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Boxpark, London

By Conde Nast Traveler Monday, November 28 12:34 PM

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Ah, holiday shopping: those glaring fluorescent lights, the high-stakes fight for parking, the gratingly cheerful soundtracks. It's enough to make you want to flee the country. May we suggest London?

Our cross-pond neighbors are rethinking the mall experience with the new Boxpark. Made from 60 repurposed shipping containers, the shopping complex in the hip East End neighborhood of Shoreditch will peddle funky jewelry, streetwear, books, and bikes from a mix of up-and-coming and established brands. Add to that some coffee shops and cafés and an art gallery or two, and you've got a happy holiday. Our excitement cannot be contained.

Photo: Courtesy of Boxpark

Whitehall, New York City

By Conde Nast Traveler Friday, November 18 12:09 PM

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Whitehall, in the heart of London, is where you'll find the Houses of Parliament and the Prime Minister's digs at Number 10 Downing Street; it's also the catchall term for the seat of government in old Blighty. And now the recently opened Whitehall in New York's West Village is the seat of modern British cuisine in the city. No debate.

The folks behind NYC's Scottish restaurants Highlands and Mary Queen of Scots have crossed the border to bring you poshified British fare courtesy of Australian chef Chris Rendell. Mushy peas come as fritters topped with mint sauce, and roast chicken breast is served with goat cheese butter that's as delicious as it is artery-lining (that's the British way, of course). The industrial-chic interior has reclaimed wood ceilings, brickwork and railway tile walls, and Edison bulbs aplenty. And we love the bench seating that's straight out of Hyde Park.

Oh, and there's lots of excellent gin--over 50 types, to be exact. Chin-chin.

Photo: Courtesy of Daniel Krieger

Gerhard Richter at the Tate Modern, London

By Conde Nast Traveler Friday, October 14 11:08 AM

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What better way to wish artist Gerhard Richter happy birthday (it'll be his 80th come 2012) than by paying homage at Tate Modern? The London museum is fêting the contemporary master's work with a new retrospective, Panorama.

Over the course of his 50-year career, the German painter has explored pretty much every significant art movement of the 20th century, from squeegee-painted abstraction to hyperrealism and classic portraiture. Expect to encounter delicate watercolor portraits alongside gritty social commentary, such as Richter's series on the Baader-Meinhof Gang. We're especially smitten with his 1960s-era Everyday Life paintings, in which scenes and people are subtly blurred, creating hauntingly beautiful snapshots of loss and dislocation. Who knew melancholy could make us so happy?

Gerhard Richter: Panorama at Tate Modern, through January 8, 2012

Photo: Courtesy of Tate Modern

The French Laundry at Harrods, London

By Conde Nast Traveler Friday, September 30 07:00 AM

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Mall food is pretty much the last thing on our culinary wish list, at home or abroad. But what if that food was prepared by Thomas Keller? And what if that mall was the gilded glamour-dome of Harrods, in London? Gourmands of the world, prepare yourselves. Starting tomorrow, the French Laundry is taking a ten-day vacation to merry old England.

Through October 10, Keller and his team will be serving up a mix of iconic dishes such as sesame cones of salmon tartare and red onion crème fraîche alongside only-for-Harrods creations in nine-course lunch and dinner tasting menus. The setting will be an exact replica--from trellises to stone, cutlery to crystal--of the Napa Valley original. Take that, Panda Express.

Photo: Courtesy of Harrods

45 Park Lane, London

By Conde Nast Traveler Tuesday, August 30 07:00 AM

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Travel can be tricky these days, particularly if you have to leave your butler at home. Fortunately for the service-minded traveler, the Dorchester Collection's latest property, 45 Park Lane, opens in London on September 1. Although it will be the first completely new hotel to open in Mayfair in the past 100 years, it's pulling a trick straight out of the Gosford Park playbook: Every guest gets their own host.

Part personal assistant, part butler, part concierge, hosts will be assigned to each of the property's 45 rooms and suites. They'll greet you, escort you to your room for a private check-in, and arrange everything just so (expect a call prior to arrival). The overall effect is like staying at a well-located private residence, one replete with screening room, Wolfgang Puck in the kitchen (the in-house Cut restaurant is his first European venture), and rich Deco-inspired contemporary interiors by Thierry Despont. Capital holiday, old chaps.

