There are plenty of guides out there about enjoying London on a budget, but what about if money was no object? Perhaps you've saved for the holiday of a lifetime, have had a cash windfall, or you are one of those lucky people who doesn't need to worry about money. If you are looking to spoil yourself, or someone else, immensely, there are few cities better placed to help you do just that than London.
The fact that people are often looking for affordable days out displays that London is a very easy place to spend money, but what are the truly distinctive and indulgent treats that London has to offer? Here's how to get the best out of London when you fancy a spending spree.
Marvel at the Best Hotels
When it comes to high end hotels in London, you have what most people would consider pricey, and then you have "even a billionaire may hesitate" levels of indulgence. If you choose the Oliver Messel Suite in the Dorchester, for example, you will find yourself haemorrhaging cash at a rate of £2,950 a night. Even a normal room here will cost £455, but standards are so high you are guaranteed a truly unique and sumptuous experience.
Both opulent and ever so slightly quirky, with interesting illustrative print on the walls, exquisite antiques and rich mahogany panelling, boutique hotel 41 offers an interesting and intimate experience away from the more famous luxury hotels. With 30 rooms, each one unique, 2 staff to every guest (including a personal butler) and surroundings reminiscent of a slightly eccentric and endlessly rich aristocrat's home, this is luxury with some imagination.
You can find 5 star luxury in the famously upmarket address of Mayfair at The Connaught, glass-clad modern indulgence at Shangri-La in the Shard, and the chance to eat dinner masterminded by famous chef Michel Roux at The Langham. There's a huge amount of choice if you are looking for luxury in London, with hotels such as the Savoy being world famous.
Relax in a Luxury Apartment
If you want the surroundings of a 5 star hotel but prefer privacy and self-catering facilities, then choosing one of London's beautiful properties as a holiday let is another option. For example, you can rent out serviced apartments for short or long stays at the Athenaeum, a luxury hotel in Mayfair, where there's 24 hour service that's completely unobtrusive. It's possible to find incredibly high-spec holiday apartments all over London depending on your plans and what would be most convenient for you.
Alternatively with The Hideaways Club you can gain access to luxury city apartments all over the world, including two in London. One has views over Kensington Gardens and is set in a period building, the other is a stone's throw from the Tate Modern and is slickly contemporary.
It probably doesn't bear thinking about how much money it's possible to spend in a single shopping spree in London, and if you fancy some splurging there's a huge number of shops and shopping centres that are more than happy to indulge you. Firstly, Fortnum & Mason, the official grocer to the The Queen which enjoys world renown. Selling beautiful food, hampers and teas as well as plenty else, this high-end store has been operating since 1707 and is a place that you can spend hours browsing.
Less of a shop than an immersive experience in indulgence, Harrods is another hugely famous London institution, comprising seven floors, 330 departments and 20 restaurants. With a motto of Omnia Omnibus Ubique - All Things for All People, Everywhere - Harrods caters to 15 million visitors every year and featured one of the world's first escalators in 1898. The Egyptian Hall and Salon du Parfums are particular highlights.
For something a little more modern, the stripped industrial space of Dover Street Market in Mayfair is six floors of designer labels, with a bakery on the top floor. Then there's King's Road for unique labels and the Chelsea Antiques Market, Saville Row if you are looking for bespoke tailoring and Sloane Street for iconic luxury brands.
Make Dinner an Experience
London's restaurant scene has been transformed in the last decade, making it a real contender for the world's capital when it comes to fine dining. 60 London restaurants currently hold a Michelin star, and most of the top internationally celebrated chefs have a restaurant in the capital. The most illustrious London restaurants, both holding a coveted and extremely rare 3 Michelin stars are Gordon Ramsay in Chelsea and Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester. Both offer possibly the best and most luxurious dining experience on offer in England.
Led by the charming Roux family, who are easily the most legendary family in the culinary world, the Le Gavroche - the first restaurant in the UK to earn one, two and three Michelin stars - is now a two Michelin star restaurant that trained Gordon Ramsay and Marco Pierre White. Pricey but consistently living up to its reputation, here you can enjoy the best ingredients exceptionally prepared.
The food scene in London is so vast that you could spend months sampling what it has to offer, and even though Michelin stars don't tell the whole story (plenty of excellent restaurants are often overlooked), using the list of the awarded restaurants is a great place to start exploing the culinary side to the city. These include Portland, which is independent and intimate, Club Gascon, beautifully designed and serving French cuisine, and The Harwood Arms, which creates impressive food in a pub setting.
Other Ways to Treat Yourself
Afternoon tea has seen a brilliant revival in recent years, with the traditional and imaginative dotted throughout London. By far the most indulgent is served at The Lanesborough, complete with a glass of Grand Marque Champagne, Krug Grand Cuvee. The Ritz offers a formally traditional British experience complete with dress code and well-mannered ceremony, Claridge's is all about good taste and high standards, and the Hotel Café Royal creates an experience with a huge sense of occasion.
If all this seems too civilised, you can hit the town in the faux speakeasy The Nightjar, where you can get merry with the brilliant cocktail list and dance around to live swing and jazz bands. You can also guarantee yourself a banging headache in the morning by heading to the absinthe-laden and exclusive bar at Café Royal, drinking shots from the absinthe fountain, before moving on to the capital's most exclusive nightclubs in Mayfair.