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Frieze and 1:54, World's First Contemporary African Art Fair, Open in London

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This week, the culturati makes its annual pilgrimage to Regent’s Park for the 11th Frieze London (Oct. 17-20), with pieces from 152 contemporary galleries from around the globe plus specially commissioned performances, pop-up restaurants, and let’s not forget the party scene. In an unprecedented partnership, British fashion house Alexander McQueen is a sponsor this time around; artworks curated by local gallerist Sadie Coles will be displayed at the brand’s London stores throughout the fair.

Of course, there’s also the second edition of Frieze Masters, the historically minded spin-off, and a full schedule of satellites. Among this year’s standouts, in collaboration with Tanzanian architect David Adjaye, Somerset House has unveiled 1:54 (through Oct. 20), the world's very first contemporary African art fair. Founded by Touria El Glaoui, daughter of Moroccan painter Hassan El Glaoui, it’s a platform for more than 70 artists—from DRC painter Chéri Samba (see La Vraie Carte du Monde, above) to Benin’s Romuald Hazoumé, with his colorful tribal-inspired “masks” made from discarded jerricans, and Gonçalo Mabunda, who turns AK47s and rocket launchers deactivated after Mozambique’s civil war into whimsical, Modernist thrones.

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Purchase Power: Shopping Tips from London Fashion Experts

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We asked a couple of London tastemakers what they would buy with £20, £50, and £100. Here’s what they said.


Patrick Grant, creative director of historic Savile Row tailors Norton & Sons and men’s ready-to-wear label E. Tautz:

£20: “I’d go to Berry Bros. & Rudd (pictured) and buy a bottle—can I have two?—of Good Ordinary Claret (£9). The shop in St James’s is a veritable Dickensian time capsule complete with ancient bottles of Tokai, a wonky wooden floor, and coffee scales on which customers are weighted (a tradition that dates back to the 18th-century health boom).”

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New and Newly Refurbished Hotels Coming to London

Nadler Soho

The London hotel boom continues with a handful of new and newly-rebranded hotels. The Nadler Soho (pictured) is scheduled to launch mid-May, entering a crowded field of other affordable hotels like Aloft, Citizen M, La Suite West, Z Hotels, and the upcoming Hudson. It will be the second London property and the new flagship from Nadler Hotels (formerly known as base2stay). The 78 rooms, with their in-room kitchenettes, will have courtyard-facing terraces or views of Soho Square. There won’t be a restaurant but the hotel promises that each of its staffers—including the “local ambassadors” at the front desk—will be able to provide insider tips on the local scene.

Also set to launch this May, in South Kensington is the Xenia Hotel, with 99 contemporary rooms in a restored Victorian building. Apparently the restaurant will bring a health-conscious Italian cuisine concept to the U.K. for the very first time, while the bar will feature a terrace with an herb garden and (of course) a cigar menu.

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Where to Eat Now in London

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How do you dive into the heart of a city? Better rephrase the question—where is everyone eating right now? A hot restaurant is more than a place to have a meal; it’s the microcosm of a scene, the movers sitting elbow to elbow with the shakers. Case in point: Coya (pictured; $$$), in London, where aristos and art dealers alike dine on sea-bream ceviche, rib eye with chimichurri, and other bites from Peru, culinary touchstone of the moment. It’s the newest opening from restaurateur Arjun Waney, whose Zuma and Arts Club were themselves era-defining canteens for the in-crowd.

The long-awaited Covent Garden outpost of Balthazar (44-20/3301-1155; $$) is a near-replica of the New York original, down to the distressed mirrors, steak frites, and media bigwigs in the booths.

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Chicken: So Hot Right Now in London

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Seems chicken is the muse of the moment for London restaurants. To wit:

In Kentish Town, Soho House recently opened Chicken Shop. The design was modeled after a 1950s American general store (think checked floors and a bar with stool seating).

After a food truck test drive, Canteen co-founder Cass Titcombe opened Roost as a brick-and-mortar restaurant in Soho, offering free-range British chicken—fried, grilled, or roasted.

At Tramshed, Mark Hix’s buzzy new chicken-and-steak restaurant in Shoreditch, a specially commissioned Damien Hirst featuring a cow and a cockerel in formaldehyde takes center stage (how appetizing); in the basement, Cock ‘n’ Bull gallery showcases works by local artists.

Wishbone, a fried chicken joint and cocktail bar from William Leigh and Scott Collins (also behind Meat Liquor), is now open at Brixton Market.

See more of London's best restaurants.

