The decadence, the opulence, the romance, the fashions of the roaring 20s – Baz Luhrmann’s new production of The Great Gatsby has brought a whole new audience to F.Scott Fitzgerald’s great American novel. Now you can imagine yourself as a guest at one of Jay Gatsby’s lavish parties with The Great Gatsby-style offers available at some of London’s finest establishments. Here’s our pick of five of the best:
Cocktails and the movies at The Milestone Hotel
To coincide with the release of the movie, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan, the 5* boutique Milestone Hotel has introduced a special package to recreate the heady days of the Jazz Age.
There’s one night’s accommodation in one of the Milestone’s stunning rooms, a chauffeur-driven Bentley to take you to Floris on Sloane Square so you can buy perfume with a complimentary £50 voucher, and two tickets to see The Great Gatsby at a nearby cinema in Kensington. You also get a cocktail in the indulgent surroundings of the Milestone’s Stables Bar or Conservatory.
Choose from The Daisy, a take on the highball, or The Gatsby, the Milestone’s version of The Tuxedo, which, with its mix of gin and vermouth, maraschino liqueur and absinthe, is not for the faint-hearted. A Flapper’s Platter accompanies your drinks, including crab-stuffed mushrooms with parmesan, Waldorf salad, and Rinktum Diddy, a dish of beaten egg with onion, tomato, cheese and Tabasco sauce.
A full English breakfast, along with a copy of The Great Gatsby to take home, brings you back to the present day. Running as long as The Great Gatsby is being screened in cinemas, the break costs £576 for two, staying in a Superior Queen Room.
Luxury train journey and The Savoy
Your experience starts with a Gin Rickey cocktail, said to be F. Scott Fitzgerald’s favourite tipple, at The Savoy’s American Bar, before you are whisked off to Victoria station to board the original Art Deco carriages of the British Pullman, sister train to the Orient Express.
After a rail journey through Surrey’s picturesque countryside and a seasonal tasting menu complete with Champagne, you’re taken back to The Savoy, which once hosted F.Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda, for an overnight stay in a deluxe room. Prices start at £685 per person.
Roaring 20s party at the Hyatt Regency Churchill
Fans of vintage fashion are in for a treat at the Hyatt Regency Churchill’s Gatsby-themed parties. The luxury hotel is throwing a series of roaring 20s style bashes in its two-AA rosette The Montagu restaurant. Guests will be treated to champagne on arrival, live music from the hotel’s resident band, the Hot Dog Corn Dogs, and a set 20s-themed menu with Clam Chowder, Waldorf Salad, Steak Diane and Pecan Pie.
To encourage party goers to get into the 20s spirit, the best dressed guest each night will win two cinema tickets to see The Great Gatsby and the best dressed guest of the whole series will win a three-night stay for two at the Grand Hyatt New York. The last party is on May 30 though, so you’ll have to be quick. Tickets cost £35 per person.
Dancing The Charleston at Claridges
If there’s one dance that sums up the 20s, it’s The Charleston. Forever associated with flappers and speakeasies, The Charleston was considered very risqué in its day. Now, you can follow in the footsteps of Folies Bergére dancer Josephine Baker by learning to shimmy in the incomparably elegant setting of Claridges’ ballroom.
Under the expert tuition of chic show girls The Bee’s Knees, guests will learn to dance authentic Charleston steps, including the bunny hop, scarecrow and fish tail. To truly get into the 20s spirit, guests can dress up in sequined headbands, strings of pearls and elbow-length gloves. The lesson will begin with performances from The Bee’s Knees girls, after which guests will be invited to join them on the dance floor before a restorative Flapper cocktail. Sessions are available during May, June and July, and cost £125 per person.
Champagne and peanut butter cigars at Harvey Nichols
Make a toast to the 20s with Harvey Nichols Great Gatsby style afternoon tea. Hedonistic and luxurious, the menu features lobster rolls and peanut butter roll-up Gatsby cigars. Choose from either a coupette of Champagne with gold leaf or a prohibition cocktail from the trolley. Savouries include pigs in blankets, chicken Caesar roulade and blini ‘gribiche’.
Those who have a sweet tooth are in for a spectacular treat. There are white chocolate and coconut pearl macaroons, served in a jewellery box, bootlegger rum cake garnished with fireworks, pineapple upside down cakes and Gin Rickeys in mini martini glasses with crème de menthe jelly. Available at Season on the Fifth Floor, the afternoon tea costs from £30. You could make a night of it by staying at the nearby Beaufort Hotel in Knightsbridge (secret tip: they have a Gatsby-esque free bar for guests which allows you to mix your own drinks).
Whichever package you choose from the above, it’s sure to recreate the romance and drama of the roaring 20s and you’ll have an absolute ball!
Rajul Chande is Owner of London Hotels Insight.