Tag Archives: London

Bolin Grand Piano

ABBA’s piano up for auction in London

Bolin Grand Piano

The piano that featured on many of ABBA’s greatest hits is going under the hammer next month in London, auctioneers Sotheby’s said Thursday.

The piano is estimated to fetch between £600,000 and £800,000 ($925,000-$1.24 million) when it goes on sale on September 29.

Swedish pop foursome ABBA dominated the 1970s disco scene with their catchy, finely-crafted songs.

“The opening piano glissando from ‘Dancing Queen’ is one of the most distinctive sounds of the 1970s and we are delighted to offer the actual instrument used by the legendary ABBA in their major recordings,” said Sotheby’s expert Philip W. Errington.

“The piano itself is an instrument of real importance and with the added ABBA provenance we expect it will have worldwide appeal.”

It was built by the inventive Swedish musical instrument designer Georg Bolin for the US jazz pianist Bill Evans.

The New York Times described it in 1964 as a “space-age piano”.

It was bought by Stockholm’s Metronome Studios in 1967 and appeared on nearly all of ABBA’s recordings between 1973 and 1977.

It featured on hits including “Dancing Queen”, “Waterloo”, “SOS”, “Knowing Me, Knowing You”, “Mamma Mia”, and “Ring Ring”.

“The Bolin Grand, one of a kind and a great source of inspiration while working in the recording studio during the ABBA sessions!”, said the group’s pianist Benny Andersson.

The foursome — Andersson, Bjoern Ulvaeus, Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Agnetha Faeltskog — went their separate ways in 1983 and have never performed together since.

Sky Pool

Suspended ‘sky pool’ coming to London

Sky Pool

In what appears to be a word first, developers in London are planning a swimming pool suspended high between two buildings with a clear shell that enables swimmers to feel like they’re in the sky.

The 25-meter-long pool would connect two apartment complexes that are part of the 2,000-home Embassy Gardens development in London’s new Nine Elms quarter, reports Dezeen.

Sky Pool London

It’s the work of architecture firm Arup Associates with help from structural design engineers at Eckersley O’Callaghan and also from Reynolds, an aquarium design firm.

It has reached the second stage of construction and developers from the Ballymore Group say it will include a bar, spa and orangery.

Embassy Gardens

london map cocktails drinki

Get free drinks in London via smartphone app

london map cocktails drinki

In London, the sacred happy hour could become obsolete thanks to a smartphone app that allows users to benefit from free cocktails in hip bars.

Drinki, as the app is called, has assembled more than 70 trendy London bars and pubs so far. Noteworthy drinking spots that have signed on include the famous Buddha Bar in Knightsbridge, The Big Chill in Shoreditch and the London Grind near London Bridge. The concept involves offering a free cocktail to any consumer that displays the app.

Concretely, all you have to do is download Drinki to your smartphone and look for the nearest bar to try it out. Users need to connect to Facebook to announce their presence in each bar via a “check-in” system. In one simple click, each user receives a free drink.

Cocktail fans can peruse the drinks on offer even before choosing their evening destination. The bars present their daily specials, be it a free glass of champagne, a Martini expresso etc. On average, cocktail prices start at 8 pounds (around 11 euros) in each affiliated watering hole.

The Drinki application is free to download on the App Store and Google Play. More than 10,000 drinks are served free of charge each week.

Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty

Alexander McQueen’s record breaking exhibition

Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty

An Alexander McQueen exhibit has become the most successful paid-for exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

During its 21-week run, “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty” attracted more than 493,000 visitors from 87 countries, including guests from East Timor and Uzbekistan, says the museum.

The exhibit, which paid homage to the late designer, also sold a record-breaking 84,000 advance tickets and, to meet unprecedented demand, kept the museum open throughout the night for the first time in its history during the final two weekends. It also attracted an online audience of 3 million.

“Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty” which closed Aug. 2, was the first retrospective of McQueen’s work presented in Europe.

afternoon tea

London’s 5 best afternoon teas

afternoon tea

This week, England is saluting one of its greatest gourmet traditions: afternoon tea. In London, luxury hotels and tourist destinations have coordinated to best let people discover scones, jams and other delights that make up this special moment.

Our selection of five unique places for your tea

Tea Masterclass at Harrod’s

The famous London luxury store is organizing masterclasses on August 13 and 14 dedicated to tea tasting. Within the confines of its iconic Georgian Restaurant, Harrod’s will present a selection of ten of its very own tea specialties. The tasting will be accompanied by delicacies like scones served warm with a rose petal gelée. Expect to pay £50 per person, and make sure to reserve ahead of time at [email protected].

A fragrant experience at the InterContinental Park Lane

When the world of perfumes meets afternoon tea… To celebrate this event, the hotel has organized a workshop to demonstrate the way in which perfumes and cooking techniques can work together to create an ultra-gourmet afternoon tea. To this end, the head of Floris London and her spokesperson will lead demonstrations on August 13. Expect to shell out £35 per person for the workshop and an afternoon tea complete with a glass of Champagne in the Wellington Lounge.

Japanese-style afternoon tea

The Courthouse Hotel will thumb its nose at British tradition by reimagining British tea with Japanese ingredients. Guests will, for example, taste a plum wine that is traditionally served in the land of the rising sun, or an Asian effervescent wine. The cost: £29.50 per person.

A gourmet moment with author Rosie Millard

Afternoon tea at the Conrad Saint James will adopt an educational outlook with the presence of author Rosie Millard. The journalist will discuss her latest book, “The Square,” while guests enjoy coconut or pineapple scones and mojito macaroons. Traditional cups of tea will be served, as well as large glasses of iced tea. The afternoon will set you back £35.

An historic afternoon tea

On August 14, superstar blogger Kerstin Rodgers, aka Marmite Lover, will serve tea and scones in an historic setting in 18-century style. This will all go down in the Dennis Sever’s House in Spitalfields. Going back in time will cost you £75 per person.

Bloomberg Buys London Mansion for $26 Million

Michael Bloomberg London Mansion

Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has purchased a historic riverside mansion, once owned by novelist “George Eliot” (Mary Ann Evans), in the Chelsea neighborhood of London for $26 million.

Michael Bloomberg London Mansion

Though the mansion was listed for $US23.4 million, it was eventually purchased by Bloomberg for $US26.5 million after a bidding war broke out among interested parties, according to the Daily Mail.

Michael Bloomberg London Mansion

The mansion is a historic, preserved building that sits along the River Thames and can only be accessed by a private road.

Michael Bloomberg London Mansion stairs

The mansion was built in 1715 and includes a massive, statuesque staircase. A Baroque mural — painted by Sir James Thornhil, who also decorated the dome at St. Paul’s Cathedral — adorns the ceiling.

Michael Bloomberg London Mansion bedroom

The seven-bedroom mansion also includes a large garden, vaults, a lift, original parquet floors, panelling and intricate cornice work, murals and marble fireplaces.

Michael Bloomberg London Mansion yard

It’s not Bloomberg’s first London home – he also owns a four-bedroom, three-bathroom home in the pricey Cadogan Square area of Knightsbridge.

Michael Bloomberg London Mansion

Great Scotland Yard

Scotland Yard police station turned into luxury hotel

Great Scotland Yard

Great Scotland Yard, an historic landmark where London police once tried to solve the grisly murders carried out by Jack the Ripper, will be turned into a luxury hotel where rooms will cost a whopping £10,000 a night.

The building is set to undergo a major £50 million ($78 million USD) refurbishment that will turn London’s first police headquarters into an ultra-luxurious hotel property that will span seven storeys.

Opulent suites, two bars, restaurants, a library, lobby and entertaining room will occupy more than 92,000 square feet (8,550 square meters) of space.

