Insider’s guide to: Shepherd Market
Just a short wander from The Athenaeum through some gorgeous Mayfair streets is Shepherd Market, a charismatic square that dates back to the 1700s.
3rd August 2017
Dawn Geddes, Freelance Journalist
London is a city I visit often, but I’ve always ventured there alone without my family in tow. Although I’d always been tempted to bring them along, I was worried about how we’d all manage. They only have small legs – how would they manage to walk big distances between the tube and hotel? Would they cope with being cooped up in a small hotel room for three nights? Would they actually eat anything if I took them out for dinner? My list of worries was long.
When we finally decided to book a trip to London in Spring, I was convinced that our visit was going to be a washout – for me at least. But then during an online search for hotels, I discovered The Athenaeum in Mayfair which promised to provide a family friendly experience for its guests. I booked it and hoped for the best.
My first worry was blown right out of the water on arrival at Kings Cross Station. Green Park, the nearest station to the Athenaeum, was just a few stops on the tube and then a five-minutes-walk away.
After a speedy check-in from hotel’s wonderful receptionist, we were shown to the Residences – a row of red brick town houses that look fit for Mary Poppins and the Banks’ family. Our apartment, on the second floor of Residence Number 3 was an absolute delight, containing everything we could possibly need for a relaxing break away – from kitchen facilities and a dining area to pop up stylish bunkbeds for the kids and a luxuriously large bedroom for us adults.
The hotel’s Children’s Concierge had already visited our accommodation before we arrived, leaving us an abundance of things to keep the children amused during our stay. From toys and games to bird food for Green Park’s resident ducks and swans – our kids had plenty to keep them happy, but the thing they enjoyed most about their stay was the milk and cookies that were delivered each night during the hotel’s turn in service. It was the perfect way to end each day of their stay in London.
I needn’t have worried about meal times either. With our own kitchen, we were able to eat as a family without worrying about the children sitting still and behaving themselves in a restaurant. For breakfast, each morning we made our way downstairs to the hotel’s Galvin Restaurant which provided a delicious selection of culinary delights including Eggs Benedict for the adults and waffles and chocolate sauce for the children.
The staff were so welcoming to our children that we even dared to venture down again on our last night for an evening meal at the Michelin-starred restaurant. The service we received was spectacularly good and our daughters were treated like princesses. The waiter even provided our smallest girl with a pillow so that she could sit up at the table with ease. Our children were so delighted with this VIP service that they forgot all about their mischievous ways and we were all able to enjoy our five-star meals in peace.
To say that we were sad to leave the Athenaeum is a gross understatement, but I know that we will be back. And next time I won’t waste the months leading up to our visit worrying. Because when you’re staying at the Athenaeum, parenting is an absolute breeze.
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