I Lived My Best (and Most Posh!) Life in London and You Can Too

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Ahem! Calling all fashionistas and anyone who thinks that all there is to London is rain! The latter was once me, but I’m a changed woman now after a recent trip, where I got to experience Hilton’s three luxury brands (Waldorf Astoria, LXR Hotels & Resorts, and Conrad Hotels & Resorts) while exploring the pretty city. Now, my three words to describe London are tea, royalty, and history (and no, I didn’t mean to intentionally rhyme). No cloudy day could put a damper on the reality that this place—and my itinerary—were indescribable.

Now, because I want you to have the same fab experience I did, I’m spilling the tea (get it?) on where to shop, where to stay, and where you’ll want to visit while you’re in town—especially if you’re there during London Fashion Week (which is February 16-20th this year!). I’ve also got the scoop on all the amazing food you’ll need to eat, including some v popular restaurants that you’ve probably seen popping off on TikTok. Ready? Pinkies up, everyone!

Full transparency: My flights, transfers to and from the airport, accommodations, meals, and scheduled activities were comped in order to write this review.

STAY

The Biltmore Mayfair, LXR Hotels & Resorts: The Biltmore is conveniently located in the heart of Mayfair London, and is a great modern option for anyone who describes themselves as a “city person.” It’s perched on Grosvenor Square, an iconic and private location where you’ll find the most exclusive shops. And the Biltmore’s rooms? They just scream sophistication. We’re talking 250 opulent chambers and more than 50 suites with gorge views of London’s skyline. I stayed in a suite that had a great view of the square, and it was to die for. The staff was also fab, and paid close attention to detail—for example, I walked into a sweet display of British landmarks made out of yummy chocolate in my room!

BOOK A STAY

cosmo trip london

The Biltmore Mayfair, LXR Hotels & Resorts

Conrad London St. James: So, I didn’t stay at the Conrad, but I did attend an event there and enjoyed an amazing dinner and a nightcap in their lounge, so I feel like I did. Tbh, I think this is where you’ll want to stay if you’re on a business trip. It has real ~executive~ vibes. The hotel is also neat because it’s located in the former Queen Anne’s Chambers in the heart of Westminster. So, if you’re the touristy type, it’s super close to Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, and Buckingham Palace.

BOOK A STAY

conrad london

Courtesy Conrad London St. James

Waldorf Astoria Admiralty Arch: You’ve heard about the Admiralty Arch, right? It’s a quintessential London landmark, built in 1912 to commemorate Queen Victoria, and now plays an essential part in tons of ceremonial occasions, like royal weddings, funerals, and coronations. Well, fun fact, the arch is being transformed into a luxury Waldorf Astoria hotel that will officially open in 2025(!!!). I got an exclusive hard-hat tour of the construction site and omg! Let’s just say I totally understand why there was a “no photos” policy. Keep an eye on this one!

PLAY

Enjoy a spot of afternoon tea: I don’t even like tea, but I finally get what all the “afternoon tea” hype is about! I got the chance to have a special tea at The Biltmore in partnership with Malone Soulier, a local custom shoe atelier that’s known for creating the most comfortable heels. (They recently custom-made shoes for Beyonce, which she has worn multiple times on her Renaissance tour, FYI!)

And let’s just say the scene was stunning. We had lil handcrafted sandwiches, scones, and treats that mimicked the signature Malone shoe! The food didn’t just look good, either—it was tasty and hit all the spots. This was a one-time-only sort of experience, but you can join in on the fun by booking your own tea party at The Biltmore here.

Embrace London Fashion Week: If you’re a shoe-lover, you’ve gotta stop by the Malone Souliers custom shoe experience this year! It’s an event where you choose a shoe and have ’em engraved with your initials by professional calligrapher Nadia Chin. It’s free when you make a purchase on Friday, February 16th (from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.) or if you already have a pair of Malone Souliers shoes. Plus, there will be complimentary champagne, refreshments, and a special gift alongside any purchase you make during LFW. Sounds like a party to me!

    museum

    Courtesy of Tarah-Lynn Saint-Elien

    pond

    Courtesy of Tarah-Lynn Saint-Elien

    Get your tourist on: While you’re here, you’ve got to visit a museum or tour the major attractions! There’s Big Ben, the London Eye…ya know, the works! I enjoyed a stroll through Royal London with an expert British Tours guide on my trip. We hit Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey, and I low-key practiced my Harry Pottah accent learned so much.

    consignment

    Courtesy Tarah-Lynn Saint-Elien

    purse

    Courtesy Tarah-Lynn Saint-Elien

    Go on a consignment adventure: I told myself that I had to leave London with something super special, and I did! After scouring TikTok for the best consignment shops, I came across a popular one that was actually just a few minutes away from my hotel: Consigned Sealed Delivered. It had so many great finds! I went home with an early 2000s Christian Dior bag and was filled with glee. If you’re not into consignment shopping, there are plenty of other places to spend your money as well. Head to Selfridges for all your needs (seriously, they have everything), or merely stroll along the cobblestone streets of Mayfair where you’ll find cute boutiques, department stores, and designer shops from Versace to Chanel.

      EAT

      Bacchanalia: Opa! Prepare to be transported to a Grecian wonderland at Bacchanalia—the hottest place in London rn. Picture the grandest gold ceilings, winding marble staircases, statues that belong in museums, and ornate decor everywhere you look. You’ll enjoy a rich feast of the best Mediterranean delicacies, from grilled octopus to baked scallops. After eating here, I can now see why it’s so hard to land a reservation.

      Grill 88: Delicious and intimate Brasserie-style dining? Yes, please! The Biltmore has a few dining options, and Grill 88 is one of them. Expect a sleek art-deco interior, a sultry vibe, and delicious fish and steaks.

      Gymkhana: I cannot stop talking about the immersive Indian food experience at Gymkhana. This Michelin-star restaurant is the perfect place to hang out and eat, drink, and be merry. And that I did. I even discovered a new fave dessert that I convinced my father (a chef!) to make upon my return. It’s called the cardamom and basmati rice kheer, topped with fresh mango and sorbet. It’s basically an Indian-style mango rice pudding, and it’s to die for.

      dinner

      Courtesy of Tarah-Lynn Saint-Elien

      gymkhana

      Courtesy of Tarah-Lynn Saint-Elien

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        Courtesy Hilton Luxury Brands

        london

        Courtesy Hilton Luxury Brands

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          Headshot of Tarah-Lynn Saint-Elien

          Tarah-Lynn Saint-Elien is the fashion editor at Cosmopolitan, writing weighty and witty stories that run the gamut of gushing over Zendaya to convincing you of everything you need in your closet! She began her journey in the industry with a fashion and faith blog and an internship at Elle.com almost 10 years ago. Since then, she’s also served as the style editor at The Haitian Times. The Haitian-American pageant queen is a Syracuse Masters graduate and the author of two books, including: Claim Your Crown. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter: @iamtarahlynn

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