Simms' city: The Mandarin Oriental and the highs and lows of Dover St's Arts Club


Our diarist Freya Simms shows us around her favourite London haunts…

Clarendon Cross – Notting Hill

Clarendon Cross - Notting Hill

The last few weeks in London have been glorious and I started one of the sunniest days with a meeting at the Julies restaurant in Clarendon Cross.

Nestled in the heart of London’s prime real estate, Clarendon Cross is an eclectic mix of all the finest things in life from specialist shops to fine art galleries like Piano Nobile and, of course, the go to place for a pedicure in London, the Cowshed!

I love Julies and have been going to it for as long as I can remember for chilled Sunday lunches. My mother and her friends would take a table hostage for hours and leave me to “play with the traffic”. Whether you are meeting for coffee, something stronger, or a slap up meal, its rabbit warren of rooms and alcoves means that it suits all occasions

Mandarin Oriental

The Sun Inn

My next meeting was with head of communications at the Mandarin Oriental to look at some projects we might work on together such as the upcoming Ink at Saatchi, an exhibition of contemporary Chinese ink painting curated by Chinese art guru, Michael Goedhuis.

I had a bit of time to spare, and with the sun still streaming, I made the lovely walk from Holland Park through Kensington Gardens to Hyde Park. It’s days like this that I feel very content with my lot as a Londoner. I love the position of the hotel, how it overlooks the park, and it has some stunning rooms too. Our meeting ended in the Royal Suite, a regal suite of rooms that has its own dining room and balcony where you could host a party of 50 or so. But most impressive to me are the lovely original drawings by Degas and Picasso.

The day finished at yet another watering hole The Sun Inn in Barnes. Situated across from the pond in this lovely part of London, there a few places better to enjoy a glass of rosé at sunset. And for me the added bonus is supper was waiting for me at my parent’s house across the green!


House of Worth & Browns on Albemarle st

Philip Mould&Company

A corset by House of Worth

The specialist portrait dealers Philip Mould & Company are always looking at ways to push boundaries and show that you don’t have to be cutting edge to be modern, doing so by juxtaposing the old with the new. In the spirit of this, my colleague Meeka and I met up with the team from haute couture designers House of Worth at the bar in Browns on Albemarle St to discuss a partnership between Philip Mould & Co and House of Worth for London Fashion Week (watch this space). 

Designed by Olga Polizz, Browns is a great place for a meeting whether you are indulging in their celebrated tea or having a large glass of red.

Browns Hotel, Albermarle st


The Arts Club on Dover Street

Next stop was just a little further along in Dover St at the much feted Dover Street Arts Club. Feted thanks to Gwynnie and her pals exerting their influence and transforming it from a languishing genteel arts club to a ‘how do I get a table?’ destination. I was meeting Trevor Pickett – mover and shaker of Burlington Arcade and purveyor of all fine things leather. It was only 3pm.

I was sipping a cup of Earl Grey while the concert pianist Lang Lang sat at the next table. Not a bad introduction to the club. It looks fantastic, but definitely has more of an air of social rather than the business of art that it once served.

Freya Simms is managing director of Gong Muse a Strategic Communications agency for the art and luxury markets and winner of PRCA Agency Campaign of the year 2011.