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?

New Year Fireworks

Spa spa sparkle for New Year’s Eve! The ultimate party pampering guide

New Year FireworksRight, are we all done with Christmas now? As if last week’s all-American spa hotel round-up wasn’t enough, we’ve grilled the great and the good from luxury hotel spas near and far to ensure you’re the prettiest, perkiest and most polished partygoer from top to toes this New Year’s Eve.

Here’s our mammoth pick of their finest beauty tips and tricks for transforming your looks in a flash (and hiding that hangover afterwards).

Now all you have to do is worry about what to wear…

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URBAN ESCAPE AT THE METROPOLITAN LONDON
Metropolitan London spa Urban EscapeComo Shambhala manager at the Urban Escape spa Samantha West

What are you doing for New Year’s Eve?
Hosting a house party in my flat in central London with close friends and neighbours. We’ll have canapés, champagne, fireworks, and lots of dancing!

Pre-party pampering tips?
Sleep, lots of water and a healthy diet. I’d exercise the day before to release endorphins, improve circulation and enhance general well-being. Don’t exercise on the day of a party, as there’s not enough time for your body to recover. Body scrub is a must; self-tan; luxury pedicure; relaxing massage; facial; and hydrate your skin all over with a good body lotion.

False eyelashesInstant makeover?
False eyelashes or lots of mascara with a natural make-up base and lots of lip gloss.

Favourite beauty products?
Lots – I’m a product junkie!

Inside London #4: It’s a Minimission!

SECRETS FROM OUR INSIDER LONDON ADDRESS BOOK… If last week's one day of sunshine got you thinking about summer, then this week's Minimission party will…