Developers say they’ll preserve the building’s Edwardian Imperial red brick and stone facade as well as its name, The Great Scotland Yard, in order to build on the landmark’s storied history.

Inside, the decor will be “contemporary and stylish.” In addition to a five-star setting, the hotel will aim to attract guests with its rich history: It was here that, in the late 19th century, British police officers pored over notes and revisited the grisly murders committed by Jack the Ripper.

The station is also immortalized by novelists such as Charles Dickens and Sherlock Holmes author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

The hotel is scheduled to open in early 2017.


‘Do It In Paris’ comes to London


Chic Parisian lifestyle website Doitinparis.com is crossing the Channel to take on London. The UK capital will get its own bilingual version of the site, Doitinlondon.com, Women’s Wear Daily (WWD) reports.

The site will feature fashionable new openings and happenings in the worlds of fashion, beauty, food, drink and neighborhoods.

The launch comes six years after the French version was founded by former style consultant and fashion editor-in-chief Véronique Constantinof.

“London is extremely dynamic with new places opening constantly and there are many bridges between Paris and London,” Constantinoff told WWD. “Young Parisian women between 25-35 — the core of Do It in Paris readership — go to London all the time.”

3D-printed butterfly cookies

Pop-up restaurant in London to serve 3D printed foods

3D-printed butterfly cookies

It’s being billed as the world’s first 3D printed, pop-up restaurant.

To highlight the potential of the emerging technology in the food world, organizers of the 3D Printshow in London have tapped a Michelin-starred chef to create a meal composed entirely of 3D printed foods.

Using fresh and seasonal ingredients, the chef will show attendees at the trade show how to create gourmet dishes in live demonstrations.

Visitors will also be taught how to ‘think in 3D’ and tap into the technology’s creative potential by showing off a chocolate globe which opens up to reveal different ‘flavor compartments.’

3D-printed chocolate snowflake

During the half-day gastronomy conference “Press Print to Eat,” attendees will get hands-on experience on how to cook up recipes using the 3D technology.

“The gastro-revolution continues not only to find new ways to present and prepare our food, but new state-of-the-art ways to create it. From 3D printed chocolate machines for customised party food to micro-engineered nutritional prints, we’ve been slowly edging towards the synthesis of entire meals,” said Kerry Hogarth, founder of 3D Printshow, in a statement.

Indeed, some experts predict that 3D printing has the potential of revolutionizing the way we eat, calling it the future of food.

Crackers made with roasted red peppers

Others go so far as claiming that 3D printers will become as common as the microwave in the average household.

At one end of the spectrum, the technology is being eyed by the world of haute gastronomy: ChefJet Pro, for instance, debuted as the world’s first professional food 3D printer and is designed to help pastry chefs create bespoke confections for their cakes, candies and desserts.

Think edible lace, latticework, sculptural and ornate cakes, toppers, candies and confectionery.


At the other end, there’s the Foodini designed by Natural Machines as a household appliance that allows home cooks to create foods like homemade ravioli and custom-designed cookies —  minus the labor.

To use, consumers feed the countertop appliance with fresh foods and ingredients.

3D Printshow London takes place at The Old Truman Brewery in London May 21-23.

Jaguar XF Across River Thames

All-new Jaguar XF driven above London’s river Thames

The British luxury and sportscar brand has unveiled its latest executive sedan in typically flamboyant fashion by driving it across two steel high-wires suspended 18 meters above London’s river Thames.

The incredible publicity stunt, which stopped commuter traffic, broke the record for the furthest high-wire water crossing by a car and required the expertise of veteran Hollywood blockbuster stunt driver Jim Dowdell.

It was dreamed up in order to highlight the car’s lightweight, predominantly aluminum construction, which is key to optimizing fuel economy.

Jaguar XF Across River Thames

The XF, which will make its full global debut at the New York motor show on April 1, is 80kg lighter than any of its immediate rivals and, at 104g/km and over 70mpg (4l/100km), has the lowest CO2 emissions and best fuel economy of any non-hybrid car in the same class.

