Tag Archives: London


The Shard opens Western Europe’s highest pool


From today, guests staying at London’s Shangri-La Shard hotel can swim in the highest swimming pool in Western Europe.

The indoor infinity “Skypool” at The Shard sits on the 52nd floor and features views of some of the capital’s most iconic sites like St Paul’s Cathedral, the London Eye and Westminster.


The west-facing 11x4meter heated pool comes with its own bar, Gŏng, which is the highest in the city.

Gong at the Shangri-La Hotel

Designed by Andre Fu of AFSO, the bar and pool area was inspired by the mythical aspect of ‘dou-gong’ — a series of interlocking brackets that are used extensively in historical Chinese architecture. The interiors are a fusion of traditional Eastern and modern Western aesthetics.

The Skypool is open exclusively to hotel guests between 6 am and 8 pm.

london big ben

10 reasons to visit London this year

Shangri-La Hotel The Shard

The Eurostar, the high-speed train that connects London to the European continent in under three hours, is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2014.

But that’s not the only reason to visit the British capital this year. This spring and summer, London is abuzz with cultural activity and attractions ranging from art exhibits to festivals and flower shows. Here is our selection.

“Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy” in the UK at the British Library

Comics Unmasked Art and Anarchy

This exhibit, the UK’s largest ever dedicated to comics, is intended for mature audiences (visitors under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult).

Through the iconic characters of historical and contemporary artists, the exhibit retraces England’s rich and varied comic book tradition, covering themes such as violence, drugs and sexuality.

Rare prints, previously unseen sketches and other artefacts illustrate the history of the subversive and iconoclastic world of comics.

Dates: May 2 – August 19 – www.bl.uk

“Wedding Dresses 1775-2014” at the Victoria & Albert Museum

Wedding dress Margaret Duchess of Argyll

This exhibit follows the evolution of the wedding gown over three centuries, exploring the influence of iconic designers such as Charles Frederick Worth, Norman Hartnell, Charles James, Vivienne Westwood and John Galliano.

Visitors will admire the dresses worn by various duchesses of the British crown, including the satin and silk gown worn by Margaret, Duchess of Argyll at her wedding in 1933. Dita Von Teese and Gwen Stefani also lent their bridal attire to the museum for the exhibit.

Dates: May 3, 2014 – March 15, 2015 – www.vam.ac.uk

MoonWalk London 2014

MoonWalk London 2013

This nocturnal walking marathon is sure to attract plenty of attention, as the walkers, who are all women, set out for the trek at the stroke of midnight in their bras and eccentric, colorful, often glittery outfits.

Pink is of course the color of choice, as this festive event is intended to raise funds and awareness in the fight against breast cancer.

Date: May 10 – www.walkthewalk.org

BP British Art Displays: “Walk Through British Art” at the Tate Britain

Walk Through British Art

Through an impressive selection of iconic works by major artists, the Tate is inviting visitors to stroll through 500 years of art in the UK.

Works by Bacon, Constable, Hirst, Hockney, Hogarth, Gainsborough, Lowry, Millais, Spencer, Stubbs and Whiteread, among others, are presented in 20 entirely renovated exhibit rooms.

Dates: May 14 – December 31 – www.tate.org.uk

Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

Regent Park Open Air Theatre

Each year, the famous London park is transformed into a theater under the open sky. Outdoor performances of great English plays, including a new adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night,” the Open Air Theatre is staging a number of American classics this season, including Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons” and Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Dates: May 15 – September 13 – openairtheatre.com

“Treasures from the Royal Archive” at Windsor Castle

Treasures from the Royal Archive at Windsor Castle

For the first time at Windsor Castle, the public will be able to view certain documents conserved by the royal family since 1914.

Visitors can read selections from the monarchs’ correspondence and personal journals, including a letter written by Prince Albert to the future Queen Victoria while they were engaged to be married.

However, only those who read German will be able to decipher the contents, as the letter was written in the Saxon-born sovereign’s native tongue.

