Sophisticated Living Indianapolis

NOV-DEC 2018

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Usually when I'm in London, I'm inflicted with a bit of a Goldilocks complex—either trying to cram too much into too little time, or doing little more than exploring my corner of the city like a local. On this trip, the latter was just right—but I did enlist some help. Only the top-level tour guides in the U.K. get to don a Blue Badge, and mine, Russell Nash (guiderussell. co.uk), pinned his to a three-piece khaki suit and a quick wit. My private, 90-minute walking tour of Kensington under the guidance of Nash was both entertaining and informative. I now know where Mick Jagger baptized all of his children (St. Mary Abbots Church), how to distinguish a wealthy borough from London's more "dodgy ends" (coal holes in the sidewalks and defunct gaslights), exactly where T.S. Eliot's former flat is, and why the iron balconies in Kensington Court bulb out at the bottom (hoop skirts, natch). Needless to say, it was my kind of tour. On another day on my own, a brisk, 15-minute walk to Portobello Market for some antiquing, and then on to Notting Hill for a spot of Monmouth coffee and a slice of banana bread at Lowry & Baker, was blissfully low-key. For those who are more culturally inclined than I, Royal Albert Hall is a short, eight-minute walk from the Milestone, and the aforementioned St. Mary Abbots Church is but a block away. And across the street from the hotel at Kensington Palace you can stroll the gardens where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their engagement, then take in the Diana: Her Fashion Story exhibit (running through Feb. 17, 2019). During the holidays, definitely speak to the Milestone's concierge team about planning some festive fun. A horse ride in Hyde Park? Caroling at Covent Garden? Ice-skating in the shadow of Somerset House? The Milestone's V-class Mercedes can whisk your family wherever you'd like to go. (Don't miss the Birmingham Royal Ballet performing e Nutcracker at Royal Albert Hall, Dec. 28-31.) And for a day trip to Windsor Castle, the site of Harry and Meghan's nuptials in May, ask the hotel to organize a custom-curated Evan Evans tour complete with a chauffeured drive and private guide to unravel the history from the magnificent State Apartments to the beautiful St. George's Chapel (evanevanstours.com). Heading to Gatwick Airport in the Milestone's chauffeured, midnight-blue Bentley—a lunchbox full of Mrs. Tollman's chicken salad sandwiches rolled in chopped almonds placed neatly on my lap and a carry-on concealing a Powell Craft nightgown for my daughter and bits and bobs from Portobello Market for my husband at my feet—my heart was far from heavy about leaving. at's the thing about a truly remarkable hotel stay: You know it won't be long until you return. Next time, I'll bring my own ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can't-live-without- 'em loves along with me. sl e Milestone Hotel & Residences, 1 Kensington Court, London W8 5DL, +44 (0)20 7917 1000, milestonehotel.com and redcarnation.com. Norwegian has direct flights to Gatwick Airport from 12 major U.S. airports including Chicago, Los Angeles and New York (prices from $159.90 including taxes for Economy to $714.90 including taxes for Premium Flex). norwegian.com e newly designed Park Suite (Junior Suite) is appropriately named given its direct views of Kensington Palace and Gardens. slmag.net 51

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