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Your ‘bleisure’ travel guide: London

Want to turn your work trip into a mini-vacation? ‘Bleisure’ travel is where business meetings meet leisurely treats to boost productivity as well as relaxation.

If your bags and power suits are packed for the British capital, keep in mind that London isn’t just a city of business – it’s your playground for ‘bleisure’. Think boardroom meetings, but also hidden speakeasies, avant-garde boutiques and luxury shopping expeditions. The work-hard, play-hard mantra isn’t just a saying here; it’s a lifestyle. In this guide, we go beyond what’s typical and recommend exclusive accommodations, one-of-a-kind experiences, gourmet restaurants and more.

Where to stay

It’s likely that you already know of the The Ritz, Shangri-La at The Shard and The Soho Hotel. On your next trip, explore more options like The Connaught in Mayfair that offers discreet luxury. Or The Ned, a former-bank-turned-hotel in the city center that is also a club. You might also look at The Lanesborough near Hyde Park for a classical grandeur but modern amenities.

In Belgravia, a neighborhood in central London, family-owned The Goring Hotel has a Royal Warrant and offers a Michelin-starred restaurant. Or you could also discover The Rosewood London in Holborn, that fuses Edwardian with contemporary designs.

The Goring Hotel

For an intimate atmosphere, The Ampersand Hotel in South Kensington and The Curtain Hotel in Shoreditch provide unique, personalized experiences. Alternatively, luxury serviced apartments like Cheval Residences offer a home-like atmosphere across the city. Pick your spot.

What to do

To ensure that your ‘bleisure’ trip to London extends beyond the ordinary, it is crucial that you include more things in your itinerary than the British Museum. While it is a cultural treasure, also visit lesser-known gems like Sir John Soane’s Museum. Tucked away in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, it showcases an eclectic collection in the former home of the neo-classical architect.

When it comes to performing arts, the Royal Opera House is only the beginning. Discover Wilton’s Music Hall – the world’s oldest surviving music hall – for an intimate performance in historic surroundings.

Another way to elevate a not-so-busy afternoon would be uncovering London’s skyline with a private helicopter tour, or opting for a hot air balloon ride over the city’s landmarks.

View of the city from a private helicopter tour

The Thames River cruise doesn’t skip anyone’s mind, but for a more exclusive experience, you could also charter a private yacht from St Katharine Docks. Complete with a personal crew and bespoke itinerary, it offers spectacular views of iconic sites in the city.

At last, when it comes to shopping, it’s highly recommended to explore the hidden treasures of Cecil Court, a Victorian thoroughfare known for its antique shops and independent bookstores. Besides, Camden Passage in Islington offers a mix of vintage boutiques, antique shops and artisanal stores.

For avant-garde fashion, explore Coal Drops Yard in King’s Cross, in addition to Dover Street Market that has gained favor with style enthusiasts for years. This modern shopping district, housed in Victorian industrial buildings, features unique boutiques and design stores. If you’re into independent designers, Carnaby Street in Soho provides a blend of established brands and emerging talent. While it’s not a well-kept secret, it’s perfect for indulging yourself after your stroll on Oxford Street.

Where to eat

What they say about British cuisine is true. To put it mildly, it may not be the most flavorsome. But that doesn’t mean London doesn’t boast a great culinary scene.

Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester is exquisite – but also discover Core by Clare Smyth, a two-Michelin-starred restaurant known for its modern British cuisine. For a French-British fusion, Gordon Ramsay’s eponymous restaurant is renowned, yet Le Comptoir Robuchon in Mayfair provides a contemporary French experience.

Alternatively, consider The Clove Club in Shoreditch to taste British ingredients with a modern twist.

A coastal Indian meal at Trishna

To complete your gastronomic journey, venture into Trishna in Marylebone for coastal Indian cuisine, explore modern European fare at The Ledbury or visit Hedone in Chiswick for a Michelin-starred experience that is off the beaten path.

For an indulgent food affair with varied options, visit Mercato Metropolitano in multiple locations across the city. It offers a fulfilling experience – of course, apart from Camden Lock, which one can spot on every tourist’s must-visit list.

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