Dates: May 17, 2014 – January 25, 2015 – www.royalcollection.org.uk

London Record Fair at Brick Lane

London Record Fair

Record collectors from all over the UK and Europe will head to this three-day fair to browse through extensive selections of vinyls. In addition to providing a marketplace for vinyls, record players and music memorabilia of all kinds, the fair has a unique atmosphere that invites music lovers to share their passion.

Dates: May 30 – June 1 – londonrecordfair.co.uk

Zoo Lates at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL)

Zoo Lates

Each Friday night in June and July, London’s zoo closes to those under 18 and invites a more mature public to experience a new side of the attraction.

Visitors can watch improv comedy shows by the aquarium and a cabaret review in the amphitheater while enjoying street food in a festive carnival-like atmosphere.

Dates: June 6 – July 25 – www.zsl.org

“British Folk Art: The House that Jack Built” at the Tate Britain

British Folk Art: The House that Jack Built

London’s prestigious museum is presenting its very first exhibit of folk art from the UK. Around 100 works, many of them anonymous, were brought together for the occasion. Paintings, sculptures, textiles and other objects all serve to promote the recognition of a type of art that was long overlooked.

Dates: June 10 – September 7 – www.tate.org.uk

RHS Flower Show at Hampton Court Palace

RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2014

This annual event is known as the world’s largest flower show. In addition to admiring the floral exhibits and no less than 50 gardens on display, visitors can attend gardening workshops and demonstrations.

Dates: July 8 – 13 – www.rhs.org.uk

Louis Vuitton at Dover Street Market

Louis Vuitton pops up at Dover Street Market

Louis Vuitton at Dover Street Market

French fashion house,  is opening a pop-up space within the Dover Street Market for fashion week in the British capital.

The pop-up store will feature items from the Fall-Winter 2014-15 collection, which is the first designed by Nicolas Ghesquière for the brand.

In addition to apparel, shoppers will find jewelry, shoes, bags and sunglasses seen on the runways.


The boutique will run for two months until 14 October and Louis Vuitton will also stage a takeover of Dover Street Market’s corner window from 1-15 September, both coinciding with London Fashion Week and also DSM’s tenth anniversary celebrations taking place over the course of the month.


Spaces dedicated to the same collection will also be opened in the Dover Street Markets in New York and Tokyo.

The Gherkin

Gherkin skyscraper put up for sale

The Gherkin

One of London’s most iconic buildings, The Gherkin, in the heart of the city’s financial district has been put up for sale.

The skyscraper, which was designed by Lord Foster, opened in 2004. It is currently let to around 20 tenants, including Swiss Re.

Interest is expected from around the globe for the 40 storey landmark office building and offers in excess of £650 million are being sought.

The Gherkin london

The tower was placed in receivership in April by its creditors after one of its owners was placed in insolvency.

A dedicated website has been set up at www.gherkinlondon.com for interested parties to register by Saturday 16 August, with  the bidding process expected to end in September and closure by mid-October.


London bar The Artesian named the best in the world


London hotel bar The Artesian at The Langham was named the World’s Best Bar at the 8th edition of Tales of the Cocktail festival.

Bartender Simone Caporale also snagged the title of International Bartender of the Year, while The Artesian scooped up two more awards in categories such as Best International Hotel Bar and Best International Bar Team.

Under the direction of head bartender Alex Kratena, the upscale lounge elevates cocktails into a sensory, artistic and gastronomic experience that has included everything from opium incense to inflated pillows, smoke and mirrors.

Other major international winners at the event include 28 Hong Kong Street in Singapore, which took the title of Best International Cocktail Bar;

The Aviary in Chicago for World’s Best Cocktail Menu; and The Dead Rabbit in New York, which took the title of World’s Best Drinks Selection.

Digidiva cocktail

The Artesian has launched a new cocktail menu under the theme “Unfolding and Exploring,” that includes gemstones, larch, leather mushrooms and parsnip. Cocktails are designed to unfold throughout the drinking experience.

