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A Week In London & Scotland Filled My Heart With Memories Of Home

A Week In London & Scotland Filled My Heart With Memories Of Home

Home is a feeling…one that gives you warmth after a hard day’s work. It’s where you dream your dreams and take your first step toward a long journey. For 16 years, London was this feeling to me. I moved to the city when I was barely 20, a newly-wed, and grew up in the fashionable British capital. I saw it change and it bore witness to my transformation from a woman pursuing her passions to an entrepreneur building a company for women. Almost two decades later, London is still home for me, even though I no longer live there permanently—a place where I find solace, and a little bit of myself.

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I seem to be living on planes these days! Next stop – Seoul with @investindiaofficial to talk about – you guessed it – investing in India! . Seoul is one of my fav cities. Super efficient – fantastic shopping – really nice people. Landed at 6.40am – it took me 11 mins to go from plane to taxi. I avoid checking in luggage as much as possible. I can pack for a week easy in this carry on (even allowing for multiple ‘looks’). . My airport look is (obvs) a lot of @popxoshop (the backpack, luggage tag and laptop sleeve). This @mujiindia carryon has been my trusty companion over the past 5 years! I am wearing a @mango tee, @zara blazer, @paige denims and @nike trainers. I wear these white beauties with everything – given it is a proper fashion statement now 😋 . I am even more excited to look not too far in the future when I will be wearing @popxoshop clothes and will be travelling with our carryon!!

A post shared by Priyanka Gill (@priyankagill_official) on Jun 23, 2019 at 3:10pm PDT

The Virgin Atlantic Experience

When I travel to London, in the embrace of my new life, I notice the little things that have changed—a new restaurant that’s making waves; neighbourhoods that have gotten an upgrade; and of course, the new policies of the new world. The one constant in all my journeys has been Virgin Atlantic, the reason I feel closer to home the moment I step aboard. Nearly two decades ago, I flew on one of the first few flights from Delhi to London; sometime later, I travelled with my young born in arms to London; and now we are a family of Virgin Atlantic loyalists.

Virgin has completely redefined contemporary business class travel and what it should be in today’s day and age, without the hassles. The airline has attitude, it’s young and fun—something that has remained constant in my 20 years of flying with them. The first time that my kids ever flew business class was on a Virgin Atlantic flight and the experience is always phenomenal, whether I am travelling with them or solo. One could say that with the chauffeur-driven car services, clubhouses and award-winning food services, the experience is one of a kind. But then attention to detail is commendable—the lap trays, the seats, and the focus on comfort, all the elements come together to make flying so easy and yet remarkable!

Virgin Atlantic

The lush luxury cabins put comfort on the forefront as a result of which, I find myself going back for the same experience and it never disappoints. On a work trip recently, Virgin Atlantic became my companion again and helped me rediscover the city I have left behind.

The Cafe Royal Connection

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#TravelTuesday: London = Love! Our Founder and CEO @priyankagill_official went on a trip to the #UnitedKingdom and fell in love at first stop. After a comfortable flight with @virginatlantic, she stayed at @hotelcaferoyal listed on @leadinghotelsoftheworld and here’s why it was a delight: Located in the heart of the city of #London, with elegant #Mayfair to the west and creative Soho to the east, the hotel is perfectly positioned within walking distance of the finest shopping destinations, restaurants, and cultural attractions. . The five-star hotel has hosted several known celebrities and has been an icon on the British capital’s social scene for over 150 years. The historic areas of the hotel have been restored and the rooms and suites have been given a contemporary update. Take time out to visit the hotel’s Akasha Holistic Well-being Gym and Spa (@akashawellbeing), which offers physical fitness, meditation and Reiki and Watsu. Looking for the perfect retreat? #HotelCafeRoyal is it! . #lhwtraveler #hotelcaferoyal #thesetexperience

A post shared by #POPxoDaily (@popxodaily) on Sep 24, 2019 at 7:54am PDT

Located on Regent Street, Hotel Café Royal, a member of The Leading Hotels of the World, is one of the most important landmarks in London and it was once frequented by Oscar Wilde, Muhammed Ali and others. It also happens to be the place where I did my first-ever photoshoot. My past and present collided again when I stayed in the signature suite here and pushed rewind on my life.

The Leading Hotels of the World

Words don’t do justice to the signature suites. With historical references intact, each of them, ranging from the royalty-infused Tudor suite to the elegant Presidential suite are phenomenal and promise unparalleled experience. Plush and detailed interiors aside, there is ample space to get work done, a dressing area, a lounge and of course, breathtaking views of the city. Whether you plan to relax in the airy balcony with their morning coffee or enjoy a complimentary movie indoors, each experience is enjoyable.

The Leading Hotels of the World

If my accommodation was gorgeous, it was only the beginning. The series of indulgence(s) began with the extensive menu at Cakes and Bubbles, where renowned pastry chef Albert Adrià’s exceptional offerings are centerstage. And let me tell you this, the cheesecake was nothing short of divine. Accompanying the selection of desserts and pastries are over 50 (yes, you read that right) options in champagnes and wines. Breakfast at the Laurent Grill & Sushi’ is a must, where put together by Chef Laurent Tourondel, delicacies are unmissable. My absolute favourite? Country-style pancakes! For wine and jazz, the Green Bar at the property is the perfect escape, as is the Oscar Wilde Lounge, named after its famous patron who visited often.

The Leading Hotels of the World

Off To The Countryside

After two days of bliss at this prominent London property, it was time for the last leg of the tour. The destination? Edinburgh, the picturesque capital of Scotland where the countryside location of Gleneagles, a member of The Leading Hotels of the World, became my second address. 

Interestingly, the property was bought by entrepreneur Sharan Pasricha in 2015, the man behind the famous Hoxton Group and the founder of Ennismore Holdings. Together, his and Eiesha Bharti Pasricha’s dynamic influence and Indian roots have given way to more Indian visitors than ever before, a pleasant change indeed.

For someone like me who doesn’t get to spend much time in the great outdoors, it was the perfect vacation. And not just for adults; there were many outdoor activities for the kids to keep them away from the screens. One that certainly stood out from the rest was the falconry experience, where I literally had a hawk sitting on my arm! 

It was great to be in sync with nature in a fun way.

On the living experience front, the luxury suites, acclaimed spa and Restaurant Andrew Fairliewhich continues to be the only restaurant in Scotland to hold two Michelin starsare at par with the outdoor activities offered at the estate. The breakfast spread at The Strathearn was a clear winner, perhaps the most elaborate one I have seen. They also took care to include an entire vegan version of the Scottish breakfast, which I thought was very well done. 

I am told that for those visiting the Scottish capital in the near future for long vacays, Gleneagles’s ‘Three’s the Magic Number’ and ‘Save on Seven’ offers come as a boon. Both of these are well thought of, and offer visitors some great discounts on long stays. A typical Scottish whisky tasting and delectable dinner spread later, all I could think about was how utterly relaxing it had all been.

I may not be living in London anymore, at least not on a permanent basis, but for me, it remains and will continue to be the city that always calls. That beckons to me with all its art, culture, history, food, architecture and so much more. After all, and as they rightly say, home is where the heart is.

POPxo is now available in six languages: EnglishHindiTamilTeluguMarathi and Bangla.

15 Oct 2019

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