Gabrielle Sander

Correspondent

  • London, England, Europe

Gabrielle Sander is a London-based Forbes Travel Guide correspondent who has spent the last eight years or so eating, drinking, exploring, probing and pampering all in the name of work. She writes about luxury travel, food, restaurants, spa and beauty and has been published in The Arbuturian (where she also heads up the travel section), The Telegraph, News International’s Fabulous magazine, Running in Heels, Glass Magazine, Lovefood.com and more. Sander enjoys the simple things in life: Earl Grey tea, playing Scrabble, discovering the local dishes of a new destination — and attempting to whip them up back home — crunching through autumn leaves and sunrises in beautiful settings.

  • On July 2, 2014
  • On April 30, 2013
    Gabrielle Sander answered the question: Gabrielle Sander

    What are the best spas in London?

    After a dehydrating long-haul flight and aching limbs from busy days sightseeing, make time in the itinerary for one of these restorative pit stops:

    Best for alternative treatments: Chuan Spa

    London’s first luxury Chinese medicine centre is great for trying something new, with treatments tailored to suit your element - metal, wood, water, fire and earth -  and focused on keeping the mind, body and soul balanced. Be sure to make time for the complimentary Chuan Tri-bathing Ritual to pre-treatment to reap the full benefits of your time there.

    1C Portland Place, Regent Street, W1B 1JA

    Best for indulgence: May Fair Spa

    With the likes of the Milk & Honey Wrap, Golden Caviar Facial and Cashmere and Silk Body Wrap on the menu, the May Fair Spa is the place to head for pure indulgence. Centrally-located, but still managing to instil instant calm as soon as you step into its classy surroundings. With aromatic steam room, herbal sauna, ice fountain and a relaxation room decked out in sleep-inducing heated beds among the complimentary wet room offerings, you’ll be hard pushed to find the willpower to leave.

    Radisson Edwardian May Fair Hotel, Stratton Street, W1J 8LT

    Best for a quick fix: Cowshed Carnaby

    Conveniently placed in the heart of one of London’s best shopping areas: Carnaby Street, with a menu of 30-minute treatments (from face peels to pedicures) to chose from; perfect for the time poor. The brand’s gift-worthy collection of beauty products, on sale in the upstairs shop, is also worth a look while you’re there. 

    31 Foubert’s Place, Soho, W1F 7QG
  • On April 30, 2013
    Gabrielle Sander answered the question: Gabrielle Sander

    What are the best bars in London?

    London is brimming with fantastic drinking holes, so where does one start? May I introduce you to a handful of personal favourites; North, East, South and West:

    North

    69 Colebrooke Row – aka The Bar With No Name - what this bar lacks in size, it more than makes up for in quality cocktails. Far beyond your usual Manhattan, expect inventive mixes incorporating seasonal and unique ingredients you’ve likely never heard of, let alone associated with a cocktail: smoked frankincense, woodland bitters, distilled clay, ‘hint of hay’…

    Happiness Forgets: ‘High End Cocktails, Low Rent Basement’ is the strap line for this bar on Hoxton Square, but don’t let the ‘low rent’ bit put you off. It’s a dark, bare-bricked intimate space, but cosy all the same - think speakeasy. More importantly, they know their stuff when it comes to cocktail-making.

    East

    The Zetter Townhouse - Stepping foot inside this award-winning East Central London cocktail lounge is like stumbling into the study of an eccentric explorer, with all manner of curios dotted around, from a taxidermy kangaroo and Victorian dressed cat, to maps, old books and tobacco tins. Expert molecular mixologist Tony Conigliaro is the mastermind behind the original cocktails served up here, with recipes inspired by the area's distillery roots, and bitters, tinctures, herbal remedies and homemade cordials among the ingredients. The warming Byrrh Harvard is a highlight, with the delicate Rose Petal Gimlet following at a close second.

    Steeping foot inside Callooh Callay is a bit like venturing down the rabbit hole to Wonderland, without the hallucinogenics and antsy Mad Hatters. This eclectically-decorated gem serves up playful cocktails such as From Nancy With Love and Mary’s Magic 8 Ball and a menu of bar snacks. The best lies through the unassuming wardrobe at the end of the main bar, the JubJub Bar – a popular space for private parties and pop-up events.

