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Where to stay, what to eat and what to do in London
Photo of Gong bar on the 52nd floor of the Shangri-La at the Shard.
Photo: Courtesy of the Shangri-La
Located in the Renzo Piano-designed sky-scraping building, the Shangri-La at The Shard (the brand’s first hotel in the UK) is a luxe home away from home. Rooms start on the 36th floor and climb to the 50th, so acrophobics beware. Suites even come equipped with binoculars to help zoom in on the arresting panoramic views – I spied the Thames and the Tate Modern from my perch far above ground. To really get the full experience of being suspended in air, check out Gong, the super sexy bar located on the 52nd floor where you can gaze out at the city lit up at night while sipping on a signature cocktail, like the Romeo & Juliet, which is a sweet mix of gin, raspberry puree and Earl Grey tea.
Sharing made easy at Duck and Rice
During fashion week, there’s no shortage of hungry editors roaming the city, so grab your favourite pals (fast friendships are made during the fun and fury each season) and head to Duck and Rice, an Asian-inspired take on the British pub. The food can best be described as comforting, with lots of small plates to share: dim sum classics are easy wins, like the simple but sizzling Sichuan veggie dumplings, which were so irresistible that our table ordered a couple of rounds. The vibe is old school watering hole with a modern punch – the winding and rather steep staircase that leads to the second floor adds a nice dose of drama to the space. And, if a cold brew is your go-to – not all catwalk stalkers live on dirty martinis – you’ll feel right at home with the thoughtful offering of ales and lagers.
90 Berwick Street, Soho, London
Instagram-worthy snaps await at Granary Square.
My first encounter with Granary Square at King’s Cross was during the Spring/Summer 2016 RTW shows. Mary Katrantzou was hosting her catwalk presentation at Central Saint Martins, the prestigious school that many fashion graduates – Alexander McQueen, Riccardo Tisci, Jonathan Saunders, Phoebe Philo, Zac Posen – have emerged from poised for stardom. While visiting the school that has helped make fashion history is appropriate for a fashion-themed trip, the real reason for heading to this part of London is to soak up the scenery. The wide-open space that leads right into the school has been curated to look like a casual but also deliberate work of art. There’s a water fountain-cum-lightshow installation, where a thousand tiny holes in the ground sprout jets that rise and fall at different intervals – a zen spectacle if ever there was one. Regent’s Canal passes through the square, so you can spot boats bobbing along with the odd swan. And, there’s lots of room for people watching: when the weather complies there are terraces for lounging and green space for pondering the meaning of life (or, for a tired editor, to rest up before the next stop on the runway circuit).