As a lover of shopping, I was very excited to be given the chance to enjoy one of the country’s top shopping destinations – London’s luxury shopping outlet where high end brands meet some brilliant bargains.
As part of the travel package, I was also invited to stay in No. Ten Manchester Street Hotel, a boutique, a 44-bedroom boutique hotel located in the heart of Marylebone.
I was able to take a guest with me to enjoy the trip and I could not think of a better person to accompany me than my mum as we are both experienced shoppers.
We set off from my Sheffield home on a Saturday morning, and after a two hour train journey and a short tube journey we arrived at the impressive hotel building.
The hotel is a classic Edwardian town house which is as beautiful on the inside as it as on the outside.
As soon as we arrived, a porter came outside and took our suitcases from us, welcoming us in to the hotel. The foyer is home to two over-sized velvet chairs, a shiny black tiled floor and a statement gold mirror which perfectly showcases the plush and opulent nature of the hotel.
After being checked in, we were directed by a friendly and helpful member of staff to our room. The first thing that we noticed as we entered the room was a fragrant scent. It matched the classy and rich surroundings we found ourselves in.
To the left, the lounge area and to the right the bed and the bathroom, cleverly partioned with a room divider to create the feel of two separate spaces. The elegant and plush feel of the foyer continued in to the room, with a gold velvet sofa and chair in the lounge area, and a cosy and inviting king-sized bed with a soft and stylish gold velvet headboard.
The bathroom was equally as inviting, with a bath, large waterfall shower and all the toiletries we could possibly need. After enjoying a cup of tea from the complimentary tea facilities, we headed out to nearby Marylebone station to catch a train to Bicester Village, the tickets which were included in the price of the package. There was also a bottle of champagne in the mini bar included as part of the package, but we decided to save that until after out shopping trip.
After a 45 minute train journey, we arrived at Bicester Village and the theme of elegance continued, with a red carpet leading us in to the shopping complex. After collecting our extra ten per cent off voucher from the visitor centre, which was also included as part of the package, we were ready to do some shopping.
Bicester Village offers shoppers a luxury shopping experience, with other 160 boutique shops with brands including Dior, Prada, Juicy Corture, Jack Wills, Swarovski, Ted Baker, Ralf Lauren, Michael Cors and Dolce and Gabana.
The tone for the afternoon was set as we approached the entrance to the village and found ourselves on a red carpet. My mum and I are regular shoppers – shopping is our favourite mother/daughter past time – and we have travelled to various venues for a good shopping trip, but never before had we been somewhere like Bicester Village. The red carpet made us feel like we were celebrities and created a buzz of excitement.
As the name suggests, the shops are set in their own quaint town complete with country style buildings and a pretty flower archway. It was easy to forget, in this quiet setting that we were in the bustling capital.
As we wandered around the shops, which also included Burberry, Fendi, Calvin Klein, Charlotte Tilbury and Oscar de la Renta, we truly felt like Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City. Unsurprisingly on a Saturday afternoon, the shops were all full of equally excited shoppers and bargain hunters, but this added to the enjoyable atmosphere.
We found the staff in all of the shops were friendly and attentive, and we were spoilt for choice in all of them with many beautiful high-end items – from bags and scarves, dresses and skirts, to jewellery and shoes, the stores were full of everything a girl could possibly want. Sadly, we did not have Carrie Bradshaw’s budget, but this did not stop us lusting after gowns covered in diamantes and tops that felt like silk to touch.
I eventually gave in to temptation and treated myself to a new bag, and by the time we had finished exploring each of the shops the staff were preparing to close for the day. We had lost all concept of time as we looked around this shopping paradise.
One hour or so later, we were pleased to return to the hotel. We were pleased to be able to take our shoes off and rest our tired feet.
After enjoying long, hot showers in the stylish bathroom we each got comfy in the complimentary robes and slippers and sank in to the big cosy bed for a relaxing evening.
Continuing with the Carrie Bradshaw theme of the day, we enjoyed flicking through the complimentary magazines while we watched a romantic film on the television and sipped our champagne.
We each fell to sleep later on in the evening, feeling happy, relaxed and thoroughly spoiled.
The next morning, we awoke refreshed and ready for breakfast. We went down to the dining area, which was also elegant and classy with velvet seating and dark wood tables, and shown to a table by another helpful member of staff.
I had the mixed berry pancakes, while my mum opted for a classic scrambled eggs on toast. I found the contrast between the warm pancakes and colder berries to be just right, while the sweet maple syrup tied the whole dish together. It was thoroughly enjoyable and left me feeling satisfied and ready to start my day with a smile.
We both loved the experience so much that we could not leave the hotel without leaving a note to express our gratitude in the guest book. We would be sure to return to No. Ten Manchester Street Hotel next time we are in London and are already planning when we will be able to return for another shopping trip at Bicester Village.