London’s three of the best

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Tired of London, tired of life – or so the saying goes; any excuse is a good excuse to visit the English capital and Together founder Jérôme Stéfanski recommends a trip before next year’s Olympic Games are underway

London is considered by young Belgians to be the coolest city in Europe, according to a recent survey. But the three questions that always need to be answered are, how to get there, where to stay and what to eat. For residents of Brussels planning to visit London it is obvious that Eurostar is the best and greenest solution, so no need for budget flights. The Eurostar train from the Midi station at the heart of Brussels arrives in the centre of London less than two hours later and costs just €88 return if booked in advance – more than competitive with low-cost fares offered by the airlines, once airport taxes, booking fees and excess baggage are taken into consideration. Book online at www.eurostar.com

WHERE TO STAY

The Winter Garden Restaurant in The Landmark Hotel
The Winter Garden Restaurant in The Landmark Hotel

Finding the right hotel in London is less simple – London is similar to New York in several respects: hotel rooms are often small, unlike the prices, which are frequently huge. During a recent visit, I was fortunate enough to stay at The Landmark, one of London’s most prestigious hotels. Having been told that the health club and spa facilities are astonishingly good for a hotel located in the heart of London, I have to concur; furthermore, the location, my room and the restaurant were also superb.

Located in one of Central London’s most up-market districts, this hotel is convenient for all main attractions and amenities such as Oxford Street, Piccadilly Circus and Wembley Stadium. A member of The Leading Hotels of the World, the rooms offered by the five star Landmark London Hotel are among the largest in the city, an average 55 square metres. Situated at the heart of the soaring eight-storey glass roof atrium, with impressive palm trees, the Winter Garden Restaurant offers a dining experience not to be forgotten, with regular live music and an unbeatable atmosphere.

Bottom line: rates start at £290 (+/- €330) for a Superior Room for one night.

The Landmark London 222, Marylebone Road, London NW1 6JQ T. +44(0)20 7631 8000 www.landmarklondon.co.uk

WHAT TO EAT

There was a time when British cuisine was up there with the worst in the world – but that was before the rise to prominence of chefs such as Jamie Oliver and the Michelin starred Gordon Ramsey. London is the perfect place for foodies – I would even go so far as to suggest that the restaurants of Paris are overrated compared with those in London. It can sometimes be difficult to make the right choice – to be absolutely sure of returning with good memories, I have two suggestions.

OUT TO LUNCH

Byron Burgers is where real burgers are found – this restaurant offers five varieties of hamburger, as well as chicken and veggie options. Each one is cooked with just a suggestion of pink in the centre, never drenched in oil or fat, and is a perfect balance of herbs, spices and tasty beef. The service is fast and friendly, and the burger a serious contender for the best in London. Count £12 (+/- €13.60) for a burger with sauce and French fries.

Byron Burgers 33-35, Wellington Street, London WC2E 7BN T. +44(0) 20 7420 9850 www.byronhamburgers.com

LONDON ITALIAN

Exterior view of The Landmark Hotel
Exterior view of The Landmark Hotel

Later in the day, once the burger has been completely digested, I recommend crossing Mayfair to Savile Row, the birthplace of bespoke tailoring. On the corner is what I consider to be one of London’s best Italian restaurants, open since 1998. The decor is Tokyo-meets-Manhattan minimal, the service impeccable and the modern Italian menu seasonal and elegant: rich, creamy asparagus risotto, veal Milanese with rocket salad, lobster spaghetti and king scallops, pancetta, young beetroot and celery. Around £40 (+/- €45.60) for a three course meal.

Sartoria 20, Savile Row, London W1S 3PR T. +44 (0)207 534 7000 www.sartoriabar.co.uk