23 August 2014

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Splashing Out - Champagne Bars in London


See London at its best as Julie Sheppard explores the seven wonders of the capital’s Champagne world

1. The high life

champlon2 - 868198.jpgTourists make a beeline for the London Eye to take in stunning views over the capital and beyond, but Londoners can do things in a little more style. Book a private Champagne Capsule and you’ll be able to enjoy the view away from the crowds, with a bottle of Laurent-Perrier (£440 per capsule, plus £55 for a bottle of Champagne). Then head to new boutique hotel Bermondsey Square nearby, where you can book into the ‘Lucy’ loft room, a decadent monochrome penthouse decorated with gold discs of hits by The Beatles and named after ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’. Outside on the terrace you can slip into the hot-tub, glass of fizz in hand, to watch the sun set over the London skyline (room from £249 per night).

2. Spa style champlon1 - 0905_dorchesterspa5.jpg

If the pace of city living gets too much, head to the new Spa at The Dorchester for a day of relaxation. Following a £3.2 million refurb, the elegant spa boasts nine treatment rooms and a relaxation room, all with a feel of 1930s’ glamour. Treat yourself to a decadent Caviar Facial (£160) followed by a glass of Louis Roederer NV in the wittily named Spatisserie (£14.50). End your day in the Krug Room in The Dorchester’s master kitchens, where you’ll be able to watch chef Henri Brosi prepare a special menu to be paired with a range of Krug Champagnes, including the rare Clos du Mesnil 1992 (prices start from £90 per person for a four-course dinner).

3. Curtain’s up…

champlon5 - PERRIER_JOUET_BAR_AT_OPERA.jpgOpera fans know that a glass of fizz helps to make any performance sparkle, particularly at Covent Garden’s Royal Opera House with its Perrier-Jouët Champagne Bar. But why not go one better with a Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque package for you and nine friends? For £10,000 you’ll get seats in the Royal Box, with exclusive use of the plush Royal Retiring Room throughout the performance, where you’ll be able to enjoy bottles of Perrier-Jouët. At the end of the performance you can observe the curtain calls before having a private backstage tour. Performances in July include Verdi’s La Traviata and Tosca by Puccini.

4. Rock ’n’ roll on the river

Join the likes of Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones by carving a wake through the river in the Thames Flyer. Bands have used this high-speed riverboat to arrive in style for their gigs at The O2, but even if you’re not an international rock god, you can still make an entrance with a glass of Laurent-Perrier in hand. The 40mph ride on the Thames Flyer, which seats 12, takes in landmarks such as St Paul’s and Tower Bridge, and costs £650 an hour, including a bottle of Champagne. In July you’ll be able to catch Madonna’s Sticky
& Sweet Tour at The O2 (best seats available for £175).

5. Disco divachamplon3 - DB_409.jpg

Dance the night away Miami-style at luxe Chelsea club Diva Beach. Inspired by Miami’s South Beach, with a 1930s’ art deco style, this boutique club features white leather day beds to take a rest between forays to the dance floor, where resident DJ Sam Young takes care of the sounds. For a more exclusive experience, have a private party in the Champagne Lounge, where your Moët hostess can serve magnums of vintage Moët personalised with Swarovski crystals. Or order a salamanzar (nine litres) of Moët NV for a cool £1,800. You can even book one of Diva Beach’s own limos, stocked with mini bottles of Moët, to make sure you arrive and depart in style.

6. Food and fizz

For passionate foodies, a trip to Borough Market is always a treat. Arrive early on a Saturday morning to get first pickings from producers such as Denhay Farm (for air-dried ham and farmhouse Cheddar), Fern Verrow Vegetables (for biodynamic fruit and veg) and Flour Power City Bakery (for moreish brownies). But make the day extra special by strolling down Stoney Street to Vinopolis. Pop into Wine Wharf for a reviving glass of Bollinger Special Cuvée NV (£14.75) before you take the Celebration Tasting Tour. Not only will you learn more about wine, you’ll also have a chance to taste three different Champagnes (£32.50 per person).

7. Feeling art-tea

champlon4 - NEW_APSLEYS_AFTERNOON_TEA.jpgFor culture vultures, spending an afternoon wandering around an art gallery is an ideal pastime – but it’s even better if you can enjoy a cool glass of fizz en route. The Royal Academy’s mixed media Summer Exhibition is an essential visit every year and 2009 is no different, with highlights including Bryan Kneale’s huge stainless steel sculpture ‘Triton III’ in the courtyard (from 8 June to 16 August, tickets £8.50). When you’ve finished viewing, stroll down Piccadilly to The Lanesborough, which was awarded ‘Best afternoon tea in London’ by the British Tea Council last year. Order the luxurious Belgravia Tea, which includes a glass of Taittinger, for £40 per person.

Editorial feature from Square Meal Lifestyle Magazine Summer 2009

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