Belgravia: London’s finest villagePosted on: 30 July 2018 by Michael Edwards
Staying at the luxurious Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel, Michael Edwards surprisingly finds a traditional village at the heart of London.
Looking out over leafy Lowndes Square, with its elegantly proportioned white stucco houses, it is hard to believe that Belgravia is in the centre of a chaotic and deafening megapolis.
The peaceful Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel is a serene base for guests wishing to browse Belgravia’s artisan shops, visit the nearby V&A Museum, find a bargain in Pimlico Road’s antique shops or arrange a wedding in Belgravia’s Bridal Quarter.
As soon as Buckingham Palace was built back in 1828 it was inevitable that Belgravia would pull-in some famous neighbours. Julian Fellowes, sensing a follow-up to Downton Abbey, set his book, Belgravia, back in the 1840s, recognising the perfect location for rivalry between old and new money families. Moving on, Belgravia’s Eaton Place was the Edwardian setting for the hugely successful Upstairs, Downstairs television drama of the Bellamy family.
Belgravia’s residents’ roll of honour includes three Prime Ministers - Baldwin, Chamberlain and Thatcher, two James Bonds - Connery and Moore - as well as an impressive list of celebrities through the ages: Mary Shelley, Virginia Woolf, Noel Coward, Ian Fleming, Sarah Brightman and Jose Mourinho. Those high-ceilinged rooms on Eaton Square must have hosted some interesting Dinner Parties over the decades. Nor should we forget Belgravia’s most infamous resident: Lord Lucan.
At the top of the Jumeirah Lowndes the spacious executive suites are dressed with a calming contemporary palette of browns, some even have a balcony. Guests in need of further relaxation and pampering can take the two-minute walk to The Peak Health Club and Spa at the Jumeirah Carlton sister hotel.
Belgravia is a thriving village. Motcomb Street has recently become partially pedestrianised and the Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel lends bikes to residents to explore the cobbled streets. There is fashion from Italy and fine linens from Paris but most visitors are drawn to the artisan shops.
The Fine Cheese Company continues the renaissance of British Cheeses, reviving traditional cheese-making techniques and rediscovering long-forgotten recipes. Across the cobbles, Rococo’s has a coffee-bar and secret garden where you can sample hand-made chocolates that sometimes take four days to create. Belgravia is a tight-knit community and you can see the bonds if you pop into the Alfred Tennyson for a drink.
Walking or cycling south towards Pimlico takes you to Elizabeth Street. A stunning floral arch outside Beulah’s boutique and the prettily pink Peggy Porschen’s cafe/cake-emporium/ food art gallery always ensure that Belgravia in Bloom is a stunning visual extravaganza.
Belgravia is a great place for pets too. Mungo and Maud is a cat and dog outfitters on Elizabeth Street: the place to top up on conditioner for your pet’s coat, paw balm or a stylish winter coat.
For over twenty years Vicki Sarge has been Fashion Jewellery’s Rock Star, creating daring costume jewellery out of her stunning shop. Photographers and TV costumiers call in to her Elizabeth Street store looking for inspiration.
Belgravia’s shops, with passionate staff, are an exciting contrast to the mundane retail experience you normally receive on Britain’s High Streets. You can even call into Jeroboam’s late afternoon on a Friday and Saturday for free wine-tasting and a wine encyclopaedia of expert advice.
In summer the Jumeirah Lowndes’ Terrace – cleverly created with raised beds of olive trees, strawberry plants, thyme and rosemary - is the place to relax with a cocktail and an al fresco supper. Currently there’s a Mexican section on the menu celebrating the Freda Kahlo “Making herself up” exhibition at the V&A Museum: utterly appropriate for Britain’s Mexican Summer.
The Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel is just a five minute walk from Knightsbridge Tube Station.
Rooms begin at around £300 for a double which includes breakfast.
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