Retail therapy: the Sanderson, London

Start 2012 with a bang after a bunk-up in one of London’s original boutique hotels, the Sanderson. A shimmy from Oxford Street, she’s got all that you need for a glamorous intro or outro to the year. And well, it is the sales: this hotel’s neighbourhood is the beating heart of retail.

London – you’re looking mighty fine. The Christmas lights are still up and a-dazzling, everyone’s groomed and jolly from yuletide celebrations, and we haven’t even yet sung Auld Lang Syne. In the run-up to the Olympics, things can only get better, as cheeky Nineties’ band D:Ream put it so well. (It was certainly the case for keyboard player, Dr Brian Cox: but let’s not get sidetracked by popstars-turned-physicists.) And before we get in a froth about all that’s happening in East London in preparation for the August games, let’s talk West End Twixmassing…*

Rude as it would be not to roadtest a stay in this sexy boutique hotel 
first given its sparkle by the original designer digs duo Ian Schrager and Philippe Starck, here is our blueprint for a one-night stay here. After trawling shops from Regent Street to Covent Garden, refuel with a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party in the see-and-be-seen bar and covered courtyard. If it’s evening, hit the residents-only celebrity-beloved Purple Bar for canapés and cocktails before supper in Suka. There, feast on zingy Malaysian by sharing some small plates. Finally, after a round of billiards amid stained-glass gorgeousness, you should sleep like a baby. For a final round of relaxation, sneak in a spa treatment in celestial Agua in the morning. Who knew sales-shopping could be so calming?

We ask the questions: Q&A with Yoo chairman John Hitchcox

After Tamara’s lunch with property guru, Starck-partner and Caprice-dater John Hitchcox a few weeks back, the busiest man in property development agreed to have a chat with us about what his company, Yoo, is up to, what it’s like working with Philippe, and where he hangs out in New York – when he’s not building 650-acre Cotswolds quarry conversions, that is…Jia hotel, Hong Kong

Tamara Hi John. It’s great to chat to someone so involved with contemporary design and development. You’ve got some very high-profile projects under your belt – among others, there’s the Jia hotels in Shanghai and Hong Kong, the Gramercy in New York, and now Yoo’s new Cotswolds village development, the Lakes – which have you enjoyed working on the most?

John All of them. I don’t have a particular favourite, I love all my projects because they are all different, diverse, creative and challenging in their own way. We have 30 projects on the including high rises such as a 72-storey building in Moscow that is about to get underway (I find vertical living intriguing), and then there’s the Lakes. All the projects are about building communities and it’s fascinating to discover how people live and how they recognise the value of their home.

Lunch with John Hitchcox

So - yesterday, I had lunch with John Hitchcox at Electric House (of Soho House Group fame). You may not know his name but you…