They say, ‘If you’re tired of London, you’re tired of life’ and with its plethora of hotels, restaurants, bars and never-ending roster of events, there was never a truer word spoken. This year, East London is where it’s at for hotels, from the new Nobu to The Ned, and if you’re looking for an anecdote to the Middle East’s occasionally sterile mall culture the area is a breath of fresh air. The streets buzz with creative types, artists, stylists and fashion designers creating a unique vibe that makes this part of the city so special. Once you go East, you’ll find it hard to stay anywhere else, especially when the sun is shining.
The Ned, Cheapside
Since its launch in April 2017, Soho House & Co’s latest addition, The Ned, has been enjoying its five minutes of fame as cool kids from around the world have flooded Instagram on a daily basis with pictures of London’s newest place to ‘check in’. Housed in an old bank in the City, a building designed by Sir Edwin ‘Ned’ Lutyens, the 29,450 square metre space has become the place to eat, drink and Instastory in London, thanks to its achingly hip member’s club heritage combined with the insanely Instagrammable backdrop of St Paul’s Cathedral and The Shard, as seen from its super-cool members-only rooftop, Ned’s Club Upstairs, complete with heated swimming pool.
On entering, The Ned is buzzing with London’s in-the-know, from morning breakfast meetings to after work drinks, making the atmosphere electric. Maintaining its original features, the beautifully restored, stylishly updated century-old building acts as the historic host to 252 individually kitted out rooms, seven restaurants including a Cecconi’s, a hair salon, barbershop, nail spa and Cowshed spa all open to outside guests, as well as dedicated members’ spaces. Join Ned’s Club and gain exclusive access to the fitness centre, Ned’s Club Upstairs and Ned’s Club Downstairs, home to The Vault basement bar, housed in the bank’s vault complete with original safety deposit boxes for added authenticity, which plays host to members until the early hours.The hotel’s location within walking distance of Spitalfields market, Shoreditch and St Paul’s Cathedral makes it perfect for a summer city break for exploring outside on-foot.
From Dhs1,173 per night; Thened.com
The Curtain, Shoreditch
A distinct rock ’n roll vibe runs through American hotelier Michael Achenbaum’s new hotel on London’s Curtain Road in the heart of Shoreditch. Rooms are decked out with wooden floors, flocked wallpaper on the ceiling, exposed brick walls and floor-to-ceiling windows that give them a New York loft-like appeal, completed with original images of music icons like David Bowie hung on the walls, signed by the legendary rock ’n roll photographer Mick Rock.
The hotel’s location in the middle of London’s creative capital makes getting to know the area a walk in the park - it’s literally a five-minute walk to the original Boxpark and the popular shopping of Old Spitalfields Market and Commercial Street where you can pick up anything from streetwear to unique one-offs by a niche London label. To get into the city’s evening groove, grab a glitter-sprinkled cocktail and some tacos in Tienda Roosteria on the ground floor of the hotel or at the rooftop Lido to people watch the after work crowd before they head out for a night of obscure partying.
From Dhs1,260; Thecurtain.com
A retrospective look at the work of Cristóbal Balenciaga and his influence on contemporary couture. Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion at the Victoria & Albert Museum in Kensington until February 2018. Dhs56 per ticket; Vam.ac.uk
'Baby doll' cocktail dress, crepe de chine, lace and satin, Cristobal Balenciaga, Paris, 1958 ® Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Mayfair’s ironically named Asian eatery in swanky Berkeley Square is one of the city’s favourites. Appealing to the same crowd who love Nobu and Hakkasan, Sexy Fish boasts a delicious menu of Asian delicacies from sushi to king crab, miso glazed sea bass to salmon carpaccio, and with a bar that stocks the world’s second largest Japanese whisky collection, the drinks are equally as experimental. The new Sunday brunch is the place to be seen. Sexyfish.com
Dining at this lauded Michelin-starred venue, a jewel in the crown of Mayfair’s Albermarle Street, is like taking a trip back in time to the regal days of India’s gymkhana clubs. Dark wood, ceiling fans, rattan chairs, Indian antiquities and walls scattered with nostalgic photographs of Indian sportsmen set the scene for an education in taste. All meat is halal, which only adds to the depth of flavour in unique dishes that include delights such as chettinad duck with coconut chutney and peanut & green mango fish tikka with cucumber & carrot pachadi. Gymkhanalondon.com
This women-only spa hidden off a picturesque street in Belgravia has become a not-so-secret haven for health and wellness in West London. Its discreet location plus world-class treatments and facilities has made it popular with celebrities, socialites and Middle Eastern clientele alike. This summer, coveted beauty brand Margy’s Monte Carlo becomes exclusive to Grace as the only spa in the city to provide its results-driven anti-ageing treatments. Book now to avoid disappointment. Gracebelgravia.com