There’s not a lot that gets me awake before 8am – a true owl, I usually work until 2 or 3am. But when Gap asked me if I would like to take part in a one-off bespoke yoga session with Triyoga’s Nadia Narain, on the 68th floor of The Shard London I said yes immediately: a once in a lifetime experience, surely. I just hadn’t quite processed that that meant rising at 0630hrs, for a 7am pick up, dressed head to toe in Gap Fit workout gear.
The sun starts to rise at 0745hrs, so we started the practice then, suspended over London, as the skyline flooded with light.
Practice done, and mind rebalanced, it was off to another London landmark, The Dorchester hotel, Having seen most of London’s landmarks from the sky, down at ground level, the car took me by the Palace of Westminster and Big Ben.
And then past Buckingham Palace and the Victoria Memorial.
The Dorchester are launching a collaboration with Smythson for Valentine’s, their Head over Heels campaign*, and, as part of the press launch, I was invited on a tour behind the scenes of the hotel. Due to doing bend and contort at The Shard, I missed most of it, but was given a personal escort around the kitchens. Most specifically the pastry kitchen, during afternoon tea prep.
It took all my self control not to launch myself across the marble slabs to seize a little mid-morning snackette.
I now have large kitchen equipment lust.
I worked in hotels for seven or so years, as a silver service waitress (yes, I can do gueridon service, perform napkin origami, serve you with a spoon and fork from a flat, and balance four plates up my arm, if you ask very nicely), so I do enjoy a good nostalgic nose around a kitchen. (Although I’m quite glad I no longer have to wear black and whites, or support tights).
Speaking of support tights, I never worked in a hotel that had leg-saving service escalators: this is how your afternoon tea cake gets transported from the pastry kitchen to the service kitchen at The Dorchester.
It does give you a sense of the quite enormous operation that goes on behind the scenes to keep a hotel of this size running on wheels.
*If you are lucky enough to be staying at The Dorchester, Coworth Park or 45 Park Lane, tweet the hotel before you arrive, using the hashtag #headoverheels you will find a Smythson ‘Head Over Heels‘ leather bound flip book in your room.
Thank you to Gap for the yoga practice, and to The Dorchester for the wonderful hotel tour.