My stay at Devonshire Club

It’s been a couple of weeks since my last post and so I thought I’ll tell you about my recent trip to London where I thought I’d take full advantage of the Virgin Trains East Coast 1st class seat sale (it would be rude not to) and save my other half from his regular commute home from a week of working in the city. Having finished work early on a Friday afternoon, I jumped on the train from York down to London and settled into my seat with my headphones in and a Gin & Tonic to ease myself into the weekend. We had the intention of a nice chilled weekend, catching up with friends and finding a nice pub for a meal and a few drinks, or so i thought. As a rolled into London around 6.00pm (by which point I’d found myself slipping my 4th gratis Gin & Tonic) I gathered my luggage (not one to pack light) and prepared myself for the rush hour dash on the ThamesLink to Wimbledon – still oblivious to tonights change of plan.
I stepped onto the platform and made a swift exit towards St. Pancras before i was surprisingly greeted by my other half stood waiting for me. A little confused, as we had already planned to meet in Wimbledon, he took one of my bags and began to head for the tube, telling me that we just need to call somewhere on the way back. Assured we were not going straight for dinner and that we would first be dropping my bags off and would have time to change, we headed to the tube for Liverpool Street. Four stops later we were there and as I fought my way through the commuter crowd with my case I was battling against my inner Verruca Salt from shouting ‘I just want to go and drop my bags off!’. However I decided best to reign in the red mist and just walk, ‘not far’ … ‘nearly there’ … etc. We soon arrived at a cool little square, buzzing with the after work city crowd enjoying drinks in the sunshine, and were stood outside a discreet entrance to a building called the Devonshire Club, which i soon realised was a small boutique hotel that Dave had booked us into as a surprise for the evening.
In case you haven’t heard of it, The Devonshire Club is a recently opened private members club with a boutique hotel bolted on (one of several that seem to be popping up all over London at the moment) which contains a range of bars, restaurants, lounges, a health club and stylish accommodation that you can make use of only if you are a member or staying at the hotel. We wandered through the dark and dramatic mirrored reception towards the gold lifts and up to our room on the 3rd floor where we were greeted with a view of the Gherkin.
The room was softly lit using lamps to highlight the key features and the bed was beautifully dressed with stark white bedding, a mustard velvet throw and adorned with complimentary cushions against the towering upholstered headboard. The bed sat against a feature wall of red and white heavily patterned wallpaper, which, although very busy, actually worked very well against the soft lighting and clean lines of the white bedside tabled. In front of the floor to ceiling windows and the dark grey woollen drapery sat two grey upholstered occasion chairs and a dark oak circular end table. There was a matching dark oak desk/dressing table positioned to the corner of the room with an orangey peach velvet tub chair and was finished with a retro desk lamp. The bathroom was kept minimal but effective with a dark wooden vanity unit, vertical grey brick tiles and large rainfall shower, however the large glazed shower was poorly designed. The shower door hit the large pan rainfall shower head as it opened and the shower controls were tucked behind the door in the corner of the shower making it impossible to turn on the shower without first fully entering, shuffling around and closing the door. Looking beyond the shower issue, the room was not, as is the case in many hotels, a case of style over substance but the finer details and the little touches that make it special were all taken care of – a smart tv with an Apple TV box, a nespresso machine with a range of coffee pods and a complimentary mini bar of premium soft drinks and snacks. If I had one complaint with the room it would be the lack of a kettle and a decent sized cup  to enable me to have a proper cup of tea, which, if you’ve read any of my previous posts, you’ll know is essential to my day to day living! Using a nespresso machine to get hot water didn’t feel right and the small coffee cups, whilst perfectly adequate for an espresso shot, don’t really allow for a decent brew!
Having been impressed by the room, we decided to have some pre-dinner drinks in the Champagne bar where a DJ was playing some chilled tunes getting us in the mood for the weekend. Located next to the reception area, the Champagne Bar follows the same design concept as the room with a similar, albeit more muted range of colours, and was eclectically furnished with a combination of seating. A mixture of bright velvet sofas and armchairs sat against a selection of more sofas and chairs in  muted creams and greys, with the tables and sideboards all kept to the same dark wood. The lighting was kept soft with use of ceiling spot lights and gold floor lamps that all bounced stunningly off the gold and mirror clad bar. Aside from the amazing large white and blue splatter effect floor rugs (one of which I definitely need!) , the room was dominated by a large high gloss gold sculpture of a naked male placed in the middle of the entry staircase.

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Leeds Life: Issho

After a busy couple of weeks with both my holiday in Ibiza and my parents holiday (which meant I actually had to work long days!), I finally managed to head across to Leeds at the weekend and check out Issho, a new Japanese restaurant.
Issho is D&D London’s latest opening in Leeds and can be found carefully placed in Victoria Gate, tucked away between the Russell & Bromley and Gant stores. Once you have taken this detour off the main shopping promenade, you’re greeted by an opposing wooden clad staircase that cascades down from the top floor. The spiralling granite stairs reflect the intricate wood panelling, creating a dramatic entrance to the bars and restaurants above.
We arrived for brunch just before 1pm and, whilst waiting for friends to join, grabbed a drink in the Kori bar where the sun was flooding through the big open bi-fold doors. However, after a week in Ibiza, I was (and still am!) on my post holiday alcohol detox so I opted for a very refreshing Elderflower Blossom – a blend of apple and pomegranate with elderflower and lemon – the perfect choice for the scorching hot weather.
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Anyway, getting back to the interiors, the bar continues the wooden feel with an imposing long light oak bar which was softened by a white washed wood effect tiled floor and polished concrete walls and ceiling. A section of the ceiling has been recessed and adorned with a monochrome mural which frames the contour of the bar. The charcoal black colour of the mural is used again to decorate both the sections of the pillars and the upholstery of the bar stools, tying the concept together really well.
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Running parallel to the bar is the outdoor roof terrace which features squishy sofas and low tables on a light wood decking, with an abundance of palms and maples lining the glass balcony wall. Around the other side of the bar are a handful of black gloss and copper tables and dark coral chairs, which have been are placed along the heather grey upholstered benching to create further seating. This area is softly lit by a selection of different shaped paper lantern style pendent lights.

