Easy escapes: a weekend in Marylebone

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  • Miranda McMinn spends the weekend in Madonna's neighbourhood

    The bar at The Arch

    Why go:
    Marylebone combines old London charm – all twinkly street lights, leafy squares and York stone pavements – with a location that’s pretty much unrivalled for huge shopping opportunities. Selfridges is around the corner, Bond Street but a five minute walk. Browns and the whole of South Molton Street awaits – and in the other direction Marylebone High Street and all that chi chi good stuff. And for a bit of down and dirty retail therapy, well, if Oxford Street doesn’t do it for you, nothing will! That’s not to mention the posh hairdressing salons in Mayfair (John Frieda anyone?) for a total glam-over or a stroll in nearby Hyde Park for a bit of a breather between splurges.

    Literally, any time. Birthdays and anniversaries are obvious choices for shopping sprees but really, who needs an excuse?

    Stay at:
    The Arch http://www.thearchlondon.com/
    This boutique hotel, at the Mayfair end of Marylebone, is ultra-hip yet wonderfully welcoming. There is an open fire surrounded by modern designer sofas in reception, and an enticing “Martini library” with contemporary furniture and fabulous, expensive art books. Monograph photography lines the corridors and the rooms are tasteful, muted – nothing too try hard. It’s family run, with super friendly staff, and the intention was to make it like a home which it is – just quite a lot better. Basically imagine you were incredibly rich and had a townhouse in Marylebone (like Madonna, whose London home is directly opposite and whose crew, incidentally, often stay at The Arch). This is how you would decorate it. Little touches like a code-free wifi and the whole Sky package including sports channels offer the sort of hospitality you wish for but don’t always get in a hotel. No wonder The Arch wins lots of awards – and in the 2016 TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice™ awards for Hotels was ranked 9 out of 25 for best hotel in the UK placing the hotel in the top 1% on TripAdvisor.

    Deluxe room at The Arch

    Dine at:
    Marylebone and Mayfair (on the other side of Marble Arch) are stuffed full of the best restaurants in London: Locanda Locatelli, Galvin Bistro de Luxe, Scott’s, Le Caprice, Nobu, Chiltern Firehouse – every one a destination and that’s just the tip of the culinary iceberg within walking distance. If you feel like staying home, The Arch has its own very good restaurant too – Hunter 486 (named after the old phone exchange). Décor is curtained booths and a champagne bar at one end, and at the other a super smart country kitchen overlooking a glamorous mews. The food is a fairly short but well executed menu of classic comfort foods. My husband had scallops and a very good steak béarnaise; I went for goats cheese, beetroot and orange salad followed by divinely cooked liver and bacon with mash. A cool fashion-y clientele were having cocktails as we ate and I overheard someone saying the martini they had just drunk was the best they’d ever had.

    You really must:

    Have an early morning run in Hyde Park – for good measure you can pretend you live in the area. Take an evening stroll, turning right out of the hotel towards Bryanston Square. London by streetlight, among these gorgeous terraces, is to be savoured. Oh, and go shopping. Obvs.

    Bring home:
    Everything. Designer clothes. Shoes. Handbags. Just lots and lots of stuff. And a big overdraft

    The Arch London is offering the below deal at the moment until October 2016:
    Weekend break deal from £300 per night, for a minimum two night stay, for both single and double occupancy, including English Breakfast each morning and Afternoon Tea.

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