Tag Archives: Guest posting

50 Charles Street

50 Charles Street:
A Mansion with a Rich History

I recently reviewed on CabbieBlog The Story of Mayfair by Peter Wetherell which chronicles this famous enclave of London from the 1660s to the present day – and beyond. This Guest Post by Mariana Sarceda tells of a Mayfair property being offered by Wetherell’s with a long history and links with one of the 20th century’s leading fashion designers.

[W]hen it comes to prestigious and stylish residences in central London there is one Mayfair property which stands out. Price and location may be hallmarks of exceptional and in-demand property in the UK capital. Yet, for the truly elite and discerning London property buyer, history and design can be what really makes a new residence standout. And that can make a property priceless.

50 Charles Street is one of these international monuments.

Designer Real Estate in the City
This magnificent mansion could one day reside in the history books somewhere in between ‘number 10’, and Sherlock Holmes’ 221b Baker Street. 50 Charles Street was originally built in 1721-52. This architectural work was undertaken by prominent master builder John Philips, and his partner George Shakespear. Other work by Philips includes the original Battersea Bridge, interior joinery at Christ Church Library. He was eventually elevated to the position of Carpenter to His Majesty’s Board of Works. Since then it has been used as a luxury residential building, converted to chic commercial law offices, and back into a residential home.


This Ambassadorial Grade II listed property was in the process of being renovated for fashion designer Gianni Versace. In 1997 when the home was 70 per cent finished, and just four days after signing the agreement to take Versace Group public, Gianni was shot in front of his Miami Beach home in Florida.

The Epitome of Fashionable Property
In addition to his Florida home, Gianni Versace’s real estate collection included a townhome on Fifth Avenue in New York, Villa Le Fontanelle on Lake Como and a downtown Milan residence in Italy.

Versace’s Ocean Drive residence in Miami ‘Casa Casuarina’ was once listed for $125 million. A photography spread by Forbes magazine highlights just how beautiful and fascinating 50 Charles would likely have been if the master designer had it finished.

Top model, friend of the Versace family, and Miami real estate expert Kaya Wittenburg is one of the few that have been invited to dine with the Versace’s in their homes in the past. Kaya notes the immaculate and meticulous planning and attention to the very finest details. Together this flair for design and the master craftsmanship of Philips are sure to blend into an opulent residence worthy of royalty.

Peter Wetherell, the Chief Executive of Wetherell estate agents in Mayfair describes the luxury prime central London home as a “striking fusion between traditional and contemporary, with space to entertain on a large scale.”

50 Charles Street presents a classic brick front, glass conservatory in the rear with 30 foot ceiling, carved marble fireplace, private lift, and much more.

Who will be this Home’s Next Owner?
After Versace died, the home was quietly sold to a business man. It is now back on the market. However, not only is 50 Charles located in the most expensive city in the world, it is also located in the most expensive prime neighborhood in London’s Mayfair. At a museum worthy 5,756 square feet this house is even larger than the largest penthouse in London’s SE1. In fact, it is over 1,100 square feet larger than the three story penthouse at Benbow House close to the Globe Theatre.

The next owner could be a wealthy heir from overseas, a tech billionaire, fashion mogul desiring to be close to the heart of the world’s financial markets, or an art collector. Perhaps even an ultra-wealthy estate agent needing a pad worthy of their position. Whomever it is, they will certainly claim their own place in the history books.

The Little Black Cabs

It is always interesting to get an understanding of what tourists think of black cabs. Here American author Anne Flint who describes England is her favourite place to explore has written a Guest Post about her experiences.

The little black cabs (or Americans would call them taxis) are quintessential to London in the same way the double decker buses, red postal boxes and red telephone boxes are.

[I]f you have never taken a ride in one, it should be on your bucket list. After being crammed into the back of the typical American car, you will wonder at the leg room. Your luggage fits in there with you (not the trunk or boot, as the British would call it) and you can stretch your legs all the way across the floor and still not reach the front seat.

But here is the most amazing thing about them. London cabbies go through a gruelling training system called The Knowledge. This can take up to 4½ years to complete. Yes, it is like getting a college degree and they do this by going around on a bike. It requires learning over 25,000 streets, points of interest, hospitals, hotels, rail stations, historic sites, and the list goes on and on. About 70% of those who try do not complete the course. An interesting video can be found about The Knowledge on YouTube here.

When you step into a black cab you can rest assured that not only will your driver instantly recognize your destination, but that he (or she) will know the quickest route; factoring in time of day and other considerations. If you like, they’ll even be able to point out landmarks like theatres, embassies and public buildings along the way.

