Peace and quiet in the capital’s heart

The Berkshire Radisson in London
The Berkshire Radisson in London
The car after the crash at Bradford Junciton, Southsea, which resulted in two passengers being anaesthetised before being released from the vehicle

HIS WEEK IN 1971: ‘Two trapped in crash at Southsea’

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The first thing that strikes you when staying at the Radisson Edwardian Berkshire Hotel is its sense of peace and quiet, despite being seconds away from London’s busiest and noisiest road, Oxford Street.

If you’re looking for a central location, this is the ideal choice. But despite its close proximity to the commercial heart of the capital, you’ll find yourself in a boutique hotel that envelops you in calm and luxury.

The Berkshire has 147 rooms, including two suites if you really want to treat yourself – one of which has fantastic views from its balcony across the London skyline.

Our room was a deluxe double and is easily the largest hotel room I’ve experienced in London.

The décor echoes the subdued elegance of the lobby with its dark wood, dark leather and silk bedspreads .

Heavy curtains to block out the city lights and a stylish chaise longue on which to watch the Bang and Olufsen TV in the corner make up the final touches that let you know you’re staying in a 4-star hotel.

One wall was entirely taken up with a mirror-covered wardrobe which cunningly concealed all the usual amenities – and two bathrobes.

To me, nothing says luxury like padding around your room in a soft white robe!

Tempting though it was to just hang out in our room, we were not there just to put our feet up.

As soon as we had freshened up, it was out to hit the shops. First stop was Selfridges, which is a mere block away.

Having exhausted ourselves by checking out every department, we turned to the Food Hall to refuel. Refreshed and ready to tackle more shops we went straight into M&S’s flagship store – followed by a trip down Bond Street for the designer shops (window shopping only of course) and finally ending up at Fenwicks, another fantastic department store.

Defeated by closing time, we headed back to the hotel – which took all of three minutes. Bliss.

If we had had more time we could have gone to the three flagship branches of John Lewis, Debenhams and House of Fraser, all of which are within a five-minute walk of The Berkshire.

We had dinner in the hotel, though there are plenty of places to eat in nearby Marylebone village.

I can’t vouch for the Ascot restaurant as it was closed on the Sunday night we were there, so we ate in the hotel’s bar area. Had we known about this prior to booking our table, we would probably have chosen to go elsewhere as it seemed as though the bar simply was unprepared for diners.

The service, though faultlessly friendly, was slow and the wait between starter and main course seemed interminable. The food, when it arrived, was fine though.

I had been worried about the noise levels at night, as I am a light sleeper. But I had nothing to worry about at all – once the curtains were closed you could be in a room in the middle of the countryside. Bustling Oxford Street seemed a million miles away!

If you’re looking for a place to stay in London to do your Christmas shopping, then The Berkshire would be ideal. Slap-bang in the middle of Oxford Street, this oasis amid the chaos of central London is the perfect place to rest your weary shopped-out feet.

Getting there by train is easy too. From Victoria, we went straight on to the Victoria Line to Oxford Circus and it was a short walk.