Not that I had any doubts prior to this trip, but London really is the best shopping for men in the world. New York is great, but it doesn’t hold a candle to London. I’d have made the declaration after Day 1, but Day 4 certainly solidified it.
The morning started with breakfast at the Connaught Hotel which was great, as it should be for what they charge (bacon, eggs, coffee, juice, pastries, classical music was $50). I chose it because the hotel looked as Old School as Old School gets (it was; I loved it), and it was two blocks from my appointment at Alfred Dunhill’s Bourdon Home. While maybe technically a “store,” it is so much more. An homage, actually, to everything Alfred Dunhill is about. Basically, Dunhill signed a 125 year lease for the former home of the Duke of Westminster, built in the 1700s, and the only detached home in Mayfair. I thought our store was old in the 105 year old Bank of Italy building — it’s a mere child compared to this place.
Now, I’m not going to post my amateur iPhone photos here (save one) because they would not do justice to this place. Dunhill does a better job with photos here, or A Continuous Lean here. First, the Head of Home took me downstairs where there’s a 12 seat home theater, a small cafe, and something they asked me not to write about. Let’s just say I was as happy as a pig in mud. Up the staircase to the ground level where you have most of Dunhill’s collection: suits, formalwear, outerwear, neckwear, accessories, and more. Then it’s up another staircase to the Discovery Room where there is a Dunhill leather worker there crafting a bespoke item for a customer and a shoe shiner polishing another customer’s shoes. I head right into the Barber Spa for one of the best straight razor shaves I’ve ever had (again, no offense to Wingtip’s own Joe Roberts who has the misfortune of having to see me constantly).
The aspect of Bourdon Home that most people don’t know about is the private club. Membership is by invitation from the President of Richemont (the luxury house that owns Dunhill along with Mont Blanc, Panerai, IWC, Peter Millar, etc.). The club is so private that even the owner of a private club that carries Alfred Dunhill products doesn’t get to set foot inside. The photo is from the courtyard looking into the main bar. Let’s just say an invitation is now on my Bucket List.
Directly across the street is Hedonism Wines. This store has now become my inspiration for what I hope Wingtip’s wine & spirits department someday becomes. Words won’t do it justice. Photos won’t do it justice. If you love wine or spirits, you will be floored with the selection. I have been to a fair amount of wine & spirits stores and I have never seen anything like this.
They have a cave devoted just to Sine Qua Non (plus more outside the cave, plus more in storage), they have an entire wall dedicated to Chateau d’Yquem, a Penfold’s room that requires that you buy the entire room of every Penfold’s ever for the cool price of £600,000 (approx $1M), and a spirits collection that has…well…everything, including some pre-Prohibition bourbons (photo at bottom). Having just had the opportunity to taste a bourbon bottled in 1915, it was nostalgic to see a bottle for sale.
Then a quick stop to the Purdey store to check out $200,000+ rifles, lunch at Scott’s (I just needed a quick bite, didn’t know where to go, saw a Rolls Royce parked out front, and took that to mean it must be decent), and home for a movie.
London Dispatch: Day 5
London Dispatch: Day 3