As well as a 75% aluminum construction, these economy figures are down to the company’s new Ingenium four-cylinder diesel engines — available with 160bhp or 178bhp. However, for those who want a bit more performance and a little less economy, a 3-liter 296bhp V6 turbo diesel and a 3-liter 375hph supercharged V6 petrol engine are also options.

But whatever the powerplant, the car’s stiffened body and almost perfect 50/50 weight distribution mean that it will handle well, as will the inclusion of something called Jaguar Configurable Dynamics.

Jaguar High-Wire

The system, which debuted on the company’s flagship F-Type sportscar, lets the driver tailor damper, steering, engine and transmission settings for comfort, straight-line speed or all-around performance.

The inside of the cabin is luxurious in the continental European sense — clean lines, premium materials and textures, minimal clutter and maximum connectivity — rather than in the traditional British sense of dark woods and darker, cosseting leather.

Jaguar High-Wire Crossing

It is the first Jaguar-branded car to showcase the new InControl premium infotainment system, which features a 10.2-inch ‘dual view’ touchscreen — the driver can see a map when glancing at the screen while the front seat passenger can instead see a movie — as well as a 12.3-inch TFT instrument cluster that can be customized like a smartphone screen or computer desktop.

It has the same sort of processing power and response times as a PC, using a quad-core processor for handling graphics, alerts and information.

Crown made of diamonds

Victoria and Albert Museum asks ‘What is Luxury?’

Crown made of diamonds

From April to September, London’s Victoria and Albert Museum will be hosting an exhibition examining the meaning and the history of luxury via a series of over 100 rare objects.

In a world of billion dollar fashion brands, the V&A’s ‘What is Luxury?’ aims to challenge our definitions of what luxury means and how it relates to our everyday lives.

Key pieces in the exhibition include the Space Travellers’ Watch, an entirely handcrafted mechanical timepiece by renowned British watchmaker George Daniels, a laser-cut haute couture dress by Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen, and a Bubble Bath necklace by Nora Fok, made from more than 1000 hand-knitted nylon bubbles.

More conceptual pieces include American artist Gabriel Barcia-Colombo’s DNA Vending Machine which contains pre-packaged DNA and questions whether in the future owning your own DNA will be a luxury.

“As its title suggests, the exhibition questions the very idea of luxury today,” explains V&A curator of Contemporary Furniture Jana Scholze, who co-curated the exhibition with visiting research fellow Leanne Wierzba.

“It will challenge common interpretations of luxury, invite close examination of luxury production and extend ideas of what luxury can be. Essentially, the question of luxury is a personal one.”

The free exhibition will take place in the museum’s Porter Gallery from April 25 to September 27.

Google Shop

Google opens its first shop in London

Google Shop

Google has opened a shop in London where visitors will be able to try out the latest tablets, Android phones, and Chromebook laptops.

Taking a page out of Apple’s playbook, the Google-branded store displays various products across open tables while roving staff are on hand to offer help, noted The Daily Mail UK.

google store interiors

To illustrate the scope of its Google Earth feature, visitors can fly virtually over different parts of the world with a tablet and giant immersive screen dubbed ‘The Portal,’ and create their own Doodles on a Doodle Wall using digital spray cans.

Google Shop London

The Google Shop, located inside Currys PC World on Tottenham Court Road, opened its doors Wednesday.

Christopher Kane London flagship

Christopher Kane unveils flagship store in London

Christopher Kane London flagship

Fashion brand  has announced the opening of its first flagship store in London, located at 6-7 Mount Street, W1.

To mark the occasion, a number of special edition leather handbags will go on sale exclusively at the London-based store, which opened Thursday.

The 4,100 square foot boutique is split over two floors, and was designed by Christopher Kane and British minimalist designer John Pawson.

