The lowdown When I booked London’s The Milestone Hotel, a five-star 19th-century gem situated a Prada bag’s throw from Harrods, for a girlie sleepover to celebrate my daughter’s ninth birthday, I knew it would be special. What I didn’t expect was for the entire staff (or so it seemed) to invest in giving her and her three friends (Iona, Taren and Izzie) the best birthday ever. I can only wonder what we will do her for tenth.
We’d arrived via the tube from Brixton, four excited girls with enough luggage to sink a ship (they do start young). The hotel itself rests politely in front of Kensington Palace and Gardens and so I felt it proper to allow the children a short taxi ride to the door.
I could sense their frisson when the dapper doorman took their bags and on reception I heard the words that delight people of my vintage, “you have been upgraded”. Well, yes, we certainly had been.
The rooms My room boasted crystal chandeliers, a four-poster, tapestries, dining table, marble bathroom with TV, sofa and a media system that rose from the bottom of the bed. I immediately took a picture and sent it to my husband saying, “It’s wasted on the girls.” The girls didn’t slum it either, as they were ensconced in a split-level suite, complete with Wii, birthday cakes and teddy bears in little towelling robes (one for each girl) and a TV hidden in a hand-painted dolls house at the bottom of their bed. I admit I ran around for five minutes telling them NOT TO BREAK ANYTHING… We’d even been asked ahead of time what DVDs we’d like (along with a pillow wardrobe) and I’d put horror (for me), safe kiddies (for them).
The hotel Pedro the butler took us on a tour of the hotel - through the adorable equestrian bar (horse mad Iona was in her element), the monochrome conservatory, the sleek little (and, vitally, warm) swimming pool. By this point I am not sure who is more excited, me or the girls.
A birthday treat Next up, Pedro wanted to take them on a tour of the inner workings of the hotel followed by a private cupcake decorating class, complete with hats and aprons. Ellis used this opportunity to dump me at the bar with a book - alas I was cramping her style. Thankfully, they needed picture evidence of the cupcakes and so I was allowed in to take some photos before we went off to the bar to make some mocktails with the barman. Four little ladies up on stools, doing their best to wrap lemon slices around cherries, watching as intently as if it were Miley Cyrus showing them how to sing a tune. Adorable and something I will never forget. Thank you, The Milestone.
Swimming time next and we had it all to ourselves… Queue screams, floats, races and me thinking how nice it would be to install a pool in the back garden, heated naturally.
Then we went a little off-piste. I had intended to take them all to watch the last Harry Potter movie but frankly I couldn’t drag the girls out of the hotel. So they played dentists (I kid you not), had a bath together and watched Home Alone while I fell asleep in the four-poster. Bliss. They then woke me up to show me the gifts that had been left with handwritten notes on their pillows, another unexpected touch. I started to think I shouldn’t have bothered with the post party goodie bags.
Breakfast simply had to be room service, the ladies insisted. I have it on good authority that the waffles, pancakes and eggy bread were divine (as was my thoughtful glass of champagne). Pedro then popped by again with ANOTHER gift for the girls – certificates vouching for their mocktail and cupcake decorating talents, and a £10 voucher each. As I said, my goodie bags were looking more pointless by the second.
Honestly and truly it was a magical visit, hampered only by the fact I had to insist they DIDN’T pack the slippers and bathrobes, whether they had them at home or not…