The Royal Exchange, City of London luxury gifting
The Royal Exchange in the City of London is a perfect place for a gentleman to discover the art of luxury gifting, from watches & jewellery to shoes & more.
The Royal Exchange, Bank, City of London, EC3V 3LR
Store trading hours 10am – 6pm
Restaurants & Bars 8am – 11pm
Last Thursday I had a wonderful afternoon, visiting The Royal Exchange where I was lucky enough to get to know a handful of top brands meeting their managers and learning more about their history, products and customers, all with a view to expanding my horizons of luxury gifting.
Sitting in the heart of The City of London, The Royal Exchange has been a centre of commerce since it opened over 400 years ago. Today, it remains a unique building where people come to meet, eat and enjoy a remarkable world of exceptional brands.
Its beautiful architecture, fantastic positioning literally by Bank means it’s a very easy sell, no spin needed and is the ‘go to place for all your luxury gifting needs.
Definitely a luxury oasis in the heart of the City this premium retail destination is the home to more than 30 exceptional brands and restaurants and bars.
The word luxury is branded about infinitum these days, however it is a word that conjures up something extra special, unique and rare. Qualities that Gentlemans Butler holds close to its heart.
In addition the concept of experience is also integral to us, for an emotional connection is something we all hold dear. Even those Gentlemen living a life at the top will probably own several items that, maybe according to their girlfriend are long past their sell by date but to their man they have that special meaning.
At Gentlemans Butler service is a key word not because we think it sounds fancy but because when one enters a shop of fine repute we expect and desire to speak to someone who is knowledgeable, proficient, courteous and for many with limited time, efficient. I can honestly say that all these stores are such, certainly in my experience and due to the compact nature one can hop from one store to another quickly, without huge hordes of people.
So our advice for all but particularly for gentlemen is have a plan. Allow a reasonable amount of time and have an idea in your head.
Firstly think about what she likes, or if it is for you think of your ladies feelings in what she likes on you. The classic one is buying lingerie in that gentlemen are advised to think of your ladies likes, and then see if you can weave into this your personality. We advise you do not go and choose something in red velvet, because you loved a Michael Caine film from the 70’s where you loved it, if when someone asks you, does she like red and the answer is no. Simples as someone once said.
Usually you can find a good mix of the two.
Thinking about luxury gifting and what gifts a Gentleman may want to purchase for their better half birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries are all important but Valentine’s Day is a must and not one to be missed, I would so very gently advise.
Make it personal is my number one recommendation and think of her.
Visiting The Royal Exchange we looked at watches, jewellery, chocolates, shoes and perfume.
So you can tell the time, to get to your date on time, get your table ready, champagne served, your shoes looking spic and span, and on the table a selection of her three favourite chocolates, a silk scarf scented with her favourite perfume and inside a beautiful piece of jewellery with maybe a ticket for a long weekend away.
THE WATCH FIT FOR THE SPY IN YOUR LIFE
British, Action, Unique & Classy
Bremont is a British luxury watch brand manufacturing its mechanical watches in Henley-on-Thames, UK. It was co-founded by brothers Nick & Giles English in 2002. In 2008 Bremont was made the ‘Best British Emerging Luxury Brand’ by Walpole, for the last three years has won ‘Luxury Watch Brand of Year’ at the UK Jewellery Awards, and last year the ‘Best Breakthrough Brand’ at the 2012 Luxury Briefing Awards.
Certainly as you walk into their store you see a brand steeped in aeronautics and a love of British invention, mechanical design and that unique bit of British eccentricity.
As a lover of history and a good story you will find plenty of back story that will give you that feeling of something special.
I would look at the Solo (inspired by a pilots first flight) priced at £2555
the oh so of the moment Kingsman starting at £4295
Inspired by a love of flying historic aircraft, of watches and all things mechanical their timepieces had to be tested beyond the normal call of duty. Bremont watches are hand built in limited numbers.
JEWELLERY FIT FOR A PRINCESS
In certain cultures there is a belief that when a precious gemstone touches the skin it brings good luck.
You may have seen their 1 million pound necklace on Channel 4 but if you have £500, then you are in luck as this is their starting point.
Founded in 1798, the business has remained a family company and is now run by brothers Nicholas and Michael Wainwright, together with the next generation of the family, Jody Wainwright and James Amos. With over 200 years of heritage, Boodles places great emphasis on the acquisition of exquisite gemstones, the finest craftsmanship and the best of British design. A red carpet favourite, Boodles designs have also been worn by leading actresses such as Dame Helen Mirren, Kate Winslet, Emma Thomson, Emma Watson and Naomi Watts to name but a few…
A quintessentially British brand, Boodles is host to many of London’s biggest society events throughout the year including the Boodles Tennis, a sporting event which sees top players such as Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray compete in a tournament the week before Wimbledon at the beautiful Stoke Park Hotel & Country Club (Read a review of Stoke Park)
I suggest you plan ahead and go in to their store to have an initial chat, especially about a piece of jewellery which can make such a statement and is so personal. If you are looking for something extra special this is the place to head to, with pieces equivalent to the average British family house make sure your stocks and shares have had a good day.
