athenaeum hotel, london

athenaeum-londonFrom the Athenaeum in Athens to the Athenaeum in London – what are the chances? But it just so happened that the next hotel we checked in to was called the Athenaeum as well, but this one was, well, in London and not an InterContinental property.

We flew British Airways from Athens to London in Club Europe (domestic business class) and the flight was just over three hours, a breeze! Club Europe is nothing like British Airways’ Club World (for international flights, which I had the pleasure of flying from Toronto to Istanbul). But Club Europe offers passengers extra legroom and attentive service, though no private pods; man, I love those! (See here for a picture and review of British Airways’ Club World.)

Leaving Athens was tough. Our stay was too short and I had a pretty good feeling we were leaving the glorious weather behind us as we made our way to London. I was right. I adore London and could see myself living there. But that darned weather is off-putting (says the girl who lives in Toronto!) As expected, the clouds hung thick and ominously in the sky as we made our descent into the city. But even still, nothing could really dampen my spirits. I was in London and I couldn’t have been more excited to be there!

Getting from Heathrow to Central London was so much easier than I’d expected. Instead of paying outrageous cab fares, we took the Heathrow Express.  Instead of battling London’s notoriously disastrous traffic, we relaxed on the quick 20-minute train ride to the city and were conveniently dropped off at Paddington Station. The trains depart every fifteen minutes and the spacious first-class seats are clean and comfortable. There’s lots of room to stow your luggage, so you needn’t worry about that either.

From Paddington station, we hopped on the tube and made our way to Piccadilly, where our hotel was located. We had a bit of a walk (if we’d known exactly where we were headed, we would have taken the tube to the Green Park station) but having successfully maneuvered ourselves and our luggage through the busy, pedestrian-filled streets, we finally arrived at our hotel.

The Athenaeum is a small but absolutely delightful hotel. Situated directly across the street from Green Park, it provides easy access to tube stations and buses, making getting around super-easy. Our room was small (though the hotel does offer more spacious suites) but beautiful and full of creature comforts. The bed was one of the most inviting I’d ever seen, all decked out in robin’s egg blue, the view overlooking the park was lovely and I am a big fan of the heated towel racks in the bathroom.

The small, intimate restaurant is a real treat. Not only is the food delish, but the decorative details are mesmerizing. There’s an entire shimmery wall covered in buttons (beautiful!) and the tables have dried leaves forming a collage beneath the glass surface. The result is a truly extraordinary space that feels welcoming and whimsical. The Athenaeum, 116 Piccadilly, Mayfair, London W1J 7BJ, Tel: 44 (0) 207 499 3464.

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