I have visited London many times, enjoying the major sights and museums that London has to offer.? So on my most recent visit, I was quite content to simply enjoy some new restaurants, and enjoy the company of friends.? But, as a travel enthusiast I cannot visit a place (even if I have been there more times that I can count), and not attempt to do or see something new.
I recently read an article by Tim Leffel titled ?Build Splurge Money Into Your Shoestring Budget?, which inspired me to ?splurge? on my most recent trip to London.? Since I have visited so many sights in London already, I decided to save some splurge money for a taste of the elegant side of London.
I stayed with a close friend while visiting (which always cuts the budget significantly), and she introduced me to the elegant and iconic Mayfair Hotel, Claridge?s.? Claridge?s is a favorite hotel among royalty, including Queen Elizabeth.? If you are looking to experience how high-society has been kept a tradition, then Claridge?s is where you will find it.? We watched a fantastic BBC documentary about the Hotel, detailing all that goes into creating the elegant and high class experience at Claridge?s.? This 5 star hotel has been operating since the mid-1800?s, and almost all of the furnishings and decor at Claridges have been preserved from its original layout.
While I didn?t quite have the budget to splurge on a night’s stay at Claridge?s, I did have the budget to splurge on lunch with a friend.? Elegance and perfection is something people are willing to pay for if they love luxury, and Claridges most definitely delivers.? The lobby was immaculate, laid out with fresh flowers and pristine shining marble floors with the highest quality furnishings.
Our lunch was obviously wonderful.? The menu ranged from simple to elegant, myself choosing to simply go with a sandwich, but it was quite a sandwich at that!? We also had to try their scones and tea, because we all know the English make the best scones with jam and cream, and since Claridge?s makes their own scones and hand-picks their seasonal jams from local farms, we had to squeeze it in!? The end of our meal was completed with delightful complimentary treats, and the experience was nothing but wonderful and delicious.? While I would typically not spend the amount of money I spent at Claridge?s on a regular lunch, the experience and the atmosphere of an iconic hotel in the famed area of Mayfair, was relaxing, exciting, and memorable.
While lunch was fantastic, the highlight of our visit was the chance to meet Mr Parker.? We were introduced to Mr Parker on the BBC documentary ?Inside Claridge?s’.? As soon as we walked into the lobby we instantly recognized him sitting in the reading room, reading the paper.? Mr Parker has visited Claridge?s every day to have breakfast for 40 years.? We could not help but to introduce ourselves to Mr Parker, and have a chat.? He was a lovely man, who simply likes to enjoy his breakfast in style, and Claridge?s is the only place he wishes to indulge.? Mr Parker is as much an iconic part of Claridge?s as the decor, and he is a testament to the fact that great service, cloth napkins, and a pristine surrounding is worth so much more than just eggs and bacon on a plate.
Just a few hours of elegance and sophistication was a great getaway from the crowded streets and tube rides of London, and given that royalty is such a huge part of the United Kingdom?s identity, it was a wonderful experience to indulge like royalty in the most expensive area of London, and well worth my splurge money.