Tried & Tested

Aparthotel review: The Other House, South Kensington

15 Oct 2022 by Hannah Brandler
The Other House Library. Credit Jack Hardy

Background

This lifestyle brand launched in 2019 as a joint venture between real estate investment advisory London Central Portfolio (LCP) and Dutch pension provider APG.

The brand opened its first ‘Residents Club’ in July, designed to combine apartment-style living with members club facilities. Business Traveller spoke to co-owner and CEO Naomi Heaton for the Members Only feature in the September 2022 issue of the magazine.

This property has over 200 fully fitted apartments, referred to as Club Flats, which are available for both short- and long-stays. During the stay, guests get the same privileges as members. If you’re a real VIP, you can become a member for £1,500 per year with a £350 joining fee.

Its ambassadors are a hint of the famous members – journalist and author Pandora Sykes curated the collection of books in the library space; DJ Fat Tony created the music playlists; and model Arizona Muse consulted on the property’s sustainability offering.

A Covent Garden property is set to join the portfolio in 2024, with further openings planned for London and internationally.

The Other House South Kensington

Where is it?

The club is set across 11 Victorian townhouses on Harrington Gardens in South Kensington.

It is a three-minute walk from Gloucester Road tube station, and a ten-minute walk to South Kensington, both of which are on the District and Piccadilly lines.

What's it like?

Design by London-based firm Bergman Design House is inspired by the “spirit of whimsy and English eccentricity” and it shows as soon as you enter the townhouse.

The lobby is filled with contrasting wallpaper prints, pattern-clad furnishings (from houndstooth to tartan and floral) and an emphasis on animals – notably exotic birds and monkeys. A beautiful leaf-like sculpture winds its way across the ceiling overhead, while a chair has been adorned in feathers to resemble a peacock.

The fantastically flamboyant design is carried out throughout the entire property, with a few variations in each space.

The Other House Lobby

The ground floor layout is very open-plan and airy thanks to the use of glass doors, meaning that areas such as the beautiful library don’t feel shut off from the rest of the property – which you might imagine would not have been the case in the original Victorian townhouse.

There’s a small reception room to the left-hand side of the lobby, with charismatic staff (or ‘House Jacks’ as they are known here) wearing waistcoats featuring the same print as the wallpaper. It has been designed this way to make the lobby seem less like a hotel and more like a living room. This also explains why the post room is accessible via a separate entrance.

During my visit the app was not yet live but allows guests to check-in, access the room (like a digital key), book services and check their energy consumption. The physical check-in was quick and easy, and I was given a wooden keycard with the name of my hallway and room number.

The members club areas are located downstairs and include wellness spaces, the low-lit, moody Keeping Room and the light-filled two-storey atrium The Hogsmire. The Keeping Room has a gentleman’s club vibe, with expensive whiskies behind lock and key in glass cabinets, an open fire, and old painted portraits modernised with a brush stroke of paint over the faces, keeping them anonymous.

The Other House The Keeping Room. Credit Jack Hardy

The Hogsmire, named after the 17th century Gloucester Road (Hogmire or Hogs Moor), is a quiet and peaceful space with a Mediterranean-style feel, featuring tables flanked by olive trees and beneath suspended golden paper-style birds.

Don’t miss the bathrooms (open to non-members too) which made me feel like I had entered Marie Antoinette’s toilette. Exotic animal print wallpapers are combined with gold sinks, swan-sculpted taps and Baroque gold mirrors.

The Other House highlights its sustainable initiatives, from low-waste kitchens (I learnt that lime is bad for the environment, with sea buckthorn a good replacement) to large-size bottles for sustainably produced toiletries, refillable glass water bottles, and British-made furniture, fittings and fabrics to minimise its carbon footprint. It is hoping to achieve the Excellent category from BREEAM.

The Other House bathroom

Apartments

The Club Flats are located on the ground floor and levels 2-7 and, unlike most properties, have a number and name. The name refers to the corridor that you are staying on, with each one named after famous former locals.

My apartment was 17 Langtry (the elevators provide hallway names beside each floor number). The fourth floor is divided into Langtry (rooms 1-17) and Kent rooms (rooms 1-15), with different colour schemes in the hallways to distinguish the two.

