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London’s The Kensington is a home away from home

The Kensington
The Kensington

Luxury Studio Suite – 34sqm – From £925 per night

Why stay here

South Kensington is the London neighbourhood we conjure up in our dreams, where streets lined with elegant Victorian townhouses lead to lush stretches of parkland. You could spend a whole week without leaving the area and not run out of things to do – from catching a performance at the Royal Albert Hall or wandering through Victoria & Albert Museum and the Museum of Natural History, to window shopping in Knightsbridge, just a short stroll away.

Design & sustainability

The townhouse hotel concept promises a stay that feels like visiting friends, and The Kensington nails it. The narrow front door leads through to a compact lobby and into a succession of gorgeous sitting rooms. Daylight floods in through the bay windows, revealing couches clad in leather or velvet, bold Thibaut wallpapers and delicate chandeliers, as well as striking flower arrangements on elegant side tables.

The insouciant mix of the contemporary and the classic flows through to the rooms. Each room has a different oriental-inspired wallpaper and, in my suite, an eye-catching blue jungle print fabric dials up the effect. The king-size four-poster bed is even more comfortable than it looks, and the Carrara marble bathroom is equipped with Malin + Goetz amenities.

The Kensington is part of the family-owned Doyle Collection, which is carbon neutral across its British properties through a combination of renewable energy and carbon offsets. It has both Green Tourism gold and Greengage ECOsmart platinum certification.

Dining

The homey feel extends to the hotel’s gorgeous pastel-toned restaurant, Town House, where meals are served in a series of interconnected drawing rooms. In the evening, kick things off with a glass of Rathfinny Classic Cuvée Brut from Sussex in K Bar – the glam drinking den where the circular, leather-clad bar echoes the shape of the chandeliers hanging from the coffered ceiling – before heading in for dinner, where the pan-seared scallops and the linguine with Dorset crab, chilli, lemon and datterini tomatoes are highlights. The truffled scrambled eggs are a firm favourite, and the hotel’s globally inspired afternoon tea, which features green chutney and cucumber sandwiches and black sesame choux alongside the traditional scones, is popular with locals as well as guests. Bespoke cocktails such as Fragrant Harbour (gin, umeshu, lychee, lime rose) are available alongside tea (white, black or green) and herbal infusions.

Spa & wellness

Spa treatments from London Serenity can be booked on request. The hotel gym has cardio and weight machines as well as free weights, but with the great, green swathe of Hyde Park so close why would you exercise indoors? If a run feels too energetic, guests can also go freewheeling on one of the hotel’s Pashley vintage bikes.

 

The special touches

It is the staff that lifts The Kensington to the next level, combining impeccable service with genuine warmth. When I mention that I will be moving to a nearby hotel at the end of my stay, staff immediately organise to have my luggage transferred.

 

If you want to upgrade

The top-of-the-line one-bedroom Kensington and Brompton suites can be booked together to create one expansive two-bedroom space known as the Kensington Suite, stretching over 180 square metres.

doylecollection.com

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