A capital idea to let it all go west; TRAVEL For a London break without the bustle of the big city plus easy access to the world famous Kew Gardens, JAMES POTTS samples the delights of the Chiswick Moran Hotel.
THERE are a million reasons for wanting to visit London.
Maybe you'd like to take in a West End show, attend a sporting event, go on a shopping spree or soak up some culture in the world-class museums.
But the problem can be knowing where to stay, given the huge array of choice.
I discovered an answer to that conundrum when my wife and I spent a weekend at the stylish four-star Chiswick Moran Hotel in west London.
What impressed immediately was the decor, which gave off a retro-chic vibe - all clean lines, mirrors, subtle lighting and trendy 1960s-style furniture.
Chiswick Hotel, above Our room had a tasteful sage and lime green colour scheme and, as with the rest of the hotel, every fixture and fitting, from light switches to the dressing table, had been chosen to match the overall sleek design.
The en suite bathroom was a good size, although the bath itself a little cramped for the taller person. Our stay coincided with some warm weather so the climate control came in handy. But perhaps the hotel's best selling point is its superb location. I normally avoid driving into London but having noticed how close the Chiswick Moran is to the M4, decided to take the car and park on site.
Just two minutes' walk away is Gunnersbury tube station on Gotten the District line, offering easy access to the heart of the city.
On our last day we journeyed by Tube to South Kensington to visit the Natural History Museum, a trip that took only 20 minutes.
Transport links like that are great news for the serious shopper keen to seek out bargains in Oxford Street or Westfield shopping centre, but we found a thriving retail centre closer to home on Chiswick High Road itself.
Yes, there are the usual chains you see in every other British town, but there were also a good number of independent boutiques, Moran and below restaurants and lively pubs. My favourite store was the quirky Old Cinema where I spent far too long browsing the antique, vintage and retro furniture.
The highlight of our short stay was a visit to Kew Gardens, which we walked to from the hotel in less than 20 minutes.
This Unesco World Heritage Site covers 300 acres so we found our visitor guide map essential for navigation.
As a keen gardener, the well-stocked borders gave me loads of inspirational ideas for my own modest patch back home. The spaces are wide and open, the air fresh and, especially when you reach the wooded areas, it's easy to forget you're still in one of the world's busiest cities.
Our rather random stroll took in the Victorian Palm House, Royal Kitchens, Queen Charlotte's Cottage, treetop walkway, the famous oriental Pagoda and giant mushroom artwork. Anyone keen on seeing all the key attractions, which we didn't have time to do, could easily fill a whole day at this beautiful location.
We dined one evening at the Chiswick Moran's Napa restaurant and enjoyed a fantastic meal.
After a tasty starter of sesame crusted quail, I tucked into a delicious sirloin steak (cooked perfectly to match my medium-rare request). I finished with a dessert of baked peach and almond crumble, not remotely stodgy like some crumbles can be, more a delicate, crispy coating.
My wife was equally delighted with her choice of fresh Dorset crab with spiced avocado to start, a rump of lamb mini shepherd's pie main course and desert of vanilla ice cream with Pedro Ximenez sherry.
The breakfasts were also first class, with a choice that included smoked salmon and scrambled egg, full English and continental.
Great food, in a great location, in a great city. A perfect weekend break.
FACTFILE ? JAMES POTTS was a guest of the Chiswick Moran Hotel, 626 Chiswick High Road, London. Room rates start from PS90 per room, per night. Go to www.chiswickmoranhotel.com or call 020 8996 5200.
The Chiswick Moran has teamed up with Kew Gardens to create a Kew Family Package, starting from PS299 for a family of four. Price includes a two-night stay on a bed and breakfast basis, a two-course dinner in the Napa restaurant and entry to Kew Gardens.
Kew Gardens, London
Chiswick Moran Hotel, above and below
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|Publication:||Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)|
|Date:||Oct 12, 2013|
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