    South

    A short stroll from Blackfriar’s or Waterloo Bridge, stooping high over the river Thames and South Bank, lies the OXO Tower Bar, the place to head for an evening tipple, when London is in its all-twinkling glory. Lounge back, relax after a day of exploring the city, and take in the view with one of the many Champagnes, cocktails (the location-apt Room With a View perhaps?), whiskies, liquors and locally-brewed beers.

    West

    Experimental Cocktail Club: A small speakeasy-type bar on Gerrard Street, in the heart of Chinatown. Finding this place can be tricky for first timers, but it's worth the effort. The laid back ambience inside is a complete contrast to the hustle and bustle of nearby Leicester Square, it’s like stepping back in time to a glamorous era gone by; perfect for pre-dinner cocktails or a post-theatre nightcap. To guarantee a spot on one of the velvet-clad seats, booking (by email) is essential.

    Bar 45 - For tea-infused cocktails in amber and chocolate brown leather surroundings, under the watchful eyes of candid photographs of the A-list, Bar 45 - housed in 45 Park Lane - is a recommended nightspot. Aside from an impressive line-up of signature cocktails - the Earl Grey tea-infused Duke of Earl is a personal favourite - the wine list boasts the largest selection of American bins in the United Kingdom.

    Sketch: The Parlour - For an early evening tipple in opulent, theatrical surroundings, The Parlour at London hotspot Sketch is a Mayfair must stop. A great place to grab a light bite or colorful afternoon tea by day, but come 6pm it's all about the cocktails. At 9pm it switches to members only, so you really do need to get there early.

    Serving classy martini, long, and sparkling cocktails in equally high end opulence, Beach Blanket Babylon is a bar with personality and, with the fire roaring during this chilly time, a cosy place to head for a drink or two before continuing onwards for dinner in Notting Hill.

    Degò – A laidback Italian wine bar, two minutes walk from Oxford Circus. A great little spot to rest up after a hard day’s retail therapy, enjoy a glass of wine or champagne, from a large selection of boutique old world wineries, and work your way though one of the hot or cold meat and cheese platters, in stripped back, red and black, contemporary surroundings.
  • On April 28, 2013
    Gabrielle Sander answered the question: Gabrielle Sander

    What are the best cocktails to try in London?

    Where to start? The city's mixologists and bartenders don't mess around when it comes to devising, shaking and serving up a delicious cocktail. My personal favourites, the ones I daydream about from time to time, are as follows: 

    Earl Grey Martini at Quo Vadis

    A smile-inducing mix of Earl Grey Bombay Sapphire, lemon, sugar and egg white, whipped up to deliver a sweet, smooth, citrus and frothy delight. My failsafe, post-work tipple of choice. 

    26-28 Dean Street, Soho, W1D 3LL

    Byrrh Harvard at Zetter Townhouse

    This cosy, quirky lounge is made for heading to for late night drinks and deep and meaningfuls into the early hours. The warming Martel Cognac, Byrrh and orange bitters in the bar’s Byrrh Harvard, is the drink to be supped on such occasions.

    49-50 St John’s Square, EC1V 4JJ

    Market Tipple at Met Bar

    A tall drink made for late summer afternoons – preferably after some serious retail therapy on nearby Oxford Street. A delicious mix of Tapatio Blanco Tequila, dried English lavender, heather honey, lemon juice and that all important creamer, egg white.

    19 Old Park Lane, W1K 1LB

  • On April 28, 2013
    Gabrielle Sander answered the question: Gabrielle Sander

    What are the best things about spring in London?

    Spring is a great time to visit London: the days are longer, the temperatures are generally warmer, the gardens, parks and green spaces are blessed with cheerful blooms; and the energy this brings to the residents is infectious. It's also the calm before the peak summer period, when the streets - especially around the main shopping areas – can be swarmed, queues for key attractions relentlessly long, and demand for theatre tickets at a high, making packing in lots of impromptu sightseeing and activities into your break that little bit trickier.

    Spring also marks the start of a multitude of outdoor events and festivals - from the Shakespeare's Globe Summer Season of open air theatre (April 23 - August 18) and London Literature Festival (May 20-September 8) to the Chelsea Flower Show (May 21-25) - and temperatures to flock to the many roof top bars and pub gardens; although pack an umbrella in case of an impromptu spring shower.
  • On April 27, 2013
    Gabrielle Sander answered the question: Gabrielle Sander

    What festivals are going on in London?


