London is all about art in October, with the arrival of the annual Frieze contemporary art fair. Over 160 international art dealers and galleries come together in beautiful Regent’s Park to focus on established and emerging artists. This year’s Frieze Artist Award winner, New York-based artist Rachel Rose, will create a multi-layered installation of the fair, complete with scale model, lighting, and sound. Other highlights include a Sculpture Park in the English Garden, featuring contemporary and historical works.
I usually stay at Claridge’s when I’m in London; I feel so at home there. But there are some new openings that have caught my eye. The Beaumont in Mayfair is an Art Deco-style, 50-room property with dark woods and marble detailing. Highlights include a spa, barbershop, and the glamorous Colony Grill Room restaurant and American Bar, where owners Chris Corbin and Jeremy King (also behind the wonderful Wolseley restaurant), show their expertise. Art lovers might want to check into the ROOM, a sculpture by Turner-Prize winner Antony Gormley built into the building’s façade, which doubles up as a suite. Ham Yard Hotel, between Mayfair and Soho, is built around a garden with a central bronze sculpture by Tony Cragg. The 91-room property is typical of designer Kit Kemp’s style, with art-covered walls and bold use of colorful pattern—an uplifting antidote to a gray, rainy day in London. There’s also a 1950s-style bowling alley and a small cinema to keep you occupied.
I have a few old favorites when it comes to eating in London, including The Wolseley in Piccadilly, a classic serving breakfast, afternoon tea, lunch, and dinner. I also love Scott’s for seafood, which is just about to open a sister restaurant called Sexy Fish in Berkeley Square. Serving Asian-inspired dishes, the restaurant's décor will include a large light installation of shimmering fish, and a 12-foot illuminated crocodile by architect Frank Gehry. The Harwood Arms is an established gastropub in Fulham with a Michelin-star. The interiors are traditional and relaxed, while the British dishes include venison, slow-cooked lamb, and braised beef cheeks. Kitty Fisher’s in the heart of Mayfair, has a classic bohemian feel. It only opened last year, but in a very short time Chef Tomos Parry has earned the reputation of serving one of the best steaks in London.
Take a stroll along Mayfair’s Bond, Mount, and Bruton streets for an excellent selection of boutiques. Marylebone Village—just behind Oxford Street’s fantastic department store, Selfridges—is lined with specialist shops, such as Tracey Neuls unique shoe store, and vintage haute couture at William Vintage. It’s also not far from Liberty—a classic department store that’s quintessentially British, right down to its Tudor Revival exterior. Harrods in Knightsbridge is another old favorite, a luxury shopping destination with fashion and beauty floors that never fail to impress.