Deluxe suite: booked. Latest restaurants and bars in the area: identified. Favourite outfits: back from the dry cleaners. I'm surprisingly organised when it comes to gearing up for our weekend away at No.5 Maddox Street, the luxury boutique apartments in Mayfair. Then, a call... No! The babysitter's pulled out.
Initial shock over and I'm straight on the phone to No.5. 'Why not just bring the baby with you?' they suggest. My first response? 'Are You Mad?' Then, I soften. They'll set up a travel cot in the bedroom. Or they can put it in the separate living area if we want. There's a qualified babysitting service on offer. There's even a kitchen in the apartment for any practical needs. I'm beginning to open up to the idea. By the end of the phone conversation, I'm all, 'Hell, what’ve we got to lose?' So, it's decided – our romantic break for two will now be with our one-year-old daughter in tow – a trip for three.
A week later, as our taxi from Victoria station passes Hyde Park and weaves through the streets of Mayfair, I'm excited. No longer working in Central London, I'd forgotten how much I miss the elegant squares, handsome streets, Georgian architecture – the shopping! As we pass Stella McCartney and Matthew Williamson on Bruton Street I want to scream at the driver to pull over. But there's plenty of time for retail therapy. Besides, Mr Smith is eager to check out our new abode.
Arriving in Maddox Street, a quiet-ish road that runs between Bond Street and Regent Street, we locate the discreet brown door of No.5. I holler our names over the intercom and within seconds, a guy appears from nowhere to take our bags and show us to our apartment. Inside, there's an airy lounge, a bedroom with a decked balcony, a neutral bathroom adorned with Ren products, and a small but perfectly formed kitchen. The rooms are minimal and slick with lots of clean lines and tall narrow doorways. Light bamboo floors accentuate the spacious feel while big windows flood the apartment with natural light. At 490 square feet, it beats any hotel room – and the touchy-feely fabrics in the form of velvet armchairs, fluffy cushions and fake fur throws make it warm and inviting.
There's a giant leather pouffe next to the open fire in the lounge, which I instantly flop on. I reach for the recent copy of Harpers Bazaar placed on a beautiful vintage trunk beside me. I could get used to this. While I'm busy flicking, Iris tinkers with the remote for the, not one, but two plasma TVs while Mr Smith goes to further inspect the kitchen, which is pretty impressive by anyone's standards. The cupboards are stocked with everything from cookies and fruit to chocolate and wine. In the drawers are all manner of utensils – chopsticks and knives, whisks and scissors, bottle openers and cheese graters – all lined up with immaculate precision. It seems wrong to get excited over a kitchen but I can't help it. Everything's so darned pristine and sparkling. I can see my reflection in the sink.
Back in the lounge, my eyes veer to the large retro black-and-white reportage photographs decorating the walls. The opening of the Lady Jane boutique in Carnaby Street in the Sixties, women partying at the Hundred Club in the Forties... I can't help but feel inspired.
My, how shopping is improved when you have a city centre bolt-hole at your disposal. Forget traipsing up and down Regent Street with heavy bags – when things start to weigh, drop them back at the apartment and start all over again. We visit Dover St Market for designer goodies, Anthroplogie for home bits and pieces, Topshop for my high street fix and Liberty for, well, quite a lot of things, as it turns out. When we can shop no more, I stop at the Elemis Day Spa for a Well-Being Massage and leave Mr Smith to take Iris back to the apartment to give her some tea.
Once back, my thoughts turn to dinner. As No.5 isn't a hotel as such, there isn't a restaurant but there are plenty nearby. And as my London-residing brother is offering up his babysitting duties (for free!) we don't even have to call on the service organised through No.5.
We've heard a lot about Goodman, the New York-style steak restaurant across the road, and we're ready to be introduced to some serious cuts of meat. I go for an Irish fillet steak, Mr Smith for an American rib-eye (more marbling and all that). Neither of us are disappointed. We polish off a bottle of Argentinian Pinot Noir and are on such a high by the time we leave it seems rude not to go on for champagne cocktails at Dean Street Townhouse. By the time we arrive back at the apartment, it's gone 2am.
The next day we wake up a little hazy but our Hangover Breakfast from room service soon sorts us out. It even comes with an energy supplement sachet to aid our recoveries. Just as well, as we have a busy day ahead. We visit the National Portrait Gallery, have afternoon tea at the Wolseley, where we delight in copious amounts of finger sandwiches and pastries, and even fit in a walk around Hyde Park. By the time we get back to No.5 it's late. There's an array of restaurant delivery menus to choose from but the Thai restaurant Patara directly downstairs seems a good bet. We eat our green coconut curry (me) and and prawn noodle dish (Mr Smith) while watching a DVD we borrow from the library in reception. As far as nights in go, this is top dollar.
By the time we're due to check out the next morning, I'm already thinking of ways to extend our stay. Even with Iris with us, we've had a thoroughly grown-up and relaxing break and I don't want it to end. I start getting carried away. If Coco Chanel can reside at the Ritz for 35 years why can't we live at No.5? I start totting up in my head how much it would be to live here maybe just three nights a week (about a grand). Maybe we could go for one of the two or three bedroom apartments? Mr Smith, looks at me cautiously. Oh well, a girl can dream.