The Metropolitan Hotel's most famous asset is the Met Bar - exclusive to hotel guests and members, it's been a byword for cool (or excess, depending on which paper you read and what stories you've heard) for years. The cocktail menu looked fantastic, but my trip was for a rather different, less hedonistic purpose than the pursuit of mixological perfection: being pregnant, cocktails are off the menu and relaxing spa breaks very much the main course. The Met offers a "mum-to-be" package that promises to relax and unwind those aching muscles in a chic, minimalist central London setting, and it was my pleasant task to try it out.
As a Londoner born and bred I have, unsurprisingly, never stayed in a hotel in the city before. It felt strange to get on the tube with an overnight bag only to get off again not at Heathrow, but at Hyde Park Corner. On arrival, our enormous room - more of a suite than a room, with a separate sitting room area and panoramic views of Hyde Park across the road - was stocked with water and fresh fruit. All details were attended to, from plenty of pillows (one of the strange lessons of pregnancy: you can never had too many pillows) to an excellent hairdryer, which is a rarity in even the poshest of hotels. Also waiting was a box of Erbaviva organic pregnancy products - milk bath, back rub and stretchmark oil - and a vest from pregnancy specialists homemummy.co.uk.
The hotel is on Park Lane, just down from the Dorchester, and therefore wonderfully situated for a spot of retail therapy. It felt relaxing already to be able to walk to Oxford Street, Regent Street or Bond Street in a matter of minutes - and better still, to be able to escape from the crowds to pop back for a cup of tea and a rest. It made me daydream about a little flat in W1 or a permanent suite at the Met (note to self: keep buying those lottery tickets).
Those seeking maternity fashion purchases don't actually even need to leave the hotel - aside from the vest, the package also includes a voucher for 15% off homemummy products. The clothes are very stylish - forget Mothercare and floral print tents, this is high-end fashion for pregnant woman. The range includes the only pair of maternity jeans I've found that don't assume your thighs grow at the same rate as your stomach.
Having exhausted the maternity shops of London (not, in truth, a task that takes very long) it was time for my one-hour pregnancy massage at the Urban Escape spa. Those in the first trimester should note that this is only suitable for women who have passed 14 weeks - and from personal experience I would say the later in pregnancy, the more need for a massage. My masseuse could not have been more considerate - was this position comfortable enough? Not too much pressure on the back? Would another pillow help? Her consideration contrasted nicely with a firm hand for the actual massaging - if there's one thing I find utterly pointless, it's someone massaging you so gently there's no relief for aching muscles. You might as well just have a hot bath. Next door to the serene treatment rooms is a well-equipped gym, if you feel the need to get the endorphins flowing again.
After all this relaxation, I had a fantastic nights sleep on one of the most comfortable hotel beds I've ever slept in - though drawing the curtains around the panoramic windows was no small task. Next morning's breakfast was billed as healthy, but those who secretly crave something a bit more carb-heavy won't go away disappointed. I virtuously stuck to a fluffy omelette and fresh fruit, but there were pastries and fried foods to be had as well. I left feeling my shoulders had dropped to their normal levels - if only you could do this every weekend. At over £300, the package is not cheap, but fathers-to-be looking for a Christmas present for their other halves couldn't find a better gift. And hey, you get a stay in a top London hotel yourself into the bargain - so everyone wins.