What is it? To have a relaxing, refreshing adults-only break.

Where? With a location this central, London is at your feet. If you want to stay close at hand, a trip to Bond Street is de rigueur. Even those with tiny budgets will enjoy a stroll to Fortnum and Mason, where you can ogle the delicacies in the food hall and daydream about what it would be like to be rich. My children always enjoy looking at the pickled scorpions and red ants, as well as the chocolate-covered crickets – and so do I!

Description: Located in Mayfair, Brown’s is not far from the elegant designer shops of of Bond Street and the more affordable chaos that Oxford Street offers.

With the the restaurants, cafes, theatres and cinemas of the West End just a short walk away, Brown’s visitors are spoilt for choice. Then again, with a hotel this luxurious (and this pricey!) you may opt to stay in to get your money’s worth. We enjoyed a reasonably priced meal at Yo Sushi, as sushi is something the kids are not particularly enamoured by, and spent the rest of the evening watching films in our suite.

Ask at the desk for baby-sitters.

The Spa at Brown’s Hotel offers a comprehensive range of treatments including massages, facials and even a special “gentleman’s grooming” package, which includes facials, manicures/pedicures and chest, stomach and back waxing (!). Mums-to-be and children can also book special treatments, and there is a fully-equipped gym on-site but sadly (alas) no pool.

London is your oyster at Brown’s. With this central location you are able to take advantage of everything the capital has to offer, with shops ranging from expensive to cheap within close walking range. The West End is also a hop, skip and a jump away.

That the breakfast would be so delicious. We would have had a smaller dinner the night before to make room (and keep our cholesterol levels down, as neither of us can say no to Eggs Benedict).

Local activities: If you are interested in a massage, facial or other beauty treatment, book in advance to avoid disappointment.

Wish we had known: “Bye Mummy, see you tomorrow,” said Tilly, five, as she stroked the dog of the friends who were staying with our children overnight. Josie, seven, and three-year-old Clementine were too engrossed in said doggie to even say goodbye.

Our top tip: Brown’s Hotel is located in Mayfair, central London. Address: Brown’s Hotel, Albemarle Street, Mayfair, London, W1S 4BP, Tel: 020 7493 6020, email: reservations.browns@roccofortecollection.com or www.roccofortecollection.com. Brown’s offers a series of special accommodation packages – visit their website to check out the latest offers. Their Family Affair package has rooms starting at L499+VAT for 2 interconnecting deluxe rooms including complimentary breakfast for all the family and a wide range of treats for the children. Classic double rooms start from L245+VAT excluding breakfast.

Kids say: About half-way into the school year is the time parents need a break most. You are exhausted, the children are exhausted, and everyone’s tempers are frayed beyond recognition. What better time to get away from it all – and them? And what better place to do it than at a luxury hotel? Living in London, perhaps one of the nicest things about going to Brown’s Hotel was the short journey there. One minute the children were waving goodbye, less than an hour later we were had been whisked by Tube into a different world. A world of calm. A world of peace. A world of grown-ups. The first hotel to open in London, Brown’s originally began welcoming visitors way back in 1837. Five years ago it joined the The Rococo Forte Collection of luxury hotels and underwent a L24 million facelift. With 117 bedrooms (including 29 decadent suites), it now advertises itself as offering “genteel accommodation for discerning people”. With a health club, English Tea Room, lively bar and and elegant restaurant, it certainly lived up to its reputation. We loved our room (although the only view was of the wall opposite), with the super-comfortable bed and seemingly homemade cake adorned with tropical fruit that was there to greet us. We loved walking around the elegant common rooms and we loved the breakfast, with freshly squeezed orange juice and large plates of Eggs Benedict, which is favourite for both of us. We also loved being right in the heart of London, where great shopping is only a stroll away and the West End is practically within spitting distance. [junior_suite.jpg] Finally, we loved the scrupulous attention to detail which the hotel offers, from the gorgeous mosaic tiling in the reception area to the three matching plush teddy bears we were given to take home to our three matching little horrors. This is no Butlins or Center Parcs, this is a five-star hotel that prides itself on being “Quintessentially English” and where they do their darndest to make sure your every whim is catered for. In a word, you get what you pay for. [bar.jpg] Okay, let’s get one thing straight. With rooms beginning at L245 per night (excluding VAT), Brown’s is not a hotel for mere mortals like us. I suspect most of its clients are either fabulously rich, on a fabulous expense account, or spending a fabulously large sum of money to treat themselves to something special. Spending an upwards of L500 for a night away is simply not within our budget. But if it was, we’d be down at Brown’s at least once a month, recharging our batteries and fortifying ourselves for life back on Planet Kids… Wendy Sloane is Travel Editor of entertainthekids.com. She divides her time between writing and taking care of her three small daughters.

Getting There: 2008-05-07 13:38:12.243

About our stay:


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