New favorite in a favorite city

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JACKIE: We want to talk about David’s new passion for an extraordinary hotel in London. He’s so carried away! Since I missed this experience, I’m wanting my turn this coming spring. Wish me luck…

DAVID: After 59 years of visiting the city, one never, ever tires of London. I thought I had stayed at every great hotel in town. I was wrong! And it took a charming Lass to prove it. I am indebted to Kiera Blystad, Public Relations Manager, for introducing me to my latest, best-est discovery: the InterContinental London Park Lane.

The location cannot be surpassed—Hyde Park Corner in the heart of Piccadilly, Mayfair and Knightsbridge—and the hotel itself has earned all five of its stars!

The epitome of contemporary design, luxury, comfort, service and amenities, that’s the happy place I now call home away when I cross the pond. I settled into an accommodation perfect for my advanced age—steps away from the lift (elevator to you Yanks!)  with a large walk-in shower, now almost a necessity.

My deluxe bedroom was beautifully furnished with super comfy king size bed fitted with Frette linens and featured a well organized work area plus all the goodies that make one refuse to work – a comfortable couch facing a big flat screen TV, Nespresso machine, and a view that would not quit— the peace of the nearby parks, and the rush of the London buses and taxis.

Around the corner, the wonders available at Fortnum and Mason and the posh shops of Burlington Arcade and Bond Street, I joined the crowds and ticked off a lot of the goodies for my gifts back home. The walk back to the hotel took me past The Royal Academy and the Green Park and my old standby Shepherd Market, a small village square from the 1700’s filled with cafes, shops and restaurants.

The cool, clean air and the friendly spirit of the Londoners added to the spirit, so I stopped at the Bunch of Grapes pub in the Market for a pint of ale. I reminisced on the long night I was at this very spot filming a scene for the first TV movie I ever produced, Tourist, in 1980.

Back to the present and I took the lift to the 7th floor of my hotel to visit the Club InterContinental, hands down the best hotel club I’ve ever been to. Spectacular views of the parks and monuments, large happy seasonal decorations and a selection of the finest spirits and wines (Grey Goose vodka! Perrier-Jouet Grand Cru Champagne!!) and mouth-watering canapes. All free to members (like myself for the two-night stay).

I almost regretted the dinner date I had made. But I made up for it with a terrific breakfast (also complimentary) the next morning – freshly squeezed orange juice, full English Breakfast of poached eggs, potato cakes, mushrooms, sausages, kippers – the works! As eager as I was to get home to Jackie and Skye, I knew I’d miss the InterContinental and all it offered. Including my dinner at the Theo Randall (Michelin Star!) dinner on my last night. Hold on (and dream on) while I read my menu notes (in parenthesis): First – a frosty flute of Billecart Salmon Rose’ champers (my fave!). Antipasti: Minestrone (the real thing; proof of the Chef’s Italian expertise), Insalata Mista (refreshing, perfect combo with zesty dressing). Primi: Ravioli di zucca, roasted squash, ricotta, butter and sage (a home run!) Risotto with clams, prawns, mussels (a first for me, but not the last!).

Second: Agnello in tegame, slow cooked lamb shoulder with olives and anchovies (tender and tasty), Arrosoto di faraona, wood roasted guinea fowl stuffed with prosciutto, lemon zest and mushrooms (a wow dish!)  Dolci:  Amalfi lemon tart (creamy and truly tart) and Affogato: vanilla ice cream and chilled espresso (unique, a great ending!). In actual fact, the dinner itself was a great ending to an all too brief stay at my new favorite London Hotel InterContinental London Park Lane.

JACKIE: What is not fair is David never gains weight! Anyway, heigh ho… we’ll travel (next time with me!!!).

Jackie Joseph-Lawrence is a writer and actress best known for her TV roles as Alan Brady’s niece Jackie on “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” the voice of Melody in the animated “Josie and the Pussycats” and as Jackie Parker on “The Doris Day Show.” David Lawrence is a writer/producer responsible for TV series episodes of “Mash” and “That’s Hollywood” along with movies and mini-series including “Highjacking of the Achille Lauro” and “The Key to Rebecca.” Lawrence & Lawrence write regularly about travel for The Tolucan Times.

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