TOURIST IN MY OWN TOWN
It’s not often I get the chance to treat myself to an overnight stay in London. Being just a twenty minute train ride from Waterloo station, the only times it’s seemed neccessary is when working on weekend events – and then all I need is a bed and shower! So when I was invited to try out the newly refurbished Amba Hotel Marble Arch, I jumped at the chance to be a tourist in my own town and see the city from a different perspective – and with Christmas coming up it was a great excuse to see the lights and fit some shopping in too!
Located on London’s busiest shopping street, Oxford Street, and overlooking Hyde Park you couldn’t be more central. Marble Arch or Bond Street Stations are just a few minutes away, making it a great base for any trip to the big smoke – work or pleasure. With my trip being in mid-November, the Christmas lights were already glowing high above Oxford Street, making a pretty outlook from the hotel bar watching the hustle and bustle of weekend shoppers below.
Stepping away off the street and through the lobby guests are greeted with a circle of check-in pods and smiling staff on hand to answer any questions before being whisked up to my room – an Executive King – complete with Nespresso machine and complimentary minibar (and most importantly for the fussy coffee drinker, proper fresh milk!).
After taking a few minutes to settle in I decided it was time to hit the town, and went for a wander around some of my favourite spots taking my time to enjoy each spot and not have to rush off to the next meeting or event! After getting my fill of Oxford Street shopping, I took a stroll down New Bond Street and into Fenwicks – by far the best department store in London – and onto the high-end boutiques and shops of Mayfair. One of the great things about my city is knowing there’s always something different just around the corner, so from there I headed into St James’ Park for a break away from the busy tourist areas to take a breath of fresh(er!) air, before finding myself in Westminster and crossing the bridge at the Houses of Parliament onto the Southbank. The Christmas market in full swing, this is one of my favourite spots to while away an hour or two, grabbing a drink in one of the many bars (my favourite is Benugo’s in the BFI for a laid-back but trendy vibe) and taking in a view of the iconic London Eye.
After a full day of walking, my legs needed a break so I jumped in a cab back to the hotel to cosy up in the bar with a glass of red before turning in for the night. To finish of my stay, I treated myself to a well-deserved breakfast (I’m sure I walked far enough to cancel out the calories!) tucking into a proper English fry-up with bacon and eggs, as well as the all-American option of pancakes and syrup! Just what I needed before checking out and heading home after a relaxing stay.
Have you tried being a tourist in your own town? I highly recommend it!
Maxeen Kim Photography