Stylish and chic. Very much so.
CHOCOLATE, A TRUE BEAUTY IN A BOX
Paul A Young
Paul A Young is Britain’s leading chocolatier with a passion for his craft and his cutting edge creativity have won him numerous awards and led to him being ranked amongst the world’s best chocolatiers.
An incredibly creative flavour alchemist who often develops highly original flavour combinations that are original he is the only chocolatier in London working in a truly artisan way. He and his team make all their creations completely by hand in the kitchens at each shop, in small batches and at every stage using fresh ingredients.
Compounds, concentrates, essences, preservatives and additives are not used. Paul was the head pastry chef for Marco Pierre White at Quo Vadis and Criterion. Since then Paul has been creating products that have won numerous industry awards and is a regular on our television screens in the UK, with appearances including The Apprentice & Junior Masterchef and in 2014 Paul was named Outstanding British Chocolatier by the International Chocolate Awards.
Chocolate with a high percentage of coco, usually over 65% is actually good at reducing blood pressure and today you can now buy 100% coco chocolate.
It’s a real treat to go into his shops but if I had to highlight 2, it would be their Sea Salted chocolate, for which he is famous, made from Madascan chocolate.
I was taught about the sheen, being exactly what is says and the crack, being the point at which the chocolate cracks when you eat it. They really are totally moorish.
In addition as a London gent you have to try the London which contains distilled gin and Bermondsey tonic water.
Also note that if it is biting cold outside you can walk in a buy the most wonderful cup of supremely luxurious hot chocolate imaginable.
SHOE’s FOR AN ENGLISH GENT
Michael Grenville, Editor of Gentlemans Butler has been wearing Church’s all his adult life, a devotee is it true to say, wearing their most popular and in my view simple and stylish shoe, The Oxford, which currently retails at £395. Founded in 1873 by Thomas Church and his three sons Alfred, William and Thomas Jr., who could count on family experience in the production of handmade men’s shoes dating back to 1675.
Church’s is based in Northampton, in Great Britain, in a county which has been the centre of a flourishing leather and footwear industry since the Middle Ages.
At the beginning of the century, Church’s began exporting outside Europe to new markets such as the United States, Canada and South America. 1921 saw the first Church’s shop open, in London.
A new factory was inaugurated in 1957 and is still today the firm’s worldwide headquarters. The visit of Queen Elizabeth II in 1965, together with the prestigious Queen’s Award for exports, put the official seal of recognition on Church’s status as a leading international brand.
Do not forget about aftercare. This takes about 4-6 weeks. Drop your shoes off and for a little over £100 they will get these reconditioned.
For shoe tree’s think cedar as this is a soft wood and absorbs moisture, and polish the shoe when inside. If you want the best shoeshine in London get in touch with Gentlemans Butler and we can get this done for you.
FRAGRANCE TO MAKE THE HEART GROW FONDER
A fine English fragrance house, founded in 1870 by William Penhaligon. Today they aim to continue his legacy of perfumery. Originally born in Penzance, Cornwall, he moved to London in the late 1860’s and started working as a hairdresser at the famous Piccadilly Turkish Baths on Jermyn Street. His keen eye for business led to him opening a new salon just down the street a number of years later and he started to create his own scents, lotions and potions for his discerning clientele. And thus, Penhaligon’s was born. Their connection with the British Royal family goes back over a century. William Penhaligon, their founder was appointed Royal Barber and Perfumer to the Royal Court during Queen Victoria’s reign and in 1903 the business was granted its first Royal Warrant from Queen Alexandra. Now over 140 years later, they proudly hold Royal Warrants from The Prince of Wales (granted in 1988) and the Duke of Edinburgh (granted in 1956).
Today all their scents are still made, hand-finished and bottled in England.
When Gentlemans Butler was invited to cover the famous Queen Charlottes Ball we interviewed 3 ladies (Read our Queen’s Charlotte Ball Feature) who all mentioned how they liked receiving fragrance as this was so personal.
Our top two choices are
1 – Juniper Sling (unisex) an intoxicating fragrance inspired by the most iconic and atmospheric of spirits: London Dry Gin. Created for Penhaligon’s by Master Perfumer Olivier Cresp, Juniper Sling is a playful, chilled and mysterious homage to the Bright Young Things of London’s roaring twenties.
2 – Blenheim Bouquet was created in 1902, taking its name from Blenheim Palace the seat of one of England’s most respected bloodlines, Blenheim Bouquet is a bracing mix of citrus oils, spices and woods. Inhaling Blenheim Bouquet today it is hard to imagine it was created over one hundred years ago.
A rather lovely experience is going into their shop and buying a volumiser and filling this yourself.
Lastly for those that might want an intimate experience why not go along with your loved one for a glass of bubbly and a wander around The Royal Exchange. You may even get brownie points to say “yes I can go shopping!!”
Happy luxury gifting…
The Royal Exchange, Bank, City of London, EC3V 3LR
Store trading hours 10am – 6pm
Restaurants & Bars 8am – 11pm