Cocomaya, London’s newest chocolatier and artisan bakery near Marble Arch, is the fruit of some very creative minds: Serena Rees, founder of Agent Provocateur, Joel Bernstein, former head of concept at Liberty, and fashion designer Walid Al Damirji. Bright, Walton Ford-like murals of pelicans and butterflies adorn the walls of the shop, which sells chocolates infused with exotic flavors such as cardamom, ginger and passion fruit from vintage cake-stands on a long marble table. Meanwhile, the bakery next store feels more like an English country kitchen with long wooden tables, jugs of wild flowers and the sounds of birds tweeting softly from speakers. The menu features treats like pistachio polenta or flourless chocolate cakes and fruit tartlets.
— Louise Bartlett
12 Connaught Street, London W2 2AF
Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Portraits of Christian Dior, Nicole Kidman, TS Eliot, Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso are just a few of the images shot by Irving Penn that will be on display at The National Portrait Gallery, Feb. 18 to June 6. “Irving Penn Portraits” will showcase more than 120 works, spanning the late photographer’s seven-decade career, and includes portraits of Harold Pinter, Cecil Beaton and Lee Krasner, which have not been exhibited before now. “There’s so much about Irving Penn Portraits that excites me,” said curator Magdalene Keaney. “The fact his work hasn’t been seen so comprehensively in this country for so long, the breathtaking beauty of the prints, his precision and control of the medium, the warmth and sensitivity of his vision.”
“Irving Penn Portraits”
National Portrait Gallery
Feb. 18 to June 6
St. Martin’s Place, WC2H OHE
London’s spa scene just got a little more exotic. The Connaught in Mayfair recently opened the doors to an Aman Spa, which offers treatments inspired by far-flung locations, including India, Thailand and China. Two-and-a-half hour “experiences,” or combinations of massages, facials and other treatments, are available for 280 pounds, or about $440.
Meanwhile, at Sanderson’s Agua spa, spray-tanning maestro James Read offers a full menu of bronzing options, which compensate somewhat for London’s wet climate. The intensity of color can be tailored to each client’s desires. For the time-pressed, the menu also includes the “fashion tan,” which involves tanning product being sprayed only on parts of the body left uncovered by clothing. Prices start at 5 pounds, or about $8, for a pre-tan exfoliating treatment, to 60 pounds, or $94, for a dark tan.
— Brid Costello
Aman Spa at The Connaught
Carlos Place, W1K 2AL
James Read, Agua at Sanderson
50 Berners Street, W1T 3NG