Sloane Square Hotel, London

Sloane Square was designed in 1771 and named after Sir Hans Sloane. It has long been one of the most exclusive areas in central London, situated between the Kings Road and Sloane Street. It’s the perfect address to thrill shopaholics, surrounded by the world’s most luxury boutiques.

Aside from the excellent retail therapy opportunities, the Square also has several historical buildings, including the Peter Jones department store, the Royal Court Theatre and the Sloane Square Hotel. 

Housed in a 19th-century building which was formerly The Royal Court Hotel, it has played host to many celebrities. Early in February 1962, The Beatles stayed for several weeks and in the following year they used the building as a venue for photographic sessions. The hotel also played host to the first meeting between Paul McCartney and his future girlfriend Jane Asher.

In 2005 the building was completely renovated and reopened as Sloane Square Hotel. The ideal location for my recent trip to The Glamour Beauty Festival at The Saatchi Gallery. The Gallery is conveniently just a two minute walk from the hotel. 

As per usual, I arrived at the hotel well before my scheduled Check In time. The intention was to drop my bags and grab some breakfast in the hotel’s French inspired Cote Brasserie. It was a nice surprise to be told that my room was ready, giving me the opportunity to have a quick freshen up before the Festival began. The staff at reception were all charming and extremely welcoming, setting the tone for the rest of my stay. 


I arrived in my room to find a handsome little fella sat waiting to greet me. We exchanged pleasantries while I inspected the room. 

The hotel’s rooms are elegant and luxurious, with bespoke ornate wallpapers and beds dressed with luxury 300-thread count Egyptian linens. Comfort is paramount with soft pillows on the huge King size bed.

My room had a lovely window seat looking out across the square and was pretty spacious, even by London standards.

After a quick spruce up, I bid my friend farewell and made my way downstairs to meet my (human) friend for some french toast before we set off for the Saatchi Gallery. 

The Glamour Beauty Festival is a two-day beauty event which launched in 2016 and returned to London for its second year.

The event was sponsored by Fiat, which staged a 'pool party', offering guests the chance to immerse themselves in a party experience with DJ music, a gelato van and parasols. We grabbed ourselves a prosecco sorbet and soaked up the party atmosphere.

The Festival is an opportunity to experience professional beauty treatments and gain expert advice, as well as watch talks with some of the industry’s leading figures. Brands supporting the festival included Nars, GHD, Garnier, Elizabeth Arden and Nails Inc. 

Youtube duo Pixiwoo kicked off the talks, followed by make-up guru Mary Greenwell and hair expert Sam McKnight. They spoke to presenter Angela Scanlon about how the beauty industry has changed and gave a fascinating insight into what it was like working with Princess Diana.

Fearne Cotton spoke all things food with celebrity nutritionist Amelia Freer. 

Dermot O’Leary was interviewed by Glamour Editor Jo Elvin on his new skincare range for men. 

Glamour’s Beauty Director, Alessandra Steinherr, interviewed a group of gorgeous ladies as to their Desert Island essentials. The group consisted of singer Frankie Bridge and bloggers In The Frow, Samantha Maria and Niomi Smart.

Winnie Harlow spoke to Erin O’Connor about working in the modelling industry. 

After all of the talks we had our hair done by GHD before heading next door to Gallery Mess for some much needed food. 

Gallery Mess has a beautiful setting within the grounds of the Saatchi Gallery. The decor of exposed brickwork, high ceilings and unique displays of art make for a lovely relaxing atmosphere. The perfect place for a long leisurely meal in readiness for some cocktails in Chelsea. 

Returning to the Sloane Square Hotel in the evening, we enjoyed a complimentary glass of prosecco in the hotel bar.

When I returned to my room a lovely little surprise awaited. The room had been turned down, with my bed made ready to slump into. A chocolate had been left on my pillow and a bottle of water on the bedside table. I’m can’t be sure who the kind and thoughtful person was who did this for me, but I have my suspicions. He’d even left out a mug for me to have a late night feast of hot chocolate and cookies. What a gentleman!

Afternoon Tea with Mary Berry

“Cakes are healthy too, you just eat a small slice” - Mary Berry

After our gastronomic adventure with Raymond Blanc last November, mum and I were eager to book another magical train journey. 

On a quick search of the Belmond site, we discovered that Mary Berry was hosting an afternoon tea on board the Belmond British Pullman.

In case I have any extraterrestrial readers, let me explain. Mary Berry CBE is one of the UK’s best-known and respected cookery writers and broadcasters. She has appeared in countless television series and has written more than 70 cookery books to date. After winning the hearts of millions with ‘The Great British Bake Off’, Mary now has two new TV shows in the pipeline for the BBC. 

To celebrate the launch of her latest book, Belmond asked Mary to host a special afternoon tea on board the sister train to the Orient-Express. 

We were overjoyed to see that there were two tickets left… only to find that they were at opposite ends of the carriage. Not quite what we had in mind. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet a national treasure and so, regardless of the fact that we wouldn’t be seated together, we booked the last two remaining tickets. 

We travelled down to London ready to leave from London Victoria Station at 3.10pm. We were directed to the Belmond Pullman lounge where The Spitfire Sisters were greeting guests as they arrived.

Having checked in, we scanned the room to find our host sitting in a corner signing books for passengers. We joined the queue and it wasn’t long before we met Mary, dressed in fuchsia pink with lipstick and nails to match.  Hello Mary, Berry nice to meet you!

Once we had had our books signed, we walked over to Platform 7 ready for departure. 

We hopped on board our vintage carriage and found our respective seats.

I was quite self conscious sitting alone so busied myself reading the menu while sipping a glass of vintage Balfour Brut Rose.

The menu included some of Mary’s favourite cakes.

Coconut Panna Cotta

Coconut Panna Cotta

Cherry & Almond tart

Cherry & Almond tart

Strawberry Mille-feuille

Strawberry Mille-feuille

Opera Slice

Opera Slice

Chocolate Eclair

Chocolate Eclair

Lemon Drizzle

Lemon Drizzle

Served alongside traditional afternoon tea finger sandwiches and ginormous baked scones (Mary’s own recipe.)

It wasn’t long before a lovely couple sat opposite me. They kindly offered to have mum sit with them so that we could be together. 

Mum joined me and we finally began to relax into our elegant surroundings of the Art Deco 1920s carriage. 

Each of the Pullman carriages is named with a unique story to tell. Some have been used extensively by the British royal family and Heads of State. Two were part of Winston Churchill’s funeral train. The oldest carriage, Ibis, dates back to 1925. Audrey and Vera survived bomb damage during air-raids over London's Victoria Station in 1940. 

Our carriage, Zena, was built in 1928 as a First Class parlour car and was subsequently used in the 1979 film ‘Agatha’.

Being on board is a very special experience. It is a fantastic way to travel and reminds you how special train travel can be when you have the luxury of time… and delicious food. It takes you back to a more glamorous era, when travel was much more than to simply arrive at a destination. 

“Focus on the journey, not the destination.” - Greg Anderson

During the journey The Spitfire Sisters serenaded us with classing 1940’s music, including one song that they’re written especially for Mary (containing lyrics about soggy bottoms).

The song is available on their website:

Rather fittingly, they sang us a song about cocktails…

The train took us on a three hour round trip through the Kent countryside. Before arriving back into London Victoria, Mary appeared briefly in our carriage to ask us if we’d enjoyed the experience.

After a quick photograph, she was whisked away before we’d had the chance to ask her all the questions we had been planning. The most important of which was whether she will do another bakery program with Mel and Sue?!

And just like that, our adventure was over… until the next one!

Belmond Luxury Trains