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29 Aug

On Your Next London Luxury List: Do Something Royal

Search travel to Europe as of late and a deluge of negative headlines will make you rethink your summer vacation. From consistent airline cancelations, overcrowded airports and an almost guarantee your luggage won’t arrive with you, getting on a flight overseas requires a hope, prayer and a great deal of patience. Savvy traveler Helecia Williams isn’t letting the airline industry woes keep her from living her best life abroad. The Houston-based content creator, who vlogs as iknowlee on social media, just ticked off London from her travel bucket list for the yr. (Yes, she has a yearly travel wish list and by the tip of 2022 she plans on visiting Costa Rica and Morocco.)

Williams booked her first trip to the U.K. together with her American Express Platinum Card which granted her access to an American Express Travel Consultant with expertise in curating a locals-inspired itinerary, which is how she likes to travel anywhere. “What I enjoy once I travel is being within the midst of the people. I’m not a resort type of girl. I would like to remain wherever the locals stay. I would like to do regardless of the locals do. I would like to eat regardless of the locals eat,” she said days before heading across the pond.

On Your Next London Luxury List: Do Something Royal
LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 27: the American Express Fan Experience at Wimbledon on June 27, 2022 in London, England. Two-time Wimbledon Champion and American Express Ambassador, Andy Murray, collaborates with celebrity nail-artist Michelle Humphrey to encourage a limited-edition range of nail art designs that capture his best Wimbledon memories – tennis fans can have these re-created on their very own nails on the American Express Fan Experience. (Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for American Express )

Upon arrival, Williams’ stay at buzzy The London Edition – a Tremendous Hotels and Resorts property with nineteenth Century bones and twenty first century amenities – set the mood for her stay in trendy Soho. In truth, the constructing’s Georgian style architecture, which was originally renovated from five townhomes and converted into the Berners Hotel in 1909, is only one the sights Williams desired to see up close. “I loved walking the streets of Soho and getting a vibe for the people, the atmosphere, shopping and the architecture…” she said. “…Since the buildings façades are sometimes the unique structures, that whole aspect is cool. It’s unique.”

On Your Next London Luxury List: Do Something Royal

4 days was all Williams needed to explore a city that’s given the world palaces, high tea and Daniel Kaluuya. Nevertheless, Williams’ shortlist of things to do focused more on London’s homegrown experiences than crossing off visits to notable landmarks. See how she toured London her way.   

“Do something royal.”

When asked what she would tell people who find themselves visiting London for the primary time, Williams didn’t hesitate with this suggestion: “I might say visit a castle. Do something royal.”

In response to Royal UK — the official Site of the British Royal family — there are six royal palaces in London and lots of can be found for tours, including Kensington Palace (the official residence of Prince William and Kate). But when you wish to visit a castle like a royal, American Express Travel Consultants could make it occur. They tapped British boutique travel company Beyond Curated, who scheduled a personal tour of Kensington Palace before the palace opened to the general public. Before the palace opened to the general public, Williams walked through the present exhibition, “Life Through a Royal Lens,” which provides never seen before photographs of royal life from the nineteenth century to present day, and explored the antiquities and rooms once utilized by Queen Victoria, Princess Margaret and Princess Diana. 

On Your Next London Luxury List: Do Something Royal

“Buy groceries, but make it luxe.”

London staple Selfridges was already on Williams’ radar and high entering into the flagship store was a must. Opened in 1909, the upscale megastore has evolved with the times and features a beauty concierge, foodhall with specialty global goods and wait for it: a movie show and skateboarding bowl.

In line with her high-end retail therapy experience on Oxford High Street, Williams used Resy for recommendations of equally fabulous sustenance and sips near her. To her surprise, she was directed back to The London EDITION for a meal at Berners Tavern. The Michelin-starred restaurant is a favourite for Londoners and global traveler alike for its English comfort cuisine with a recent twist and not-to-miss cocktails. Travel tip: Order a glass of bubbly and prepare for a show.

On Your Next London Luxury List: Do Something Royal

“Book a London only experience.”

Although Williams leans into making spur of the moment changes when she’s on the bottom in a latest city, there was one thing she had no plans of swapping off the travel itinerary: Centre Court tix at Wimbledon. Gaining access to one of the prestigious tennis tournaments was a breeze because of her American Express Travel Consultant, which helped secure VIP treats throughout the All England Lawn Tennis Club aka Wimbledon Village. Between the set matches across the plush English garden grounds, Williams preferred the intimate American Express Hospitality Experience overlooking The Hill. There guests could recharge with Pimm’s Cups (fresh lemonade spiked with gin and fresh fruit) and strawberries & cream – a Wimbledon culinary tradition.

As for Williams, who opted for a bottomless glass of champagne as she took within the matches, London is a grand slam.

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