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Weekend getaways in London – without kids!!

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Organising a weekend away without my kids means months of research, meticulous planning and acts of brazen emotional bribery towards my mother. (You want some tips? OK. ‘Don’t you love your grandchildren?’ ‘I thought you wanted me to have a break?’ ‘It’s only 48 hours’. ‘You’re lucky I live so close, loads of grandparents don’t see their grandkids at all’. ‘I’m just so exhausted, you know?’ Go on, you try.)

Thus, I am already plotting an Autumn hotel break away in London. There are a couple of AMAZING new places that I’m desperate to try. Have a gander at them below, and start planning your own great escape.

1. W London

Opening for Valentine’s Day (don’t worry, I’m sure your other half has booked you in for tomorrow night…) this is the first W hotel in the UK and it’s a beaut. Ten glass stories, rooms with floor to ceiling windows, a spa, and a bar/club with oversized disco ball so you can show off your Flashdance routine. Face it, life doesn’t get much better than that. Rooms from £174 a night.

W Hotel, Leicester Square. Your night at the Odeon just got very expensive…

A typical bedroom


I love this futuristic lobby space


2. St Pancras Renaissance London Hotel

St Pancras Hotel, a 1873 Gothic Victorian masterpiece

The St Pancras Renaissance Hotel is a heart-stoppingly beautiful building slap bang in the middle of King’s Cross (my old stomping ground – turn left up Cally Road, and hit the Ruby Lounge for fantastic cocktails). The 38 suites in the old part of the building and 189 rooms in the extension pushed the refurb cost of this majestic hotel to over £200 million. When you think about it like that, £235 to stay there for the night seems like a snip! Opening next month with 25% off for early booking in March and April.

The Chambers Suite – all 38 suites come with personalised butler service, ma’am


The Grand Staircase. A stunner that’s been captured on celluloid in Batman Returns and Harry Potter


3. A Room For London

Ay, Ay! Scrub the decks, man the liferafts and trawl the Thames for as many seafaring puns as possible, me hearties

Not a contender for this Autumn, but I’m definitely booking this one for next year. This design for a boat-shaped one bedroom apartment, perched on top of the Queen Elizabeth Hall on the South Bank, is totally bonkers and I love it. Yet to be built, it will be available for stays between Jan-Dec 2012, but you can book in advance from September 8th through, Alain de Botton’s inspired experiment in challenging our (largely negative) pre-conceptions of modern architecture. Enjoy the best views in London – from St Paul’s right down to Westminster and beyond –  and the chance to royally hoist up a flag during your stay to show you are in residence.

P.S Apologies for the digression, but if you go onto the Living Architecture website, you can also rent stunning holiday homes in brilliant rural spots. There’s one just outside Aldeburgh in Suffolk, a  silver clad ‘balancing barn’ that  cantilevers over its landscape; a more traditional barn-style house that sits right on the Dungeness shingle beach in Kent, or a third right on the sea in Thorpeness. Devon will be a new destination next year. They mostly sleep 8, so perfect for a week with the kids or a long weekend with friends, and a refreshing change from chocolate box cottages that dominate UK holiday brochures.

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