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02 to be in the big city
IT certainly offered a room with a bustling view.
Although miles away from the touristy sights, my stay at the Radisson Edwardian New Providence Wharf Hotel offers a chance to sample a side of London I would not usually visit.
Not long ago this part of the East End was home to acres of sooty factories and warehouses – hardly first choice for a posh weekend getaway with your other half.
Now you’ll find shimmering skyscrapers, penthouses or slick restaurants.
And among them, the glistening four star hotel my partner and I checked into.
As I am shown the luxurious rooms on offer, I am told this ultra modern hotel is a favourite with “the corporates”
because Canary Wharf and ExCel Exhibition Centre are just next door.
It’s also renowned for its night time vista of the River Thames – and the glamorous bathing opportunities on offer, with bathtubs overlooking the majestically floodlit O2 Arena.
There’s pampering is available at the spa and the Azura Restaurant and Bar offers award-winning modern British fare on the set menu and an outdoor river terrace.
I was in heaven with a starter of smoked duck breast, smooth duck liver and foie gras terrine plus fig chutney all topping toasted brioche.
Things then got even better with my excellently cooked 10oz rib of rare breed Yorkshire pork, parsnips and sweet potato plus spiced apple chutney on the side.
And I am afraid – with my gluttonous side awakened and firmly in chargethe prospect of lashings of delicious double chocolate ice cream with sticky toffee pudding could not be cast aside.
Supping from espresso cups my partner and I then toyed with having a few drinks in Soho, although the spectre of a London taxi bill induced faint indigestion. Thankfully the hotel has a deal with a reasonably priced private hire firm whose night bills were only £25 on the fast roads that whisk you to the West End. Back at the hotel later we slept deeply in comfortable beds, before awaking to views of a pulsating city. But while the businessmen were up, and by now frantically flocking to the forest of brimming skyscrapers next door, we took our time with our Thames side breakfast, smugly pondering why the modern world was always in such a hurry?