Lively London: The Capi-tal Hotel
JACKIE: David says it all … and very well!
DAVID:Let me remind you of what Samuel Johnson said about London back in the 1700’s: “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.” Well, I for one am tired of neither. London is up there with New York and Paris as my favorite cities in the world – all vibrant and active and still full of surprises after all these years and all my visits. One of those surprises, and a really delightful one, on this trip to London was … OK; sing along with me – “There’s a small hotel ….” Now insert the word “perfect” … and you have my new favorite home in London, The 5-Star Capital Hotel.
Great location, on peaceful, residential Basil Street just behind Harrods — of course, that’s dangerous territory when your wife is waiting at home (my next stop!) after over six weeks apart and I am ready to offer the moon. Harrods could probably deliver it. The Capital, on the other hand, throws in the stars and sun! It’s truly a grand hotel in petite size with all the bells and whistles of comfort, elegance and service, but in the intimate, discreet style of a private townhouse.
Just 49 individually designed guest rooms including eight suites and one two-bedroom suite all with luxury features and facilities. For example, you sleep on supremely comfy handmade mattresses covered by sheets of fine Egyptian cotton. If that’s not enough to keep you cozily in bed, there’s a console at hand that controls the lighting in the room, the radio and the TV (satellite, natch). Hard to lie abed, though, with a huge marble bath (a super strong shower for me) lush robes and slippers and toiletries by Templespa (the best!).
The exquisite interior of the Capital glows with museum quality furniture and original art, each piece hand-picked or commissioned by the Levin family, owners of this destination, home to royalty and to celebrities from all over the world. I had a pleasant chat with impeccably dressed owner, David Levin, and his lovely young daughter, Kate, The Capital’s General Manager. They are appropriately proud of their Capital Group which includes their sister hotel The Levin, just a few doors away and equally special and The London Bakery and Levin Wines in the Loire Valley of France. The bakery and the vineyard supply excellent product to some of the best hotels and restaurants around.
I owe the Levins big time for my best final days of this long journey. My spacious junior suite was like an English garden with great cabbage roses on the draperies complimenting the floral fabric walls. Two bathrooms, TV in sitting room and another in the bedroom, lots of highly polished period mahogany pieces. Perfect! Breakfast served in the Outlaws restaurant was lavish enough to make me avoid lunch – fresh squeezed juices, baskets of croissants and other dangerous goodies, ham and cheeses, cereals, fresh brewed coffee and tea. And my special treat, smoked haddock with two perfectly poached eggs. Touch them with a fork and the heavy red-golden yolk floods out. British eggs are my passion.
Now about avoiding lunch; hard to do since the breakfast as well as all the delectable food at The Capital’s buzzing restaurant is the work of Executive Chef Nathan Outlaw, holder of two well-deserved Michelin stars and Head Chef Pete Biggs. And if Nathan is an outlaw, he’s the Robin Hood sort, offering a 3-course lunch daily at an unbelievably low price. A definite steal! Another is the way the Capital staff steals your heart – all smiles, remembers your name, honors every reasonable request. And some not so reasonable.
My appreciation to Head Concierge Clive Smith and his associate, Bruno who gave me directions, printed my boarding pass home and provided a slew of other favors. If you are heading to London, please hit the internet and see the pictures of this exceptional hotel and the food and read about the wonders of London. : By the way, the rest of good old Sam Johnson’s quote: “for there is in London all that life can afford.” I second the motion, Mate! He was obviously talking about The Capital Hotel.
And we’ll travel…
Here’s a special Lawrence & Lawrence tip for our readers heading for London:
Get yourself an Oyster!! You could drop in to any of the lovely restaurants specializing in seafood and get a half dozen of the delicious darlings.
But — we’re talking about an Oyster Card. For a whole lot less than pricey London cabs, or even individual tickets for a bus or a subway, the Oyster Card let’s you hop on at any bus stop or in any underground station. Just touch this treasure to the receiver
at the turnstile or on board the bus and you’re good to go. No need to hunt for the proper
pound and pennies; one little credit card sized pass is your magic carpet all over the city.
Easy to buy at any underground station and in the amount you choose. Now all you need
to decide is “Do I take the tube to whisk me there or do I hop on a bus to see the sights
along the way (and hop off at any place that strikes my fancy)?”
I would never be without my Oyster Card. It’s an open sesame to London’s lovelies!