The last time I’d set foot in the Metropolitan by COMO London on Park Lane, it was to party at its Met Bar, an infamous celeb hangout where I once almost fell down the stairs as my idol Björk came up them – yes, I'm that cool. That was in the bar's heyday, not long after the hotel opened in 1997, but the Metropolitan as a whole remains an oasis of chic, not least by virtue of being home to the first European outpost of the world-renowned Japanese–Peruvian restaurant Nobu.
'The decor was very light and even somewhat Scandinavian in feel, especially when compared to most London hotels, but the interior paled into insignificance next to the views of Hyde Park through the floor-to-ceiling windows. In fine weather we could have enjoyed the same views from the small balcony, but the small sitting room with its plush daybed was good for lazing and dreaming while watching the treetops sway.'
I certainly never thought that I'd ever stay at the hotel with kids, but a decade later I was back with two small boys and their baby brother, experiencing the hotel as someone for whom the very idea of dancing 'til dawn brings on palpitations. But in fact, the hotel is also a good place to relax and revive, with the emphasis very much on holistic living. This is particularly in evidence in its COMO Shambhala Urban Escape, a wellness centre offering Asian-inspired treatments that nurture mind, body and spirit – Mum-to-Be treatments and programs are a speciality. You can also get private yoga and pilates sessions, and yoga mats are available in all rooms. The divine-smelling in-room toiletries are also by COCO Shambhala and are free of all nasties, and the room-service menu includes plenty of healthy Asian dishes as well as the usual comfort-food favourites that appeal to kids.
If you book the 'Honey I Brought the Kids' package, you can get your break off to a super-relaxing (if not necessarily super-healthy) start over a complimentary bottle of champagne while the kids chill out in their connecting room over milkshakes and cookies, a ‘Box of Delights’ with hand-picked gifts (from teddy bears for tots to DVDs and iTunes vouchers for older kids) and a Wii console. Mini bathrobes are also provided, and spa vouchers and late check-out are additional benefits. But you'll want to venture out, of course, and that's when the ultra-efficient concierge comes in handy, whether it's for restaurant recommendations and bookings and West End theatre tickets or a VIP tour of and afternoon tea at Hamleys toy shop.
We loved our roomy Park Suite connecting with a Metropolitan Park Room. The decor was very light and even somewhat Scandinavian in feel, especially when compared to most London hotels, but the interior rather paled into insignificance next to the views of Hyde Park afforded by the floor-to-ceiling windows. In fine weather we could have enjoyed the same views from the small balcony, but the small sitting room with its plush daybed was good for lazing and dreaming while watching the treetops sway. The kids' room also had large windows and a spacious sofa.
And the Met Bar? Well yes, I did venture in again, only this time it was midday not midnight, and this time I eschewed cocktails and bespoke chocolates in favour of one of their healthier concoctions – a fresh carrot, orange, apple and lemon juice laced with ginger. From across the room, the ghost of the old me could only stare in astonishment.
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