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Edinburgh in a teacup! 

As I sit here en route to the capital I thought it’s the perfect time to pop my headphones in, block out that screaming child at the end of the carriage and tell you all about my trip to the Scottish capital. Last weekend my other half and I travelled with my parents to Edinburgh to help them celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary. They used to take my brother and I frequently as children so it seemed the perfect location. So here is my round up of the places we visited and the exquisite interiors of our hotel, The George.We travelled by train from York on Saturday morning which is a lovely route along the east coast with sights of Lindisfarne and sandy beaches while sipping a celebratory glass of prosecco. This now seems a distant memory compared to my current journey trapped in a corner table seat, clutching my disposable Yorkshire Tea paper cup and fighting for leg room with the man opposite! I can practically hear my Dad saying ‘You should of booked first class’ – I must admit there were no screamers in first! We arrived at just before 11am and went straight to drop our bags at the hotel before heading out for a wander around the city. With Anthropologie just a hundred yards from the hotel it would seem rude (and silly) not to take advantage of their 20% off offer, so with my two Lou Rota plates in the bag we headed for lunch. We found a little tea room on Frederick Street called eteaket Tea Room which was a little underground (well street level) haven from the hustle and bustle of busy George Street. With a beautiful selection of sandwiches, salads and cake not to mention an endless list of teas, (the Royal Earl Grey was amazing.) we were soon refuelled for our walk up to the castle.

As we walked the Royal Mile to the castle we joined the masses looking down on the cityscape of Edinburgh below, we decided to head for Holyroodhouse at the opposite end of the Royal mile. This is the official, and principal residence of the Queen when in Scotland for the summer. Photography was not allowed unfortunately, but I managed to get a couple of snaps before I was told! The Palace is adorned with panelled walls and heavily carved ceilings, which with many of the old houses has not had any redecoration for decades showing no insight into the modern Royals. From Holyrood we headed back to check in to the hotel and freshen up for dinner.

The George Hotel has recently undergone a massive renovation under the management of the Principal group. Each of their hotels have a distinct style with both the York and Manchester hotels boasting the same imposing soft grey panelled walls, however this hotel still had a highland fling theme to it. With heavily draped arched windows, tiled floor and soft lighting, the lobby and reception were stunning. The light flooded in from George Street and lit the room bouncing off the tiles and onto the dark wood furniture, highlighting the carefully placed towering palms.

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The George Lobby

 

We headed to our Junior Suite on the first floor which overlooked the imposing Dome restaurant opposite the hotel. Our room was gorgeous with panelled grey fabric walls and complimentary dramatic curtains, the muted tones were carried throughout the room with its grey furniture and cream upholstery in the form of two comfy armchairs and a buttoned backed loveseat.

The king-size bed, like the love seat, was festooned with heavy feather filled tartan cushions carefully selected to continue the soft grey interior theme. The only colour to this room was the post-box red telephone on the bedside table which popped against the stark white bed linen and grey walls. The bathroom was equally striking with a roll top bath, walk in shower and marble topped sink which was laden with complimentary Elemis products.

Ring Ring...Its for you...
Ring Ring Ring goes the telphone

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Oh So Shore-Dutch

Well what a busy couple of weeks it’s been – what with numerous birthdays (mine being the most important, obviously), social events and feeling a bit under the weather. However, I’ve finally found some time to pick up my laptop and tell you about the amazing interiors and delicious food that we discovered on the surprise birthday weekend away to Amsterdam which my other half organised for me.

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Bloemenmarkt

We flew out on the Saturday morning after my birthday (25th Feb) in the middle of storm Doris and arrived at lunchtime which gave us a full two and a half days to explore the stunning city of Amsterdam. As our taxi took us on a scenic route from the airport and approached the hotel, I’m not sure which I fell in love with more, the quaint and picturesque city or the super cool hotel, which oozed Shoreditch vibes and retro Dutch style.

We stayed at Hotel V Fizeaustraat, marketed as a 4 and a half star hotel situated just a stones through from Amstel station and the newest addition to the Hotel V group. As I took in the surroundings it certainly conjured up memories of the Ace Hotel Shoreditch.

We were welcomed by a sea of candles on each table which lit the otherwise dark lobby area. This soft lighting set a very calm and relaxing environment as we walked towards an imposing desk adorned with a dramatic vase filled with giant pampas grasses
(an idea I couldn’t wait to try in my dining room at home). The reception area was dressed with a relaxed olive leather sofa and wicker chairs, whilst a heavy gold coffee table sat effortlessly on a natural Aztec rug, complimenting the polished concrete floor perfectly.  The reception area was lit by an opposing floor to ceiling heavily beaded chandelier which injected glamour into the vintage interiors.

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Reception Chandelier

 

After checking in we made our way back into the subdued green walled lobby and through to a long hallway which led us to our room. The walls were wallpapered with a polished concrete effect paper with embossed groves in a geometric formation to give the effect of tiles. The striking hallway was lit purely by wicker wall lights, evenly spaced to give the effect of a never ending hall. It looked like something from the Hotel Cortez in American Horror Story – dark and dramatic glamour.

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