So, all that said, these wonderfully trained cabbies are under attack by a new business called Uber. Uber’s model is run using computers/GPS and can be booked via your phone. They are selling this as an efficient model to their customers. There might be an argument for this but here is what you will miss if you choose this option. Uber drivers do not know the city at all and they do not know alternative routes when there are traffic problems, construction or an accident blocking the road. I suspect that GPS will eventually overcome these issues and provide alternative routes, but you still will not ride in a Black Cab and will not be chatted up by friendly driver who knows just about everything you can imagine about London. There is something else to consider. Cabbies must go through rigorous safety and background checks, and Uber drivers do not.


Fettigrew Hall The Biography of a House by Anne Flint

After the devastating death of her husband, Megan Redford returns to England, where she was raised. In London she meets Andrew, who tells her she looks just like his long lost girlfriend Meghan. As she travels, she finds and explores a deserted Tudor mansion and she becomes unaccountably obsessed with it. She arranges to purchase and restore the house and learns the locals think the house is haunted . . .

Luxurious cabs in London

I happen to think that the best mode of transport around the Capital is by a Licensed Black Cab. Of course, other opinions are available. This Guest Post from Holly Riley gives an alternative to the usual ways of transversing London.

There is no doubt; London is definitely an enchanting city. It has a rich history, magnificent architecture and cultural events and a busy night life.

[W]ith that, it does not come as a surprise that it is one of the most toured cities in the world. This city boasts of a luxurious lifestyle to look forward to. But in order to make the most out of this luxurious trip, wouldn’t it be nice to round the city in style with the best and flashy cars? The good news is there are a couple of companies in London which offers luxury car rental services. Whatever luxury car you have in mind, you will surely find that here.

When it comes to touring in style, being seen in a luxury car is definitely one to beat. Whether you want to hire an Aston Martin, Mercedes Benz or even a sports car, there is no doubt that you will make heads turn.

More than that, going for a car rental in London makes the experience more worthwhile. The fact is it is not every day that you can take some time off to tour an enchanting city. So why not make the most out of this experience and splurge if you have the money to spend? This is especially exciting and relaxing if you have had a long week at school or work. Pampering yourself and indulging in a treat can do a lot to lift up your spirits.

But aside from the glamour, another benefit that you can derive from a car rental service in London is convenience. This holds true in more ways than one.

For starters, you will not have to go through the hassle of commuting. As you may have imagined, the streets in London can be very busy and hailing cabs or switching buses and trains can be stressful. But with a luxury car service, you will not have to endure any of that plus, luxury car rental services usually come with amenities and perks to make you more comfortable during the drive. You can arrange the specifics–like food and drinks–when you book the service.

It is good for one to find a trustworthy company with prestige cab London services days prior to his trip to London. This should help you be prepared for days of sightseeing and business meetings that you’d have to go through while out in London. These services offer people comfort and convenience when out and about in the great British city without the hassle of riding trains, paying for cab fares and getting lost in it on a walking tour.

Lastly, with a cab, you will be able to make the most out of your trip by going to more places. This is especially true if you are not familiar with the city and your stay will just be brief. You will no longer have to waste time figuring out where to go and how to transfer from one place to another. The chauffeur who comes with the luxury car service already knows the place by heart and can take you anywhere you want or need to go to therefore get your Esta and have the chance to explore London with the most luxurious cabs.

Holly Riley is a professional content writer and blogger from the UK who shares her travel experiences. Her hobbies include travelling, trekking and cooking and she is currently working on a project Esta which helps in visa assistance.

Wake up and smell the coffee!

One of CabbieBlog’s most read posts was one written last year about London’s first coffee house. Back in 1652 strong coffee was claimed by health writers to be the catch-all cure for anything from gout to
period pain.

It’s popularity amongst the City’s men of business was due to its stimulating effect and was purported to sharpen the brain for commerce, unlike its predecessor – alcohol.

[T]his Guest Post acknowledges that those early consumers had a point and today the benefits of coffee are just as relevant for those who drive a London cab.

Caffeine is the thinking man’s drug of choice. It helps us hit the day in the morning with enthusiasm, picks us up when we’re feeling low, and generally keeps us going.

Its use – mainly in coffee, tea, and many fancy stimulating soft drinks – is so widespread that we tend to take its effects for granted, but actually, it’s quite an effective drug.

Sharpens the mind
For a start, it makes people smarter. No, it doesn’t inform you of the best items of clothing to wear for that meeting with the executives in the morning, but it’ll still make you look better to them. Caffeine is a stimulant – an upper, if you will – and as a psychoactive substance, it works extremely well. Drinking a strong cup of coffee stimulates the bits in the brain that regulate hormone production, and specifically the hormones that make you feel good and switched on. More vigilant, too.

