Short break - Cheval Three Quays, London
- Credit: Archant
London, after the quiet of Cheshire, is both wonderfully and demandingly busy, so it’s vital to have the perfect place to retire to after a day’s madness – and Cheval Three Quays, by the Tower of London, is just that. Kate Houghton writes.
Regular family trips to our capital are a must-do, but experience has taught that we need a safe haven, a shelter to retire to, in between sight-seeing and shopping and dining and tube-travel and taxis and…oh, you get the picture. On our most recent trip we discovered the utter, utter joy of Cheval Three Quays. Situated overlooking the Thames, with breath-taking views of Tower Bridge, the Shard and the London skyline, these five-star serviced luxury apartments are just three minutes from Tower Hill tube station and 30 seconds from the Tower of London, making them the perfect place to make your temporary home for the duration.
I don’t use the word ‘home’ lightly. Many hotels claim to be a ‘home from home’ and very few can truly claim the honour. Cheval Three Quays however is what my home would be if I were to win the lottery and blow it all on luxurious living. The apartments actually do deliver that home-from-home feel, in as much as there is a full kitchen, Sky TV (in every room), an en-suite bedroom per child, WiFi (to please the teen and her dad) and a sitting room with squashy sofas to curl up on. It means we all have the space we need to retreat to and do whatever we each want to re-charge London-drained batteries. A hamper packed with organic goodies meant no panic over feeding grumpy kids the next morning, while milk in the fridge meant my cup of tea was but a flick of the kettle button away.
The real treat though - the fabulous, mind-blowing, lost-for-words treat - was the outside terrace. Arriving after dark, the view along the Thames was jaw-dropping and with glass walls, nothing came between us and it. After a good 30 minutes of ooh-ing and ahh-ing and not a little pride in our capital’s glorious skyline, we headed off for dinner. And if you’re going to do London properly, the dining has to be done properly too, so it was off to Diciannove for a very high-end Italian meal.
Diciannove is tucked into the Crowne Plaza, just a skip from Blackfriars tube, and offers a warm Italian welcome that is just what’s needed to settle nerves frayed after a long journey. Piles of fabulous food help too, of course, and I can’t recommend the Il Supremo sharing platter enough. Fried calamari, fried zucchini, prosciutto, fennel salami, mortadella, parmigiano reggiano, mozzarella…oh wow. Main courses were equally delicious. My slow cooked pork belly, served with peas, apples and cider sauce, was melt in the mouth fabulous while Mike’s rib eye with veal sauce was faultless. With service at just the right level of attentive (and a chef prepared to dumb down his pizza for the children) it was an experience worth repeating. Oh, and a bottle of Nero d’Avola for just £23? Grab it!
Full of tum and empty of energy, we retired to our fabulous accommodation for a blissful night’s rest. And it really is blissful – I have no idea of the threadcount on the sheets, but they are ridiculously smooth and strokeable. Add a feather duvet and total, utter silence and dark (how often do you find that in the 24/7 city) and a great night’s sleep is hard to avoid.
Next morning we tumbled out of the apartment and straight into the Tower. Not for nefarious doings, of course, but because it’s really a must-do for every family and there’s no excuse when it’s so very close! Several fascinating hours later, my teenage daughter and I headed to Oxford Street while happy husband and son returned to the apartment for Sky TV and people-less space.
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We re-convened, with friends, at 3pm, at the very beautiful St. James’ Court, A Taj Hotel, for an Afternoon Tea with a difference. Inspired by the setting of Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book, guests are treated to an array of sweet and savoury delights including curried egg mayonnaise, Coronation chicken, smoked salmon with spiced yoghurt and cucumber with minted crème fraiche. My son is not massively adventurous when it comes to sandwiches, so the chef happily knocked up some more traditional versions for him, at the same time as creating a gluten-free feast for my friend Rebecca, which she went quite giddy over – superior gluten-free treats being few and far between, I gather.
Next came an extraordinary array of cakes and pastries, from Chilli Pineapple cupcakes to an awesome Masala Chai Éclair and more. Scones, without which Afternoon Tea isn’t Afternoon Tea, were the only element not altered – warm, buttery and slathered with clotted cream and strawberry jam, they were superb.
An Afternoon Tea rather precludes a proper dinner, and with no desire to leave our luxurious accommodation and its dramatic views, we took advantage of the local Deliveroo service, as recommended by the Concierge, and enjoyed a lovely evening in with Monopoly and a late dinner wholly at our convenience.
‘Doing’ London can be a challenge with children of different ages with different demands and expectations, but Cheval Three Quays offers a fabulously comfortable and practical solution. Blending personal space with fabulous service, you can enjoy luxurious accommodation with every home comfort, from technological to gastronomic. I can’t imagine doing it any other way.
www.chevalresidences.com 020 7341 7052
Need to know
A River View Luxury One Bedroom Apartment (sleeps 2) – approx. size 570 sq ft – 700 sq ft – starts from £229 per night.
Rates quoted are for the nightly cost of stay inclusive of VAT at 20% and subject to availability at the time of booking. VAT is reduced to 4% after the first 28 consecutive nights of your stay.