Christine Ajudua is Travel + Leisure's London correspondent.

U.S. Embassy in London to Relocate

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The U.S. Embassy in London is moving to Vauxhall—which is interesting, considering the south-of-the-Thames location. Currently, the area is known for its gay bar scene as well as its scattered but strong food offerings, such as the excellent Brunswick House Café.

The Ballymore Group is heading up a surrounding residential/retail development, complete with a 100-room waterside hotel, called Embassy Gardens. It’s part of the mayor’s Nine Elms South Bank regeneration project, aka London’s “Third City” (after the Square Mile to the east and Westminster to the west). Sir Terry Farrell is the architect, and will incorporate elements of New York’s meatpacking district as well as London’s Victorian and Edwardian mansion blocks. This is all pretty far off (dates pending), but in the meantime, this area is on the up.

Christine Ajudua is Travel + Leisure's London correspondent.

Behind the Scenes at a T+L Photo Shoot

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“We were finishing up a morning shoot in the Philippines on White Beach in Boracay, this big, long stretch of supersoft, sugary sand on the island’s western coast. It’s lined with resorts.

Before heading to our next location, we took a swim in the sea just outside our hotel. While drying off, I spotted this couple sleeping with their big, floppy, matching sun hats. They weren’t wearing bathing suits, so I assumed they were just arriving, maybe waiting to check in. For me this moment encompasses that whole feeling you get at the start of a vacation: when you know that everything’s going to be taken care of and your needs will be met. The sky is going to be ablue and the sun will be out, and the palm trees will shade you. The water is going to be warm; the drinks, cool; and the daybeds are there. It’s time to relax.” —Emily Nathan, photographer

Shot at Discovery Shores.

Photo by Emily Nathan

Food Trucks Arrive in London

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The food truck movement has officially made its way across the pond. In fact, some of London's best new restaurants—Pitt Cue Co., for example—started on wheels, while a number of brick-and-mortar spots—like Wahaca—are going mobile. Meanwhile, this summer saw the launch of Street Feast, a super-popular Friday night market in Dalston with a range of global vendors (Mama’s Jerk Station; Pop Up Barbados; Kimchi Cult; Bhangra Burger). It began as a 12-week pop-up, but it’s still around; in late September, it moved into an indoor spot farther east in Hackney, with live entertainment to boot.

Christine Ajudua is Travel + Leisure's London correspondent.

New Amenities at Top UK Hotels

New Amenities at Top U.K. Hotels

Belgraves, A Thompson Hotel, has launched Project Bell Boy, collaborating with renowned English hairstylist Errol Douglas MBE to design custom coifs for Belgraves’s trendy front of house team that “pay homage to the hotel’s location in the chic Belgravia neighbourhood.”

Meanwhile, there’s a new Belgraves Big Night Out package (until December 23, from £1,200) for guests, which includes an overnight stay in one of the hotel’s top suites and a visit to Douglas’s Motcomb Street salon for a blow-dry or a cut; afterwards, you’ll be chauffeured to your West End nightlife venue of choice. The project is set to continue into 2013 and to launch at Thompson properties around the globe, each of which will offer destination-specific hairstyling tips.

As the only hotel in the UK to offer polo, Dorchester Collection’s Coworth Park, in Ascot, recently launched a Polo Academy. Under the tutelage of Andrew Hine, who both captained and managed the English national team, guests could learn to play the world’s oldest team sport.

In anticipation of the new 007 movie, Skyfall (out in the U.K. October 26; in the U.S. November 9), Dukes bar at the Dukes hotel is offering martini-making classes with its head barman, Alessandro Palazzi. After all, it’s said that this is where author Ian Fleming was inspired to write the line “shaken, not stirred.”

Christine Ajudua is Travel + Leisure's London correspondent.

Photo courtesy of The Dorchester

Cafe Royal Hotel to Open in London

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Café Royal, the 150-year-old Regent Street institution once frequented by the likes of Oscar Wilde and Virginia Woolf, is on track to reopen in December—as a hotel. It’ll be the second member of The Set—a new collection from Alfred and Georgi Akirov, the guys behind Jerusalem’s Mamilla hotel—after Amsterdam’s new Conservatorium. The 159 rooms will have historic touches such as timber and bronze ceilings and fumed oak paneled walls. The property will also feature a revamped Grill Room and Domino Room, an Akasha Holistic Wellbeing Centre with a lap pool and a hammam, and a private members club. hotelcaferoyal.com

Christine Ajudua is Travel + Leisure's London correspondent.

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