Venetia van Kuffeler is enthralled by her springtime stay at The Kensington hotel

In spring, there’s nowhere more lovely in London than the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. With the first warm sunshine of the year and trees bursting with blossom, cafes are packed with smiling people enjoying spending time outdoors. A refined neighbourhood renowned for its tree-lined streets with elegant stucco-fronted period Victorian houses, the South Kensington community has an international feel, and is particularly popular with those visiting London for business or pleasure.  

On the corner of leafy Queens Gate and just a few minutes’ walk from South Kensington tube station, The Kensington hotel is an idyllic home-away-from-home for those looking for a place to stay in the capital.  Part of the Doyle Collection, a family-owned Irish luxury hotel group with a 60-year heritage, which includes the famed Du Pont Circus in Washington DC, The Kensington is just steps away from so many London embassies, high commissions and ambassadorial residences, as well as landmarks like the Victoria and Albert Museum, The Natural History Museum, the Royal Albert Hall, plus the nearby Lycée Français schools, French Consulate and Institut Français.

The hotel has quietly been serving London's diplomatic community for decades. Privacy is prioritised, and the team are accustomed to operating at the highest levels of discretion, ensuring special requirements are addressed and accommodated with ease. This, along with its location and grandeur make the hotel a favourite among Heads of Mission and VIP clientele.
The property comprises an impressive four traditional white townhouses, housing 126 rooms and 24 suites, each of which have been individually designed to complement the hotel’s elegant period architecture. My deluxe room with king sized bed was found at the end of a corridor behind two closed doors (so quiet!) and had pretty views overlooking the Old Brompton Road. With a contemporary take on classic design, vibrant wallpapers and fabrics were used throughout, along with prints and plenty of elaborate lamps. With a desk, two armchairs and a wall full of cupboards, the room felt more like a suite. 

With open fires, high ceilings, and historic details, the hotel’s elegant drawing rooms provide the ideal setting for meetings, evening drinks or afternoon tea. The oak-panelled K Bar is an enjoyable spot to imbibe a creative concoction from the decadent Reflections cocktail menu, a glass of wine from the bespoke wine fridge or an artisan gin or fine whiskey from the extensive selection of spirits. The hotel’s restaurant Town House offers a modern British mix of seasonal, locally-sourced dishes throughout the day, including an excellent breakfast of fresh fruit, eggs, pastries and the homemade Guinness bread, a nod to the house’s Irish heritage.

Another highlight is The Kensington’s proximity to the magnificent Hyde Park, which can be explored on one of the hotel’s Kensington blue Pashley vintage bikes with the option of a picnic prepared by the hotel’s kitchen in the warmer months.

The Kensington’s private dining room, The Study, is ideal for breakfast meetings, private dinners and canapé events, as well as the two Drawing Rooms that are ideal for pre-dinner events.

Aside from its central location, The Kensington has a unique sense of place in the local neighbourhood making it a lovely place to stay. Much of this unique atmosphere is down to the exceptional team of staff on hand to cater to the guests’ every need. Friendly and helpful, nothing is ever too much trouble, ensuring their diplomatic guests and VIPs return to stay at The Kensington time and time again.

The Kensington,
109-113 Queen’s Gate, London SW7 5LP

T:   +44 20 7589 6300