+ TRAVEL FO­CUS CU­RI­OUS THINGS TO DO IN LON­DON IN UN­DER 72 HOURS BY SWAPAN SETH

Plus, in­dulge in these unique ex­pe­ri­ences and pam­per your­self silly

Hindustan Times - Brunch - - News - By Swapan Seth

wen you have 72 hours in Lon­don, time is of the essence. As is tim­ing.

Which means metic­u­lous plan­ning and charm­ing co-or­di­na­tion. That is where the Concierge Desk at the Four Sea­sons Ho­tel, Lon­don, comes in. They are an ex­ceed­ingly ef­fi­cient squad led by the fu­ri­ously fan­tas­tic, Cordelia Griggs.

I like to get my shop­ping out of the way. Which is why I tell the Four Sea­sons to fetch me all that I want and leave it in the room for me on ar­rival. I am fairly clear about what I need. And even clearer about where to get it from. So when I ar­rived in Lon­don, my Dayles­ford Or­ganic ketchup, my Daffy’s Gin and Our Vodka were all in place.

SOUL SOOTHERS

Af­ter a long flight, a full-body mas­sage is in or­der. And the best lady to get it from is Joanne at The Four Sea­sons Spa up on the 10th floor. The pres­sure is mod­er­ate and the ef­fect, ex­tra­or­di­nary. It was my mother’s 75th, so I took her to lunch to the cathe­dral of steaks: Hawksmoor in Knights­bridge. I would have pre­ferred Zel­man Meats, but they are strangely shut on Mon­days. The steaks at Hawksmoor are as juicy as The Sun. They come with no sides, which is quite lovely be­cause fo­cus in fo­cus is para­mount to me. I would also rec­om­mend that you wash the food down with their grand Grape­fruit Iced Tea. As re­fresh­ing as Fakhar Za­man’s in­nings at The Oval.

Post lunch, it was time to pay at­ten­tion to my back which has been bug­gered due to years of a faulty pos­ture. In these mat­ters and in­deed, most mat­ters of well­ness, I rely on The Hale Clinic, specif­i­cally, on Stephen Hein. Cra­nial sacral ther­apy (also known as cran­iosacral ther­apy) is a gen­tle, non-in­va­sive form of body­work that ad­dresses the bones of the head, spinal col­umn and sacrum. It re­leases com­pres­sion in those ar­eas, which al­le­vi­ates stress and pain. Af­ter hav­ing been kneaded into shape, I then headed for a spot

Cryother­apy is the use of ex­tremely low tem­per­a­tures to treat tis­sue dam­age, de­crease in­flam­ma­tion and re­duce signs of ag­ing

of medicine shop­ping. The best place for medicines in my mind is the Phar­macy at Har­rods. I was look­ing for Biofreeze, a pain re­liev­ing gel and Sol­gar B12 (the sub-lin­gual va­ri­ety).

DASH OF DRAMA

Peo­ple who know me, know the fact that I am a devo­tee of Damian Lewis: Bobby Ax­el­rod in Bil­lions. The prospect of watch­ing him live in a play ex­cited me no end. He was act­ing in The Goat, Or Who Is Sylvia, Ed­ward Al­bee’s de­light­ful play about a mar­ried ar­chi­tect who falls in love with a goat. Damian is stag­ger­ing in the play, as is So­phie Okonedo, who plays his wife. I have a plan to per­form this play in Delhi rather soon. I have no nightlife, so post the play, I head to the ho­tel and or­der in some Dal Makhani and Gobi Phool from Ja­mavar, unar­guably, the finest In­dian restau­rant in Lon­don.

The next day, I hit the gym at The Four Sea­sons and try out this fab­u­lous ma­chine from Techn­o­gym called The Skillmill. It is a non­mo­torised tread­mill that helps you im­prove your stamina, agility, power and speed. It trains all the body’s en­ergy sys­tems and is in­vig­o­rat­ingly in­tense. Twenty min­utes on it, and you’re roasted and toasted.

My new found in­ter­est in ex­er­cis­ing lead me to look for wire­less speak­ers and pedi­greed ear­phones. The base­ment at Sel­fridges is the best place for them. I al­ways look for the youngest sales­man or saleslady when it comes to mu­sic. They know

what’s cool and they know what’s value for money. She told me that if I was look­ing at pure sound qual­ity, the Bose wire­less speak­ers were per­fect. As for head­phones, she pointed me in the di­rec­tion of The Jay­bird XE. Both charm­ing choices.

