When planning a trip, there’s nothing like advice from a local or a frequent visitor. RueBaRue asked savvy globetrotters to share what they like best about the places they love. We asked luxury travel blogger Mrs. O Around the World to share with us her London secrets.
Why did you choose London?
It is the nearest city to me and I just love it!
When was the first time you visited the city?
I first visited when I was 14, and loved it so much, that convinced my parents to take us again later that year. I decided I had to live there someday and when I turned 18, I came here to study. I left but came back to the UK in 2009.
How often do you visit?
I would say every week - as most of my work is in London. I live outside London, in the countryside near the town of Henley on Thames. I can get into the city in under an hour, but also enjoy glorious weekends away from the hustle and bustle. Every month I make the point of staying overnight for 3 or 4 nights so we can meet friends and socialise.
What is your favorite place for…
I have to say, I love the breakfast at the House of Saint Barnabas in Soho - it is a private members club (which I am a member of) and I love the simplicity of their menu. I don’t eat much for breakfast and love their sourdough toast with eggs. And a cappuccino.
Benares on Berkeley Square - it is a Michelin-starred Indian restaurant and they have great ‘quick’ menus for lunch, where you are in and out in 1 hour. One of my clients has its office around the corner and we tend to go often. The dishes are beautifully presented and the service is impeccable.
I don’t indulge very often, as I would be the size of a house, but I love the Sofitel St. James’ taken on this British classic. Could be the French patisseries and the lychee champagne cocktails, who knows?
For an afternoon treat, if you are around Covent Garden, I discovered (with the help of my Instagram followers) this little Portuguese patisserie which makes the best ‘pasteis de Nata’ (traditional Portuguese pastries) in London. It is called 'I love Nata'.
I am a great fan of the Four Seasons Hotel bar in London - their rose petal affair martini is truly out of this world. In the summer, I like Mews of Mayfair and their ginger lychee martinis, enjoyed outdoors, but I am also a big fan of the private patio at House of Saint Barnabas. And their Gin & Tonics.
A very difficult question! After over a decade of visiting, I still adore Hakkasan Hanway Place - it is the original Hakkasan and I never had a bad experience . We tend to go once a month.
I have also enjoyed recent visits to Chiltern Firehouse. Another O’Reilly favourite is 28-50 Wine Bar, especially the Marylebone location. London has something for everyone!
Which part of town do you like and feel that most visitors never get to see?
I love Marylebone and Mayfair, the latter being better known to visitors. But I tend to live my London life between those neighbourhoods and they couldn’t be more different, despite being so close to each other. I love the villagey feeling of Marylebone and the shopping variety. You have plenty of independent shops and boutiques and it feels very European. A lot of French live in the area, which adds a certain je ne sais quois to it. And it has a great cheese shop!
Are there any shopping secrets we should know about?
Marylebone High Street has a great collection of stores and is easy to walk. I avoid Oxford Street at all costs. Every now and then, I also like to go further West and explore the Kings Road in Chelsea which has a completely different feel to it. But I never rush, that is key!
Do you have a favorite museum?
I must confess I don’t go to museums often, but the V&A never disappoints. I have recently visited its Alexander McQueen exhibition and thought it was quite interesting.
What is your favorite hotel in town?
You are spoiled for choice in London - and that is the beauty of it. I love the Four Seasons Park Lane, but I have recently discovered smaller hotels which are pretty special, like the Kensington Hotel or Eccleston Square hotel - the latter super high tech!
About Ana Silva O’Reilly
Award-winning luxury travel blogger, Ana Silva O’Reilly is a 30-something globetrotter who finds her peace and quiet on a long-haul business class flight to somewhere warm. An avid traveller, Ana is also a good daughter, religiously following her mother’s motto: ‘If you leave home, it has to be better’, or ‘I love camping, in 5 star hotels’. A city girl at heart, she moved to the quiet English countryside for love, and lives her travel dreams through her award-winning alter-ego and travel blog Mrs. O Around the World.