One of the recent period revamps from the Doyle Collection, The Kensington is made up of four 19th-century white-stucco townhouses; a suitably chic monument to the traditional elegance of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
On the corner of Queens Gate and Old Brompton Road, it’s just a short walk to two neo-gothic marvels: the V&A and the Natural History Museum. Another icon of the 1800s, the Royal Albert Hall, is also close by, while the Serpentine Gallery is an easy stroll through Hyde Park. Set between Knightsbridge and Kensington High Street, this is also a prime location for some of the swankiest shopping in the city.
A discerning crowd who appear to resist the urge to post its very ‘grammable interior alongside polished cultured types and expense–be-damned couples living on room service for a day or two.
Lined with oak panelling and edged with polished brass, the excellent K Bar has the atmosphere of a jazzy gentlemen’s club or the captain’s quarters of a Victorian ocean liner. Drinksmith Ashley Bambrough heads the bar and runs a tight – and very entertaining – ship. You can also hire Pashley bikes, with optional picnic.
The hotel’s all-day, breakfast-lunch-dinner restaurant, the Town House, is a destination dining address for the area and is seasonable English cooking done well, but the delightfully un-stuffy afternoon tea service might be the bigger draw.
Designed by fast-rising, London-based practice Alexander Waterworth Interiors, this is Victorian England colourfully rewired for the 21st century with witty, modern design touches that don’t feel contrived for the Instagram Age.