Bettina's Take: London Diary


Photo: Bettina Zilkha

Bettina and George Farias outside Harry's Bar.


Less than 48 hours in London, and so much to see and do... My first evening was spent at my favorite restaurant, Harry's Bar. Harry's Bar used to be a private club, but since legendary owner Mark Birley passed away, anyone with a phone, a jacket and lots of cash can get a table, though it still helps if the management knows you. I was invited (luckily) by George Farias who loves the place as much as I do.

Photo: Bettina Zilkha
Martin at Claridge's Hotel.

The next day I decided to go to the Tate Modern to see the Kusama show, as I had heard that Marc Jacobs will be incorporating her work into his designs in his upcoming collections. Going to the Tate Modern is a long trip from my London base, so I was surprised and dismayed to see that the show had closed. Damien Hirst was still on, complete with a room filled with live, dying and dead butterflies, animals in formaldehyde and his famous pharmacies. Will his work withstand the test of time? I'm not so sure.

I stopped by Claridge's Hotel to say hello to Martin, the best hotel concierge of all time. Think it's impossible to get tickets or reservations to hard to get places and events? Not if you know Martin. He is the ne plus ultra of concierges.

I was lucky enough to stay with the supremely talented (and hospitable) jewelry designer Cora Sheibani. She showed me a few of her latest pieces, and as usual, I was mesmerized and tempted by everything I saw.

My second night I was invited to the hottest new place in London, a private club called Loulou's, owned by Robin Birley (Mark's son), and named after his cousin, YSL muse Loulou de la Falaise.

The club is on two levels. Downstairs, there is a series of opulently decorated rooms, some small alcoves and some bigger areas, and a packed dance floor, beautifully designed by Rifat Ozbek. Upstairs has the feeling of a private home and is decorated in more soothing, uniform tones.

Photo: Bettina Zilkha

Jewelry by Cora Sheibani.


The food and service were impeccable. I have rarely seen so many beautiful people in one place. I spotted a queen, two princesses and a movie star, along with too many members of young London society to count. Loulou's just opened a few weeks ago and it is already a major success. Unfortunately no photos were allowed - they didn't even want to send them to me, and I can't be more specific about the people I spotted or the management will ban me forever. I can only tell you that one of my dinner partners was the brilliant Taran Davies, currently working on an IMAX movie about Jerusalem.

It was past midnight, time to go to sleep - I had to wake up early for my trip to Paris the next day.