|Thoroughly Modern Boutique Belgravia|
Monsieur 2 was decidedly grouchy by the time our train pulled into Victoria station. It was just under an hour from Brighton, but sitting opposite a group of teenage thugs building towers out of empty beer cans was more than his delicate constitution could negotiate.
We bumped our suitcases on wheels along the uneven pavements from the station and up one of the stucco-laden but rather soulless sidestreets, like rows of terraced cupcakes wistfully wishing for an afternoon tea. I came over all Victorian and thought of crinolines, hansom cabs and liveried footmen scurrying behind me with my cases; Monsieur 2 dropped his mobile phone and watched the batteries roll into the gutter, swearing effusively and, I think, rather unnecessarily.
By the time we reached the B+B Belgravia, I was questioning my choice in men while he questioned his choice of mobile phone providers. The hotel sign was so discreet as to be missable, but I took a deep breath and depressed the buzzer, concerned that one false move from inside could result in hysteria at best and homicide at worst.
But we were pleasantly surprised by this B+B which throws off the shackles of swirly carpets, china dogs on mantlepieces and quaint watercolours of yesteryear England. There is no dodgy plumbing or flowery bedlinen here: this is boutique Britain: calm, friendly, relaxed, airy and light. The 24-hour lounge has free WiFi and an industrial-size espresso machine for trysts at 2am. Not surprising that it's booked up months in advance.
|So Sex and the City|
After a power-nap, food beckoned, and we ventured out - and discovered this was the road that once played home to a clutch of campery in the form of Edith Evans, Noel Coward and Ian Fleming - and still hosts Joan Collins and Sarah Brightman! There were a few spruced up traditional pubs on street corners but we stretched our legs and in ten minutes were standing on Sloane Square, and found a little Italian place a few steps along the King's Road. Prawns friend in butter and garlic; a good Montrachet and my man. Perfection.
Back in the hotel room, Monsieur 2 had slipped into his cotton striped pyjamas and looked all the world like some '30s throwback, magically making a wee box of Patchi chocolates appear from behind his back. Very romantic. Slept like a babe.
|The Perfect Breakfast Affair|
Breakfast was very pleasant, if not slightly surreal. I adore B+B breakfasts - a clutch of people from all over brought together for half an hour, all slightly embarassed and sizing each other up. It felt like supping in a branch of the Conran Shop, very sleek and shiny, lots of high stools and trendy mismatched crockery. Muesli, orange juice, yoghurt... oh, go on, bring on the full English!
To work off the excesses we borrowed a couple of pushbikes from the B+B and gingerly made our way through the streets. I hadn't riden for years, but as they say, it was just like riding a bike, and we soon picked up speed. Monsieur 2 was a little reckless and cut in front of taxi drivers on principle; after about a minute and a half, I think there was an APB out on us. On home turf at last! Harrods, Harvey Nics and lovely, lovely Sloane Street. Gucci me, Prada me! Now, goddam you!
The tricky bit was, of course, cycling back with five large bags apiece. Mine got totally mangled in the spokes, and I needed to pull over next to a dry cleaners and sort myself out - then wheel the thing back to the B+B along the pavement. Wanted to throw the bike into the gutter and set fire to it.
64-66 Ebury Street
London SW1W 9QD
T: 020 7259 8570
Our rating: ****