Refuel at the Soho Hotel

I was only staying in London for 2 days, and one of those was spent sequestered in a meeting room adjacent to the Refuel Restaurant at the Soho Hotel.  This cosmopolitan hotel, tucked just off Dean Street, showed no sight of being impacted by the troubled British economy.

I arrived to see Breakfast in full swing, and morning coffee was equally well attended.  By lunchtime the restaurant was buzzing, and there was no discernible reduction in customers as we transitioned through afternoon tea and happy hour.  Our conference finished during dinner, and the cacophony of sound broke our concentration and forced us to pack up our laptops and head out into the cold.

Oxford Street Christmas Lights, London 2011

Oxford Street

Instead of heading straight back to my hotel, I walked up Dean Street to Oxford Street, for a pedestrian sighting of the Christmas Lights. Juggling conference paraphernalia and laptop, I dodged oncoming traffic in an effort to capture the ambient glow through my camera lens.

Again, any signs of a dipping economy were lacking.  The pavements were swarming with locals and tourist, and my self-conscious side was pleased to see that I wasn’t the only tourist standing in the middle of the road attempting to capture in-focus memories.

And that brings up an interesting question — Can you still be classed as a tourist, if you used to call the city you’re visiting “home”?

2011 Oxford Street Christmas Lights London UK

Regent Street

The mass of pedestrians crescendoed at Oxford Circus, and I headed down Regent Street towards my hotel. Regent Street has to be one of my favourite streets in London.

London Regent Street Xmas Lights 2011

It’s a classic example of the Beaux Arts approach to urban design. A collection of separate buildings built on a grand scale, that sweep majestically up Regent Street, oozing pedigree from their unified Portland Stone façades.

To appreciate the interior grandeur – step off the street, and into the 5 story Waterstone’s — a bookstore of with a well deserved reputation.  Floor after floor of well organized tomes – with an exceedingly large travel section to get lost in.

London Regent Street Xmas Lights 2011

It was my last night in London, and I suppose I should have gone out on the town to celebrate, but jet lag was kicking in, so I plotted up in the hotel bar, and I washed down my dinner with a bottle of Somerset cider.

My favorite thing about my Hotel?  Black out blinds! I love being in a pitch black, silent room.  Polar opposite to my apartment in LA, where the street lights glow brightly all night, and we’re auditory assaulted by police sirens, police and news helicopters hovering overhead resplendent with sweeping search lights, and motorists launching off the nearby speed-bumps closely followed by terrifying scrape of metal on tarmac.  No peace, no darkness.

I’m looking forward to enjoying some of both, when I get to Norfolk.

Visit my Photo stream of the Christmas Lights on Flickr