Improves the mood
It’s also been proven to improve your mood. Now, anyone that’s a regular coffee or tea drinker is going to know that already, but it actually has longer-term effects than that, reducing depression rates when drunk regularly. Certainly, any cabbie will be able to say that when the day is dragging, and the customers are whinging and miserable, a cup of coffee or a hot cup of tea is just the thing to help. It almost creates the ability to cope with people better; and there’s a two-fold reason for this. Someone in a good mood is likely to deal with an awkward or difficult situation in a more positive way than someone who is already feeling tired and miserable. However, add to that the fact that the brain can be more creative when stimulated by caffeine, and it means that dealing with the general public can become a fun challenge instead of a drag!

Helps with concentration
Anyone who drives for a living – or even makes occasional long distance trips – will know that when tired, a stop-off at a petrol station for a quick fix of caffeine will improve the driving situation. Studies again, have shown that there’s a lot less weaving and bad decision-making made by coffee drinkers after so many hours of driving. Concentration is improved, massively. The increased vigilance helps here – drowsy-driving is considered as dangerous as drink-driving, because it slows reactions, and dulls responses. Coffee is our friend. Literally a lifesaver here and there.

So what type of drink is best?
The truth is, no one can say for sure. Whether it’s the most expensive coffee in the world, brewed in one of those smart Tassimo coffee machines, or just a double shot of the freeze-dried stuff with a large helping of sugar, it’s going to stimulate the mind and temporarily provide assistance to the person consuming it. Can’t go wrong, no matter what the delivery.

If coffee isn’t the drink of choice, tea, brewed strongly, should have the same effect, although there’s conflicting evidence around whether it’s got as much caffeine in it as coffee.

Stimulating drinks can be dangerous if consumed in large amounts; there’s a fair bit of evidence to suggest that they have been connected to heart failure in very young people, so it’s perhaps best to avoid overdoing the caffeine. Normal levels of consumption should cause no problems whatsoever.

Image: FanPop

Late night eats

Today we have a guest post from Richard Allen at Steak Group voted by the Sunday Times as one of the Best Small Companies to Work For 2012. If you have the inclination to write a post just follow this link.

Late night eats:
London’s best spots for a late bite

Where can you get decent grub in the wee hours? Here are some top tips for getting hungry after hours.

[L]ondon is a fun place to be, and it can be easy to get carried away with things in the city – suddenly one drink turns into three, a quick coffee turns into a full-blown night out, or an impromptu trip to some free show or exciting extra.

So often, we find ourselves in the situation of quite intense hunger – at all times of night. And where to go? Is it possible to still have a sit-down meal at the stroke of midnight?

Whilst London doesn’t have the late-night dining culture that New York boasts a little more proudly, it does have a number of late-night eateries (many Brit-brasserie types, or US-influenced burger places, alongside the Soho and West End Asian favourites).

Flying visits often benefit from this kind of insider knowledge- where to go when things overrun. Picking a hotel that is well-located – or is easy to find in case the tube stops before you head home – is also wise, for the late-night diner.

Where to stay:

Good value London hotels can be found with chains like Holiday Inn – especially good if you’re a frequent business traveler or are likely to make use of the same chain in several cities or inner-city locations. These are good places, rather than the cosy townhouse or boutique hotel, to rock up late, because the door policies tend to be 24-hour, and you’re less likely to disturb other guests. The Holiday Inn London – Kensington Forum hotel is a great choice as perfectly located in a convenient and prime location, close to Gloucester Road Station tube station.

But enough of the practicalities: I’m hungry! Let’s get down to business – where you can grab that satisfying meal past 11pm.

Late night restaurants:

Central London’s late night dining centres around the Soho area, which has always had a reputation for staying up later than most. Its neat location, close to the West End’s main theatres, and housing the sleazier, cosier and more private bars and members’ clubs that keep up its late-night reputation, should make it your first port of call.

Top tips – try Café Boheme on Old Compton Street. Recommended by Square Meal for its friendly, good value ubiquity – everyone in Soho has a story – this spot stays open and serving food til 2.30am, so you can make like the Spanish and dine late.

Just down the road, if you want a little more spice and aroma, is Bincho, also on Old Compton Street, serving Japanese cuisine and specialising in its tidy little skewers or meat and fish – great for sharing, great for late eating when you’re no longer in the mood for a heavy three courses.

If you want somewhere to take a client or date, but can’t start dining til 10 or 11pm, then try Hakkasan, near Tottenham Court Road tube. This classy Chinese spot, once a bit of a celebrity hang out, serves food til 12.30am Thursday to Sunday, and its darkened, sleek atmosphere is a great city dining experience all of its own.