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Luke Abrahams’ Insider’s Guide to Sloane Street

Luxury lifestyle journalist Luke Abrahams explores Sloane Street’s hidden gems

Inside The Botanist photographed by Luke Abrahams
Outside Harry's Dolce Vita photographed by Luke Abrahams 
The Sloane Street neighbourhood photographed by Luke Abrahams
The Saint Laurent shop on Sloane Street photographed by Luke Abrahams
Inside Harry's Dolce Vita photographed by Luke Abrahams
The Cartier shop on Sloane Street photographed by Luke Abrahams
Inside The Cadogan, A Belmond Hotel photographed by Luke Abrahams

When most people think Sloane Street, they instantly think fashion. Though magazine runway ready-to-wear, of course, is integral to the history of this London stretch of finery, let me assure you, there’s a lot more to this place than Donatella’s latest handbag collaboration.

Yes, the well-heeled boutiques of the mile-plus stretch are what Sloane & Co is known for, but in between its very primmed Chelsea red stone pads lie some of London’s best-kept gems. Take Cadogan Gardens, for example, with all its stone house grandeur, deliciously vintage classic cars and secret gardens; or the delightfully village fete-esque Pavilion Road, home to an eclectic range of indie shops – Papersmiths is a must; a string of locally-loved restaurants, florists and perhaps, the second-best gelato stop in all of London town courtesy of the Ice Cream Union.

Then there’s the hotel scene. Though there are many spots to check into in the area, Sloane Street’s best is easily the storied The Cadogan, a Belmond Hotel. It was here Oscar Wilde stayed before he was arrested. In fact, you can even stay in the very suite (room 118) he was cuffed in before he was taken to face the courts. Inside, it’s a bit of a wonderland. A mish mash of contemporary art pieces, books (there’s 600 of them curated by Instagram legend John Sandoe Books) and curios that have Insta-fever written all over them pack in the wow factor, plus a sundowner cocktail on the terrace is a must. Vibe-wise, it’s classic meets modern chic, coupled with the glossiness and artistic vibe of the inner West London set. Essentially, what I call “a mood”.

 

“Vibe-wise, its classic meets modern chic, coupled with the glossiness and artistic vibe of the inner West London set. Essentially, what I call ‘a mood’.”

 

As I mentioned, you can’t visit this slice of style history without at least a look in some of the shops. Cartier starts the stretch (where, interestingly, I had my first kiss many years ago), followed by the likes of all the big names, from Brunello Cucinelli to Emilia Wickstead, Prada, Chanel, Saint Laurent and, of course, Tom Ford – there’s also a lovely new Ralph Lauren Home, which I spent hundreds in one afternoon.

Stray a little further and you’ll stumble upon the likes of Anya Hindmarch (a West London favourite) who recently opened Anya’s Café, a coffee shop that snakes out onto the streets of neighbouring Belgravia – it’s very, very Insta friendly. Speaking of the ’gram, where are the best spots to snap, you ask? South Cadogan Gardens is notably pretty, especially in and around the colonnade houses (tip: go early to avoid the sun, as well as the people). On Pavilion Road, head north towards royal florist Moyses Stevens for an almost panoramic shot of the street, very on-trend floral façade included. And for those into their outdoor flowers, Cadogan Place Gardens is a treat for those who love snapping their summertime-ready roses and poppies.

Eateries are plentiful on and around Sloane Street, but best, especially for the Instagram crew (of which I am part when I’m not in full journalist mode) is Harry’s Dolce Vita. Interior wise, it’s what the ’gram was made for: moody, flowery flecked scenes dotted with tables crowned by Italian-centric nick-nacks, memorabilia and portraits. The menu is vast for a local restaurant, with regional favourites from Tuscan ragu to Amalfi-inspired vongole. The cocktails are a real delight, too.

Post eats, I walk off the carbs and head back to the square for drinks at The Botanist, a drinking den loved by locals for yonks. Picture walls festooned with floral motifs, prints and everything in between, plus romantic tables that ooze date night. The cocktails are typically bloomy (anything gin or citrus-based is a must) and are best downed on the terrace in the square (if you’ve got room, ask for a small pizza to go or do as I do and eat it for breakfast the next day).

Luke Abrahams is a freelance journalist who covers the latest food, hotel, city and luxury lifestyle trends. His work has been featured in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle Magazine, Town and Country Magazine, Evening Standard, Departures Magazine, and others. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @lukecabrahams

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