Handbag by Christopher Kane

The retail space represents the Glaswegian designer’s “unique and innovative approach to luxury and fashion, with a great respect for craftsmanship and a high level of technical skill, alongside a deep sense of integrity that are paramount to the brand,” said the label in a statement.

Adding that “the goal is not a signature work of architecture but an environment with an emotional dimension, a space where the focus is on the clothes and on the people connected to them.”

Handbag Christopher Kane

Interesting interior design features include a dramatic staircase, a floor-to-ceiling totem light fitting on the lower ground floor, color gradient Perspex displays and touches of heavy timber and Portland stone.

The facade of the new flagship store reinstates elements of the listed building’s original Edwardian elevations, creating simple, full-height openings, stripped of all extraneous details.

Christopher Kane Handbag

Kane’s smart new West-End address is the first of several more standalone stores to be unrolled across the world, according to the Kering group which partly controls the British luxury fashion label.

Tower Bridge London

London rules among American travelers

Tower Bridge London

The most popular international destination for American globetrotters in 2014 was , followed by Paris and Toronto.

That’s according to the latest figures from the Hotel Price Index from online booking site Hotels.com.

The top five destinations remain unchanged from 2013 in rank as well, with Rome (pictured below) and Vancouver rounding out the list.


rome italy

Meanwhile, Cancun and the Riviera Maya were particularly popular in 2014 among US holidaymakers, moving up four spots from 2013 to become the sixth most popular international destination.

The report also showed that while London is a predictable and perennial favorite, Americans are also becoming increasingly enamored with Edinburgh, having moved up six places on the list.

Top 10 most popular international destinations for US tourists

1. London
2. Paris
3. Toronto
4. Rome
5. Vancouver
6. Cancun/Riviera Maya
7. Montreal
8. Hong Kong
9. Tokyo
10. Barcelona

The Arch London

Win a night’s stay at the Arch London for just £5!

The Arch London

Eying a trip to London? To celebrate its fifth anniversary, The Arch London ( located near Marble Arch) is offering rooms for just £5.

The Arch London bedroom

For about the price of a takeaway lunch in London, winners of a promotional contest can stay at The Arch London for one night, and will be given the full treatment: breakfast, dinner, and champagne on arrival.

The Arch London library

To enter, tweet @thearchlondon with the hashtag #ilovethearchlondon. Five winners will be announced February 28.

The Arch London lobby

givenchy cocktail

Givenchy Perfume Cocktails to Debut at London Hotel

givenchy cocktail

Hotel Cafe Royal has teamed up with Parfums Givenchy to create an edible, drinkable form of L’Atelier de Givenchy, a collection of seven haute couture-inspired perfumes, reports The Spirits Business.

To recreate the notes of white pepper, white musk and leather in Cuir Blanc, hotel bar mixologist Tiziano Tasso uses Siberian pine needle extract in a Martini-style cocktail to lend the beverage a woody taste.


Oud Flamboyant, pitched as ‘strong and mysterious’ with scents of leather, oud and labdanum, is recreated in drinkable form with Japanese whisky and mandarin juice for a bold, magnetic, smoky wood flavor.

Drinks are priced at £13 ($20). The special cocktail collection will launch February 1 until March 31 at the hotel’s Green Bar.

Fragrances bar

Last year, The Ritz-Carlton hotel in Berlin also launched an interactive cocktail and perfume experience.

The Hospital Club London

Boutique hotel to open in former London hospital

The Hospital Club London

A former hospital in London turned ‘creative hub’ will be adding 15 hotel rooms in 2015, designed to fuel guests’ creativity and broaden the mind.

Each new room at The Hospital Club in London’s Covent Garden features original artwork and curated exhibits from emerging artists within the club’s creative community.

The Hospital Club bedroom

Set to open next month, the rooms are fitted with leathers, velvets, warm woods and stained glass.

