to this hotel.
Rooms are from £125 per night including breakfast for a superior room; keep an eye on the website for special offers.