It’s that time of year again when you lose sleep at night over what to get them for Christmas. How do you top that bottle of Old Spice or that dehumidifier?? How about buying them something they won’t throw into a drawer and forget. GoNative.com have a catalogue of lavish apartments, located in some of London’s most upmarket neighbourhoods such as Sloane Square, Kensington or Paddington. Londoner’s and tourists can spend the night for less than it would cost to stay at a 4* hotel! I recently spent two blissful nights at GoNative’s Hyde Park apartments situated in Sussex Gardens, 5 minutes walk from the park itself. It’s my dream to live in central, to have all of my favourite places within walking distance, to leave my house and not worry that I’ll be mugged in the next five minutes. I planned to divide my time between lounging around at the apartment feeling like a boss and exploring the local area to look for quirky places. When I first walked into the apartment I felt like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman; marvelling at Richard Gere’s hotel suite admiring everything around me (except I’m not a prostitute….and I wasn’t wearing a wig). It was a lot more spacious than I expected with a lounge big enough to break dance in. The interior is ultra modern and minimal with it’s glossy furniture, contemporary design and lighting to suit any mood. I collapsed onto a gigantic corner sofa where I pulled a fur blanket over me and admired the view of my sweet pad (let me dream) Full cooking equipment is provided in the premium apartments. I can’t cook for toffee, but I was fortunate enough to have over my friend Ruth who is a culinary Goddess. She prepared us an amazing meal, which wouldn’t have been possible in a hotel. It was a great chance to enjoy the apartment for the evening and save some money on eating out. GoNative provide a full guide to the local area including a map pinpointing the best places to eat and drink. This saved me a lot of time and effort trawling Google and generally being a lost londoner. If you bring somebody here as a gift then you need to get into the apartment first, hide the guide, secretly read it whilst on the bog and make them believe you found the places yourself. Or better yet you could just read this…
Amazing Hyde Park Neighbourhood Guide
The apartment is a stones throw away from the Royal gardens of Kensington Palace. I got up earlier than is natural for me so I could take a stroll through the park which looked beautiful at that time of day. Most usually stick to Hyde Park on the other side of the river and overlook Kensington Gardens but shouldn’t as it’s prettier and quieter than it’s neighbour. I also stumbled across The Serpentine Sackler Gallery which looks like a UFO has landed. This contemporary art gallery only opened at the end of September so is brand new to London’s art scene. Entrance is free, so even if you’re not into art, the interior of the UFO is still worth a look. You’ll find The Magazine Restaurant inside the gallery which more than makes up for the free entry fee with mains starting from £16. Probably worth it to dine in a building that looks like this.
THE BOROUGH BARISTA – Breakfast
My morning was spent in this cute little cafe with a latte and croissant. Admittedly I prefer my coffee shops a little larger than this but it had that friendly local feel with chatty staff who encouraged me to try their scrumptious cakes. Kudos to whoever put on Maroon5’s first album and apologies to other customers for my incessant humming..
THE SERPENTINE BAR & KITCHEN – Lunch
I came here to sit and do some work until I realised there is no wifi (Literally the worst realisation one can experience) So I grabbed a coke and enjoyed the view. This restaurant/cafe sits on the edge of The Serpentine in Hyde Park and offers beautiful views of the lake, especially at sunset when the colours reflect from the surface of the water, so romantic. Again it’s not cheap with sandwiches starting at £7.50, but seriously, who wouldn’t pay that for a fish finger sandwich with breaded haddock, tartar sauce & gem lettuce on a toasted ciabatta??.. I know I would.
BRICOLE – Dinner
STOP PRESS! I found an affordable place to eat in this pricey neighbourhood! Bricole is an Italian restaurant and deli, and probably the best one I’ve found in London that isn’t part of a chain. The decor isn’t tacky and there are no washed out table cloths or dodgy finger paintings of Pisa. The restaurant is of good taste and fits into it’s surroundings despite being so inexpensive. My buddies and I loved the food, I can recommend the lasagne.
PURL – Drinks
This hidden 20s speakeasy came recommended in the GoNative guide, which I was thankful for as I’m sure I wouldn’t have found it otherwise. Accompanied by my amigas Luiza and Bruna we found Purl using GoNative’s map and headed down into the low lit basement bar. The door security asked us if we had booked a table; Luckily they had one available for us (Consider booking). Upon entering it looks to be quite small but after walking around we discovered a labrinth of little candle lit alcoves decorated with unusual trinkets from brass binoculars to antique cameras. Our cocktails looked more like an art piece and came with a back story on how they came to be. They really are a sight to behold and I’m tempted to go back every week to see what the others look like! Cocktails start from £10. The apartment featured in this post is a Premium One Bedroom at 208 Sussex Gardens and can be booked through GoNative.com. Apartments start from £150 a night. If you use this guide to give them the perfect luxury gift this Christmas or simply to have the ultimate city living experience then I would love to hear all about it. You can stay up to date with The Lost Londoner’s findings by joining the mailing list or follow on Google+ or Twitter Extra content not found on the blog is shown on Instagram which is updated daily.