After spending a few days in Wales, a few days in the Cotswolds, and a few days enjoying the real life locations of Downton Abbey, it was time to head into my favorite city – London! I can’t even count how many times I have been to London in the last 5 years. It’s one of those cities I make sure Tor and I stop at no matter what whenever we are in Europe. On this trip, I was continuing to find royal connections since it was the weekend of the royal wedding. We not only found royal connections at the stunning Milestone Hotel, but we also found our new favorite spot that exudes luxury in London.
Located in the borough of Kensington across from Kensington Palace, the Milestone Hotel is a member of the Leading Hotels of the World. It’s easy to see why the minute you pull up outside the impressive red brick building. A very welcoming porter immediately swung open our taxi doors and immediately whisked us inside as he tended to our 7 bags (we do not travel lightly!). Old world charm is evident as soon as we stepped foot into the lobby. When I think of quintessential luxury in London, the Milestone Hotel brought those thoughts to life. Famous for its afternoon tea in the library, the Milestone is also famous for its Stables Bar and their incredible cocktail concoctions that their head bartender whipped up for us, but I will delve into that more in a second. The hotel also has 24 hour butler service and a very well-knowledged concierge. We were looking for a sushi restaurant on the final night of our stay, and not only did they tell us to bypass the tourist hot spots, they also recommended their personal favorite heavenly place across from St. James’ Palace called Sake no Hana. While we didn’t get a chance to enjoy their spa or be chauffeured around town in the hotel’s own Bentley (talk about luxury in London!), those amenities are available to guests. And finally – the rooms! No two rooms are the same at the Milestone Hotel, with each room featuring a different theme. Our junior suite was called The Paris Suite, and it was a collection of creams and whites in a Parisian sophistication of elegance and class. But the highlight of our room wasn’t the two separate bathrooms (one for Tor, one for me!), or the magnificent skylight above our bed – it was the view! We had a view straight on overlooking Kensington Palace. Since the royal wedding happened the same weekend during our visit, the palace’s surroundings were abuzz. Harry and Meghan drove by the hotel twice during our stay, as they had a garden party to attend over at Buckingham Palace. I couldn’t help but picture William, Kate, Harry, and now Meghan all hanging out together inside the palace walls and behind those gorgeous glass windows. For royal enthusiasts such as myself, this was just one of a few royal treats the Milestone has up its sleeves.
We arrived on a Sunday, the day after the royal wedding. The library and parlor rooms were completely filled with Londoners and hotel guests indulging in delicious afternoon tea to cap off a royal filled weekend. Tor and I had other plans. One amenity of the Milestone Hotel that I knew we had to experience to indulge in a new kind of luxury in London was a picnic in the park. It’s been a long time since we last had enjoyed a picnic, but getting to experience a luxury picnic on the lawns across from Kensington Palace needed to be enjoyed to believe! With the Milestone Hotel conveniently located across from Kensington Gardens, we had three very strong porters carrying elegant baskets of food and drinks escort us to the perfect tree to enjoy our afternoon picnic. With Kensington Palace directly behind us, our picnic was quickly set up and filled with enough food to feed about 6 people, such as four different types of sandwiches, shrimp cocktail, vegetables, breads, cakes, and champagne (yes you can drink in the park!). Looking back, we totally could have invited William, Kate, Harry, and Meghan to join Tor and I!
On our second day after some business meetings in town, Tor and I headed to the Stables Bar since we heard so much about one royal themed cocktail that needed to be tried. It’s called the Duchess Hourglass. This variation of a Negroni is made Queen Elizabeth II’s favorite liqueur combination into one of Meghan Markle’s favorite drink (who knew she liked Negroni’s?). But it’s not just the drink that’s the star, it’s also the bartender Angelo’s performance as he puts the drink together, which takes about 5-7 minutes. It all starts with a huge block of ice that Angelo had to cut and chop by hand on the bar. He then took a chunk of that ice and placed it in a very heavy copper tower, which uses kinetic energy to shape the ice into a ball. When he lifted the lid, there was the perfect icy sphere labeled “M” for Milestone just waiting to be placed in a glass. From there, Angelo continued to do his magic by mixing Campari and gin, the queen’s favorite liqueur combination. The drink has hints of coffee in it, which sparked Tor’s already high interest. After Angelo poured the liquor into the glass over the ice ball (seriously, it was like a ballet of alcohol), he had one final step in his dance. He took a perfume spray bottle filled with hints of clove, coffee, and Campari and sprayed a few puffs onto the drink as a delicate finishing touch. What a drink!
Stables Bar is also famous for it’s take on an Old Fashioned, which happens to be Tor’s favorite drink. It’s not every day you get to watch the bartender take your favorite drink, place it under a glass dome, and watch as it becomes filled with smoke to give your Old Fashioned drink anything but an old fashioned taste. I was so mesmerized by the smoke effect that I tried to convince Angelo to smoke up my glass of rosé!
In all, this place quickly skyrocketed to one of our favorite places to stay in London. Tor and I have stayed in many different parts of London, but we always seem to keep coming back to Kensington. This time, we found a true gem in the Milestone Hotel. Immediately after departing for France, we already missed the staff. They were so, so kind and very eager to help us out with anything we needed. We also got to joke around with them a bunch, with the doorman even enjoying getting the chance to photobomb our blog photos here and there! If you’re looking to experience something “royal” as well as modern, old-world luxury in London, I highly recommend the Milestone Hotel. We cannot wait to be back!