Twice, during various trips to London, I’ve happily stayed at The Chesterfield Mayfair. As its name implies, The Chesterfield is located in the heart of Mayfair, and ideally located for families because it’s on a quiet street in a posh residential neighborhood just a short walk to the shops along Piccadilly, the metro station and through Green Park to Buckingham Palace or St. James Palace. (In a recent Facebook post, my two tween-grand-nephews sported big grins while on rental bikes at Buckingham Palace!)
The hotel’s quintessentially British décor exudes the unique personality of an English country manor, with its appealing warm woods, tufted leather furnishing and plaid fabrics. The charming. lesser-known Red Carnation hotel offers uniquely-sized and decorated bedrooms with classic charm and amenities suitable for families, including those with babies in tow. There are cribs (travel cots), baby kits and, for bath time, rubber ducks for the tub, a duck-shaped sponge, wipes, talcum powder and moisturizing cream. Older children delight in child-sized robes and slippers, personalized menus printed with your child’s name and activity coloring books and pencils for the restaurant. Best, The Chesterfield organizes its own in-house The Hotel Nanny that can be booked when you make reservations; it’s the only Mary Poppins-like service in the United Kingdom created uniquely for the hotel industry.
Another amenity families appreciate is a weekend that starts on Thursday and ends at 6 p.m. on Monday, giving tourists a full, final day to enjoy in the city. The Mayfair Weekend package also includes a full English breakfast, WiFi and afternoon tea. The Sweetshop Afternoon Tea is especially child-friendly because the sweets are on a cart topped with a red-and-white striped awning and served by a host sporting a red-and-white striped jacket and a brimmed, straw hat with a striped band. I just asked my 19-year-old granddaughter what her favorite memory was of her trip to London when she was 13; without blinking, she said high tea. Hers was at Fortnum & Mason, a chic department store.
London is a comfortable venue for a child’s first foreign trip, especially because they speak English and there are so many wonderful — and inviting — things for kids to do. Beyond the thrill of a first ride in a red, double-decker bus and the famous London Eye, there are visits to the fascinating Sherlock Holmes Museum and Madame Tussauds. Attractions near the hotel include Hamley’s Toy Shop, London’s museums and West End theaters. For Harry Potter fans, Evan Evans Tours offers a Harry Potter walking tour in London and a tour of the Warner Bros. Studio (outside London).
While large areas of Colorado are experiencing exponential growth with far too many trees being clear-cut (it’s one of the fastest-growing states in the country), it’s still the home for great businesses striving to make the world a little greener. Those businesses include Sherpani, creators of women’s day bags, backpacks and travel bags, including a line of sophisticated, beautifully crafted items made from recycled plastic.
It’s been almost three years since Category 5 Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico, wreaking havoc on the island and leaving most residents without electricity and clean water. Tourism, which accounts for 6.5 percent of Puerto Rico’s gross domestic product, took a beating, with hotels closed for year-long repairs, airlines cutting service and cruise lines shifting itineraries to other Caribbean destinations. Timing for the hurricane couldn’t have been worse, coming on the heels of the government’s announcement in May 2017 that it was unable to pay more than $70 billion in public debt and thus forced to file for bankruptcy. Large protests and a change of government would follow. Then, in January 2020, a 6.4-magnitude earthquake rocked the south side of the island, forcing San Juan restaurants to close while power was restored. And as we write this story, coronavirus runs rampant across the globe with severe economic implications for all destinations, including Puerto Rico.
By Hainan Airlines
My youngest daughter and I arrived from Barcelona on the high-speed AVE train (in less than three hours) and entered Westin Palace Madrid in time for the Sunday Opera Brunch — which takes place under the stained-glass cupola of La Rotonda, where daily breakfast and cocktails are served. I’d heard about this event on several occasions when I toured the hotel in 2015, and when my granddaughter and I stayed there in 2017.