Planning THAT hen do and stuck for ideas? We've found six stylish things you'll actually want to do. And there's not an afternoon tea or spa day (yawn) in sight...
The perfect sleepover
Tired and tested: ‘Girl’s Night In’ at The Berkeley Hotel, London
Remember the kind of sleepover you had with your best mate when you were kid with ice cream sodas and chocolate midnight feasts? Or the sort you had when you were a teenager with a Leonardo DiCaprio film and a bottle of White Lightning? I’m not sure sleepovers have ever been the same since, much as I’ve tried to recreate them as an adult with a slightly more upmarket bottle of booze and a couple of face masks.
But that was before I spent a ‘Girl’s Night In’ at The Berkeley Hotel in London. I wouldn’t even class myself as a ‘girly’ girl, I just knew in the run up to my best friend Liz’s wedding, chilling out in a hotel suite with a mini bar, room service and a shed load of hilarious films was just the (gin and) tonic. Weddings are stressful enough without worrying about the hen do. This way the Berkeley could take care of everything – and we wouldn’t even have to leave the hotel room. Hashtag heaven.
So what sets it apart from a night in any other hotel? See above! I can’t think of a single thing they haven’t thought of. The package includes a manicure and use of the hotel spa and pool so after we’d cracked open the (first bottle of) champers off we went to get pampered before dinner. Our suite had a luxurious bathroom (complete with a bag each of Benefit products including ‘They’re Real’ mascara and ‘Total Moisture’ facial cream) lounge with wide-screen telly (one of three in the suite) and catalogue of movies to suit your mood, and a spacious terrace with a view over the city.
Most charmingly, you’re provided with a box of fun – AKA all the essentials for a sleepover – magazines, fashion books, Diptyque candles, old school sweets et al. The only thing I didn’t feel I needed was the sleep-in rollers as my hair is so short. Liz (with long fine hair) put them in for a laugh and walked down to breakfast the next morning looking like K:Middy. Nope, no bad thing when the rest of you is as hungover as she was.
Above all, the staff were just lovely and accommodating. We couldn’t find our DVD player at first (the booze or the perils of a posh hotel? I suspect a bit of both) but the concierge were at our door within minutes of ringing down. We settled on Bride Wars (I KNOW. But c’mon, it WAS a hen) and then remembered at about 12.30am that we hadn’t claimed our Haagen Dazs ice cream and homemade pop corn (which came included – and was served with a jug of freshly melted butter.)
See, they really have thought of everything. Except maybe paracetamol for the morning after.
The one for mad hatters
With fans including Alexa Chung and Dita von Teese, you’re in very safe hands with milliner-to-the-stars Katherine Elizabeth. Her Hatiquette couture parties – partnered with Kettner’s, The Zetter Townhouse and Grosvenor House hotel no less – are a right laugh AND you’ll leave with a hat for the wedding. We love the new 1920s bridal sessions. Oh, hiiiii Mary Crawley *tips hat.*
The one for shoe obsessives
More of a shoe gal? Head straight for Hetty Rose Shoes for a heel (or is that a flat?) workshop. A London College of Fashion graduate, you’ll learn everything you ever wanted to know about shoes from Hetty in her studio overlooking The Thames. And you’ll leave looking super stylish to, erm, boot. Charlotte Olympia, eat your heart out.
The Great British Bake-Off
Remember the Fabulous Baker Brothers? Yep, they’re still baking. And still looking hot. Which makes Hobb’s House Bakery in the Cotswolds the perfect choice if you fancy a hen do baker day but want to do it in style. Think baking bread, bejeweling cupcakes and champagne on tap.
The one that’s outdoors (but still glam)
If the bride’s more of an outdoorsy type, definitely consider heading to Devon or Malvern to stay in a Californian dome surrounded by acres of woodland. At Babes In The Wood glamping there’s no bush tucker trials, just champagne, massages, and even serenading storytellers. So if there’s a princess in the party (there usually is), enough to shut them up!
The one that smells pretty great
Calling all wannabe Jo Malones! If you’ve ever wanted to design your own perfume, now’s the chance; complete with history lesson, all the essential oils you could wish to smell and a glass of champagne. Clearly the key to any stylish hen do – you may have gathered.