The ‘Will of the Woods’ is described as a liquid forest, made with Glenlivet, Vermouth, larch, mushrooms, citrus and honey, served in a wooden drinking bowl.

And the ‘Selfie Compatible’ is a vaporized cocktail that contains Ron Zacapa 23 Floc De Gascogne, Verjus, Beer and Bitters.

leather aged cocktail

The Artesian is also the reigning champion for the second year running on the World’s 50 Best Bars list.

PUMA x McQ Debut AW14 Collection

Puma x McQ collection launches in London

PUMA x McQ Debut AW14 Collection

The German sportswear brand’s footwear collaboration with the Alexander McQueen second line  was unveiled at an event Wednesday night.

mcq puma

Mixing Sarah Burton’s unique vision with ‘s sportswear heritage, the two brands have unveiled a line inspired by human anatomy, including ribcages and tendons, and marble prints.

Puma McQ

The men’s and women’s styles feature Moulded TPU material, mesh and nubuck. Women’s shoes include the McQ Leap (with a wedge heel) and the Rush Lo and Mid styles, all set to go on sale on August 1.

Mary Charteris

The shoes were revealed at an event at Factory 7 in East London where guests (including fashionista Mary Charteris, and Phoebe Collings-James) were treated to music from Horse Meat Disco and cocktails from Ciroc.

Notting Hill, London

London property prices the highest in Europe

Notting Hill London

With an average price per square meter of $13,613, the British capital stands out as Europe’s most expensive city.

Paris follows closely in second, with an average square meter priced at $11,082, according to a study by audit firm Deloitte published yesterday.

Budapest was ranked as the European capital where property prices were the cheapest, with a price per square meter of $1,553 on average. Lisbon was second, with an average of $2,235 and Warsaw was third, with $2,322.

Property prices in the Spanish capital Madrid took a dramatic 23% fall, while Vienna, on the other hand, has followed the opposite trend, with a sharp 9% rise. In the same vein, home prices in Copenhagen have undergone an 8% rise while they have gone up 7 percent in Berlin.

london big ben

Top 10 summer destinations in 2014

london big ben

London has emerged as the most popular summer destination for 2014, according to a newly released index based on hotel demands.

The British capital has succeeded in topping Paris in Priceline.com’s Top 10 listing for Summer Destinations outside the US, fanning the flames of an ongoing rivalry between the two European cities.

The top 10 list is based on advance hotel bookings made by users on the US-based online booking site.

London’s tourist office announced that the city received a total of 16.8 million foreign visitors to the city in 2013, more than any other city in the world including Paris, which has traditionally kept a stronghold on the title.

Paris, meanwhile, refuses to concede and has expressed doubt on the number crunching abilities of its British neighbors.

The most popular US summer destination is Las Vegas.

London photo

Here are the Top 10 international summer destinations, for Priceline.com users:

1. London, England
2. Paris, France
3. Toronto, ON, Canada
4. Vancouver, BC, Canada
5. Rome, Italy
6. Montreal, QC, Canada
7. St. Catharines – Niagara, ON, Canada
8. Cancun – Cozumel, Spain
9. Barcelona, Spain
10. Amsterdam, Netherlands

Chef Nobu Matsuhisa

Nobu Hotel to open in London

Best known for his eponymous chain of restaurants, chef Nobu Matsuhisa is due to open a hotel in London in 2016.

Chef Nobu Matsuhisa

After Miami, Manila, Chicago and Riyadh, Nobu Hospitality has announced plans to open the Nobu Hotel Shoreditch in early 2016, a 156-room property that will be designed in his signature “east-meets-west” philosophy.

The hotel is being built in the previously working class area of east London, Shoreditch, which has become a gentrified trendy area popular with “hipsterpreneurs,” aka bearded, beanie-wearing pop-up promoters.

Nobu Hotel Shoreditch in London

The hotel architecture takes inspiration from the area’s industrial environment, with angular lines, concrete balconies, cantilevered steel beams and protruding slab edges.

