Located in, well, Kensington, one of London’s coolest and chicest neighbourhoods, The Kensington Hotel is the London flagship of Irish hotel group, the Doyle Collection. A hotel I got to know really quite well over the last year or so – I love long courtships and actually getting to know the places I visit not just in one go. A stay was long due at this great hotel – but I wanted this stay to be special. So guess what, why not celebrate my wedding and going out anniversary with Mr. O? Call it the Irish connection, if you will – it was just meant to be.
– Was there any pre-arrival communication by the hotel with myself via email or social media?
As I said before, the hotel has been engaging with me for almost a year – they are part of my London experience, a place I visit frequently, and with a great social media presence.
– Did I try to engage the hotel via Twitter? Did the hotel interact with me and made me feel welcome/special?
Yes I did and so did the hotel. I love the hotel’s tone of voice on twitter and how it became part of my life – they share interesting content, really understand their guests (not just yours truly) and we often have great conversations. They follow and engage on my other trips at other hotels, it is a great example of hotel social media which you really don’t see very often.
– Has the hotel tried to gather any personal information (e.g. preferences) prior to my stay?
The team knew it was our combined wedding and going out anniversary (both dates celebrated in the same week, but the stay coincided with the latter).
– The wow factor! What was the hotel decor style?
The hotel is set in a beautiful period building – think of it as the ultimate townhouse, white and immaculate. But as you walk in, you are surprised by a rush of colour, which makes it very warm and welcoming. And inviting.
– How quick and efficient was the hotel check-in?
Very quick and efficient – I knew that the hotel was part of an Irish hotel group, but wasn’t expecting so many Irish accents during my experience. Having people say “Hello Mrs. O’Reilly” properly and often almost made me weak in the knees. I was told that I would be staying at the Brompton Suite and was escorted to the lift.
– Was I addressed by name once reservation has been located? (it is all about the small details, some others are outstanding with this, and I love it, like I do when I board an airplane)
Oh my. Mrs. O was in “da house”. Throughout my whole stay, the whole attention to detail was spot-on – not too much, just right. And I noticed the same attention to other guests, many of them clearly repeat ones. Very interesting indeed.
– Did I get an upgrade from my confirmed pre-booked room type?
I did not have a ‘confirmed room type’ and was delighted when I was told that the Brompton Suite was all ours.
– Did I feel genuinely welcomed by the hotel staff?
Everyone was lovely – and not just the Irish. The hotel had a mix of nationalities which worked very well. More on sexy Italian accents later.
– Luggage – how many people did I have to tip before the luggage made it safely to my room? This is cultural, I know
I had just an overnight bag which I was allowed to take into my room.
– Wi-fi – was I told anything about it? Was there a charge?
Yes and wi-fi is free for all guests. A good start.
– First impressions – décor, size and wow factor
There is something about this hotel – and as I came across on a review website, it was described as ‘regal but ravishing’. I cannot find better words myself. Our suite had a good size and it felt so warm and comfortable, that we didn’t want to leave. The bedroom was really well-appointed and uncluttered which is something I always appreciate.
– Welcome amenity
I had not one, but two lovely welcome amenities. The first, we found in our suite’s lounge area – a modern interpretation of the traditional (and somewhat boring) fruit basket. The second, we found it our bedroom – and what a lovely surprise. It was a Mulberry luggage tag, for me to think of the team on my many travels. How sweet was that?
– The bed
The bed was large – proper kingsize, and quite comfortable. The bed linen was also lovely – my only comment is that, strangely, there was no mattress topper, so you could actually feel the edges of the mattress. The next day, I mentioned this to Becky, the über fab new GM (seriously lovely person), who took note and did say that the hotel would be soon replacing all beds.
– Closet/Wardrobe – proper hangers or those annoying ones where you need a PhD to get them out one by one? This is a personal pet peeve of mine. I can’t stand them.
All good in this department. We had a good-sized wardrobe, which came as it should!
– Iphone Charger/Dock
There was an iPhone 4 dock, which I couldn’t use (because I have an iPhone 5!)
– Bathrobes and slippers
All lovely and soft – but we didn’t use.
