While any large city has its shortcomings there is something special about our capital city, the inspiring architecture, unrivalled museums and galleries, restaurants, beautiful parks and the West End shows.

Getting the right accommodation is also key. We stayed at the Levin, a boutique hotel which is a haven of elegance amidst the hustle and bustle of central London.

Service was exquisite and proved an ideal base for the busy itinerary we had lined up.

The Levin is a sophisticated art-deco style hotel offering contemporary charm in a quiet residential street at the heart of Knightsbridge.

Surrounded by some of London’s most famous shops – Harrods and Harvey Nichols – it is in striking range of Hyde Park and London landmarks such as the Victoria & Albert Museum and The Royal Albert Hall. The West End and Theatreland are a short taxi ride away.

Rated as one of Britain’s top 25 cosiest hotels by the Telegraph, the Levin is the ultimate in chic.

But hotels can be soulless places without the right people running the show.

This is no corporate leviathan. It is small and personal and that makes all the difference. You want to feel like they care and you are not just another occupancy statistic to be ticked off.

And The Levin feels special because they treat you as special.

Launched in 2007, it is owned and operated by renowned hotelier David Levin whose idea was to create a grand hotel with luxury and charm, but on a small scale.

From the pale duck egg blue walls that greet you on arrival, to the designer lighting by Sarah Marsden that hangs down the stairwell (an 18-metre chandelier), the Levin oozes elegance. It has been designed to please those customers with an eye for detail and a love of beautiful things.

David Levin’s vision also extends to an organic vineyard on the rolling hills of the Loire Valley. From here he produces Levin Sauvignon Blanc to rival anything from the “New World”.

The Levin's sister, or rather big brother, property next door, is the five-star Capital Hotel and guests at the Levin are able to make use of the cocktail bar and Michelin-starred restaurant there, as well as the Levin's own restaurant, of which more about later.

Accommodation at the Levin is what you would expect for such luxurious surroundings; beautifully appointed bedrooms elegantly designed with comfort in mind, fine linen, exclusive toiletries and with many unique finishing touches.

There are three different types of bedroom available but whatever you choose you will expect to find hand-stitched Savoir beds, the finest Egyptian cotton bedding, and marble bathrooms with under-floor heating as standard.

There are also some lovely additions such as a Champagne mini-bar (make your own cocktail using one of the supplied recipes), Nespresso and Birchall Tea making facilities, and iPads on request. It was a delight to find also a selection of classic paperbacks next to the coffee machine. What a lovely, literary touch!

And so to dine at the Levin, and guests head down to the basement to feast at the stylish Metro Bistro and Bar. As well as catering for guests it's also apparently a favourite with lovers of Knightsbridge.

Serving breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon teas and dinner, it uses the best of British produce (and serves Mr Levin's wine of course).

Classic favourites rule here and for such a luxurious hotel I was surprised to see such a down-to-earth menu - fish and chips, crab linguine, steak and chips, and salmon were the choices on the main course.

The Levin is surrounded by some of the UK’s best known brands and a short walk away are the boutiques of the King’s Road, and at the Victoria & Albert Museum, an exhibition on the brief history of underwear. This fascinating exhibition showcases the history of underwear design from the 18th century to present day through an array of objects, photography and film.

Of course a trip to Knightsbridge is not complete without a trip to Harrods. While it may be quite garish, there is something quite fascinating about the place with its designer handbags, expensive cigars, souvenir teddy bears and Prosecco bar, almost a reminder of a bygone age.


Diarmuid MacDonagh stayed at The Levin (thelevinhotel.co.uk / 020 7589 6286), one of London’s leading boutique 5-star hotels at the heart of Knightsbridge and the closest luxury hotel to Harrods. Double rooms (2 sharing B&B) from £284 per room per night. Price quoted is subject to availability. Book during the January sales check the website for the Shop until you Drop package which includes a £50 voucher.

Breakfast is served daily in the Knightsbridge Metro and lunch, an uncomplicated tasty menu suitable for children and adults, is available Monday to Saturday. For a small minimum spend, The Knightsbridge Metro is available for exclusive hire every evening year-round and makes a perfect location for private gatherings for a party, christening, wedding or any celebration.

For dinner in addition to a wide variety of restaurants in the area, guests may book Outlaw’s at The Capital – Nathan Outlaw’s Michelin star London restaurant – next door and cross charge to their room. Sister hotel, The Capital also offers a vibrant bar and specialises in whisky master classes (£45 per person – minimum of 2 people - includes 3 pairings of whisky with English cheese, fascinating information and a specially created whisky cocktail too).