    Music: For a range of musical genres in one of London’s oldest parks, head to Lovebox Festival. Taking place in Victoria Park from July 19th – 21st, the line-up boasts rock, pop and soul in the form of Plan B, Lana Del Rey, Grace Jones, Friendly Fires and Goldfrapp; dance from Groove Armada and Rudimental; and many more live acts, alongside food stalls, art installations and that all important great atmosphere. What’s more, the no camping policy means you can choose a comfortable hotel bed to rest your head each night.

    Film: The 57th BFI Film Festival takes place in London from October 9th to 20th, showcasing the best new films, documentaries, shorts, animations, feature films and talks across a packed 12-day schedule. Last year’s festival attracted the highest attendance in the event’s history, with over 149,000 people flocking to various venues hosting screenings across the city, including 12 world premieres, 11 international premieres, 37 European premieres, and an impressive whose who of A-listers. Full details are revealed in September, but every year promises to keep film buffs entertained; visit the official website for more.

    Food: The annual Taste of London takes over a small section of Regent’s Park from June 20th to 23rd, offering visitors the opportunity to sample small plates from 40 of the city’s very best restaurants. Marking its 10th anniversary in 2013, this year’s event is boasting its ‘best line-up ever’, including: three generations of Roux – Albert, Michel Jr and Emily – cooking together in a festival first; championed chefs such as Raymond Blanc, Bruno Loubet and Rene Redzepi; and some of the city’s top new restaurant newcomers, Sushisamba, Duck & Waffle and LIMA. With pop-up bars selling delicious sunny day Pimms and Laurent Perrier, live music, food stalls stocked with treats to pack in your suitcase for home, and far too much freshly cooked food to sample there and then, it’s a must for foodies. Book in advance from the official website for the best price.

    Fashion: London Fashion Week – September 13th to 17th – attracts a plethora of pretty faces and top fashion names to the city, keen to model and unveil the looks for the next season (in this case, spring/summer 2014). Check the official website nearer the time for details of shows and events taking place around the city.
  • On April 27, 2013
    Gabrielle Sander answered the question: Gabrielle Sander

    What festivals are going on in London?


    Music: For a range of musical genres in one of London’s oldest parks, head to Lovebox Festival. Taking place in Victoria Park from July 19th – 21st, the line-up boasts rock, pop and soul in the form of Plan B, Lana Del Rey, Grace Jones, Friendly Fires and Goldfrapp; dance from Groove Armada and Rudimental; and many more live acts, alongside food stalls, art installations and that all important great atmosphere. What’s more, the no camping policy means you can choose a comfortable hotel bed to rest your head each night.


    Film: The 57th BFI Film Festival takes place in London from October 9th to 20th, showcasing the best new films, documentaries, shorts, animations, feature films and talks across a packed 12-day schedule. Last year’s festival attracted the highest attendance in the event’s history, with over 149,000 people flocking to various venues hosting screenings across the city, including 12 world premieres, 11 international premieres, 37 European premieres, and an impressive whose who of A-listers. Full details are revealed in September, but every year promises to keep film buffs entertained; visit the official website for more.

    Food: The annual Taste of London takes over a small section of Regent’s Park from June 20th to 23rd, offering visitors the opportunity to sample small plates from 40 of the city’s very best restaurants. Marking its 10th anniversary in 2013, this year’s event is boasting its ‘best line-up ever’, including: three generations of Roux – Albert, Michel Jr and Emily – cooking together in a festival first; championed chefs such as Raymond Blanc, Bruno Loubet and Rene Redzepi; and some of the city’s top new restaurant newcomers, Sushisamba, Duck & Waffle and LIMA. With pop-up bars selling delicious sunny day Pimms and Laurent Perrier, live music, food stalls stocked with treats to pack in your suitcase for home, and far too much freshly cooked food to sample there and then, it’s a must for foodies. Book in advance from the official website for the best price.

    Fashion: London Fashion Week – September 13th to 17th – attracts a plethora of pretty faces and top fashion names to the city, keen to model and unveil the looks for the next season (in this case, spring/summer 2014). Check the official website nearer the time for details of shows and events taking place around the city.
  • On April 27, 2013
    Gabrielle Sander answered the question: Gabrielle Sander

    What’s new in London?

