Category: Travel Tips

A Totally Surprising Green Hotel in London

LAUREN: I get excited about the bright future of a greener hotel industry when I come across places like The Draycott, a hotel that has everything going for it—accolades, location, history, amenities, hospitality, style—yet still makes being eco a priority. Inside the three restored red-brick Edwardian houses tucked away between Kensington and Chelsea’s fashionable Sloane Square, there is nothing obvious about the hotel’s newly launched “Keen to Be Green” initiative to become the greenest boutique property in London.

Draycott Hotel (2)

The classic British charm and old world elegance cherished by proprietor Mantis Group was worked on by interior designer Rupert Lord from 1996 to 1998, and continues to be updated by Nina Campbell since 2012. At check-in, you’ll discover what makes The Draycott a real hidden gem.

Drawing Room 2

From the website to the lobby, the hotel encourages guests to recycle and save energy (turn off lights, TV, faucet, and air-conditioning when not in use), and to explore the city on two wheels, by public transit or walking tour. The concierge has great tips on where to take a traffic-free ride—beginning at the Barclays bike-share docking station (£2 per 24/hrs) a half a block from the hotel—through Kew Gardens, bird-watchers’ paradise London Wetland Centre, and Richmond Park, the largest open space in London, dating back to the 12th century and full of red deer. Or take a self-guided stroll through the quiet back streets of Chelsea, where you can step into the world of Charles Dickens and George Eliot. Whether the hotel books a cycling tour or points you in the right direction, the idea is it can be fun and easy to lighten your carbon footprint on vacation.

Draycott Shaw - Suite

When you enter one of 35 uniquely styled guestrooms, your name written on the door, it’s nice to know that there are LED lights in the antique lamps, the cleaning products used in your immaculate quarters are eco-friendly,and  leftover toiletries are donated to homeless charities. Room service delivers organic local produce too.

Cadogan Gardens

Cadogan Gardens

Before you care to unpack, there’s one little urban adventure that beckons. Walk one minute to Cocomaya for a pastry and coffee, which you’ll take to Cadogan Gardens, nestled against The Draycott. Only local residents and hotel guests are privy to enjoy these paradisal grounds, where it’s easy to pass an afternoon, surrounded by sculptures, trees, tennis courts and roses. But don’t linger too long, there’s a whole city to see and complimentary champagne by the fire at 6:00pm in the drawing room.

Lindsey Coral Harper Checks Into the Beverly Hills Hotel

Interior designer, and HC contributor, Lindsey Coral Harper reports back from the iconic Beverly Hills Hotel:

Fountain Coffee Room

LOVE: Everything about it!! My favorite hidden spot is the diner down stairs… I love an old-school lunch/breakfast counter.

DIDN’T LOVE: LEAVING!!

Lindsey’s friends Ashley & Casey at the BH Hotel on their wedding day

DESIGN IDEA TO CRIB: The amazing palm leaf wallpaper, Martinique, available through Hinson. I’ve used the wallpaper before, it looks great in a foyer, a hallway or a powder room.  I used it in a client’s kitchen in Palm Beach and it was just what we needed, super kitsch.

The Beverly Hills HotelThe Beverly Hills Hotel Premier Suite - Bedroom - High ResThe Beverly Hills Hotel

ROOM HIGHLIGHTS: The rooms are really a throw back to Old Hollywood Glamour, they are spacious and the bathrooms practically have their own zip code.  Each room has a well-stocked bar and very comfy bed.  Only in Beverly Hills would each bathroom have a scale so you can weigh yourself…can you say Valley of the Dolls?!

Presidential Bungalow BathroomPresidential Bungalow Private Pool

ROOM TO BOOK: If you’re want to splurge, and want your privacy too go for a Bungalow…. Marilyn Monroe lived in one for years!

Pool _Overall

BHH Swimming Pool

Cabanas

MUST DO: Reserve a cabana! The pool is one of the chicest places, and it just underwent a multi-million dollar renovation for the 100-year Jubilee.  Also, eat lunch outside at the Polo Lounge if you want to see or be seen.

The Lobby of The Beverly Hills Hotel ORDER

INSIDER TIP: This hotel has impeccable service. You also have every amenity available to you. There is a salon downstairs, which is great if you want a blow-out before heading out. They have a La Prairie Spa of course if you want to relax by getting a massage or facial.  Between all the amenities the restaurants indoor and outdoor you are pretty much set. You really could live there!!

LCH portrait by Kelly Stuart. Wedding photo Samuel Lippke Studios. All hotel images courtesy The Beverly Hills Hotel.

Bobbi Brown’s Amazing Adventure in South Africa

Bobbi on safari

So happy to have makeup guru Bobbi Brown on Hotel Chic today! I’ve worked as Bobbi’s co-author on two books (the latest, Everything Eyes launches next month). Bobbi could not be cooler or nicer to work with. (this interview we did for Refinery29 totally captures who she is, plus her love of motorcycle boots, Jay-Z, and tequila). Bobbi recently went on a lifechanging trip to South Africa organized by Backroads. Here’s her report, along with some candid pics. Makes you want to pack your bags!

photo courtesy Bobbi Brown

The Group:  My husband Steven and I have done a few bike trips with Backroads and we decided it would be fun to include our extended family on this one. It was 14 people including our 3 sons, one of their girlfriends, my sister and Steven’s  brother. We ranged from age 15 to mid 60s.

Bobbi Brown & her husband Steven Plofker in South Africa

The Trip: We did the Backroads Multisport trip to South Africa and Botswanna for 12 days. We explored Cape Town and  Johannesburg along with wild game reserves, national parks, and local villages. Every day there was a sport component to the trip if you wanted–hiking and biking through the wilderness.

Londolozi Private Game Reserve

Londolozi Private Game Reserve

Fave hotel: Londolozi in South Africa. It was both rugged and luxurious. I’m pretty much done with fancy hotels, a la Ritz, that are more fluff than substance. For example, a lot of the Londolozi staff lives at a nearby village and the last day they invited us into their homes. It’s a different—more personal— experience.

Londolozi deck via Hotel Chic

courtesy of Londolozi

Londolozi

courtesy of Londolozi

The rooms:  We stayed in these beautiful rooms in the middle of the jungle. The funny part is we weren’t allowed to go to our rooms by ourselves and we always had to lock our doors because of the baboons.  Apparently the baboons have been known to drink alcohol and go crazy in the rooms.safari sundownersThe safari: We did safari more that ½ the time. We saw elephants, giraffes, monkeys–it was incredible. At 4pm everyday, they would stop, open up the back of the truck and have a little bar with tequilas and scotches and they would serve drinks and Sundowners.

photo: Bobbi Brown

Healthy Living: The food is spectacular— delicious fresh organic, served in this beautiful way. They also have an amazing spa, great yoga.