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Travel: The Kensington Hotel in London

Entrance to the hotel

Entrance to the hotel

Following an incredible time in Paris, I spent five days in London. London is my favorite city in the world and I cherish every opportunity to spend time there. On this trip, I stayed at The Kensington Hotel, which is part of the Doyle Collection, in South Kensington. From  the incredibly cozy lounge bar, to the charming Christmas decor and comfortable rooms, the hotel more than delivered. Here’s a peek inside.

The Kensington Hotel is located just five minutes walk from the South Kensington tube station. The area is safe and it’s near plenty of bars and restaurants, plus a Little Waitrose and a Tesco Express (grocery stores). Hyde Park is an easy jog from the hotel and there are a number of museums nearby, including the Victoria & Albert (V&A) and The National History Museum.

Now, onto the hotel. One step inside and you instantly feel welcomed and at home. Take a look at the simple, yet impeccably decorated lobby below.

Concierge desk

Concierge desk

Adorable wooden reindeer greeted me - loved this nod to the Christmas holiday.

Adorable wooden reindeer greeted me – loved this nod to the Christmas holiday.

Turn left from the lobby and you’re greeted with a wonderful lounge and bar. It’s exactly the type of space where you could enjoy a leisurely drink, or get lost in a good book. I felt right at home and wished that we had a space like this in Boston. The interior designer for the hotel did a fantastic job. Scroll down to see a few images.

A fireplace adds to the cozy feel

A fireplace adds to the cozy feel

A proper Christmas tree!

A proper Christmas tree!

Cozy yet opulent

Cozy yet opulent

Though I was tempted to live inside the lounge bar, I did have a hotel room to call my own. The hotel first offered me a room that wasn’t satisfactory – it was right across from the elevator bank. It took me all of one minute to realize how noisy the room would be. When I splurge on a nice hotel, I’m there to relax, not to be distracted by my fellow travelers.

So, I went back downstairs and asked for a room farther away from the elevator bank. My request was swiftly and graciously accommodated. Tip: if you don’t ask, you don’t get. Just ask nicely!

My hotel room

My hotel room

The second room was much better. It was on the small side compared to U.S. standards, but it didn’t bother this solo traveler. The bed was very comfortable and it should be noted that it’s one bed, versus the two twins that are common in European hotel rooms. The room came with free Wi-Fi that worked brilliantly, a flat screen TV and two chairs with a table adjacent to the bed. The temperature control also worked perfectly, which was important during December!

The room did have a closet, though it was very small and didn’t have bureau space. This will prove challenging for a couple, but was fine for a solo traveler. Also not to my liking? The mini bar. I love when hotel mini bars have a little room to cram in a spare yogurt or bottle of water. This mini bar was more like a mini vending machine that you couldn’t open. You could just select what item you wanted to be dispensed. On the plus side, the room did offer a hot water heater and ample complimentary tea.

Bathroom

Bathroom

Gripes aside, I loved the bathroom. It too was small, but it had heated floors! The shower, though not pictured, was also amazing. Excellent heat and water pressure. The only small con is that while the hotel offers nice bath products (shampoo, conditioner, body wash), there’s no lotion in the set.

All in all, I really enjoyed this hotel. I would definitely recommend it to other travelers. I would also stay here again, especially if I could find a good deal.

IMG_1384

A few other ‘good to knows’:
- The hotel gym is amazing. I didn’t take photos, but they have a wide range of machines and free weights spread out across two rooms. They also have free bottled water and apples (score!).
- There’s a complimentary turndown service each night and the free chocolates are really good.
- I had seen this hotel on Jetsetter, but discovered that I could book directly through the hotel and still get the good advance purchase deal. Definitely look at the sales/deals portion of the hotel website.
- This is the first hotel where the free slippers actually fit.
- There is an area with Mac computers to print boarding passes, etc.
- Hotel staff are very kind, helpful and accommodating.

For more information about The Kensington Hotel, please visit the hotel’s website.


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