Photo: Courtesy of the Dorchester Collection

Blakes Hotel, London

By Conde Nast Traveler Friday, August 05 07:00 AM

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Boutique before boutique was a thing on the hotel scene, Blakes opened in London in '78. It continues to warrant its place in the A-list firmament (check out comments by the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow and Mickey Rourke on the hotel's Web site), especially now that it's undergoing a multimillion-dollar refurb.

All the decadent hallmarks of East-meets-West interiors by Lady Weinberg (née Anouska Hempel) have been maintained in the 47-room property. The billowy gossamer whites and French Provençal trompe l'oeil of the Corfu Suite is the stuff of dreams, and you could reenact scenes from Wuthering Heights in the dramatic Library Suite. Every room will be refreshed (half of them have been so far), and now you can take tea in The Courtyard, a Japan-inspired garden retreat lined with bay trees, and sweat off the crumpets later in a new top-of-the-line gym.

Like celebrities, true originals never go out of style--they just come back stronger after getting a little work done.

Photo: Courtesy of Design Hotels

London Syon Park

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, March 24 06:58 PM

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The upcoming royal wedding may have everyone's hearts aflutter, but the real flap should be over the new London Syon Park: This Waldorf Astoria hotel, sitting on 200 acres on the outskirts of the city, has its very own butterfly house.

The 1,000 winged lovelies in the lobby were inspired by the original butterfly house once located on the grounds. Outside, manicured gardens mix with sprawling parkland, where guests can play croquet, try their hand at archery, fish for trout, or picnic among rare flowers. Famed chef Lee Streeton (formerly of Brown's Hotel) draws inspiration and ingredients from the gardens for the British fare served at the hotel restaurant, The Capability (named for Capability Brown, who designed and landscaped the park in the mid 18th century). Decor in the 137 guest rooms and suites marries modern and old-world luxury--marble and limestone are complemented by flat screens and Apple technology. In other words, it's a royal indulgence.

Photo: Courtesy of Waldorf Astoria

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, London

By Conde Nast Traveler Friday, February 25 04:54 PM

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The hottest ticket in England these days isn't the royal wedding, it's scoring a table at Dinner. The new restaurant in the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park is the first London outing of Heston Blumenthal, the patron saint of modern British cooking.

A departure from the mad scientist fare at The Fat Duck, Blumenthal's three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Berkshire, Dinner aims to resurrect centuries of British food tradition with dishes such as turkey pudding with cockscomb and rice and flesh. The elegant dining room has playful touches, such as porcelain sconces in the shape of antique jelly molds and a wall of 16th-century British cookbook prints that appear and disappear, depending on the light. Just the kind of magic that will keep them coming back for ages.

150 at The May Fair Bar, London

By Conde Nast Traveler Friday, January 21 03:13 PM

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Conspicuous consumption may have fizzled out over the past few years, but it's certainly bubbling back up again at the May Fair Hotel in central London, with the opening of 150. The stylish watering hole gets its name from the magnums (150 cl) of Champagne on the menu, which deep-pocketed guests can order alongside specially matched small plates by Brit star chef Silvena Rowe.

The fizzy parties start at $1,000 for four magnums of Moët & Chandon Impérial, including one blinged out with the name of the host in Swarovski crystals. But the real indulgence is the $6,800 Dom Experience: four magnums of 1998 Dom Pérignon Rosé paired with canapés like pomegranate-glazed foie gras and West Mersea oysters with Sevruga caviar and Szechuan-spiced butter. Now that's what we call bottle service.

Photo: Courtesy of the May Fair Hotel

The Box, London

By Conde Nast Traveler Friday, November 05 03:36 PM

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NYC's Bohemian cabaret club the Box is the perfect package for London. It's a bit saucy, a bit theatrical, and it has a thoroughly Victorian vibe. Owner Simon Hammerstein has found just the spot for his British outpost, opening soon: a venue in the heart of London's Soho formerly occupied by the Raymond Revuebar. This place was the most risqué strip club in London in the 1960s and '70s, frequented by the likes of Judy Garland and Frank Sinatra in its heyday.

We're sure there are plenty of celebs--and wannabes--across the pond limbering up to come to the cabaret.

Photo: Courtesy of the Box

Prices and other information were accurate at press time, but are subject to change. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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