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Getaways: The Cavendish Hotel, London

One of the things I loved most about my stay here was the approach walk through the elegant streets of St James.

Once you leave the Jubilee Line at Green Park and pass through the St James's Park exit, you're in the leafier quarter of central London. A stroll down Piccadilly and past the Ritz leads to Jermyn Street - altogether quieter and more restrained, packed with little Victorian-sized specialist shops. The Cavendish sits on the corner of Duke Street directly behind Fortnum and Mason, that famous temple of gastronomy and posh afternoon teas, so by the time you reach its large glass doors you're in the vibe and walking that bit taller.

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The Cavendish, originally a house with Sir Isaac Newton as a neighbour, became a hotel towards the end of the 18th century. It once advertised itself as offering "country solitude in town" and you can see what its celebrated chef-patron Rosa Lewis meant, even though it was demolished in 1964 and rebuilt with a 130ft tower. (Now run by the owners of the Ritz, there's a plaque on the wall devoted to Rosa Lewis, who died in 1952 and was the inspiration for the 1970s TV drama The Duchess of Duke Street.)

The other best thing? The views from my 11th-floor Superior Queen room. As soon as I walked in, I regretted that I was going out for the evening because I wanted to stay and gaze at the London Eye, Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey as they were gradually floodlit from the vantage point of this luxurious room, far above the madding crowds. The Villeroy & Boch bathroom had White Company toileteries and there was a flatscreen TV and high-speed internet access. Since I was unable to eat at the 2 AA rosette Petrichor restaurant, I ordered afternoon tea as room service. At £22.50, the selection of dainty sandwiches, scones, cakes and a pot of tea was verging on the steep, but they were of four-star standard.

After a delightful evening at Damian Barr's literary salon in the St Pancras Hotel and a meal with friends, it was a delight to return here, sink into my goose-feathered bed and dream that I was walking on air.

Cate Devine was a guest of The Cavendish Hotel, 81 Jermyn Street, London, thecavendish-london.co.uk, 020 7930 2111.

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