Kensington is an underrated neighbourhood but has some of the capital’s best attractions, including concert halls, museums and markets. From an urban oasis to a brooding rock ‘n’ roll hangout, these are the best hotels in Kensington.
The Royal Garden Hotel, sandwiched between Holland Park and Kensington Gardens, is the perfect base from which to explore West London’s retail and internationally renowned museums. The luxury bolthole located on Kensington High Street offers every type of culinary comfort from afternoon tea and up-market Chinese cuisine at Min Jiang to modern dining at Park Terrace. Moments away from Kensington Palace, the Royal Garden Hotel offers an experience fit for a king or queen where even the most affordable rooms are spacious and luxurious.
Celebrating Kensington’s most famous attractions, the rooms of the elegantly furnished Ampersand Hotel feature patterns from the Victoria and Albert Museum’s costume collection and the Natural History Museum’s ornithological drawings. Experience a playful twist on afternoon tea with jellies served in Petri dishes, chocolate spacemen and dinosaur biscuits – a nod to the Science Museum next door.
This chic boutique was made for social media mavens. Beyond the traditional white stucco façade, Number Sixteen exudes comfort and colour. There are plenty of relaxing guest spaces from the drawing room and library to the conservatory and garden – a rare and welcome feature for central London. In the summer, there are few better places to enjoy afternoon tea than from the private urban oasis.
The Kensington Hotel exudes understated luxury and attention to detail. Unwind at the Viva Therapies’ spa, and treat the senses to modern British dining at Town House, classic cocktails at K Bar, or healthy smoothies from The Juicery. Best of all, guests can borrow a hand-built Pashley bicycle and explore the local neighbourhood.
Those with a flair for the dramatic will love Blakes London, which is something of an enigma for Kensington. The dark and brooding luxury boutique stands out from its more cutesy contemporaries. There’s global fine dining at the eponymous restaurant and wellness through local partner South Kensington Club, while Blakes Below Bar is a favourite late-night hangout for the capital’s glitterati.
Think four-poster beds, tapestries, mahogany bookshelves spilling over with ancient volumes, antique sideboards and winding staircases. There’s even a suite named after actress Judy Garland, who spent so much time here that she had her bed shipped over from the States – the same one used today. And that’s not the only name dropped within these wood-panelled walls. In 1968, legendary rockers The Rolling Stones launched their album Beggars Banquet at Bar 190.