The Colonnade

My husband and I were walking near Little Venice in a hidden corner of Maida Vale in London, talking about the Grace Kelly movie Dial M for Murder, when we happened upon this little hotel that looked like it could have been the setting of the famous Alfred Hitchcock film. From ladies having afternoon tea in the gorgeous little courtyard to the Grace Kelly reference, I vowed to stay there for a night. Turns out, we were in for a treat.


Walking into the hotel is like taking a step back in time. How amazing is this lobby? Especially that knight in shining armour standing  guard near the window 😀


Rather than feeling stuffy or OTT, the decor comes across as quirky. Rather than being a gimmick, the interior design is actually taking cues from history. From a girls boarding school to a hospital in the 1800’s, this four star boutique hotel has changed faces several times to service the local community. It was also the home of the famous mathematician Alan Turing. Even the elevator is still old school. I felt like I was on a movie set.


Sweet Suite

The bedspreads are made of Egyptian linen and the rooms are a decent size by London standards. The deep purple colours bring a touch of warmth that matches a roaring fire in that gorgeous fireplace.


I asked to tour the largest suite and was amazed at the high ceilings and the charming staircase leading to the bed. It was like a cozy loft in the heart of London.


How beautiful is this bathtub? When it’s raining, forget the world outside and zone out in this slice of heaven.



Tea Time

Afternoon tea is quite the affair at this historic hotel. Those scones just melt in your mouth.



Tea for two


It’s even gorgeous indoors.

Can’t wait to go back!


Take inspiration from Grace Kelly with a modern twist for a stylish stay in London!


London lunch


New Look pink coat
73 AED –

Balenciaga grey booties
3,250 AED –

Anya Hindmarch tote bag
890 AED –

Gucci earrings fine jewelry
10,110 AED –

Hunter bubble umbrella
165 AED –

Long scarve
51 AED –
Guest Post by Rupert Wright of Ashbright
Paris holds no terrors for well-heeled travellers, who can check into one of the city’s eleven palaces such as ­ the Georges V, Plaza Athénée, Le Bristol or my favourite, Le Meurice. But for those on any kind of budget, finding a decent place to stay in the French capital can be a challenge. Bedrooms smaller than a bathroom, bathrooms smaller than a bidet, we’ve all stayed at one of them and lived to regret it. So, it’s with great pleasure that I have found almost the perfect Parisian hotel – and you don’t need to be a tech billionaire to afford it. The Bedford has been family owned and run for more than a hundred years, combining Swiss roots, French flair and English tradition. It benefits from strong leadership, attention to detail, and a staff eager to look after you. With just 140 rooms, it is large enough to intimate, but not so large that you are anonymous. It’s a 4 star, but deserves more.
The rooms
Parquet flooring; high ceilings; comfortable beds and pillows; keys rather than plastic cards; and best of all, real switches, that turn the lights on and off. The Bedford has sensibly ignored many of the technical traps that can make staying in a hotel room more challenging than setting up your own satellite transmission site. The result is a place that combines understated elegance with modern touches and old school service. Some rooms overlook the rue de l’Arcade, others look over a courtyard, but all are a decent size and a muted colour. There is air-conditioning too, which is a relief when the summer strikes.
Breakfast is a buffet in a glorious belle époque room, boasting stucco reliefs and a glass roof. Dinner happens here too, French cuisine and fairly formal. There’s also a relaxed bistro/bar that serves meals and cocktails.
A stone’s throw from the Place de la Madeleine, the Place de la Concorde and the Tuileries Gardens, and the Opera, this is one of the best areas to stay in Paris. (Marcel Proust used to live just around the corner). It is a lively area, with great boutiques, wine bars and an eclectic mix of restaurants, Japanese, Italian, Chinese, Korean, Lebanese and French too.
Don’t miss
The Bedford knows that many people like to travel with their pets, so they are allowed to stay too.
HOTEL BEDFORD, 17, RUE DE L’ARCADE 75008 PARIS Tel. : +33 (0)1 44 94 77 77 Fax : +33 (0)1 44 94 77 97 More information at
Rooms from €250; Suites from €450


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Sara Hamdan

Welcome to a magazine editor’s guide to luxury hotels and what to wear when you’re there! My work has appeared in: The International New York Times, Rolling Stone, Variety and CNN Travel. I’ve held editorial roles at VIVA Magazine, Dubai Magazine and Stylist Arabia.  Now, I freelance for the likes of Google, CNN and Savoir Flair!

Editing travel pages was always my favourite part of working for lifestyle magazines. I started this blog out of a love of beautiful hotels that provide the fairytale escape of a day as a princess where breakfast is a buffet and chocolates appear on my pillow.

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