Matsuhisa, whose global restaurant empire has the financial backing of Hollywood actor Robert De Niro, made his first foray into the hotel business with the opening of a space in Las Vegas at Caesars Palace.

Hunter Fashion Show

Hunter to open London flagship

Hunter Fashion Show

Heritage footwear label Hunter, which has recently expanded into ready-to-wear, will open a store on Regent Street this fall.

The store will open at 83 Regent Street, down the road from the Burberry and Brooks Brothers flagships, and will be the first of Hunter’s locations to stock the new lines and show off the new retail concept.

Founded in 1856, Hunter is well-known for its classic rubber boots, but the brand is undergoing something of a creative shake-up with the launch of an upmarket ready-to-wear line, Hunter Original, and Hunter Field, a sports performance line set to arrive later this year.

“As we continue to expand our business, the opening of the London flagship will be a key milestone in the development of our brand. Choosing to establish our first retail presence on Regent Street stays true to our heritage as a British brand,” explained Hunter’s chief executive officer James Seuss.

Fendi Peekaboo Bag Charity Auction

Fendi celebrates new store with celebrity bag auction

Fendi Peekaboo Bag Charity Auction

FENDI is launching a star-studded charity handbag auction to celebrate the opening of its new London flagship.

Tracey Emin, Gwyneth Paltrow, Naomie Harris, Cara Delevingne, Jerry Hall, Georgia May Jagger, Zaha Hadid, Tanya Ling, Adele, and Kate Adie will all customize the brand’s Peekaboo bag with the results going on sale to the public via an online auction in aid of children’s charity Kids Company.

fendi london bond street store render

It’s all in honor of Fendi’s new New Bond Street store which opens on May 1 and where the bags will go on display on May 2. The auction in collaboration with Sotheby’s will be open from May 1 to May 30 online.

Prada creates bespoke shoe service

Prada Made To Order soles

Italian label Prada is offering a special ‘Made to Order’ service for two days at its London store.

With a new one-off project set to arrive at their Sloane Street store on March 26 and 27, Prada is letting its customers get creative with their footwear.

The ‘Made to Order Décolleté’ collection allows the brand’s most loyal customers to design their own custom pair of Prada shoes. It all starts with a choice of nine different models and five heel heights, with a further choice of three sole colors (black, lily of the valley, or light blue).

Prada fans can then pick the upper material from a selection of suede, satin, kid leather, patent leather, or printed Saffiano leather in a range of colors.

For the ultimate personalization detail, the store will allow you to add your initials in amber-colored metal below the Prada logo.

The shoes will take approximately one month to make, and they’ll arrive in customized matching boxes. The brand also offered the service in Paris March 20-22 at their 10 avenue Montaigne store.

Prada Made To Order

Karl Lagerfeld opens London store

Karl Lagerfeld Regent Street

Just days after the launch of his debut men’s and women’s fragrances, Kaiser Karl is at it again. The designer opened the first UK store for his namesake fashion and accessories brand in London, a 2,700-square-foot (250 square meters) space on Regent Street in the city’s West End.

Karl Lagerfeld London store interior

It’s the 17th store in the Lagerfeld retail empire, which started with the Fall 2012 opening of his store in Saint Germain on the Rive Gauche in Paris.

Karl Lagerfeld London Store

As you would expect there’s a strictly monochrome colour scheme, enhanced by glossy surfaces, mirrors, faux fur chairs and graffiti-style artwork designed especially for the store by I Love Dust.

Karl Lagerfeld store Regent Street

“Karl is a master of accessorization, and the consumer has responded to that. We have doubled the bags offer from last season in response to demand,” Karl Lagerfeld CEO Pier Paolo Righi explained to WWD.

Karl Lagerfeld UK store

With a celeb-studded bash to celebrate the opening, a British-themed capsule collection is exclusive to the store for now (although it will roll out to the other Lagerfeld locations), made up of Union Jack-emblazoned, Lagerfeld-themed candles, T-shirts, sweatshirts, iPhone covers, and wallets.

