It’s THAT time of year again. Valentine’s Day is upon us, and we are all feeling the pressure to find something to do that won’t disappoint our significant other, or potential love interest.
There are the classics, of course, like Michelin-starred dining or drinks at the Savoy, but London has more date ideas to offer on February 14, from a romantic twist on the traditional British afternoon tea at the Dorchester to Rasul mud baths at the Lanesborough.
From the traditional to the quirky, here’s how we would spend Valentine’s Day in exciting London.
Sweet Love Afternoon Tea at The Dorchester
Afternoon tea at the Dorchester is always special, but on Valentine’s Day, the experience gets a romantic twist with an abundance of pastries that get just a little more delicate on February 14, freshly baked scones and rosé champagne. The ground-floor lobby, where the tea is served, also gets a makeover with towering fountains of roses and other flowering plants. If there is a place in London where Cupid will be hanging out on Valentine’s Day, the Dorchester is it.
High tea and jazz at The Langham
An alternative to the romantic, but traditional afternoon tea at the Dorchester is the Langham’s special Valentine’s High Tea to smooth live jazz. The British tradition also gets an extra course and morphs into an evening affair where, along with the usual sandwiches, scones and pastries, guests are treated to a menu of Dorset crab, Oscietra caviar and oysters. The experience unfolds in the Langham’s dazzling Palm Court, and with its marble floors, lavender and sage leather chairs and fresh flowers at every turn, there is no address more elegant this side of London.
Catching a movie at The Berkeley
Watching Sleepless in Seattle to mulled wine and hot chocolate in a secret rooftop garden high above Knightsbridge is perhaps the definition of a Valentine’s Day spent well. The best part is: We are not even describing a movie scene. We are talking about the Berkeley‘s magical winter terrace, with its wooden, chalet-style cabins, fluffy cushions and fleecy snug rugs. Book yourself in for a screening of a rom-com classic overlooking the twinkling lights of the city below… And yes, we know it’s winter, but you’ll find plenty here to keep yourself warm and cozy, from hot water bottles to mulled wine and warm canapés. Can you imagine the thrill of bringing a loved one here on Valentine’s Day? We’ve got goosebumps…
Rasul Mud Bathing at The Lanesborough
Just a hop and a skip away from Hyde Park, the Lanesborough is a London grande dame that needs no introduction, and Valentine’s Day might just be the best excuse to drop by for some quality time à deux. No, we are not talking about afternoon tea or dinner at the elegant Céleste restaurant, which by the way, as one of the most spectacular dining rooms in London, is worth a special mention… But, for now, for Valentine’s Day, our recommendation is the Rasul mud bath for two at the Club & Spa. The experience starts with delicious light bites and champagne served in the lounge before you’re guided to the Mud Chamber. A soft steam follows, and a side-by-side back massage, all to insanely zen surroundings.
Dining in the dark
Some would say romance is better in the dark. Richard Curtis certainly seems to think so…featuring the London’s pitch-black Dans Le Noir restaurant in his farewell film About Time. This Valentine’s Day, book yourself in for this unique dining experience, and while we can’t guarantee the same chemistry that flared up between Domnhall and Rachel McAdams, we know the culinary adventure to be worth all the hype it generates. After all, the whole time you’re there, you have nothing but the perfume, the good words and the touch of the person you’re with to focus on, and only the hardest of hearts will fail to see the romance in that.
Sky-high dining at The Shard
True love, as singer Jackie Wilson puts it, should take you higher and higher, and in London, you can’t go higher than up The Shard. Our recommendation is the TING restaurant of the Shangri-La Hotel, up on the 35th floor. The food, which is the best of British fare given an enticing Asian twist, is as innovative as it gets in London, and the iconic city views out of the delicate screens are unbeatable.
After dinner, you can head even higher, wandering up to GONG, for a nightcap. The bar holds the record of being the highest in Western Europe, and the drinks inspired by the greatest inventions of all time, like the hot air balloon and the helicopter, reflect just that.
Negronis at the 45 Park Lane
If the Dorchester is the place to be for afternoon tea, the hotel’s younger- and many would say sexier- sister is the perfect London address for late-night drinks. The sleek Bar 45, with its polished wood and leather fittings, is everything you want in a Central London venue for cocktails, and barman Francesco Orefici might just make the best Negronis in town.
The drink also comes in an adapted version called the ‘Negroni Sbagliato’. Using champagne, it is a vibrant red color, making for a romantic creation, albeit a slightly more bittersweet one. Then again, isn’t that love all over?