I worked with Millennium Hotels on my trip to London, and stayed at the Bailey's hotel in Kensington. This was 8 stops away on the subway from Somerset House where the shows were (in Strand) but I wasn't concerned (besides when running late). I was absolutely thrilled with my 10 days at this hotel. Bailey's is quite a small space, with 5 floors, and a large restaurant, but the service was impeccable. I had the joy of spending lots of time quizzing the people at the front desk with how to get where and the best places to eat amazing fish and chips in Kensington, etc. If you're looking for an incredible stay at a quaint and quiet hotel, choose Bailey's.
Only concern was that the gym was in the larger hotel next door (as well as the better breakfast restaurant) but if that is my only concern, you can tell my experience was quite positive.
Shopping: High Street Kensington/Regent's Street
After-hours in Kensington.
After experiencing both Kensington and the main hub which is Oxford Street, I have to say I'm a huge fan of Kensington. Kensington has a very large high street with mainstream brands like Zara and Topshop, even Whole Foods! If you're looking for higher end clothing, opt for Regent Street, where you will find major department stores and places like Burberry and Chanel.
I was invited by the team at LM to try out the haute couture facial. I decided to try their Knightsbridge location, and was very happy I did. This is the salon all the celebrities go to (Gwyneth Paltrow, Stella McCartney, Colin Firth are notable ones) so there is several floors you have to walk up to get to the actual salon. This is because the paparazzi try and follow the celebs, so they trick them by putting the salon on the opposite floor!
My hour facial was a blessing. In the middle of fashion week, it was all I needed to relax and de-stress. With a high quality line of products, Linda manages to get your skin to the cleanest and most natural state, without using any toxins. All the products are at least 90% natural. They are hoping to venture over to the states soon, so keep an eye out!
You know this insanely packed, cramped, and bright department stores you venture to to buy makeup? Think Macy's, Nordstrom, or Neiman Marcus. Well, Space.NK invited me to try their signature makeup look out too, and I expected to have another terrible Macy's experience (I leave department stores as blind as an elderly person) and had the opposite experience. Space.NK is an incredible space across from Harrods (they have many UK locations as well as U.S. locations) with lights bright enough but not bright enough to blind you, and staff even more caring and sweet than I've ever experienced.
Expect many similar U.S. brands like Lipstick Queen and Oribe, along with strictly U.K. based brands. My artist decided to go with a bold statement look, with lipstick from Lipstick Queen, and amazing contour in my cheeks. Head to Space if you're looking for lots of attention from super nice staff, and almost every beauty brand you could imagine in one store.
Tourist Crap: Madame Tussaud's/London Eye/Ice Cream by the Palace
If you know me, you know I HATE anything tourist like. My friend Brianna who came to London with me is your ultimate tourist junkie. Once shows ended, she was planning every free minute of our time at every tourist location you could imagine. I managed to suck up and embrace London culture by going to a few different attractions.
Madame Tussaud's is a must see if you're in town. This is the original location, and though similar to the NY/LA location, you can't pass up an opportunity to hang with David Beckham!
On my last trip to see family in London, I went on the Eye for the first time but was so young and don't remember anything (reason 1 why children should not travel). I took Brianna back for a second time and had such a blast! We barely had to wait in line to get on, and the tickets are very affordable.
After the London Eye, you HAVE to stop and get ice cream from one of the stands. We almost decided not to get this ice cream, but I was having a really rough day so decided to go for it. I couldn't have made a better decision. When I say this ice cream will change you're life, I'm not kidding. I can't begin to explain how INSANELY DELICIOUS this ice cream is! It tastes more like a mix between heavy cream and sugar than ice cream, probably why I still think about it, but don't pass up this *cream.*