Kensington Town House Breakfast Room - lead
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The Kensington hotel London

Johanna Payton visits the refurbished Kensington hotel London for a peep at the luxurious rooms and a delicious lunch in the Library

As a Londoner, one of the things you can miss out on is the pleasure of staying in one of the capital’s most beautiful and luxurious hotels.

Of course, in the spirit of keeping your feet on the ground, having a night in a London hotel – even if you live in the city – is a lovely treat, with hardly any travel, and a great way to make the most of a theatre trip or gig (just wait until March when I can tell you all about my Miles Hunt minibreak with the girls…seriously.)

In early February 2016, I was invited to visit The Kensington for a tour and lunch: now I’m dying to stay there – even though I have my own little abode, just down the road.

The Kensington, a member of the Doyle Collection, describes itself as London’s finest townhouse hotel and I’d agree wholeheartedly. The converted Victorian building, once a set of houses, has an incredibly homely, as well as swish midcentury, feel. From the countless cosy fireplaces to the grand, floor-to-ceiling windows, this venue strikes the perfect balance between traditional British opulence and a home-from-home.

The accommodation here is quietly beautiful. Each one of the 126 rooms and 24 suites has been individually designed with fabrics and furnishings that complement the period architecture, but feel modern and fresh.

As soon as you enter, you’ll find copious corners for snuggling down and reading the paper or sipping a cuppa. The interconnected drawing rooms on the ground floor host a hip clientele of business people, movers and shakers and discerning tourists , happily rubbing elegant shoulders over afternoon tea or a relaxed meeting.

The K Bar is a thoroughly glamorous space with a New-York-meets-members-club feel. You can settle into leather wingback chairs, or lounge on teal and violet velvet sofas. Then sample something decadent from a cocktail menu that has been crafted by an award-winning bartender.

Kensington bar - comp

The accommodation here is quietly beautiful. Each one of the 126 rooms and 24 suites has been individually designed with fabrics and furnishings that complement the period architecture, but feel modern and fresh.

From the super-stylish Knightsbridge suite, with its roaring fire, mirror TV, exquisite crystal glassware, circular daybed and marble bathroom, to a family room with side-by-side king-sized beds, generous wardrobe space and a reception area, each space is stacked with comfortable luxury.

The redesign of the hotel will be complete when the Brompton Suite opens in March 2016. I’m told that the 753-sq-ft hotel suite will have the look and feel of an art curator’s London apartment with signature details including an oak herringbone wood floor, 1960s table lamps and exceptional views over the rooftops of South Kensington.

If you’re looking for absolute luxury, space and privacy, the Brompton will interconnect with the two other suites at the hotel – including the Knightsbridge – to create a stunning two/three bedroom space.

After my tour of the property, which included a peek at the well-equipped basement gym, we ate lunch in Town House, an elegant dining room with a private entrance on Manson Place that makes it ideal for celebrity or high-profile gatherings. Town House is made up of three adjoining rooms including The White Room, with an open fireplace and small but gorgeous covered terrace. We dined in The Library, a bright yet intimate space with book-lined walls and a chic atmosphere, where duck egg and pale yellow fabrics rub along happily with leather chairs and wood panelled walls.

After ordering freshly prepared drinks from The Juicery (may I strongly recommend the Blueberry Coconut Smoothie with blueberries, almond milk, cinnamon, Medjool dates, coconut oil and maca powder), I savoured a grilled chicken salad with guacamole, sweet piquillo pepper, gem lettuce and coriander). I can also tell you that the fries are heavenly (in my defence, I did visit on a Friday afternoon).

Although this property is inescapably high-end, standard rooms start at a reasonable £235, so it’s a great choice if you want to experience upmarket Kensington living without a ridiculous price tag. And room rates aside, it’s the friendliness and relaxed attitude of the staff that really make this hotel a great choice if you want a boutique experience with plenty of glamour and zero high-end attitude.

I was made to feel hugely welcome and left the hotel with the warm glow of good hospitality. I’ll certainly be going back for more.

The Kensington hotel - Town House restaurant

Johanna ate lunch in the lovely Library, part of the hotel’s Town House dining room

K Bar - The Kensington hotel

The K Bar is an elegant hangout

Seating area in the K Bar The Kensington hotel

If you don’t fancy perching at the bar, relax in K’s comfortable seating area

The Kensington Hotel - Knightsbridge suite

Comfortably elegant: the beautiful double bedroom in the Knightsbridge Suite at The Kensington hotel


How to get to The Kensington without flying:

The Kensington is located in South Kensington, on the junction of Queen’s Gate and Old Brompton Road.

It’s a short walk (less than five minutes) from South Kensington underground station. It’s also a short cab ride from London Victoria.


Words: Johanna Payton for Feet on the Ground

Images: The Kensington London / Johanna Payton

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