Perfect London Days (and Nights)

February 25th, 2015 § 1 comment

In the early 1970’s, HG assisted the management of New York’s posh Hotel Pierre in solving a sticky public relations problem. The Pierre was part of the Forte international hotel group. This meant HG/BSK got a special rate when they stayed at Forte’s Brown’s Hotel in the Mayfair neighborhood of London. Brown’s was quiet and genteel. The rooms had no television or other of today’s electronic necessities. Furniture was vaguely art deco. Bathrooms were spacious with large tubs and powerful hot water showers. Comfy beds and sweet smelling sheets. The hotel’s chintz bedecked English Tea room was famous throughout London. HG/BSK breakfasted in their room. Poached eggs. Grilled tomatoes. Wheat toast. Marmalade. Pots of very good tea. Then off to a day of museums, galleries, shops and London architecture. Back to Brown’s for tea at four o’clock. Cucumber and watercress sandwiches. Scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam. Fruit cake. And, of course, superb freshly brewed tea. A brief rest and shower. Off to the theater. (The dollar and pound were in an attractive equilibrium in those days making London affordable). Apres theater HG/BSK dined at the glamorous Savoy Grill. Perfect smoked salmon sliced paper thin. Mixed grill with soufflĂ© potatoes. Their other choice was venerable Rule’s for smoked salmon, Welsh rarebit and vintage Port. At some point, Brown’s got a big time “luxury” modernization. Prices went up and the rooms lost some of their charm. HG/BSK switched to the Wilbraham Hotel near Sloane Square. Eccentric, shabby, genteel, comfortable. HG/BSK eliminated high cal afternoon tea and lunched at such wonderful venues as the Hotel Connaught Restaurant (certainly in its time the best and most beautiful restaurant in the world) and J. Sheekey’s, the seafood restaurant in the theater district. HG’s spot for lunch on a grey, rainy or chilly London day was The Gay Hussar on Greek Street in Soho. A cozy rectangular room bedecked with books, mirrors and political caricatures, The Gay Hussar is the favorite dining venue for Britain’s Labor Party and left wing journalists. While the Labor Party dignitaries may attack the rich in Parliament, they do not disdain rich food. The Hungarian food at The Gay Hussar is decidedly rich, flavorful and hearty. The Wilbraham Hotel allowed HG/BSK to stock their refrigerator with ham, roast beef, chutney and salads from a nearby delicatessen (“By Special Appointment to the Queen Mother”). Thus, HG/BSK had their after theater feast in their room. Drank very good French wines. Yes, those were perfect London days and nights. Can’t be repeated. London is not the same. The unique English flavor of the city has diminished and money crazed internationalism rules.


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§ One Response to Perfect London Days (and Nights)

  • Charles Curran says:

    I guess somebody has to suck it up and take one for the team, and you should always try to be happy in your work.

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