Club Flats come in four configurations: Originals, Class, Vaults and Collection, and range from studio-style flats at 23 sqm to 61 sqm three-bedroom flats. It is also possible to interconnect two, three or four flats behind a single front door for groups or families – with a total space of 115 sqm.

The Other House Club Flat. Credit Jack Hardy

My apartment was one of those that could interconnect so felt very nice and private, though you can hear noise from the corridor as it is close to the lifts. The door was quite difficult to open, which I presumed was due to a fresh paint job.

Unlike the communal areas, the interior design of the flats does not have many textures and patterns but rather rich colour palettes (either green, blue or red), velvets, British tweed and wool.

All flats include a kitchenette with a dishwasher and microwave oven, though no hob, along with a dining table and a suede sofa with tartan rugs in the living space. The bedroom has a comfy bed with a leather headboard and velvet cushions, and a well-sized bathroom with a walk-in shower and rain fall shower.

There are large refillable bottles of body wash, shampoo and conditioner, though it’s a shame there’s nowhere to rest them in the cubicle. There was also no soap by the sink so I had to use the body wash.

Bedside tables feature old books – mine had Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde – along with a QR code about the club’s facilities and services, a notepad with a pencil, reading lights and both USB and plug sockets.

In terms of working from the room, I noticed that the plug sockets are quite far from the table, meaning that you can’t charge your devices that easily.

The Other House Club Flat. Credit Jack Hardy

Food and drink

The Other House has two dining venues, located back-to-back to the right of the lobby area.

The Other Kitchen is a jade-green all-day street café, which also has a separate street entrance. It serves breakfast and daily-changing seasonal lunch menus, with plans to host pop-ups and chef supper clubs in the evenings.

Breakfast is served here from 7am-10am (11am on weekends). Guests can pick from a light breakfast for £15 which includes either the buffet (pastries, cereals, yoghurt pots and plant-based alternatives) or hot food, or a full breakfast for £25 which comprises both. Take a look at the TOK sandwiches, a play on the BLT.

The Other House Owl and Monkey. Credit Jack Hardy

On the other side of the buffet bar, and accessible via a narrow corridor at the end of The Other Kitchen, lies the darker and more hedonistic The Owl and Monkey. This room goes print-crazy, with zebra, floral and animal prints of varying colours throughout.

Instead of a buffet, it has a jazzier cocktail bar which opens at 6pm and serves cocktails, non-alcoholic alternatives and small plates (each priced at £7.50). It’s not filling enough for a dinner, but the light bites are a lovely accompaniment to the creative cocktails. Don’t miss the roasted aubergine with red miso, soy and sesame.

Members and residents can also order small plates and drinks to the Hogsmire or the Keeping Room.

The Other House The Other Kitchen. Credit Jack Hardy

Meetings

There are several private meeting and dining rooms which can be hired for events. The Francis Bacon Room, filled with the artist’s works, seats ten; the Mervyn Peake room seats eight, and The Library can be booked for ten people.

The Other Kitchen, The Owl and Monkey and private members spaces can also be hired upon request.

The Other House, Owl and Monkey bar

Leisure

The leisure facilities are located on the lower-ground level of The Other House and are only accessible to members or guests.

The vitality pool is a peaceful space which has glass windows looking onto The Hogsmire. There’s also a well-sized gym with machines such as Peloton bikes and a yoga studio.

The Other Space, its wellness and wellbeing concept, offers group sessions three times per week, with spiritual classes such as astrology workshops and sound healing, and a dedicated meditation room.

Verdict

The Other House is an exciting addition to South Kensington, its eccentric Alice in Wonderland-style interiors and care to detail a rare find in the area. The members facilities are cosy and exclusive, and the Club Flats have a homely feel and are largely well-equipped for short- and long-stays. I left wishing that it really was my other house.

Best for

Its imaginative and whimsical interior design

Don’t miss

Hiding out in The Keeping Room’s underground vaults with a nightcap

Price

Internet rates for a flexible midweek stay in November started from £350 for a Club Pro apartment

Contact

15- 17 Harrington Gardens, South Kensington, London SW7 4JJ; 020 3846 6000; otherhouse.com

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