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London Staycation

    A London Staycation In The Chronicle Aparthotel

    To chase away the impending January blues, Sima (The Curious Pixie), Binny (Food and Travel Diarist), Shikha (always asking Why People Waste Annual Leave) and I plotted a cheeky respite from the winter blues, a ladies staycation in our favourite city, London. Disclaimer: We were invited to spend our London staycation in the Chronicle Aparthotel by Supercity but all views, PJs and meal choices are very much our own.

    Apartments in London Chancery Lane The Chronicle Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Did you ever read The Babysitters Club books by Ann M. Martin as a teenager? In one of them (Baby-Sitters’ European Vacation – The Baby-sitters Club Super Special #15 to be exact) some of the group take a trip to London & Paris from their American home of Stoneybrook. They have adventures, dance in professional performances, explore London, meet the Queen – you know, the usual things that teenagers get up to on holiday. 

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    A Taste of Modern Luxury: A Staycation at the Montcalm Royal London House Hotel

    Of late life has been crazily busy – working, planning, scheming et al – and so when I found myself on a rainy day in London, clutching shopping bags in the dour rain with a supperclub in the evening, I simply decided a treat was in order. That treat was a staycation at the Montcalm Royal London House Hotel in Moorgate.

    Modern Luxury Hotel Montcalm Royal London Moorgate Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Sitting in a cafe, idly flicking through my favourite hotel booking website (mostly because I was thinking about a staycation later in the year outside of London and they cleverly on-sold me) I called Mr Kiwi to tell him not to go home tonight after his catch-up with his mates, and hopped in a cab across Tower Bridge.

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    Relaxing on the doorstep of Richmond Park: A staycation hotel review

    To say this was the laziest most relaxed adventure yet would be an understatement. 

    At the beginning of this year, my one and only Mr Kiwi put me on a travel ban. After a 6 week period that included a surprise birthday trip to Gothenburg, a myriad of business travel, a weekend staycation and two awesome weeks roadtripping around Texas and Louisiana at the end of last year, he felt like he had had enough.

    Richmond Park Staycation Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Richmond Park Staycation Adventures of a London Kiwi

    So in order to assuage the flame of wanderlust that has my
    soul (one day it may waver so I’m making the most of it whilst I can) I
    had to get crafty. I mean, compromise. Yes, compromise. *shifty eyes*

    Fast forward to my friends laughing after asking me what we were doing over one weekend. “Well, I’m dragging the instagram husband for a little staycation in Richmond.”

    *blink blink*

     Richmond Park Staycation Adventures of a London Kiwi

    “Richmond? But that’s like underground zone 3 or 4 isn’t it? Like in London?”

    Yep. What everyone seems to forget about Richmond, Surrey, is just:

    a) How amazing this little corner of London is.

    b) Simply how far the rolling landscape reaches to, creating an oasis of calm crowned by distant tower blocks.

    c) That people travel from all over the world to visit the wonders of Richmond park.

    d) It really is possible to travel in your own backyard, especially when your metaphorical backyard is London.

    Richmond Park Staycation Adventures of a London KiwiRichmond Park Staycation Adventures of a London Kiwi

    There is simply loads to do, even in the periphery of the Royal grounds. The park is a National Nature Reserve, London’s largest Site of
    Special Scientific Interest and a European Special Area of Conservation. It is home to the beautiful Isabella Plantation, Pembroke Lodge and herds of Red and Fallow deer.

    Richmond Park Staycation Adventures of a London Kiwi

    It is also home to city bods who spend weekend mornings donning lycra and perspiring as they chat, sorry run, around the many paths and roads crisscrossing the green canopy.

    Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

    Richmond Park Staycation Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Honestly for the majority of our stay the weather was dismal, but it made curling up in our cozy, modest hotel room at the 4-star Richmond Gate hotel all the sweeter.

     Richmond Park Staycation Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Was I disappointed? No, not really. With only our phones connecting us
    to the real world, and no unfinished chores waggling their existential
    fingers at us, we simply relaxed.

    Richmond Park Staycation Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Arriving at the end of a well-earned Friday, we nipped downstairs for
    dinner before retiring to watch a film (I believe it was SpiceWorld but
    even their peppy pop songs couldn’t keep my heavy eyelids from
    shuttering) as we burrowed under the covers.

    Richmond Park Staycation Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Richmond Park Staycation Adventures of a London Kiwi

    The next morning we arose to mists over the gently ruffled Thames, the current twirling from Westminster to Hampton Court. We had planned an early morning traipse through the dew dappled grass and watch the sun rise, but alas the gates don’t open until 7am (about an hour after dawn at that time of the year) so we had no choice but to turn around and sneak back under the duvet.

    Richmond Park Staycation Adventures of a London Kiwi

    If, unlike us, you actually manage to spend a little more time exploring this wonderful neighbourhood (I mean if it’s good enough for Mick Jagger and Ronnie Wood) I’d highly recommend visiting Strawberry Hill House, a Gothic castle of dreamy spires; discover Eel Pie Island; or simply lay a picnic over the mossy moor beneath the ancient trees.

    That’s the beauty of home city staycations I guess – the ability to return again and again.

