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Linda-Marie Singer is The Live Wire

Linda-Marie Singer - Click to Enlarge
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At the Westbury Hotel, It's Bond, Not James Bond

By Linda-Marie Singer

The Westbury's well uniformed service - Photo by Linda-Marie Singer - click to enlarge
The Westbury's well uniformed service - Photo by Linda-Marie Singer

London, England: The moment I arrived on the seventh floor of the Westbury Hotel on Bond Street, my eyes focused on a black and white photo of Jacqueline Kennedy and her sister Lee Radziwill taken in the 1960's. The background hummed with those majestic looking English taxis, while the foreground focused on two famous women strolling languidly past the glamorous hotel, their stylish sense reflecting the well-bred surroundings. 

Nearly four decades have passed, and the Kennedys undeniably would once again relish the hotel's enviable location as London's foremost shopping district in the heart of Mayfair. 

Just turn the corner to New Bond Street and present your hotel key for discounts to fashion icons including Armani, Versace, Valentino, Moschino, Ungaro, Escada and Asprey.

But it takes more than a bonded name to remain in business, and The Westbury, built in 1955, and named after the Long Island polo ground, was the first American hotel in London. Today's establishment has 254 rooms and 20 suites that highlight the Old World grace. Four stars in locality and services, the fifth star may appear once mismatched decorations are substituted for uniformity and smartness of style. And yet, although my bedspread and wallpaper clashed, there were sketches by Henri Matisse. An added plus --a veranda with an enviable Bond Street vista.

Minutes from the Underground and the nearby Royal Academy, National Gallery, Soho restaurants, and the celebrated West End theatres, the property is also less than an hour's drive to Heathrow and Gatwick airports.

Upon arrival, if you have trouble with jet lag, you may want to exercise at the newly opened fitness center. Of course, you can also quietly relax with 24-hour room service. And you won't be disappointed with Housekeeping whose staff spend extra time propping up pillows, and making the guest feel élite and pampered.

The ultimate rendezvous is the Polo Lounge, but always keep in mind that London is one of the most expensive cities in the world, especially when it comes to dining. For instance, the English Breakfast runs a whopping $26. Continental is $19, and The Fitness Breakfast is $15.

Dining at The Restaurant and ordering Tiger Prawns Marinated in coconut, chili and lime will set you back $30. The Shallow Fried Hand Dived Scallops will find you diving into your pocket for $38. Salad and soup are extra. All desserts, including the famed English Sticky Pudding, are an exorbitant $12. And should you order Champagne Afternoon Tea in you room, be prepared to bubble up $75.

For one of London's finer four stars, The Westbury's Standard-Queen is priced at $360, while the Penthouse suite runs $1,020 per luxurious night.

And now for the best news. ASATOURS Limited is a markedly skilled travel service in London that assists in reserving discounted rates at The Westbury and other hotels. You can E-mail Antonella (ant@asatours.co.uk), and right away you will have a new friend with a decidedly irresistible English accent visible on your computer screen. And should you want to know, it was Antonella who told me all about Bond Street, but never once mentioned James.

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For more information:

The Westbury 
Bond Street
Mayfair
London, England W1S 2YF

Phone: 01144-20 7629 7755
Fax: 01144-20 7495 1163
Email: westburyhotel@compuserve.com
Web
: http://www.westbury-london.co.uk 

ASATours Ltd.
105/111 Euston Street
London, NW1 2EW, England

Phone: 01144-207 388 4443
Email: ant@asatours.co.uk 

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Linda-Marie Singer "The LIVEWIRE" for Travel Watch. Former President of the International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association, and created the national writers conference, "The Days of Wine & Proses." She is a travel and entertainment reporter living in the San Francisco Bay Area. (More about this writer.)

Email: lindamari@aol.com - Web: http://www.i.am/lindamarie  

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