– Coffee and Tea
We had a nespresso in the lounge, which we did not use either.
– Free bottled water
We had bottled water as part of our amenity but also some extra bottles at turn-down. Worth noting that in the lounge, we had a port and whisky decanter and lots of chocolates. I was a good girl and resisted temptation, just…
– Magazine selection – had some nice surprises and doesn’t happen often enough!
It was really quite good – Wallpaper and Vogue for me and GQ and Golf Magazine for Mr. O.
– Power sockets in useful places – we have more and more devices and we know where we want them! By the bed, by the working area.
We didn’t have huge problems finding power sockets as there were some by the bed (on one of the sides).
– First impressions – décor, size and wow factor
The bathroom was amazing – huge, very well-appointed and with great natural light.
– Bath, shower and taps – I am looking for Duravits and Hansgrohes (or other fab brands) around the world. How fab was the shower? And a little pet peeve.. was I able to operate the shower without asking Mr. O for help?
The bath was beautiful (I loved the petals we found when we came back to the room after dinner), and the shower was outstanding – really really good.
– Towels – yes, please! How many and how soft and lovely?
The towels were good and we had lots.
– Toiletries – own brand, super brand, baby ones or proper ones? I shall find out!
I adore Aromatherapy Associates and was delighted to find it at the hotel, not just in the rooms but also in all common areas. The products were midsize, i.e. not baby and not normal sized.
– Amenity kit – I don’t want more sewing kits thank you very much, but I will need a shower cap.
We had everything we needed.
– Hairdryer – is it a human one, or just something stuck to a wall that only makes noise?
I didn’t use it this time, but it seemed proper.
Before dinner, we were in for a treat: cocktails. Of course you heard me right! I had tried Alessandro’s delicious cocktails before and couldn’t wait to go back for more. We were taken on a journey around the world and time – it was great fun talking about and tasting some of Alessandro’s special ingredients which he brings from Italy. This gentleman is an award-winning mixologist and I promise you will be in for a great evening. A great host, it was great to see him experiment and just come up with fabulous concoctions just based on simple questions ‘you like gin?’ (duh!), ‘you like ginger?’ (it is growing on me, let’s go for it).
On this night, we stayed for dinner – and what a good decision it was. I must say I was incredibly surprised how busy the hotel common areas were. I know the hotel was close to capacity but it was lovely to see so many people enjoying the Drawing Room, the bar and the restaurant – the turnaround was quite impressive too. I went all Irish, I must say – how could I not? Give me Irish rock oysters, Dublin Bay prawns, soda bread and a nice glass of Pouilly Fume and I am your girl. We really had a lovely meal and I will surely come back with friends.
– Décor of breakfast room
Breakfast takes place at the restaurant, with slight layout changes. We actually had the same table for both dinner and breakfast and it felt totally different.
– The spread (inc yumminess)
I cannot fault the continental breakfast – great bread (how could they not?), pastries, fresh fruit and juices, extremely well priced at £16pp. If you wanted anything from the cooked menu, which included eggs, waffles and kippers, the cost would be £21pp.
– How good and reliable was the wi-fi?
The wifi worked very well and didn’t keep signing you in and out, which was lovely.
– Did the hotel interact with me via Twitter during my stay?
Indeed they have, and we had a bit of fun.
5 minutes walk from South Kensington Tube station, it was very easy to get to.
– Cost – rooms starting from…
Rooms start at £180 on promotional rates (I saw a standard room and it was lovely), which is outstanding value for money, especially in London. Suites start at £500 per night.
– Would I recommend it to my best friend?
– Would I stay again?
Without a doubt.
I really enjoyed my stay at The Kensington Hotel – it is quite a special property, a little bit of a hidden gem. The service was outstanding, but not too fussy – it just felt so comfortable, I cannot tell you. But the best bit? When someone *finally* said “Top of the morning to you”. Awwww
Have you visited this hotel? What were your thoughts?
Disclaimer: I was a guest of The Doyle Collection during this stay, but hopefully you will see that this has not influenced my thoughts about the property. To book, click here.