In keeping with the spirit of the Club — which spans seven floors and houses everything from an events company and a TV studio to an exhibition gallery, a screening room and a performance space — a stay in the hotel includes access to events like comedy nights, mixology and cooking classes and networking sessions.

The Hospital Club

Rooms come in small, medium and large sizes while suites include a private terrace, walk-in shower, bathtub and lounge area.

The private members’ only club opened its doors in 2004 by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and former Eurythmics band member David Stewart and has hosted performances by The Who. Rooms open January 5.

World Cheese Awards

Blue cheese from England crowned world champion 2014

World Cheese Awards

England has been crowned the big cheese at an international competition, beating French, Swiss and Dutch cheesemakers with a soft blue.

In the 26th edition of the World Cheese Awards, hosted by the BBC Good Food Show in London, a family of third-generation dairy farmers recently turned cheesemakers beat nearly 2,600 cheeses with their Bath Blue.

The blue-veined cheese is made with organic milk and ripened in traditional stone-built rooms for eight to 10 weeks.

Other countries represented in the competition included New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, Mexico, Argentina and Brazil.

“Sometimes blue cheese can have a metallic flavor, and if it doesn’t it can overloaded with salt, but this was perfectly balanced – a classic blue, flavors that develop slowly in your mouth,” said Canadian judge Louis Aird of the Bath Blue.

Runners-up included a cheddar from Barbers Farmhouse Cheesemakers, also from the UK, and Dinarski Sir — a cheese made from both cow’s and goat’s milk — by Croatian producer Sirana Gligora.

French cheesemaker Roland Barthélemy was also presented with a trophy for Exceptional Contribution to Cheese for promoting the preservation of raw milk and artisan cheeses in France.

Earlier this year, at a similar competition held every two years in the US, an Emmentaler from Switzerland from Gerard Sinnesberger of Käserei Sinnesberger was named the World Champion.

Bath Blue can be found in Bath and the Borough Market in London.

Full results of the 2014 World Cheese Awards: finefoodworld.co.uk

tower bridge unveils glass walkway

Tower Bridge in London unveils glass walkway

‘s Tower Bridge has unveiled a new glass-bottom walkway that gives visitors a sky-high perspective of the city’s iconic double-decker red buses, pedestrians and boats from right under their feet.

Measuring 11 meters long and nearly 2 meters wide, the glass floor stretches across the West Walkway, 42 meters above the Thames River.

Each glass panel weighs 530 kg. The walkway also offers panoramic views of the city for those who may suffer from vertigo.

tower bridge unveils glass walkway

A second glass bottom floor is also slated to open in the East Walkway on December 1.

The newest addition to the Tower Bridge follows in the heels of other international landmarks and sites including the Eiffel Tower, the CN Tower in Toronto and the Grand Canyon, which already offer glass-bottom views.

Balmain London flagship store

Balmain to open London flagship

Balmain London flagship store

, which has undergone a hip revival under young creative director Olivier Rousteing, is set to open a Mayfair flagship store in 2015.

Set in the heart of London’s Mayfair district, the 200-square-meter flagship has been designed by Joseph Dirand.

The South Audley Street location has a stone exterior, black lacquer and gold leaf window and entryway and the interiors mix a classical and sober English design vocabulary with flashes of French elegance.

“I like to think of this new address as the founder’s second home, Pierre Balmain’s London pied-a-terre,” explained Dirand.

Key features include large stone fireplaces, geometric stone store designs designed to mimic traditional English parquet patterns, and antique brass and stainless steel fixtures.

“Balmain has a particularly strong and loyal clientele in the English capital and we’re very happy to be able to offer them this first London flagship,” said Balmain’s CEO Emmanuel Diemoz.

The brand have also revamped its website (which relaunched this week) and added extended e-commerce functionality.

You can now shop the current Fall/Winter 2014 collections, along with fragrances, and the Resort 2015 collection will be available to pre-order from Mid-November. The new store is planned to be open for business in January 2015 with a launch event to follow in March.