A post with a slight difference - xmas decorations in those posh parts of Central…
Yesterday (Xmas Day) the first part of this looked at various places ranging from Claridges to the Connaught, local businesses, and the Dorchester with its fantastic gingerbread hotel. Today’s post begins just a short walk down Park Lane from the Dorchester and its the Hilton. Its tree happens to be one of my favourites, being a very traditional one.
I love the baubles which feature sleeping angelic figures and are clearly quite old, as well as the embroidered hand made soft ones with peace or noel on them. Its an impressive tree. Designer Flowers who are the Hilton’s official florists, has the annual job of setting up the tree and decorating it.
Xmas tree in the Park Lane Hilton foyer
The one thing about the Hilton’s xmas tree is its calm in terms of colour, there are no bright reds, blues, greens, nevertheless its effective and that is probably why they have used it as a recurring theme. I dont blame them!
The Hilton xmas tree’s baubles are nice – even when they’re both made in China and made of china!
I dont think the Park Lane Hilton quite goes to town at Christmas like the Dorchester, or even the Grosvenor do. Its just a different approach here and whatever works for one probably wouldn’t work for the other. As I have seen from the many times I have passed the hotel on foot or by bus, its always been quite a sedate affair when it comes to xmas.
Lovely gold coloured baubles – with a real China theme!
The unique baubles featuring sleeping angels. I’m sure these are made of real china
There are lots of xmas trees en route from the Hilton to the Athenaeum. The many hotels in Old Park Lane have numerous trees on display. Even the Hard Rock shop and cafe have theirs. I could see the tree from the pavement in Piccadilly but perceive the Hard Rock as some place I can’t venture into. Rather like being between a rock and a hard place!
What made me choose the Athenaeum then? I think it was the fact the doorman gave me a big smile when I looked through its doors. I nervously asked him if I could take a picture of their tree and he was like, yes that’s absolutely fine you’re welcome. Not those exact words but in that kinda sense.
The Athenaeum’s penny farthing bike. The green wall is visible
There are other things I do like about the Athenaeum. It tries not to be like the other hotels. For a start it has a penny farthing on permanent display outside. Fascinating! Not only that, its one of the few buildings in the centre of London to have a green wall. This vertical garden or living wall was designed by Patrick Blanc.
The Athenaeum’s tree
Its tree is snugly fitted in one corner of the bar. The tree is like both the Dorchester and the Hilton’s. A simple traditional job which is done mostly in house. Its not a huge tree but it certainly looks the part. I think to myself, well that certainly was an easier job to photograph than some other places, including one place of repute that refused me from taking a photograph of their tree!
General view of Shepherd Market
A couple of blocks further down is Shepherd Market, in the heart of Mayfair. Its just off Piccadilly but can easily be missed as there’s nothing, not even a signpost, to indicate the location. Its a great place to pass through if one doesn’t want to venture along the more busy short cuts routes between Park Lane and Piccadilly.
Its rather like a market town. The narrow passageways and small squares give the locality a special feel. Ye Grapes is its iconic pub and outside that is the xmas tree, standing almost exactly where the River Tyburn once flowed.
Shepherd Market’s xmas tree & Ye Grapes
Its quite hard to believe one is within Mayfair given the context of Shepherd Market, and even local stores such as the traditional cobbler’s, so unusual for very few shops call themselves by this name now, help to keep the sense of a local town or village.
There are other places along Piccadilly with a xmas presence including Henry’s bar and the Sheraton. The Ritz however is the more impressive place as one comes to Green Park tube station.
The Ritz Arcade with its many decorated window flower boxes
The Ritz. Yes I know its expensive! I would never get in there, not even if I had a voice, let alone a wad of cash. Anyway, they do a good job of maintaining a nicely curated image especially in the arcade which is always my favourite part. The beautiful flower displays never fail to impress me.
I didn’t actually come here to take photographs of the Ritz’s xmas decorations, but as I was passing through it seemed a done thing. The xmas decorations put up along the arcade are simple but effective. The main entrance in Arlington Street however has more to see and tourists were having their photographs taken.
The main side to the hotel in Arlington Street with tourists happily snapping away
I remember this road when hundreds of people came to demonstrate, or was it to celebrate? I have pictures of this major event. This was the time the whole world found out a former PM had died here…. her policies being one major reason why there have been so many homeless ever since.
Back to the tube station. One side of the wall here was decorated by homeless people with whatever they could get hold of. A huge contrast compared to the nearby hotel whose infamous occupant made homelessness one of the more pressing problems of the 21st century. On the one side a bottomless pit of money and on the other someone without a home.
The decorations at Green Park station. There were thank you notices too for those who left donations.
Close up of the impromptu xmas decorations at Green Park tube station
Green Park is about where Mayfair becomes Bond Street, even St James. There isn’t an exact boundary with the other posh areas but there is a sense of change. Part of this is because there’s far more tourists and shoppers. Its a crescendo which builds up as one heads eastwards towards the famous lights at Piccadilly Circus. In a few days time – New Years Day to be exact – the area’s character will change once again when the first of many parades through the year begins. Xmas will be over for the best part of another year.