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We're delighted that so many venues are opening up their roofs this summer, one of the latest being the RIBA award-winning Coin Street Neighbourhood Centre, with fabulous views of the OXO Tower one way, and the National Theatre and London Eye the other. Inside, all meeting rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows, and there's a strong emphasis on environmentally friendly materials throughout the building.
Quick newsflash if you're planning events for later this year: both the new Saatchi Gallery (tel: 020 8968 9331) in Chelsea and The 108 (tel: 020 8305 3091) at the O2 in Greenwich have delayed their respective openings until October. Both were due to launch this month but builders being builders...
Grade I-listed former Midland Bank headquarters at 27-35 Poultry is all set to be transformed into London's first six star hotel (surprise surprise, the owner is a Russian oligarch). Private members' clubs, a roof garden and 184 bedrooms are thought to be in the offing. Rumours also abound that the Cafe Royal is set to receive the six star hotel treatment over the next couple of years(don't forget to book those Christmas parties there while you still can).
You don't need an excuse to hold an outdoor meeting this week if you're anywhere near St James' Park on Thursday and Friday. Tell your boss that all that greenery and nature is very inspiring and make use of Visit London's Outdoor Office. Overlooking the lake, just off Birdcage Walk, the office will house a reception area, boardroom, 'creative' room, work desk area and a water cooler. Areas and desks can be reserved (via the Visit London website) for up to two hours between 9.30am and 6pm.
Forget everything you thought you knew about teambuilding cookery classes: L’atelier des Chefs (tel: 020 7499 6580) is reinventing the wheel in their swanky Wigmore Street kitchens. We particularly like the ‘cook, eat and run’ concept, where you can pop down at lunchtime and cook a tasty meal in just 30 minutes: best of all, it's 2-for-1 until 31 August, a saving of £9 each. Elsewhere, up to 150 can be accommodated for a teambuilding session and classes can last from half an hour to four hours.
You're spoilt for choice with no less than four private dining rooms at newly opened restaurant/bar Devonshire Terrace (tel: 020 7256 3233). Even better, each has its own balcony and sliding doors, so you can be part of the adjacent restaurant or completely sealed off. A great new option for private diners in the City...
Not a lot of people know this but you can hire s&m cafes for private events, the latest being this week's new opening in Leadenhall Market (tel: 020 7626 6646). The 200-capacity space is their largest yet, with 3100 sq ft spread out over three floors. And if you fancy bangers and mash on the river, check out s&m ahoy! - a catering service aboard Thames Clippers from Tate Britain to Woolwich.
Things are hotting up at the Cinnamon Club, where chef Vivek Singh has created the world's hottest curry (allegedly). It's already been submitted to the Guiness World Records and diners have to sign a disclaimer before eating it, stating they understand the nature and risks involved with eating such a dish. What makes it so darn spicy? It's the Naga pepper and its seeds, which is 100 times hotter than your common or garden jalapeno pepper. Private diners, proceed with caution!
At last - a way to shop at Hamleys without getting surrounded by over-excited children. We love the sound of the after-hours parties for corporate groups, which include private shopping (with a discount) throughout the store, canapés and Champagne. DJs and live entertainment can be laid on and don't forget Hamleys host childrens' parties too, including a sleepover (we're jealous!)
The Mandarin Oriental's delightful new outdoor dining space, The Park Terrace, has opened and to celebrate, the hotel is offering complimentary room hire when you book a private reception on the Terrace, for a minimum of 150 guests. Other excellent deals include a complimentary upgrade from a sparkling wine reception to a Champagne reception at lunch or dinner, and a special offer on canapés, which are reduced to £12 per person (normal price £16). The various offers are valid until the end of December, as long as you book before the end of August.
Swiftly following on the heels of L'Atelier des Chefs comes The Kitchen (tel: 020 7736 8067): an exciting new 'meal assembly' concept whereby time-poor Londoners can order a meal online (with menus created by a Michelin-starred chef), then pop in to the Parsons Green kitchen, where the ingredients for said meal are all ready to be put together and taken home by you to enjoy. What's more, bespoke private bookings are available for up to 16, with a Champagne reception and team cooking, followed by a food and wine matching experience.
Not another private members' club I hear you cry? Well, Victory (tel: 020 7240 0700) is thankfully something a little bit different. Newly opened, membership is free but granted on the premise that you have a story to tell: only creative, witty raconteurs need apply. All areas of the imaginative New Oxford Street venue are also available for private hire, from Victory Street (a movie set-inspired avenue with shop windows) to a Library and Apartment.
One of South Yorkshire's finest hotels, Aston Hall, has just opened a new West Wing to its 1772 main house. Mirroring its beautiful Georgian architecture, the Wing adds a further 29 bedrooms and two new meeting rooms, holding up to 30 people boardroom or 60 theatre style.
Switch on to BBC One tonight at 8pm and spot Italian restaurant Number Twelve on Celebrity Masterchef, as the three remaining finalists fine tune their cooking at top London restaurants. The restaurant has recently been nominated as Best Italian Restaurant at the London Restaurant Awards and can be hired exclusively for up to 70; combine with a meeting in one of Ambassadors Bloomsbury's meeting rooms (the restaurant sits on its ground floor).
Now there's the chance to sample all of Tom Aikens' signature dishes in private dining, seating up to ten, with matched wines chosen by Sommelier of the Year 2008 Gearoid Devaney. Enjoy the Classic Menu at £100 per person (with wines, £175 per person), with such delights as poached lobster tail and cured venison with venison carpaccio.
When Kingly Court-based private members' club Bureau (tel: 020 7494 4386) opened earlier this month, we were disappointed that this slick, New York-style basement bar was only available for private hire to non-members on a Sunday. But hurray - we've just heard that it is now open for weekday or night bookings too, with a capacity of 80 for drinks and gourmet bar food.