London’s Best Spots For Old School Glamour

London’s Best Spots For Old School Glamour

London\'s Best Spots For Old School Glamour

by Lizzy Dening |
Published on

Escape the frantic pace of modern life, with cocktails, retro fashion and Audrey Hepburn…

Where to stay

When it comes to living the high life, the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel takes some beating. Originally opened in 1873, the gothic style building was ahead of its time, with a whopping six communal bathrooms – what luxury! Ultimately it became outdated and was closed as a hotel when people started expecting en suites – in the meantime used for filming music videos (most famously Wannabe) and movie scenes involving such cult figures as Harry Potter, Bridget Jones and Batman. Not bad company to keep. It was eventually redeveloped and opened again in 2011, and has since then been kept busy providing fabulous afternoon teas and fancy beds for the night.

London's Best Spots For Old School Glamour

Splash out on a suite and you’ll have access to the swanky Chambers Club, where the wine is free flowing after 3pm and there’s a host of complimentary buffet items and snacks throughout the day – make sure to visit between 3-5pm for mini lemon meringue pies. Rooms are the perfect combo of old and new – they are listed so work has to keep in line with the style – with huge marble bathrooms, and even an old school ‘bath ritual’. The ultimate luxury, this involves a bath butler creating the right atmosphere with the most decadent products you can imagine and setting the mood with lighting and music before disappearing in a puff of smoke (I may have embellished this slightly) leaving you to enjoy a long soak. Sounds like heaven to me.

You don’t have to be an overnight guest to enjoy a cocktail (or six) in the Booking Office Bar and Restaurant. Set in the building’s old ticket office, this high-ceilinged beauty is surprisingly reasonable in price (catch of the day is £19.50; salads £10-£14) and big on party atmosphere – it’s open until 3am Thursday-Saturday. There’s a gastropub-style menu to enjoy, and a wealth of drinks – the Champagne punch, served in Victorian-style copper tankards – is worth a go. Various free live music and book readings take place here too as part of the ‘Renaissance Hotels Presents’ events – see the Facebook pagefor up to date info.

What to see

Credit: ©IWM EPH 3931 Jacqmar scarf,

Just imagine for a second that you made all of your own clothes but only had access to a tiny bit of material. You might think your passion for fashion would go out of the window, but it certainly wasn’t the case for women in the 1940s, who demonstrated immense creativity and style in their war-time outfits. Fashion on the Ration, at the Imperial War Museum from now until the end of August, explores this dynamic period from street style p.o.v. including jewellery made from aeroplane parts and what everyone was rocking in the air raid shelter. Tickets cost £10 – a small price to pay for timeless fashion inspo.

** Hot new spot**

Everyone’s already talking about 1940s themed bar Cahoots - even though the underground watering hole is meant to be a ‘secret’, as obviously at the time alcohol was in short supply and closely guarded! But if you speak the right words into the right ear, you too can be admitted into this hot spot, where there are live DJs playing old time swing music, and the most enormous cocktail menu you’ll have ever seen. From fruity numbers named after equally fruity stars of the era (the Judy Garland is a must), to more unusual flavours based on allotment fare (gherkins galore!) there’s something to please even the most adventurous palette. Prices are reasonable, at around £8 per super-boozy drink, and they have some of the most intriguing glasses, mugs and beakers – each order is a surprise. You don’t have to dress up, but many of its stylish inhabitants will have so it’s fab for people watching too, just remember to reserve a table beforehand, as space is scarce. Mum’s the word!

London's Best Spots For Old School Glamour

Book ahead

Audrey Hepburn fans (so, everyone then) will be over the moon(river) to see that the Royal Albert Hall is holding three special screenings of Breakfast at Tiffany’s with live orchestra accompaniment. The classic film from 1961 stars Audrey at her most glamorous, playing eccentric New Yorker Holly Golightly who catches the eye of her neighbor Paul – well, she would, wouldn’t she? Shows take place on Friday 12 and twice on Saturday 13 June, and cost from £22.90 upwards. It will make you want diamonds, guitar lessons and a killer LBD. Curb those pricey cravings and attend to your appetite by enjoying on of the venue’s afternoon teasinstead for a selection of cute cakes and savoury bites at £23. Then head to the Moet Champagne Bar for a glass of the good stuff – after all, it’s what Audrey would do.

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