    The Attraction: The Shard. Head there for awe-inspiring, 360 degree views of the city and its bundle of iconic and ancient sites from dizzying heights. The London Eye stills spins over the banks of the River Thames and warrants the queues it attracts, but The Shard is the shiny new kid on the block to visit.

    Which moves us nicely on to The Restaurant: Restaurant Story, the first outpost from 26-year-old chef Tom Sellers – whose CV includes NYC’s Per Se, world famous Noma and London Michelin-star Tom Aikens - boasts views of the aforementioned Shard. Housed in a former toilet block on Tooley Street, SE1, Restaurant Story has undergone a glamorous transformation: floor-to-ceiling glass, specially-commissioned crockery, and quirky animal illustrations. Sellers's personal journey from childhood to present day is told through an inventive menu, with signature dishes including ‘Bread & Dripping’, served as an edible candle. One to book ahead.

    The Hotel: Coined ‘The World’s First Great Railway Hotel’, Great Northern Hotel originally opened its doors in 1854. So why is it included here, I hear you cry? Well, following a 12-year closure, the Grade II listed, 91 luxury-roomed abode in the heart of King’s Cross, is set to open its refurbished doors this May. Dexter Moran Associates, which boasts a portfolio of well-designed luxury hotels under its belt, is the brainchild behind the new look, which makes use of the original features: high ceilings, sash windows, sweeping staircases, to create what is set to be one of this year’s most exciting newcomers.
  • On April 27, 2013
    Gabrielle Sander answered the question: Gabrielle Sander

    What is the best time to visit London?

    London really is a fantastic place to visit and explore any time of the year. Despite the constant reports of ‘recession’, ‘double-dip recession’ and any of the other economical woes that seem to dominate the column inches of tomorrow’s fish and chips wrap, the city boasts an ever flourishing retail, restaurant and hotel market, making for new places to visit, shop, eat and stay all the time.

    Yes, the weather is unpredictable, blanketing the city in scorching sun one minute, showers the next, sporadic snow falls, mild winters, 'coldest winters since the year of...', but we're well equipped to entertain the masses whatever mood Mother Nature might decide to be in on the days you visit. So there isn’t even a best season to come – although, by default summer is sure to bring you more sunny days than fall or winter. That said, wrapped up against the cold, kicking through fallen leaves on a stroll through one the many ancient parks dotted around is - in my opinion – one of the best things to do anyway.

    An annual, packed calendar of art, food and music festivals makes use of our green spaces and tests our ability to pitch a waterproof marquee pronto, if need be. Museums (mainly all free to visit) and shopping centers cater for rainy days and all tastes, and street upon street of places to grab a bite, a beverage, souvenir or new outfit - open 7 days a week, almost 365 days a year - offer something to keep everyone entertained on a visit to the city, come spring, summer, fall or winter.
  • On April 27, 2013
    Gabrielle Sander answered the question: Gabrielle Sander

    What are the best museums in London?

    Choosing a museum to suit the whole family can be a tricky task indeed. Art-heavy ones are likely to lead to cries of boredom from the littlest ones, likewise, too much all-flashing, all-dancing ‘child-friendly fun’ can test the patience of the older members. For all round, truly family-friendly museums, add one of these to the schedule.

    For a museum experience that’ll keep the little ones engaged and happy for hours, head to the free to enter Science Museum where the past meets the future in an array of gigantic to minute exhibits, visual displays and interactive areas. For the tricky teens, try Madame Tussauds wax museum where they can get up close and photographed with their favorite Hollywood film stars, musicians and bands, such as the new addition, One Direction (albeit very realistic wax work versions, rather than the real thing…). For big kids, with a keen interest in toys from days gone by, Pollock’s Toy Museum has a wonderful collection of board games, doll’s houses, folk toys from around the world and English tin toys; plus a shop to pick up some souvenirs for home.
  • On April 23, 2013
  • On April 13, 2013
    Gabrielle Sander answered the question: Gabrielle Sander

    What are the best bookstores in London?


    London Review Bookshop, 14 Bury Place, WC1A 2JL: With over 20,000 titles spread over two floors, you’d be hard pushed not to find what you’re looking for in this independent store; however, if you’re not at all sure where to start, the knowledgeable staff will be sure to guide you in the right direction. Regular readings, talks and debates from visiting literary talents and the on site cafe, to re-energise you after all that browsing, are two more reasons why this store is worthy of your attention.

