Get all your Christmas shopping done in one fell swoop with a visit to London. High Street favourites? Hit Oxford Street. Designer treats? Bond Street. Edgy fashion? Shoreditch. And of course, there is that shop that has a bit of everything and more besides…Harrods. And, after you’ve done the Capital, do the Capital!
We had a family night recently at the Capital Hotel, within a stiletto totter of Britain’s favourite store. What a treat it was. The Capital is one of those discreetly luxurious places – elegant, quintessentially English and old fashioned (but in a good way!).
It doesn’t look much when you first enter. There is no grand and ostentatious lobby or ballroom sized restaurant. Instead there’s a rather neat hallway from which you can enter the bar and Nathan Outlaw’s latest outpost – the two Michelin starred Outlaw’s at the Capital. We had come straight from a wedding, so were feeling so full of food and wine…OK, maybe just me with the wine…that we sadly couldn’t indulge. We were also pooped as we had flown straight from Africa (read out about our amazing trip to Tanzania here) to Gatwick Airport earlier that morning, had a quick change of clothes then jumped on the train to London for said wedding. Phew!
So, up we trooped to our spotlessly clean and scrumptiously comfortable junior suite. After hot (marble!) baths we settled into watching Bridget Jones’ Baby on the film channel and….all got the munchies. We ordered up snacks on room service (available 24/7) and eventually drifted off into the deepest of sleeps in the dreamiest of beds. The double glazing here must be particularly efficient because, despite the bustle of Knightsbridge outside, not a peep could be heard from the street. It is one serene little oasis.
Next morning, breakfast was indulgent. The continental breakfast buffet on offer is many hotels is often so dull. Here it was all rather tempting and beautifully presented in the hotel’s bar area. Of course, despite filling up on croissants and fresh fruit we still managed a cooked breakfast, too. The kids wolfed down eggy bread with cinnamon sugar and maple bacon, Mister Gallivant did the Full English, me the Eggs Benedict.
I was sad to leave. The Capital is family run with such friendly, attentive staff – a world away from so many faceless five star hotels I’ve stayed in. It’s one of those places where if you ask, you will very probably receive.
Which brings me to Harrods – of which you could perhaps say the same. Gone are the days when you could buy a pet elephant or monkey, it’s true, but hey, who has time to look after them anyway? There is plenty more to tempt you to part with your cash.
Miss Gallivant and I swooned over jewellery , clothes, shoes (in the appropriately named Shoe Heaven). Living in the wilds of Kent I don’t get many great shopping opportunities and when I do I am like a woman possessed. We would have carried on and checked out some of the other great Knightsbridge shops, including Harvey Nics, darlings. Unfortunately we had Mr (grumpy) Gallivant and Master (even more grumpy) Gallivant with us and the rolling eyes and mutterings very soon became too much. I managed to eek out the visit a little longer with a visit to the impressive Harrod food halls, which they did, despite their best protests, enjoy.
We came out with just a tin of biscuits – in a very smart Harrods carrier bag – but with a wish list as long as my arm. I’ll just have to sneak back there without the guys. In fact they are now doing a rather appealing Christmas Shopping Treat which includes a £50 Harrods voucher for every double room booked as well as a concierge to carry your bags back to the hotel! There’s sherry and mince pies on arrival, afternoon tea, a Cosmopolitan (or any other cocktail of your choice in the hotel bar and Full English Breakfast. Girlie getaway anyone??
If you want a pre-Christmas family treat there are also good value packages available and the hotel is just a hop and a skip away from Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland and the outdoor ice skating rink at The Natural History Museum.
The Christmas Shopping Treat package at The Capital hotel costs from £230 per person per night, including all of the above. Their Family Offer – two Classic King Rooms or a double and interconnecting twin if preferred – costs from £509 a night including continental breakfast. For details. visit www.capitalhotel.co.uk.