27 October, 2022
A love letter to London
A former event producer obsessed with all things related to home and lifestyle, Charlie now runs her own blog and business dedicated to the beautiful things in life - good food, great design, fashion, art and getting together with friends and family: Lottie Lifestyle. Originally hailing from Australia, Charlie has called plenty of places home over the years, including London, Hong Kong and now Singapore. Whenever Charlie returns to visit family in London she opts to stay with onefinestay. Partly for the ease and convenience of a private home when travelling with a family and partly to feel more like a local once more in the city she used to call home.
As a family of four who travels regularly to London to visit family and friends, we love staying with onefinestay. Hotels may be beautiful but they are limiting when travelling as a family. Aside from the fact that with older children we require two hotel rooms, the cost of which does add up, what we are really looking for is a genuine local experience and the flexibility to set the pace of our day - from waking up early with jetlag and being able to make ourselves breakfast when we fancy, to cooking dinner for a night in when we have exhausted eating out.
There is something special about visiting a destination as a tourist but feeling like a local. I think it's what most tourists are hoping for - to fit in and feel like a local so that somehow, just for a brief period of time, we can belong to the wonderful place we have travelled to see.
I love onefinestay’s homes for providing just that. As most of the personal mementoes of the homeowners have been removed, the homes retain an anonymity that ensures the home truly feels like yours. I also love the hotel-like service that onefinestay provides - the cleanliness of the homes, the hotel quality bedlinen and fluffy towels, the welcome pack and concierge service marry (in my mind) the best of a hotel with the personalisation of an exceptional home stay.
Our most recent stay in Pembridge Villas IV did not disappoint. Housed in a quintessential London terrace house, the apartment had beautiful architectural details - soaring ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows with original oak shutters and traditional fireplaces. As an interior stylist, I was very smitten with all of the gorgeous original features.
In a former life, I called Notting Hill home so it is a favourite suburb to return to for nostalgic reasons, but more than that, it is a wonderful neighbourhood full of beautiful buildings, gorgeous shops and cafes and is convenient for walking to Kensington Gardens or jumping on the Central line to head into Oxford Street or Marylebone for a little shopping. The great thing about Notting Hill (aside from it being one of the city’s prettiest neighbourhoods) is its close proximity to lovely London spots - Hyde Park, Green Park, Buckingham Palace...it's not too far to find your way to any of these destinations.
On our latest trip, we didn't have so much time to explore, but we did have a great casual pizza night with friends at Farina Pizzeria Napoletana - I’d recommend it if you’re in the area and craving good pizza.
Normally, we start the morning with breakfast at Granger & Co on Westbourne Grove - a favourite for everyone in the family. Then wander up to Notting Hill Gate, browsing in the shops as you go. A hop skip and a jump transports you to Kensington Gardens. When the children were little, the Diana Memorial playground was always a favourite, followed by a picnic under one of the trees. For older kids, weekends in Notting Hill are great for browsing the quirky and cool shops and stopping for brunch or lunch along the way.
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