Last Sunday, I went to London for an overnight stay (a paid collaboration, more coming soon) at the Apex Temple Court hotel. Of course, I took the award-winning photographer husband along for his company as well as his handy camera work. (His award is for photography skills, not husband skills, but he does actually deserve awards in both departments.)
Sunday 26 May
12pm We were visiting family in Oxford that week so we took the bus (Oxford Tube) to Marble Arch, arriving at around 1pm. From there, we took the Underground to Chancery Lane and walked five, ten minutes to the hotel. Located on Fleet Street (the original home of the press), the Apex Temple Court is a grand-looking building right on the pavement – but you step inside the arched gates and into a minimalistic but stunning courtyard, complete with a huge, turf-green elephant statue.
1.30pm We checked in (a swift, easy and simple process) and a member of staff showed us to our room, a suite in the newly acquired part of the building (again, more details on this coming soon). It was gorgeous – full of character – and we happily dumped our cases, freshened up, and enjoyed a sparkling water and a bag of popcorn from the complementary minibar.
Before we made too much of a mess, we did some work – husband took photos and video, while I worked on my social media (mainly my Instagram Story at this stage). Only then did we allow ourselves to head out to explore.
2.45pm We strolled along Fleet Street, making our way past the DC Thomson building, the Royal Opera House, even stumbling upon The Ivy, before finding ourselves in the midst of Covent Garden. We took some time looking around the market and beautiful shop fronts (a lot of which were decorated with huge floral displays), listening to the musical performers and generally soaking up the atmosphere, before heading down to Soho.
4pm We had hoped that the Sri Lankan restaurant, Hoppers, would be open for a late lunch but sadly it was shut due to the Bank Holiday. We were gutted – my uncle makes the most amazing hoppers but he lives in Melbourne so we rarely get to enjoy them. Hopefully we can try the restaurant next time.
Instead, we found ourselves outside La Bodega Negra, where we ordered chicken fajitas, spicy slaw, chipotle fries and a Mexican beer which we drank cold, straight from the bottle. This is exactly what we loved doing as a couple pre-babies – exploring, people-watching, eating good food and enjoying a well-earned drink after all the walking, while chatting about anything and everything. It turns out we still love doing all of these things, though now we talk a lot about the babies we were having a wee break from. Go figure.
6pm We made our way back through the streets of Soho – Old Compton Road is a particularly perfect spot for people-watching (plenty of eccentrics going about their business) while enjoying a drink at Cecconi’s Pizza Bar (and yes, it’s part of the Cecconi’s family). We found ourselves passing the London Transport Museum, the Australian High Commission, taking a walk around Aldwych (the posh crescent that connects both ends of The Strand), and the Royal Courts of Justice.
7.15pm As we approached our hotel we realised we weren’t going to make our 7.30pm dinner reservation. I called ahead and put it back to 8.30pm which was no trouble at all, and instead we had an hour to relax in our suite (which also meant doing more Instagram Story) before heading to the Chambers restaurant at the Apex. We cracked open another beer, showered, and got ready for dinner.
8.30pm We took so long taking photos in the courtyard that we were even later for dinner… after two beers, what can we say, we were well and truly feeling chilled.
8.45pm We sat down to dinner in the restaurant and shared a burger and fries and a chicken Caesar salad. Both were excellent. Husband had a pineapple mojito (it was good, but we decided there was little point in messing with the original recipe) and I had something with gin, Cointreau, marmalade and possibly soda. By this point I was paying little attention but the cocktail did indeed look and taste good. Being tipsy, we ordered the pecan tart for dessert.
11pm Back to our suite, and we got ready for bed immediately after a bit of work. We were not going to waste the opportunity of a full night’s sleep!
Monday 27 May
8.15am The telephone rings – reception to ask how we wanted our eggs. We had put our breakfast menu card out the night before and it was to be delivered to our room. I jumped out of bed in order to look somewhat presentable as I knew we had to do more photos and video work.
8.45am Right on time, breakfast arrived and the butler set it all up on our little dining table by the window. Husband had a full veggie breakfast, I had a mushroom and tomato omelette. Throw in a couple of croissants, some toast and two fresh oranges juices and we were in our element, eating the most gorgeous breakfast in our robes.
9.45am Tea was a good start, but I needed coffee. I took a Nespresso back to bed and, around an hour later, I had another in the bath, just because I could.
11am We did a bit more work before getting dressed. We were sad to pack our things and say goodbye to the suite and the stunning Apex Temple Court.
12pm We arrived back at Marble Arch, taking the same route as we had to get to the hotel. But, this time, we’d had to manoeuvre our way around the Vitality 10k race taking place in the streets. Thankfully, we – and the bus back to Oxford – were on time, and we both revelled in the peace and quiet of the journey, listening to our podcasts and updating social media in between chats about the last 24 hours in London.
Images: Kris Miller
This trip was part of a paid collaboration with Apex Hotels, which I will be sharing with you via the Apex and on The Daydreamer soon. The entire stay, and dinner, was a gift from the PR – it was free but this blog post is not an advert, this is my travel diary to share with you what we got up to while we were in London. The advert for Apex Hotels should be live later this week.