Our first experience with The Kensington Hotel was in 2019 and, ironically, didn’t involve sleeping at the hotel at all! While staying at a different area hotel, we decided to treat ourselves to the swanky Afternoon Tea service at The Kensington Hotel’s Town House restaurant. At the time, I remember thinking how lovely the hotel was and wondered what it would be like to actually stay in one of their rooms as a hotel guest. Fast forward four years and a whole COVID lifetime later and we put The Kensington at the top of our luxury hotel list when we were making our London hotel arrangements and we are so glad we did!
Of course, I could go on and on about their incredibly elegant and innovative tea service (because that’s what they are known for) but I think the hotel’s charm is expands beyond its tea.
6 Reasons I Adore The Kensington Hotel in London
Location – One of the biggest reasons I was drawn to The Kensington Hotel was its location in South Kensington. The Kensington and Chelsea Borough of London is my favorite area in the city to call home because of the beautiful architecture, chic atmosphere and proximity to an array of museums. Part of the Doyle Collection of Hotels, The Kensington Hotel is quintessential London at its best, blending perfectly with this uber desirable neighborhood, with its stucco facade that mirrors the many picturesque, crisp white and light-colored row houses. The quiet, residential-like location is a welcome respite from the fast-paced city, yet it is still close to restaurants, cafes, bakeries, museums and two gorgeous parks – Kensington and Hyde Park. And even if you’re craving a little more night life, there are two tube stops within a few minutes walk, so access to anywhere in the city is easy.
Front Porch and Common Areas – Even if you don’t have the opportunity to stay at The Kensington Hotel, it’s worth it to simply stroll by to gaze at its gorgeous, almost vintage looking front porch. The porch decor seems to change with the seasons (as I’ve seen from online photos) and while we were there in June/July, it was full of beautiful (albeit artificial) flowers and mirrors that simply beckoned all who walked by to step up and snap a few photos (which I promptly did). While inside, guests can peruse the interesting sculptures (baby elephants!) art work, brightly lit and luxe lounge areas, and beautiful bouquets of fresh flowers – a bit of Hollywood glamour and subtle Victorian elegance all rolled into one.
Hotel Staff – From the front desk personnel, to the bellmen, to the restaurant hosts, every person on the hotel staff we encountered was genuinely cheerful and quite happy to help us in any way. I especially loved the breakfast crew – they were welcoming, quick to smile (and sometimes joke around!) and made us feel like we were guests in their home rather than at a stuffy restaurant eating breakfast. In addition, the concierge was quite helpful when we needed to change dinner reservations at the last minute on our final evening. He called the restaurant on our behalf only to learn that it was actually closed due to an emergency. He then helped us secure another reservation close by at a newly opened Japanese restaurant and we were not disappointed. A huge thank you to the staff for being so lovely to my whole family!
Sleeping Rooms – We opted for two classic rooms during both legs of our London travels. Although the classic rooms are very small, they are clean, well-appointed and provide luxurious bedding and bath amenities, bathrobes/slippers, American outlets and a Nespresso maker with complimentary Scottish shortbread in the armoire. The hotel was also very accommodating when I requested to have our two rooms either connecting or very close by one another, which they were able to grant us during both stays.
Breakfast – When I initially booked our rooms, several months in advance of our trip, the reservation did not include breakfast. However, a few weeks before our trip, I noticed the hotel was offering a summer special on their rooms, which including a deeper discount and breakfast for both rooms. How could I not jump at this offer?? I can honestly say that The Kensington Hotel Breakfast was a “quiet luxury” experience. The buffet was not the largest I’d ever seen (nor was it the smallest) but it provided just the right mix of breakfast nosh that my family needed – pastries, breads, yogurt, boiled eggs, juices and more. Plus, we could order one additional made-to-order item off the menu, like an omelette or a traditional English breakfast. My daughter had the porridge and she said it was some of the best she’d ever had. The drinks were equally as luxurious. The frothy cappuccinos (with almond milk no less!) and creamy hot chocolates kept us sipping dreamily and made me want breakfast to go on for hours.
Little Surprises – Although never expected, surprise and delight elements during our hotel stays are always welcome. Each night, The Kensington Hotel provided turndown service in both rooms by leaving out slippers by the bedside, chocolates by the nightstand and fresh bottles of still and sparkling water to keep us hydrated. On both legs of our London stay, the hotel also surprised us with a fresh bowl of fruit or chocolate covered strawberries and macarons along with a lovely card from the staff – an extra sweet and special touch that we will always remember.
Of course, there are many who may still be drawn to The Kensington Hotel because of its tea service, and rightly so. But it’s those who actually stay at the hotel – relaxing in the luxury beds, chatting with the engaging staff and lingering just a little longer in the breakfast lounge – who will be truly taken with the charms of this hotel.
Stayed tuned for more details on my recent trip to London and Norway!