Lagerfeld London Collection

Futuristic view of London’s skyline

What will London look like in 20 years?

With 200 high-rise towers planned for London over the next 20 years to meet the city’s growing population, London‘s skyline is undergoing rapid changes.

Futuristic view of London’s skyline

A new exhibition examining this transformation has been announced for April by New London Architecture, London’s Centre for the Built Environment.

London’s Growing… Up! will explore the transformation of the cityscape since the introduction of skyscrapers in the 1950s through a series of images, models and construction videos, using iconic structures such as the Barbican and Centre Point as reference points for setting new precedents.

Famous buildings such as the Gherkin and The Shard will also be examined for the impact they have had in the city, and visitors will be able to see what London will look like in 10 years’ time as the capital’s developers focus on growing upwards rather than outwards.

The interactive exhibition will let visitors decide which buildings should and shouldn’t be allowed in the city, fast-forward and rewind the capital’s skyline and even import landmarks from other cities around the world. The results will be captured and posted on to the NLA’s Twitter feed.

London’s Growing… Up! is a free exhibition which will run April 3 – 12.

Shangri-La Hotel The Shard

Shangri-La London opens in the Shard

The new Shangri-La at the Shard will open on May 6, with the luxury hotel boasting unmatched views of London from the city’s most striking skyscraper.

As the tallest hotel in Western Europe and the first high-rise hotel in London, the Shangri-La occupies levels 34 to 52 of the 72-storey Shard.

Shangri-La Hotel The Shard

Guests will be escorted in a high-speed elevator from the hotel’s dedicated entrance on St. Thomas Street to the sky lobby on level 35.

The 202 rooms and suites all feature marble-clad bathrooms with heated floors, separate bathtubs and showers, Acqua di Parma amenities, and mirrors with integrated television screens. A third of the bathrooms will have floor-to-ceiling city views — right next to the bathtub.

Bathtub with a London view.

Although the hotel will open in May, three signature suites will still be under development until September.

That includes the flagship Shangri-La Suite, with a sweeping 180-degree view of London taking in the Palace of Westminster, Big Ben, the Tower of London and River Thames.

The hotel will offer three restaurants and bars. TĪNG, derived from the Chinese word for a living room, is the restaurant and lounge on level 35 and LÁNG – the Chinese word for ‘pathway’ – is a deli on the ground floor.

GŎNG on level 52 will be London’s highest bar. It takes its name from ‘dougong’ – an ancient Chinese structural element of interlocking wooden brackets that will be a component of the bar’s interior.

Level 52 will also be home to a 24-hour gym and London’s highest infinity pool, and along with GŎNG, level 52 will open from 1 July.

Shangri La Shard bedroom

The luxury hotel will be the Hong Kong-based hotel group’s third in Europe, following debuts in Paris in 2010 and Istanbul in 2013.

Rates start from £450 per night. Bookings for rooms, restaurants and events will be available from March 17.

The Saint Martins Lofts, London

The Saint Martins Lofts is a new development in the former Central Saint Martins Art School building on Charing Cross Road in London WC2.

The Saint Martins Lofts

The redevelopment of the iconic building into the residential project The Saint Martins Lofts, comprising 13 high-end apartments, will be kicked off by Marc Péridis, 19 Greek Street Director and Saint Martins alumnus.

Péridis will oversee the interior styling for one of the apartments to showcase the reincarnation of the building. It will be available to view from May.

The Saint Martins Lofts Balcony

“I remember with such intensity the time spent at Central Saint Martins as a design student,” said Péridis. “We want to bring that energy and emotion in the apartment at The Saint Martins Lofts, celebrating not only the heritage of this very special building, but also London’s ability to continuously reinvent itself, breathing new life into objects, buildings and entire urban areas.”

The designer’s show flat will feature unique design pieces from Nina Tolstrup of Studio Mama, 3D pioneer Dirk Vander Kooij, Chilean gt2P and Australians Super-cyclers, among others.