    Foyles, 113-119 Charing Cross Road, WC2H 0EB: Foyles’ five-floor flagship on Charing Cross Road opened its doors in 1906 and is still considered one of London’s finest, with a UK National & Children’s Bookseller of the Year 2012 accolade to boot. Over 200,000 titles, as well as magazines, stationary, DVDs, CDs, a gallery and café to explore.

    Waterstones: An award-winning high street chain with many outposts dotted around the city, and a great selection of fiction and non-fiction, staff recommendations, and special evenings led by visiting authors. Head to the flagship superstore on Piccadilly – one of Europe’s biggest - for a gargantuan collection spread over six floors.
  • On April 13, 2013
    Gabrielle Sander is now following the question:
  • On April 13, 2013
    Gabrielle Sander answered the question: Gabrielle Sander

    What are the best food gifts to buy in London?

    Mrs Kibble's Olde Sweet Shoppe
    If the flight wasn’t so long and export restrictions, a little, well, restricting, I’d urge you to pick up all manner of edible treats to enjoy at home, such as a block or two of our delicious artisan cheese with some freshly baked breads, or a slice of crumbly cake from one of the city's fine producers. Rather than miss out, I suggest you have a good taste of that while you’re here and pack some of these to enjoy at home, or gift to deserved friends, colleagues and loved ones:

    Tea: It’s no secret us Brits are partial to a cup of tea: from good ol’ English Breakfast to aromatic Earl Grey; a light afternoon Darjeeling or downright smoky Lapsang Souchong. Whatever you’re blend of choice there are plenty of tea shops dotted around the city to pick up some leaves of your own. The Tea House in Covent Garden, Postcard Teas in Mayfair, or Twinings on the Strand all boast gift-worthy selections.

    And what is a cup of tea without a British biscuit to dunk in it? I recommend this foodie souvenir, more for the lovely tins they come in, although the biscuits inside are rather delicious too. Fortnum & Mason on Piccadilly or Harrods, Knightsbridge have great selections of flavours and designs with a proper ‘British’ feel about them.

    Confectionary: For the sweetest souvenir of them all, head to one of London’s traditional sweet shops which echo Dickensian times and have jar upon jar of colorful fizzy, chewy, popping and suckable sugary delights on display. Hope and Greenwood, Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe, Mrs Kibble’s Old Sweet Shoppe and Hardy’s Original Sweet Shop all boast a tooth-achingly good choice.

  • On April 13, 2013
    Gabrielle Sander answered the question: Gabrielle Sander

    What are the best food gifts to buy in London?

    Mrs Kibble's Olde Sweet Shoppe
    If the flight wasn’t so long and export restrictions, a little, well, restricting, I’d urge you to pick up all manner of edible treats to enjoy at home, such as a block or two of our delicious artisan cheese with some freshly baked breads, or a slice of crumbly cake from one of the city's fine producers. Rather than miss out, I suggest you have a good taste of that while you’re here and pack some of these to enjoy at home, or gift to deserved friends, colleagues and loved ones:

    Tea: It’s no secret us Brits are partial to a cup of tea: from good ol’ English Breakfast to aromatic Earl Grey; a light afternoon Darjeeling or downright smoky Lapsang Souchong. Whatever you’re blend of choice there are plenty of tea shops dotted around the city to pick up some leaves of your own. The Tea House in Covent Garden, Postcard Teas in Mayfair, or Twinings on the Strand all boast gift-worthy selections.

    And what is a cup of tea without a British biscuit to dunk in it? I recommend this foodie souvenir, more for the lovely tins they come in, although the biscuits inside are rather delicious too. Fortnum & Mason on Piccadilly or Harrods, Knightsbridge have great selections of flavours and designs with a proper ‘British’ feel about them.

    Confectionary: For the sweetest souvenir of them all, head to one of London’s traditional sweet shops which echo Dickensian times and have jar upon jar of colorful fizzy, chewy, popping and suckable sugary delights on display. Hope and Greenwood, Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe, Mrs Kibble’s Old Sweet Shoppe and Hardy’s Original Sweet Shop all boast a tooth-achingly good choice.