The Halkin by COMO
The Halkin by COMO, one of the very first design-led boutique hotels, is a serene member of COMO Hotels and Resorts. Like other COMO properties, The Halkin in London has more of a sanctuary-like atmosphere than typical city hotels, due in part to its discreet Belgravia location. Each of the five circular floors uses a different color palette to mirror nature's elements of air, water, earth, fire, and sky. Guests are spoiled with Christina Ong's signature minimalist touches of clean lines and un-fussy decor in the 41 airy guestrooms. But less stuff doesn't necessarily mean less comfort - The Halkin has all of the five-star amenities one expects from a top boutique hotel - true luxury comes from the simple elegance of an uncluttered space and being in-the-know about one of London's best kept secrets.
People who think Thai food is limited to the pad thai from the local Asian-fusion restaurant are in for a big surprise at Nahm, the first Michelin-starred Thai restaurant in Europe, which can be found at The Halkin. Australian chef David Thompson has done his research to ensure that Nahm's menu is authentic. According to an old Thai tradition, loved ones record the favorite recipes of a deceased family member in a "memorial book." Much to the delight of gourmands and food historians, Thompson has hundreds of these books, some dating back over a century.
Metropolitan by COMO, London
Christina Ong built her name in the fashion world, so when her hotel group, COMO Hotels and Resorts, opened the Metropolitan by COMO, London, it was no surprise that the property became the home away from home for the international style set.
The Metropolitan's understated, modern design is one of COMO's signature elements (as is the in-the-know, attractive staff). The hotel's large rooms and suites take advantage of its posh Mayfair location, and many have huge windows with gorgeous views of Hyde Park. The London outpost of Nobu also overlooks the park, but it's the amazing dishes - and glittering patrons - that captivate the crowds.
The Metropolitan's COMO Shambhala Urban Escape is a scaled-down version of the hotel group's renowned holisitc spa concept where therapists are well-versed in the Asian-influenced treatments developed at Parrot Cay, as well as signature 'Purify' and Dr. Perricone facials. For a different kind of soothing, the members-only Met Bar - also open to hotel guests - has excellent mixologists who serve creative cocktails well into the night.
The ultimate in luxury train travel, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express takes guests on the classic journey from Paris to Istanbul as well as routes from London, Venice, Prague, Vienna, and Budapest. In 2016, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express will also make its inaugural journey to one of Europe’s most fascinating cities, Berlin.
The art deco interiors in the authentic vintage carriages and the gracious service take one back to the glamorous age of train travel of the 1920s and 30s. The fine dining restaurants on the train are complemented by the elegant Champagne Bar and the new '3674' Bar Car.
While traveling in private cabins, passengers are attended by cabin stewards throughout the journey. Each cabin is beautifully decorated in mahogany panels and Art Deco floral and leaf patterns. During the day, the cabin is a lovely seating area where guests can enjoy tea, and at night, while guests dine, the steward transforms the cabin into a comfortable bedroom with soft towels and crisp linens.