London in the Spring
Jackie: We want to talk about our new travels, so please read while humming “On the road again…” It’s always a tug for me to leave family, home, Skye and garden. Packing gives me quivers. However, when one awakens in the exquisite One Aldwych hotel, one adjusts.
David: American Airlines delivered us comfortably and safely to London, and we hopped the London Heathrow Express for an inexpensive 15-minute ride into the city and to One Aldwych. What a perfect time to be in this great city; and what a change in the weather – a couple of months ago I was chilled to the bone; London was in deep-freeze mode. Now, it’s bright and lovely, showing off its fresh spring colors with golden daffodils popping up all over town. A little rain of course, but to us, it’s just London champagne. Recently, we were fortunate to stay at Dukes Hotel, one of the properties in the elite Campbell Gray Collection. This time we chose their other renowned London hotel, One Aldwych. Dukes, true to its name, is like an aristocratic English gentleman in his dinner suit (tux to you, mate!). Dignified but never stuffy, charming and social. One Aldwych is like the Duke’s favorite son, fresh from Oxford, head of his class, bright and sassy and ready to take on the world.
Jackie: We must share our awe for the owner of these exceptional hotels, Gordon Campbell Gray. He’s a fascinating true Scot we’d love to meet one day, perhaps at his Carlisle Bay in Antigua (the choice for me!), or Le Gray in Beirut (David’s). Mr. Gray, who worked his way up through the hotel business, is committed, heart and soul, to Save the Children, spending much of his time and energy in the trouble spots of the world helping others. This is remarkable, lovely and laudable and I want to hug him.
David: And I am slaphappy over the terrific features of Mr. Gray’s One Aldwych. Soaring ceilings, exciting art and flowers everywhere, gorgeous lavishly fitted rooms and suites (with my favorite Frette linen and fresh fruit and flowers daily). You can see it all on the Internet — the health club, swimming pool (unbelievable!), a screening room (brilliantly equipped and available for private events) and the dramatic savings with special offers for an affordable stay. And the location! In dynamic Covent Garden (I was here on that night in the ’60’s when the famed farmers’ market closed down for good and watched the greengrocers, fruiterers, butchers and fish mongers (with tears in their eyes) pack up to move across the Thames.
Jackie: The West End theatre district is so near. We’ve tickets for Love Never Dies (the sequel to Phantom of the Opera). Tonight, drinks at the hotel’s happening lobby bar, and then a magnificent dinner at their Axis Restaurant surrounded by powerful contemporary art, lovely flowers and spot-on service.
It deserves its reputation as London’s top-of-the-charts restaurant! With such comfort and tender loving care (and superb dining!), it is the perfect place to start our spring adventure. Next, April in Paris …
David: Many thanks to the dapper, charming Howard Rombough, the Public Relations Director of Campbell Gray Collection who introduced us to One Aldwych (Jackie’s got a crush on him). Tomorrow is another day (with Full English breakfast), using our convenient money-saving pre-paid Oyster Card to take the tube or buses all over town to our favorite London sights.
Our last morning, we will head to St. Pancras station to board Eurostar for the exciting, safe, comfortable and swift trip to Paris. Best of all possible ways to go.