Monday 17 June 2013

Paris and London are Europe’s top city destinations for Mr & Mrs Smith

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The Ampersand Hotel in South Kensington

After 10 years of travelling the world in search of the best boutique boltholes, the hotel experts at Mr & Mrs Smith have discovered it’s the classic haunts of Paris and London that top the charts for city breaks in Europe.
Smith bookings for the first five months of 2013 show that the English and French capitals are the most desirable city destinations for Smith bookers, with Barcelona hot on their heels and New York the top choice beyond Europe. London’s cultural credentials and Paris’ brasserie-lined boulevards make the Anglo-Gallic pairing this year’s European favourites.
Here’s the Smith picks of the most chic stays in two of Europe’s hottest boltholes:
For a dash of gourmet gastro in the centre of the city, Mr & Mrs Smith’s newest tip is the tranquil Grazing Goat. Tucked away behind Marble Arch, there are just eight rooms; despite their central location, each is styled with lashings of countryside character. Doubles from $268.00
If it’s oriental-inspired modern opulence that floats your boat, head to the Anouska Hempel-designed La Suite West in well-bred Bayswater. Opened in August last year, this retreat in a listed building has chef Victor Garvey (of Copenhagen’s NOMA fame) at the helm of the forward-thinking restaurant. Doubles from $279.00
The Ampersand Hotel in South Kensington made its debut last summer. Boutique luxury in London doesn’t get much more accomplished than this: the interior design (and the cocktail menu) is inspired by the surrounding museums, with references to botany, music, geometry, ornithology and astronomy. What better way to prompt discerning discourse à deuxDoubles from $263.00
Aperitivi, the light bites you’re presented with as soon as you pull up a pew, are one of the many things we love about Italy. Back in Blighty, we say grazie to Baglioni, opposite Hyde Park, where this March the bar launched its own version of the tasty Mediterranean treats. So, roll up and raise a toast to la dolce vita; cocktail and antipasti, anyone? Doubles from $591.00
It’s 175 years since Brown’s, London’s first hotel, opened in 1837. Redesigned by hotel guru Olga Polizzi, each room blazes with British good looks – this is unquestionably one of London’s top citystays. Doubles from $679.00

Sleek, chic Hotel Sezz in the 16th arrondissement comes with a historic Parisian façade covering a contemporary cool interior. Book 21 days in advance all year round for 10% offMais oui! Doubles from $400.00
With delightfully mismatched interiors by designer India Mahdavi, Hôtel Thoumieux sits in the most cultured patch of Paris. It’s eccentrically beautiful throughout, but its Michelin-starred, design-your-own-menu cuisine is the main attraction. Doubles from $327.00
The first hotel project of fashion frontman Martin Margiela, La Maison Champs Elysées showcases his fine eye for art, sophisticated style and playful sense of humour. The dominant colours are black, white and grey, but there’s no doom and gloom here – the theatrical design is too amusing for that. Curious couture, a tranquil terrace and fine French food make this our top tip for a très chic Parisian retreat. Doubles from$569.00
After a flâneur’s foray through the streets of Paris, there’s nowhere better to wind up than Hôtel Daniel. This breathtakingly beautiful hotel in Paris is a feast for the eyes, a delicate confection of exotic Eastern motifs, 18th-century Chinoiserie and specially commissioned fabric and wall coverings. Doubles from $550.00
Just off the Champs-Élysée, Hotel Keppler is all imposing Haussmannian townhouse on the outside; inside, designer Pierre-Yves Rochon has signed off a sophisticated meeting of high-society modern style with camped-up classicism. Riddled with alcoves, plastered with frescoes and dotted with intriguing artefacts, the hotel has an air of opulence. Book a month in advance for an exclusive 10% off, including breakfast, from now until the end of August. Doubles from $524.00

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