For lunch, I de­cided on Chi­nese. Specif­i­cally the sup­posed citadel of Sichuan in Lon­don: Bar Shu. On Frith Street in Soho. Their Fra­grant Chicken In a A Pile Of Chilies is de­vi­ously de­light­ful. I wasn’t so

When you have 72 hours in Lon­don, time is of the essence. As is tim­ing.

im­pressed with the Cold Chicken Salad. The Dan Dan Noo­dles were nice. The Cold Noo­dles with Chicken Sliv­ers were good as well. I must con­fess that I left Bar Shu a tad un­der­whelmed.

A THER­A­PEU­TIC EDGE

I have been try­ing to get an ap­point­ment with Ni­chola Joss for some years now. Some­how our diaries did not synch. But this time, The Concierge Desk pulled it off for me. I landed up at Ni­chola’s stu­dio in Covent Gar­den for her Be­spoke Sculpt­ing In­ner Fa­cial. She cus­tomises it, look­ing at the tone tex­ture and con­di­tion of your skin and ad­dress­ing sag­ging mus­cles through deep lym­phatic mas­sage and con­tour­ing tech­niques that she has de­signed to lift the fa­cial con­tours and give a fresh ra­di­ant look to the skin. This treat­ment in­volves mas­sage from in­side the mouth to de-stress the mus­cle tis­sue and im­proves the tone and firm­ness of the fa­cial mus­cles. This en­cour­ages the mus­cles to sit higher and with more vol­ume and youth. A bit of it is painful but tol­er­a­ble. It was in­deed a great ex­pe­ri­ence. I nor­mally go to Vaishaly Pa­tel in Lon­don. But Ni­chola was on my bucket list. The third day was where I was in­vited out for both lunch and din­ner and there­fore was in dire need of flow­ers. My go-to florist in Lon­don is Philippa Crad­dock. Her store in Sel­fridges is manned by the rather re­source­ful So­phie. It has a bril­liant and sim­ple range of flow­ers. They are put to­gether with per­fect panache and they de­liver as well.

Post that, I headed to Har­vey Nichols, where I was booked for a Cryother­apy ap­point­ment at 111Cryo on the fourth floor. The prospect of spend­ing three min­utes in a tem­per­a­ture of mi­nus 89 de­grees was ter­ri­fy­ing, tempt­ing and thrilling.

Cryother­apy is the use of ex­tremely low tem­per­a­tures to treat symp­toms such as tis­sue dam­age (it’s ex­cel­lent for ath­letes), de­crease in­flam­ma­tion, in­crease cell re­ju­ve­na­tion, im­prove skin tone and re­duce signs of ag­ing.

Ba­si­cally, you get into a pair of shorts, wear gloves and foot mitts and hang out in the cham­ber chilled at mi­nus 89. You can pick a song of your choice while you freeze. I picked It

Ain’t Me: The Kygo mix. You are en­cour­aged to move your hands and legs while in the cham­ber. Three min­utes seems like an eternity but once you are done, you emerge as a new man. It is in­sanely cool.

Post that I popped into The Hos­pi­tal Club in Covent Gar­den where The cre­ative direc­tor of this pri­vate mem­ber’s club, Michael Berg, took me around the place. It was eclec­tic and en­er­gised. It has fab­u­lous rooms to stay in and great spa­ces to work in. And splen­did spa­ces to eat and drink in. It has a great vibe.

The only place that I go to in the evenings is the lovely home of Nan­dita Par­shad and San­jay Jayant. The food is fab­u­lous, the booze is beau­ti­ful, the con­ver­sa­tion sparkles like a soli­taire and they thread to­gether the most eclec­tic bunch of peo­ple. It is a home that gur­gles with grace and gra­cious­ness.

I must con­fess that over the past few years, I had fallen out of love with Lon­don. But this one time, I left very grudg­ingly. There was a cer­tain fab­u­lous­ness and fresh­ness to it.

Ben­jamin Dis­raeli was so right when he said, “Lon­don is a roost for ev­ery bird.”

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PAM­PER PER­FECT 1. Ja­mavar is among the finest In­dian restau­rants in Lon­don. 2. The best place for medicines is the Phar­macy at Har­rods. 3. & 4. Af­ter a long flight, a full body mas­sage at the spa in Four Sea­sons Ho­tel Lon­don is ideal, while the Skillmill at the gym helps im­prove your stamina, agility, power and speed. 5. For Cryother­apy, you get into a pair of shorts, wear gloves and foot mitts and hang out in the cham­ber chilled at mi­nus 89 de­grees.

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FOOD FOR THOUGHT 6. The Concierge Desk at the Four Sea­sons Ho­tel Lon­don are an ex­ceed­ingly ef­fi­cient squad. 7. & 8. The Dal Makhani and Gobi Phool at the Ja­mavar restau­rant are from the royal kitchens of the north of In­dia.

9. The Sol­gar B12 (the sub-lin­gual va­ri­ety) can be picked off the Phar­macy at Har­rods. 6

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