St Martins Lane Hotel is my base for London Fashion Week, but much more than that it will be a hub for the busy week ahead. Aside from its location in bustling Covent Garden - this design-led hotel is 3 minutes' walk from Leicester Square tube station and 4 minutes' walk from the National Gallery - it was an appealing place for me to stay whilst writing about London Fashion Week through the lens of sustainable fashion and waste for other reasons. Whilst it's safe to say the slick rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows and mood lighting feature smart TVs, free WiFi and minibar are not to be scoffed at, the tipping point for me was the hotels' green credentials. The vibrant, fresh hotel coined the term 'Glamorously Green' with its focus on a daring and innovative approach to embracing the greener lifestyle whilst continuing to set precedents for the hotel industry. In five core areas - Environment, Sustainability, Utility, Recycling, and Social Responsibility - the hotel is looking at greening its' operations, from the obvious elimination of paper towels in restrooms to the more significant plans for LEED certified buildings and installation of low flow showers, toilets, sprinklers. Needless to say, it felt like a good fit, especially as I am going to be dressing (as) sustainably (as possible), and writing about the same topic in my London Fashion Week coverage.
Day one was pretty eventful and most of the action went down in Asia de Cuba, the hotel's Chino-Latino restaurant when Dame Vivienne Westwood joined Suzy Amis Cameron, founder of sustainable Oscars design campaign Red Carpet Green Dress, and co-founder of arguably the world's greenest school, MUSE School CA, for a delicious (vegan) lunch. Whilst the restaurants' main website details the historical development of this relationship between Chinese and Cuban cuisine, it can't truly prepare you for the unique and intensely flavoured Chino-Latino menu.
Refreshingly the menu - which features not only locally sourced ingredients, but also opts not to offer over-fished species - provided strong seasonal options and catered for non-meat eaters in a way that I have not experienced in London before. The vegan menu was not an aftethought but a careful consideration - black rice, tofu, crispy chilies, malanga chips, banana, chayote, cashews, hearts of palm, orange-sesame vinaigrette...nom, nom, nom. The Red Carpet Green Dress internship winner Talia Connelly also joined our group for a meet and greet with the legendary designer.
Part two up next...