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?

Cocktails at Callooh Callay

‘You are now
In London, that great sea, whose ebb and flow
At once is deaf and loud, and on the shore
Vomits its wrecks, and still howls on for more.
Yet in its depth what treasures!’
(Percy Bysshe Shelley, letter to Maria Gisborne, 1820)

It’s easy to fall out of love with London life – the city’s din and dirt can get to even the most nonchalant native – but with a little urban rummaging, it’s equally easy to fall right back in love again. Just the other week, Caroline and I found a London treasure worth writing home about; a bar called Callooh Callay, recommended to us by one of our trusty Smith reviewers.