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Spending a night in one of 18 newly redecorated and redesigned one-bedroom apartments at London’s Athenaeum – just a few blocks from Buckingham Palace in Mayfair – made this pond-hopping New Yorker feel like a bona fide part-time Londoner (i.e. friend of the queen).
Plush, spacious, and homey, the apartments are located in a three-story Edwardian building adjacent to the main hotel. As you might expect, they don’t come cheap (starting at $979 a night, the rate includes tax, a full English breakfast, Wi-Fi, and minibar snacks), but if you have the budget for one big “smart splurge” on your next London vacation, this should be it. The kitchen comes fully stocked with drinks, snacks, and fresh fruit (but save room for the sponge cake that comes with the traditional English tea service) and the expansive living room, accented with fresh flowers, features sofas that convert into bunk beds at the press of a button, so parents can enjoy some privacy in the distant bedroom. Two more tips for families: Children 12 and under get complimentary room service if ordering from the kids menu; and a team of in-house nannies is available for babysitting.
If you want to feel like a visiting dignitary, extending the fantasy even further, take advantage of the Athenaeum’s new partnership with “Heathrow by Invitation,” the London airport’s new concierge service that “allows guests to bypass the main terminals and relax in a private suite while all check-in requirements are handled by a personal concierge, plus limo transfer between the private suite and the aircraft on the runway.” The cost for Athenaeum guests is about $666 for one person (the service normally costs about $2,445 for six people, not including limo service to and from London).