Hi friends, I am back! I know it’s been a while, but quarantine has made me pretty unmotivated to write. All my free time goes to reading, painting and Netflix these days. This weekend, I watched a few episodes of Zac Efron’s new Netflix documentary, Down to Earth, where he travels the world to discover healthy and sustainable ways to live. Not only did I find it extremely informative, but watching him explore the jungles of Peru and the geothermal terrains of Iceland gave me a pang of desire to travel again.
It’s been four months since I’ve traveled anywhere and I am really starting to miss it. I miss getting my passport stamped when I get to customs. I miss experiencing different cultures first hand and wandering around new cities with my camera. But, most of all, I miss being able to visit my boyfriend who lives in England. When quarantine ends (or when I feel comfortable flying again) my first trip will be to London. The other day I found myself reminiscing of all the places we recently visited and compiled them into a list in case we have a chance to go there again later this year. Fingers crossed it won’t be too much longer.
Where to Stay:
Holmes Hotel (83 Chiltern Street Marylebone London W1U 6NF)
The Holmes Hotel is our go-to hotel in London. I never thought I’d love a themed hotel so much. The hotel is chock-full of Sherlock Holmes inspired collectors items, riddles and antiques. The hotel itself is stylish, chic and, at the same time, very cozy. Upon arrival, we were told that we were upgraded to a Townhouse Suite, characterized by Georgian period features including high ceilings and large windows. Amenities included free WiFi, a 49-inch TV (with Netflix), minibar, Nespresso coffee machine, and a work desk with standard plugs and USB ports. Downstairs, the hotel has an adorable restaurant/bar called The Kitchen at Holmes that has a solid menu and plays great music throughout the day. The last time I visited, I spent three days straight working remotely from the restaurant. By the end of the week, the waiters were giving me free drinks. The staff is so friendly and extremely hospitable. I can’t wait to stay here again.
Where to Eat:
Feya (23 James St, Marylebone, London W1U 1DT)
Feya might be the most Instagrammable cafe I have ever set foot in. Walking into Feya was like walking into a scene from a fairy tale. It’s a pastel paradise with cherry blossom branches hanging over the tables and butterflies woven in between the leaves. The food is equally as beautiful – coffee comes in a variety of rainbow colors, the toast is decorated with avocado roses and the smoothie bowls come complete with edible flowers. The cafe itself is small (it only fits about 30 people), so it is a great spot to have an intimate breakfast or a quick bite. The next time I visit Feya, I plan to order one of everything from the pastry counter which is chock full of macarons, donuts and assorted cakes.
Dalloway Terrace (16-22 Great Russell St, Fitzrovia, London WC1B 3NN)
Tucked inside the Bloomsbury Hotel lies Dalloway Terrace, a cozy restaurant and bar that serves the most delightful afternoon tea. The beautiful indoor-outdoor terrace features stunning floral installations that change with the seasons. We visited Dalloway Terrace in October so the walls were adorned with colorful autumn leaves and the tables featured comfy throw blankets. We each ordered our own pot of tea (green tea for Adam and jasmine tea for me), two glasses of champagne and the most delicious food tower filled with macarons, buttermilk scones, and an assortment of sandwiches (English cucumber and dill, smoked salmon and honey roast Yorkshire ham). We were so full, we didn’t have our next meal until almost 9PM!
Gordon’s Wine Bar (47 Villiers St, Charing Cross, London WC2N 6NE)
Gordon’s Wine Bar might be one of the most unusual, yet charming places we’ve visited. Located near Embankment station, this 19th century wine bar makes you feel like you are being transported back in time with its dark, candlelit cellars and cave-like interior. I did not have a chance to try their assortment of meat and cheese boards, but their wine was tasty and the ambiance was spectacular. The indoor space is pretty cramped (I am curious to know how they plan to handle this with six foot distance restrictions), but they also have an outdoor space that I’d imagine would be perfect for the Summer months. I would definitely go back again for a day-date to experience the incredible atmosphere all over again.
Monocle Café (18 Chiltern St, Marylebone, London W1U 7QA)
We stumbled upon Monocle Café by happenstance. The cafe is located in the very posh neighborhood of Marylebone on Chiltern Street. Chiltern is lined with design shops and galleries that feature the typical, quaint English storefront feel and Monocle fits right in. The cafe is small and the menu is simple, but the food they offer is unique. The pastries are inspired by Lanka, a Japanese run patisserie that combines traditional French recipes with Japanese influences. You can order traditional breakfast pastries or Japanese inspired lunch items. Next time we visit, I will be sure to order the cardamom bun again – it was the perfect pastry to accompany a cup of cappuccino.
Dishoom (22 Kingly St, Soho, London W1B 5QP)
Most tourists will insist on eating fish and chips, but locals will tell you that the curry in London is really where it’s at. London has been said to have more Indian restaurants that Mumbai and their hole-in-the wall establishments are phenomenal. I can confidently say that nearly every time I visit London, I end up at Dishoom at least once for dinner. Their chicken tikka is to die for. One helpful tip, try to get there on the earlier side of the evening as a lengthy line will form outside. And, if you get there a little later, don’t be deterred by the line – grab a drink at the bar while you wait for a table (the Bollybellini is one of my favorites and super refreshing).