    What is your favourite Park, London or otherwise?


    A Luxury Staycation At The Elegant Langham Hotel

    To say we were ready for our Langham Hotel staycation was an understatement. As you get older, everyone says that time simply gets faster and faster, and Christmas simply seemed like a blink of an eye ago. Luckily enough we had a magical 24 hours inked into the diary based in this bastion of timeless London elegance.

    Luxury Hotel Stay Langham Hotel Marylebone Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Disclaimer: We were invited guests of the beautiful Langham Hotel but my (very many) opines on feather bolsters and rolltop baths are only ever my own.

    On a grey, Sunday day we began with the farmhouse brunch in the Roux at the Landau, as all good everythings do (I was going to say weekends, but who would I be kidding?) before we gave in to the temptation of whisking our bags up to the plush comfort of our junior suite.

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    What to do on a Marylebone staycation at the Montagu Place Hotel

    If Marylebone was a person, I think it would be a wayward, rather eccentric uncle. Clothed in a tweed jacket with elbow patches, a handlebar mustache and pipe hanging from his lips, he would smell faintly of earth and whiskey, tell fantastic tales of otherworldly adventures and always have a smile in his eyes. He would bring quirky, luxury gifts with faraway stories, read newspapers with intensity and then disappear again with a moments notice. He would know all the best places for everything, stride along Marylebone High Street with aplomb and sip black coffee with just a touch of cream (none of those fancy Flat White things).

    Why am I blathering on like this? Possibly just because I have a over active imagination, and possibly because it’s entirely possible to spot characters just like this whilst frequenting W1. With this in mind, a couple of weeks ago a sunny staycation with a few hours exploring the quirky, quiet Marylebone area was just what the doctor ordered. We awoke late, packed an overnight satchel each, hopped on a train and booked ourselves in to a much needed back massage at the experienced hands of a Marylebone spa. Stretched and soothed into expressions glowing with relaxation, we floated (well, it felt that way) along the road to check-in to the Montagu Place Hotel as our home for the evening.

    Disclaimer: We were invited guests of Montagu Place Hotel, but my (very many) opinions
    are only ever my own, and I would never recommend anywhere that I
    wouldn’t happily revisit – in fact I’d quite like to move in there…

    I adore Marylebone. A pocket of slightly eccentric surburbia, nestled
    alongside Oxford Street, we often find ourselves gravitating towards the leafy streets of W1 on a weekend. There is everything you could want;
    international restaurants, wood-panelled bookstores, passionate
    specialty food larders, a dearth of chain stores, specialist coffee shops (no chains here, baby) and a scatter of
    beautiful boutique shops – all presented with a lovely polish of luxury.

    Montagu Place very much embodies these values. A recently refurbished Georgian townhouse 5 minutes walk from Baker Street, each of the rooms seem to have period features combined with a luxurious level of modern convenience. Our ‘Fancy’ room was on the third floor, and after jumping up the stairs (there is no lift, calves be warned), we sunk with joy into the beautifully firm bed.

    We especially adored the subtle touches of luxury and care; a 2-cup cafetiere for coffee, ornate table lamps with plenty of pillow-side phone chargers (essential for Tweeting and instagram addictions y’know), Molton Brown shampoo and conditioners, plenty of towels (especially necessary when you’re a girl of long hair), a collection of recent magazines and fantastic water pressure. We both felt like we were living in our own little luxury townhouse paradise.

    Included because bathrooms sell houses I’m told… behind the door is an enormous shower…

    Bordered with tube stations and arterial bus routes – but no real public
    through traffic – Montagu Place is a quiet oasis of calm within 10
    minutes walk to Oxford Street. We overlooked Mary-Poppins-esque rows of chimney pots delighting my expat heart, and were around the corner from 34 Montagu Square – the ground and lower ground floor flat owned by Ringo Starr of the Beatles.

    Chim-chiminy, chim-chiminy, chim-chim-chiree…

    Some of the joy of a London staycation is a total lack of pressure. There’s no need to be awake at the crack of dawn for exploring, no requirement to rush around chasing away FOMO and absolutely no chores to be done. Once unpacked, we pottered over to one of the many local pubs for a very British pint or two (that would be the Mr not me) where locals were greeted and had their tipple of choice poured as they crossed the threshold, we agonized over the choice of local restaurants to dine in (sadly we ended up having below-expectation, over-hyped burgers – our bad own choice) and popped back to the hotel for a quick glass and laugh with the concierge at the hotel.

    Suitably tired, we pootled up to our warm, lovely room and simply sunk our tired bones in for the evening as twilight fell. Breakfast the next morning was almost too pretty to eat – warm croissants and scrambled eggs soon filling our plates with freshly made coffee steaming by the side. The staff were unconditionally friendly (the cook laughingly chiding another couple who didn’t have coffee) and couldn’t have been more helpful, even giving us a map with shopping recommendations (causing Mr Kiwi’s eyebrows to disappear into his hairline).

    We do love discovering new nooks and crannies like this stunning row of terrace houses overlooking the Chiltern Firehouse…

    …but the best thing about a cosy staycation?