It was a typical late Autumn London day as I emerged from Green Park Tube. London was a little less frantic, but still bathed in post 2012 Olympic afterglow. My destination was close by; Flemings Hotel. Turning off bustling Piccadilly into the much quieter Half Moon Street, a discrete portico and flag indicated my home for the next 24 hours.‘Home’ seems a good word for Flemings. From the moment the porter opened the door, the atmosphere seemed one of genuine welcome.
Being a series of Georgian town houses, Flemings is on a human scale. Discrete, charming and authentic, described by many as one of ‘London’s best kept secrets’, I suspect its regulars prefer to keep it that way. Check in was swift and it’s always a nice touch to be shown to my room in person. I say ‘room’ but in actual fact, ‘Bronte’ was a fully serviced apartment. Furnished in traditional style, this was actually a private flat in the heart of Town. My new home was extensive. A large sitting room arranged with settees as well as an oval dinning table that would comfortably seat four. Not only had the management left me a handwritten welcome card, but delicious biscuits and Madeleines too!Off the sitting room was a full kitchen replete with a freshly baked loaf, milk, butter, yoghurts, everything in fact for a lazy breakfast if you wanted total privacy. A nice touch to this apartment was a private guest lavatory, so any guests you may have asked over did not have to go via the bedroom beyond, especially as they would have to go through the dressing room to reach it.
Having surveyed my new abode, the one thing I wanted was a cup of tea. Yes, I could have rang for it, but, with having my own facilities, it seemed right to make my own, which I’m sure tasted nicer having being made in a lovely Wedgwood jasper teapot – its almost like they had chosen this for me on purpose – it’s the sort of thing they do at Flemings.
Fully refreshed I left for my meetings, but not by the front door, no, but by my own private door into Clarges Street. I love the fact you can slip in and out without anyone knowing and great when guest call by too, making the whole stay much more homely. Returning ‘home’ to Flemings, via my own entrance, naturally, I had almost forgot about Lady C coming over for drinks and dinner and when the doorbell rang, I wondered ‘who is this’, forgetting I had texted Charlotte the entry code. Opening the door and there she was! It had been too long since id seen my London ‘partner-in-crime’, but like all good friends, within in minutes, the months in-between seeing each other evaporated. Before we knew it was time to take the table we’d booked downstairs in Flemings’ restaurant; ‘The Grill’.
Now no evening in London with Lady C would be complete without cocktails. So when asked if we’d like a pre dinner drink, well, ‘yes’ was the only answer! Flemings did not disappoint. Over the last few years London’s bar scene has exploded and to be honest, there are lots of generic bars, striving for individuality. For me the best bars have the best bartenders and in Cruz, Flemings had a winner. Nestled in a cosy corner, Lady C and I were too busy gossiping to even think about a drink, but gently, Cruz drew out of us what we liked and then mixed bespoke cocktails for us both. The seduction continued with canapés and whilst we munched and supped, Cruz, discretely and masterfully gauged how we were enjoying his creations. Mine was, a tad fruity, but with the next creation he was spot on. It was with a heavy heart we left, but we were already late for dinner. With a Restaurant called “The Grill” I was expecting tradition and I got it. A paired down, but curated menu, which featured new takes on British classics.
Having had tea and cocktails and canapés, we skipped straight into mains and being a grill and as we are both fond of meat, we both opted for ‘Grill plat du jour.’ An aged sirloin steak with chips. Lady C, always looking for new tastes, opted to have hers with ‘smoked pommes puree’, which was offered with another choice on the menu. The service was prompt and courteous, attentive whilst never overbearing. When Charlotte asked ‘just exactly how do you smoke potatoes?’ her reply came with the very apparatus they used. I like the fact they bothered to find out and explain it so well and if you are wondering, they smoke the milk! Curiosity and stomachs satisfied, we headed back to the bar for a spot more ‘cruzing’ – well it would have been rude not too!
Flemings Mayfair Hotel
7-12 Half Moon Street
London W1J 7BH