The Kensington hotel is one of three London properties in the Doyle Collection, the others being the Bloomsbury and the Marylebone hotels.
In March, the Dublin-based luxury group launched a new top suite — the Kensington suite — which is the subject of this review.
WHAT’S IT LIKE?
The 150-room hotel is set across a collection of adjoining Regency townhouses in South Kensington.
Off the lobby are a series of three drawing rooms that lead to the restaurant and bar. These are stylish, homely spaces with big bay windows, parquet flooring, attractive fireplaces and cornicing, and ornate mirrors. Comfy seating, soft music and newspapers to flick through make them an easy place to linger.
Recently, the property took over a section of the corner building that formerly housed a branch of Barclays Bank. It has used the first floor of this space to create the Kensington suite — essentially adding a one-bedroom suite to two existing ones to create what the hotel says is “London’s largest townhouse suite”, totalling 180 sqm and comprising three bedrooms, three bathrooms and two living rooms. This can be booked as a one, two or three-bedroom configuration.
WHERE IS IT?
At the corner of Queen’s Gate and Old Brompton Road, a short walk from South Kensington Underground station for links to Heathrow.
Essentially three suites in one, each of the Kensington’s units has its own style. The new section — the Knightsbridge — is a beautiful space with four-metre-high ceilings and lots of natural light through French windows, which overlook the street below – it also has a balcony. It has pale parquet floors and painted panelled walls, with a colour palette of cream, blue and gold.
The living room has a 1930s Murano chandelier, a striking feature fireplace, a curved leather sofa, a large Samsung flatscreen TV and a lacquered cocktail cabinet with crystal glassware and complimentary spirits in decanters.
The bedroom has a comfortable king bed dressed in luxurious white linens, a plush circular day bed with a small wall-mounted television, and a large TV integrated into a mirror facing the bed. It also has an attractive remote-controlled fireplace and a desk.
I slept in this part of the suite and while I noticed a fair bit of noise from the street during the day, it was quiet at night and I had a peaceful night’s rest.
Off the bedroom, the bathroom is lavishly kitted out with purple and white marble and gold fittings. It has twin sinks, a tub, a walk-in shower with two showerheads (one rain), underfloor heating, a TV and Aromatherapy Associates amenities.
The shower wasn’t the easiest to get in and out of because the door opened into the cubicle, leaving less space for manoeuvre. The toilet is in a separate room on the other side of the bedroom, next to the living room, so works as a guest toilet.
Adjoining the Knightsbridge suite — and to the left when you enter the whole space — is the Brompton, which is more classically opulent in design, with gold and red furnishings. It has a living room with old oil portraits, a grand crystal chandelier and glass-topped coffee table — a useful space for meetings.
The bedroom has a four-poster king bed and a vintage writing desk, and leads on to a lovely airy bathroom with a free-standing tub by the window, twin sinks and a walk-in shower.
The third part of the suite, number 115, is traditional in style with heavy floral curtains, a large writing desk and teal velvet armchairs. Its bed comprises two singles that can be separated, so is good if you are travelling with children (a little teddy bear sits on the bed, suggesting that purpose).
This section has no living room but has a large bathroom, again with a free-standing tub, twin sinks and a walk-in shower.
Other facilities include Bose docks, Nespresso machines (with a bountiful selection of capsules), blu-ray players and minibars. As with the rest of the hotel, wifi is free.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS
We dined in the Aubrey restaurant, which has an adjoining breakfast room (serving a good continental spread and à la carte dishes) and private dining room.
Later this year, the ground-floor space beneath the Kensington suite will open as a French-style brasserie, and the Aubrey and the breakfast and private dining rooms will be refurbished in keeping with the drawing rooms.
In the meantime, the Aubrey is an attractive space with dark-wood floors and tables, deep green leather seating and black-and-white framed shots of famous musicians.
It serves a modern European menu with an emphasis on seasonal produce. I had a fresh and tasty Caesar salad to start (£8), followed by a delicious, perfectly cooked fillet of cod with heritage tomato and rapeseed dressing (£17.50). My companion very much enjoyed his starter of Bosworth Ash goat’s cheese, marinated beets and pickled walnuts (£8.50) and 8oz Longhorn beef fillet (£28). Service was excellent.
The adjoining bar has a clubby, intimate feel and mixes up excellent cocktails.
BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES
The private dining room can seat 24 delegates around a long antique boardroom table. This will be retained as a private dining/meeting space following the refurbishment. There is also a business corner off the lobby with two Macs and printers.
There is a good-sized gym with Life Fitness equipment, and one treatment room.
The Kensington suite offers luxurious, elegant accommodation if you are travelling with other colleagues — providing both privacy and communal spaces for meetings — or are seeking spacious accommodation for your family.
The hotel itself is a pleasure to spend time in, with lovely public spaces and a good restaurant.
- PRICE Rates for the Kensington suite start at £1,050 in a one-bedroom configuration, £1,500 for two bedrooms and £2,400 for the whole three-bedroom apartment.
- CONTACT The Kensington hotel, 109-113 Queen’s Gate; tel +44 (0)20 75589 6300; doylecollection.com