Besides SRK, Shilpa Shetty and Katrina Kaif, Karan Johar, Arjun Rampal, Aamir Khan and the Bachchan family are some of the personalities you might run into over the holidays if you’re in London. Rajinikanth has apparently said he would like to buy a house in the British capital. So why settle for a wax effigy in Madame Tussauds when you can get the real deal? All you need is this handy guide.
The Washington Hotel on Curzon Street is a favourite with film personalities. The Bachchans prefer the Taj hotels at Buckingham Gate. It’s no wonder that St. James Court Hotel is referred to as ‘Little India’. The rising star is The Montcalm on Great Cumberland Place though Akshay Kumar and Deepika Padukone choose the Cumberland Hotel. The Dorchester on Park Lane and the Bentley Hotel in Knightsbridge are also popular. And after Kate Middleton’s pre-wedding stay, the Goring in Belgravia is gaining patronage.
Johar and Shah Rukh always visit Nobu. Japanese restaurants Zuma (Rafael Street) and Roka (Charlotte Street) are also on a star’s gastronomical journey. Le Petite Maison in Mayfair is a Bachchan family favourite. Don’t choke on your profiterole if you see Kareena Kapoor at Richoux patisserie on South Audley Street or spit out your soup if Akshay Kumar walks into China Tang at the Dorchester.
With his multi-million pound home walking distance from London’s premiere green lung, Shah Rukh takes time out to go cycling with his children in Hyde Park. Kumar too enjoys a run in the park. Convent Garden, Notting Hill, St James’s Park and Leicester Square are great for a stroll.
Younger stars like Shahid Kapoor and Padukone enjoy the exclusive Boujis in South Kensington.
The holiday ends with excess baggage at Heathrow Airport. If you don’t spot a star in duty free, then try the first-class lounge. Regulars on the route recount how many a star would change costumes before landing, ensuring her make-up was intact and her latest London purchase prominently displayed for the paparazzi waiting at Mumbai airport.
Hamleys on Regent Street is top of the list for filmi families. Fans have reported seeing Sunny Deol and A R Rahman at the Apple store on Regent Street. Oxford Street is a happy hunting ground — most stars make at least one visit to Selfridges; Irrfan Khan and Anurag Kashyap pick up DVDs from HMV; Abhay Deol prefers stand-alone stores; and Madhavan and Rishi Kapoor frequent the more conservative Marks & Spencer. Kashyap also trawls through rare titles and movie posters at The Cinema Store, Covent Garden.
Trendier stars like Sonam Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra get the latest from Top Shop (Oxford Circus), the boutiques on South Audley Street and the hipper stores on Carnaby Street. Many stars enjoy personal shopping services at Harrods and Harvey Nichols as much as the exclusive stores in Sloane Street, King’s Road and Mount Street.