The Langham, Regent Street
Europe's first grand hotel it opened in 1865 is located in the heart of the West End, perfect for sightseeing, culture and shopping. The hotel is also famous for its appearances in the Sherlock Holmes novels, in particular A Scandal in Bohemia.
How they rate it
An £80m facelift has brought "light, space, and a real sense of place to this venerable hotel", says Simone Kane in The Independent. Interior designer David Collins has "breathed new life into the listed interiors" while "retaining that sense of pedigree".
Subscribe to MoneyWeek
Subscribe to MoneyWeek today and get your first six magazine issues absolutely FREE
The hotel offers some impressive treats on certain packages. These include the services of the Langham Book Butler who will leave personally tailored bedtime reading in your room, or the Shopping Butler who will collect your shopping bags from nearby stores.
The hotel's restaurant, the Landau, "offers fine dining in a smart but unstuffy dining room". The menu focuses on modern European cuisine with British seasonal ingredients. Dishes include fillet of Scottish halibut with apple and fennel salad.
An executive double costs from £229 per night. Contact: 020-7636 1000; www.langhamhotels.com.
Park Plaza Sherlock Holmes, Baker Street
Situated on the street Arthur Conan Doyle made famous as the home of Sherlock Holmes, this is a charming and inexpensive base for a break in the capital.
How they rate it
This hotel offers a "great location, good food and a bustling bar", says Ginny Light in The Times. Despite trading on the name of a 19th-century detective, the interior is cool and contemporary. The rooms contain "simple furniture and attractive photographic and modern art". Beds are four-poster but modern with slim metal poles and crisp white linen.
And despite being on one of London's busier roads, the hotel's excellent sound-proofing and black-out curtains mean you will still get a good night's sleep. Light's "only quibble" was the sliding door to the bathroom in her room, which "offered little in the way of privacy and sound-proofing". The hotel spa offers facials from £65 and massages from £40. "A sound bet for a hotel in Zone 1."
The hotel restaurant's food is "innovative and well cooked and presented". The mushroom lasagne is "excellent" and the prawn skewers "substantial, fresh and delicately spiced".
Rooms cost from £99 and there are regular good value mid-week packages on offer. Contact: 020-7486 6161; www.parkplazasherlockholmes.com.
What the travel writers are saying
If you've ever spent "long hours salivating over the Waitrose wine selection", you can now find out how they select their wines, says The Sunday Times. Greenbee is running a series of trips where you can join the supermarket's top buyers on trips visiting established vineyards and "seeking out small producers". There is a five-day tour of the Loire Valley tasting muscadet, Anjou, Pouilly Fume and chenin blanc leaving on 1 September. The trip costs £1,375 per person half-board including train travel from London. See www.greenbee.com or call 0845-610 0341 to find out more.
Formula One fans could watch this year's Monte Carlo Grand Prix from the deck of the Star Clipper, a four-masted tall ship. This 170-passenger cruise ship is like no other; there is no pool, no black tie and no entertainment. Instead, you get "acres of canvas and heaps of style". "It'll be the most beautiful thing in the harbour when it pulls in to watch the racing" during its seven-night cruise of the Cote d'Azur which sets sail on 15 May. The cruise costs £1,179pp, which includes everything except flights. Visit www.starclippers.co.uk or call 0845-200 6145 for more information.
Pension withdrawals on the rise, HMRC data reveals
Pension withdrawal data has led to some raising concerns over savers ‘raiding’ their pensions unsustainably.
By John Fitzsimons Published
ONS: UK economy recovered from pandemic faster than previously thought
Revisions from the ONS showed the UK economy has grown since the pandemic, while the latest data showed GDP grew in the second quarter of 2023.
By Nicole García Mérida Published