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Ask a Concierge: Tom Wardley, Head Concierge at The Londoner, Leicester Square

We quiz Tom Wardley, Head Concierge at The Londoner on his London highlights.

Clockwise from top left: ZSL London Zoo, the Royal Air Force Museum, The Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College and Hamleys Toy Store

Have you had any strange or interesting requests?

My strangest request came on Boxing Day a few years ago. A member of royalty from the Middle East called me to say that his favourite horse had sadly passed away while in labour. I wasn’t sure where the conversation was going, however, he asked me to arrange to have the best mare’s milk powder shipped from Europe to his marble-clad stables as soon as possible – I managed to get the mare’s milk there within 72 hours!

How can you see London in a day?

For me, the best way is with a private guide and chauffeur. Your concierge will work with the guide to curate a bespoke tour to ensure you get each bucketlist landmark covered and discover some hidden gems along the way.

What can families do?

The perfect family day in London for me would begin with a private experience at Hamleys before the toy store opens. Children are made to feel like royalty, and when it is time for the store to open, they’re given the honour of ringing the opening bell which echoes down Regent Street. The rest of the afternoon can be spent seeing how many of the 20,000 animals you can spot in ZSL London Zoo, including giraffes, lions and monkeys.

What should repeat visitors do?

Discover a new neighbourhood, be that the street art and markets of Shoreditch, the food offerings of Borough, the vibrant shopping and colourful houses in Notting Hill or walks through Hampstead Heath ending at Kenwood House for a spot of tea. As Dr Samuel Johnson said in 1777, “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life”.

Share a hidden gem

The Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich – it will leave you speechless.

What is the most typical London thing a visitor can do?

What is more iconic than London’s double-decker bus tours? Jump aboard a Big Bus Tour to see the capital’s most popular attractions in one day. I always recommend my guests stop off at Butlers Wharf Chop House for a classic British lunch.

What can visitors do when it rains?

Play one of the best golf courses in the world... indoors! Pitch Soho is the new modern-day golf club with the latest technology, which allows you to play the top golf courses in the world no matter the weather. Novices and professionals alike are all welcome and no membership is required.

What’s your dream day in London?

An early-morning swim and sauna in The Retreat at The Londoner followed by a Cloud Nine smoothie, to enjoy while strolling to Berwick Street market for my morning coffee from Soho Dairy – it’s the best coffee in town. Then meandering over to Mayfair to visit an art gallery. My dream day would always end with frozen margaritas before an incredible dinner at Fallow on Haymarket.

Share an attraction beyond zone 2

The Royal Air Force Museum London, in Hendon, isn’t far from where I grew up. With 36 aircraft, including the world-renowned Spitfire, it is fascinating to see the development of aerospace engineering over the past century. For lunch, visit The Rising Sun pub in Highwood Hill, which is now run by an Italian family – the food is incredible!

Why is your hotel special?

Because it’s so much more than a hotel. It’s somewhere you can experience all the things that make London so special, all under one roof. At any given time, you can find live music in one part of the building and an art class in another. The buzz from six restaurants and bars keeps you on your culinary toes and you can find a secret whisky parlour through the powder rooms. It is a living art gallery and somewhere you can get a haircut by one of the capital’s leading stylists. There are incredible details to be found wherever you look.

Images © Shutterstock


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