August 10th, 2021
As of Monday, August 2, the U.K. began welcoming back U.S. tourists. The government announced that fully vaccinated Americans are able to travel to England without quarantine requirements. Travelers are required to show proof of vaccination against Covid-19. The rules technically apply to England, but there are currently no travel restrictions between England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, therefore the government is effectively opening up the whole country to visitors as long as they arrive via England. The news comes just in time for hotel reopenings in London, the English countryside and Scotland.
This August, The Beaumont in Mayfair will emerge from a renovation led by Thierry Despont (Claridge’s, Ritz Paris, The Chatwal New York). The architecturally protected, Grade II-listed property will retain its Art Deco aesthetic (for which Despont is also known) while incorporating influences from London, Paris and New York. The common spaces will have a fresh look, including the lobby, bar, restaurant and gym. New additions will include the Mayfair Suite and the terrace where guests can enjoy drinks and snacks from 8am until 8pm. Guests can expect lots of leather, velvet, bronze and mahogany and neutral cream tones mixed with chocolate, deep reds and golds.
The Cadogan, A Belmond Hotel, London reopened on May 17. The scene is set for a dramatic entrance through the grand doors off of Sloane Street, past the roaring fireplace, up the sweeping staircase, and through the bronze cast of 600 books to the accommodations. Many of the 54 rooms and suites offer views of the Cadogan Estate Gardens, one of the largest garden squares in Chelsea, to which hotel guests have private access. The property opened on February 28, 2019 as Belmond’s first London address following a four-year, $48-million restoration. While sustaining the original Queen-Anne-Revival style and historic elements such as the 130-year-old wooden paneling, the property was re-imagined as a grand townhouse with an overarching residential feel. New this year, the property has announced a partnership with Harley Street hypnotherapist and sleep expert Malminder Gill. The Sleep Concierge will be a new service exclusive to Belmond guests including a meditative recording by Malminder available via the Belmond app, a pillow menu offering the perfect fit for every type of sleeper, the option of a weighted blanket, a scented pillow mist and a new bedtime tea service. For a more personalized experience, guests can book a private one-on-one session with Malminder.
The Kensington, a collection of four adjoining Victorian townhouses in the heart of South Kensington, reopened on May 17 after a refurbishment including several brand new suites. After an increased interest in long-stay guests looking for a London home base, these suites were reconfigured to enhance the feeling of a luxurious and carefully curated home, using elements and original features of the townhouse to inform the redesign. Bernie Gallagher, Chairman of The Doyle Collection, worked with London design studio Timothy Matter on the new design featuring bold Thibaut wallpapers and curtains and pops of colors.
All aboard British Pullman, A Belmond Train for exclusive five-course dinner experiences hosted by Michelin-starred chefs this fall. On August 6, the day train will journey roundtrip from London Victoria Station through the English countryside while guests indulge in the seasonal five-course tasting menu by Simon Rogan, owner of the Michelin-starred UMBEL restaurant group. A pioneer of the farm-to-fork movement, Simon’s internationally renowned signature style incorporates influences from the natural world, most predominantly those rooted in his Lake District home. The dinner series will also welcome Michel Roux Jr., a two-Michelin star chef at the helm of Le Gavroche in London, in September; and Raymond Blanc, founder of Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, A Belmond Hotel, Oxfordshire, in October.
How to get there: Most major U.S. cities have nonstop flights to London on British Airways, Delta, American and United. JetBlue will launch flights to London Heathrow from New York’s Kennedy Airport on August 11 and to London Gatwick on September 29.
Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, A Belmond Hotel, Oxfordshire reopened on May 17. Created by celebrated Michelin-star chef Raymond Blanc OBE, the property blends fine dining and an appreciation for seasonal, organic produce. The hotel’s namesake restaurant earned two Michelin stars during its first year and have held them ever since – the only hotel of its kind in England to hold this accolade for over 30 years. A champion of sustainable cooking and farming, Raymond Blanc cultivated a two-acre vegetable garden on property that produces over 90 types of vegetables, including a mushroom garden that sprouts over 20 edible species and an orchard of apple and pear trees. Head back to class with half- and full-day sessions at the gardening school – the first of its kind in the UK – or participate in the vegan masterclasses, a series created by Raymond that focuses on sustainability, zero-waste, and fresh, seasonal produce. Guests can also head over to the Raymond Blanc Cookery School to learn how to transform the seasonal finds into multi-course meals. For an intensive culinary retreat, Chef Raymond Blanc offers a five-night residential course for budding chefs. Presented with a new culinary challenge each day, students will work through subjects from soups and salads to fish and meats before concluding with desserts.
How to get there: Haddenham & Thame Parkway is the closest train station (a 10-minute drive away). Services run every 30-minutes from London Marylebone with a journey time of 45-minutes. Travelers can also catch the train from London Paddington to Oxford. Services run every half-hour, with an hour’s journey time. From there, it’s a 30-minute drive to the hotel.
The Fife Arms, the 19th-century hunting lodge in Braemar, Scotland, also began welcoming back guests on May 17. The property, owned by art world power couple Iwan and Manuela Wirth, debuted in November 2018 to much fanfare (Prince Charles attended the opening). The Fife Arms just lifted the veil on a new bar, Bertie’s, inspired by Queen Victoria’s extravagant and hedonistic heir. The bar offers 365 whiskies from Scotland and around the world and will launch two of its own exclusive whiskies this summer. On-the-ground experiences include flights, tastings, and tours of local distilleries and there will also be virtual tastings for fans from far away. Those who aren’t traveling there immediately can still bring a piece of the destination home. Thanks to the Fife Arms’ online shop, guests and fans can find a custom tartan or tweed design gift box, afternoon tea set, and the Fife Arms coffee table book from Phaidon. The latest addition is perhaps the most exciting, though. The new collection for dogs includes a coat, bone, collar and leash, all made with the hotel’s house tweed. What better gift for dog lovers or man’s best friend?!
How to get there: There are direct flights to Edinburgh (2 hours from the hotel) from New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston and Washington, D.C., on United, Delta and American. Travelers stopping over in London can either fly to the nearest airports, which are Aberdeen (1 hour 15 minutes), Dundee (1 hour 25 minutes), and Inverness (1 hour 55 minutes); or take The Caledonian Sleeper, the overnight train service running between Scotland and London, departing from Euston and stopping in Aberdeen and Dundee.