I’ve discovered something about London which I’m thrilled about, and is right up my street. Apparently, there’s this thing called ‘Christmas in July’ where various places – mainly hotels – put on Christmas exhibitions and get the media in to see what they’re planning for December. The Crowne Plaza Hotel invited me along and to be honest, I was wowed by the hotel before I even got the Christmas part.
For anyone looking for somewhere to set themselves up in London for a few hours on the old laptop, the foyer of the Crowne Plaza Hotel has a large seating area with comfortable armchairs and free WiFi, and you’re welcome to come sit and work there.
There are two restaurants and a cocktail bar on site. The first, Diciannove serves Italian cuisine. Yes, it’s pricey, but they have a private dining area in the back with a two-course set menu for £25 per person and you don’t have to pay extra for the room.
The second, Chinese Cricket Club, is so called due to the owner’s obsession with the sport and displays memorabilia all around the restaurant. Even some of the wines are specifically chosen because they come from the vineyards of professional cricket players. And the food is honestly delicious. I had the chance to sample their Kung Po chicken and vegetarian spring rolls and I was immediately transported back to Hong Kong.
Anyway, onto Christmas!
We were taken down to one of their conference/event areas and there were various tables set up – a drinks table, cocktail making table, mulled wine table, and chefs stood behind culinary masterclass tables so you could have a go at making the past they serve in their Italian restaurant or the wontons they serve in they serve in their Chinese restaurant.
Hotel staff came around with trays full of amuse-bouche, and they kept coming, and they kept coming. Succulent pork on the bone with mashed potato and parsnip, delicate tuna with a mango chutney, turkey dials with cranberry, flavourful szechuan chicken, salmon and sauteed potatoes, the savoury plates went on and on.
Then they were followed by mini mince pies, chocolate and lemon mousses in crunchy shortcrust pastry.
It was honestly unbelievable.
We also had a sneaky look at the various rooms that could be set up for Christmas parties. There were smaller rooms with long tables for diners to get together in smaller parties, and large rooms with round tables, disco lights and a DJ. Each table held crackers, party hats, party favours, bottles of wine and decorations.
It got my so excited for my favourite holiday!
Finally, we had a little visit from Santa. After taking a polaroid picture with us, he handed us a little goodie bag with a hotel Christmas brochure, a Crowne Plaza mug, a candy cane and a gingerbread man. Appropriate, though I’ve had some seriously amazing goodie bags recently so I feel like they could step up their game there!
Still, it was so nice to spend a few hours surrounded by Christmas 6 months out of the season. I’m heading to Christmas at Harrods next week. Now that should be incredible, so stay tuned!