The Saint Martins Lofts London

Originally opened as The Saint Martins School of Art in 1939, the Charing Cross building will be transformed into the luxurious residence by award-winning architects Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands. The loft-style apartments will include duplex properties with original Crittall windows and lateral apartments with terraces, while interiors throughout will be chosen by Darling Associates.

Club Monaco Spring Summer 2014 Ad Campaign

Club Monaco to open London flagship

Club Monaco is reportedly set to open a flagship store in London.

Club Monaco Spring Summer 2014 Ad Campaign

Club Monaco will be planting another foot in the UK, with a new flagship location at 32-33 Sloane Square, the former home of tailors Gieves & Hawkes. The 4,000 square foot space will be shared over two floors.

The brand opened its first store in London’s Westbourne Grove last September, offering its range of pared-back affordable luxe men’s and womenswear in lots of simple monochrome colors.

london big ben

Hotels.com says US travelers love London and Paris

While London and Paris continue to dominate the list of most popular foreign destinations, many cities saw a significant boost in American tourism in 2013.

london big ben

That’s according to Hotels.com, which came up with a list of the most frequented destinations of 2013 based on its own Hotel Price Index.

The latest ranking comes in the aftermath of a recent spat between Paris and London, in which French officials disputed claims that London is on track to overtake Paris with a projected 16 million international visitors in 2013.

Meanwhile, Toronto bumped Rome to fourth place to crack the top three spots thanks to a plunging Canadian dollar and “captivating art scene.”

colosseum in rome

The report also singles out Dubai as a destination to watch, as the affluent city surpassed longtime favorites like Madrid, Florence, and Venice, cracking the top 15 foreign cities on the list.

Here are the Top 10 most popular foreign cities (2013) amongst American travelers by Hotels.com – destinations expected to continue to trend this year.

1. London
2. Paris
3. Toronto
4. Rome
5. Vancouver
6. Tokyo
7. Hong Kong
8. Montreal
9. Barcelona
10. Niagara Falls

The Shard

Shard Developer Plans Residential Tower in London

The developers behind The Shard in London are planning to build a 27-storey, luxury residential tower next to the iconic skyscraper. It will house 150 high-end apartments.

The Shard

The new apartment building will be designed by Shard architect Renzo Piano. It will include a total of 160,000 square feet of residential space and will also feature retail space.

The latest planned addition to the capital’s increasingly high-reaching skyline, the new building is set to be located just west of the Shard and south of the Place, on London’s Fielden House site.

The Shard skyscraper was awarded the title of 2013 Best Tall Building Europe by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat this week.

Burberry beauty products

Burberry Beauty Box opens in London

The luxury brand has unveiled its debut cosmetics store, packed as usual with some forward-thinking digital features alongside all the beauty treats.

Set in London’s famed Covent Garden shopping precinct, the new Burberry Beauty Box mixes “personalised physical and digital experiences” designed to foster connections between the brand’s different make-up, fragrance and accessories.

Burberry beauty products

The store contains all the brand’s beauty lines as well as a selection of accessories, and fragrances including Burberry Brit Rhythm, which launched in September. There are also new seasonal beauty looks designed to complement the brand’s runway collections.

The Runway Made to Order has been expanded to the beauty lines, meaning that customers can shop the new products online as soon as they appear on the catwalk.

burberry Covent Garden store

In store there are dedicated Beauty Stylists offering free consultations for skin, eyes and lips, while you can also book yourself in for the Runway Nail Service with one of the brand’s professionals.

Perhaps the most exciting development is the range of digital developments including the Digital Runway Nail Bar, which offers “a playful virtual experience” for trying on the latest Burberry runway nail shades. You place a polish onto an RFID-enabled platform, choose your skintone and virtually experience the selected nail shade.

Design wise, it’s digital all the way too. The space features a giant digital video screen on the exterior and a 16-foot digital chandelier inside. It’s also the company’s first till-free store, meaning that payment is taken by staff on the shop floor armed with mobile payment software on iPhone and iPads.