Comprising of four traditional white Victorian townhouses in West London, The Kensington is a sumptuous little treat that’s sat among the leafy avenues, quaint colourful streets, and independent boutiques of affluent South Kensington.
Located where Queen’s Gate meets the Old Brompton Road, the hotel (renovated in 2016) has 126 rooms and 24 suites — each decorated in warm, opulent tones with lush custom-made fabrics and antique-style furnishings that interior design collective, Alexander Waterworth, selected to complement the hotel’s period architecture. Duck down duvets, pillow-topped beds and marble bathrooms feel luxurious yet cosy; a turndown service that includes a warm pot of camomile tea completes a decadent snugness almost impossible to tear oneself away from.
In the public spaces an eclectic mix of contemporary art and sleek furnishings remind you that you’re in one of London’s wealthiest boroughs, as do the well-heeled west Londoners for whom the hotel’s restaurant and bar, Town House and K Bar, are hangouts of choice. The former, blends classic heritage and modern style fare which, supervised by Executive Chef Steve Gibbs (formerly of Hix), offers a menu bursting with seasonal and locally-sourced ingredients; dishes like Severn & Wye smoked salmon on Guinness brown bread, seared tuna soy and ginger dressing, and the flavoursome grilled Cornish mixed fish and rib eye steak from the Josper grill indulgent and refined.
From the moment you complete the swift yet informative check-in at The Kensington, you are greeted with warm smiles and that ‘real’ five-star service; wherever you turn, there is somebody on hand to cater to your every whim. The communal spaces effortlessly flow, resulting in a real home-away-from-home vibe — everywhere from the cosy nooks to sit in to the lobby and the interconnected drawing rooms of the Town House feeling like an upscale private residence over hotel. Intimate corners with open fireplaces are perfect for hiding away from the world, glass of wine in hand and overlooking the tree-lined streets of Kensington before moving into K Bar come evening; a plush cocktail bar fitted out with panelled walls, artwork and low lighting. With a distinct private members club feel, guests are treated to a comprehensive and perfectly-executed cocktail menu and weekly live music sessions.
Its proximity to Knightsbridge and Chelsea, as well as the weekly South Kensington farmer’s market and surrounding slew of pavement cafés, means you needn’t venture too far off the beaten track. The V&A, Natural History and Science Museum are a short stroll away, as is Hyde Park — making this family-owned member of The Doyle Collection a real contender for one of the capital’s number one hotels.