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Hotel Highlights

  • Anouska Hempel's ultra-sexy boutique hotel
  • Discreet South Kensington address; star-studded guestbook
  • Romantic haute cuisine restaurant

Overview

WINNER: SEXIEST BEDROOM IN THE WORLD – SMITH HOTEL AWARDS 2013

Blakes Hotel – the very name conjures up a whole era of modern decadence. Each room at Anouska Hempel's South Ken boutique hotel has its own style, but all are inspired by various far-off lands: Russia, India, Turkey… The decor, while perhaps a little too redolent of the Eighties for some, is testament to Ms Hempel's impeccable taste and astonishing attention to detail.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Blakes Hotel with us:

Blakes truffles and free Continental breakfast throughout your stay

Special offers

Exclusive rates, packages and special offers at Blakes Hotel

Early-bird: August 15% off Stay two nights, get 10% off Stay three nights, get 15% off

Facilities

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Blakes Hotel – London – United Kingdom

Need To Know

Rooms

47.

Check–out

Midday, but flexible (subject to availability).

Rates

Double rooms from $339.64 (£200), excluding tax at 20 per cent.

More details

Rates exclude breakfast.

At the hotel

Free WiFi throughout. Massage and therapy room with a full range of treatments (book in advance) and gym. In rooms: Bang & Olufsen flatscreen TV, iPod dock and desk.

Our favourite rooms

The Corfu Suite, which you enter from the garden; the Cardinal Suite (all in luscious reds); the Empress Josephine Suite with tented bed and a rich colour scheme of ebony and gold. If you're a book lover, try the grandiose librarian suite. The following room types sparkle from recent refurbishments: the Parisian Single, Luxury Double, Director's Double and Luxury Suite.

Packing tips

Nothing practical.

Also

Every guest receives a welcome drink on arrival.

Children

Children very welcome; babysitters and nannies available on request.

Food & Drink

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Blakes Hotel – London – United Kingdom

Hotel Restaurant

The seductively lit, boudoir-chic restaurant at Blakes offers Modern European dining with Eastern influences: try pan-fried oysters with sesame seeds and sweet soy, wok-fried salt-and-pepper soft-shell crabs, Dover sole or beef teriyaki. There's also some serious caviar-devotee temptation in the form of Beluga or Oscietra dishes. You can have a relaxed breakfast here, from 7am until late.

Last orders

10:45pm in the restaurant. You can also order from the room-service menu and eat in the Chinese Room (also known as Opium Den) 24 hours a day.

Room service

24 hours. The all-day menu has moreish morsels from ponzu giner broth with Moneybags (dim sum) to Blakes burgers.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Sheer glamour: this is the 'couture' hotel, after all.

Top table

Table 11, tucked away at the back of the restaurant. That said, all the tables are good.

Local Guide

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Blakes Hotel – London – United Kingdom
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

The Royal Albert Hall (+44 (0)20 7589 8212; www.royalalberthall.com). Shopping in Chelsea and Knightsbridge. UGC Fulham Cinema, a two-minute walk away. Kensington Palace. Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens (+44 (0)20 7402 6075; www.serpentinegallery.org) holds free exhibitions.

Local restaurants

Zuma (+44 (0)20 7584 1010) for outstanding Japanese. Mao Tai (+44 (0)20 7731 2520) for mouthwatering Chinese in a contemporary setting. San Lorenzo (+44 (0)20 7584 1074) for Italian in Knightsbridge. A cab ride over the river takes you to Chez Bruce (+44 (0)20 8672 0114) for fine dining, and Ransome’s Dock (+44 (0)20 7223 1611) for Modern European. Both have outstanding wine lists. Pickled herring with cheese or Swedish meatballs with lingonberries and pickled cucumber isn't your usual pub fodder in Chelsea, but thanks to a Scandinavian overhaul, the Phene Arms on Phene Street SW3 (+44 (0)20 7352 3294) is a refreshing option for lunch or dinner. The grazing menu at 1880 at the Bentley on Harrington Gardens, SW7 (+44 (0)20 7244 5555) is well worth parking up for; they range from six courses at £40 a head, to nine courses at £48 a head. Sherry and ham take centre stage at Capote y Toros, at 157 Old Brompton Road (+44 (0)20 7373 0567). There’s a well-curated wine list and inventive small plates such as lamb sweetbreads and fresh garlic-infused artichokes mixed with mushrooms. Walls are lined with photos of bullfighters and candid family snaps.

Local bars

The Collection restaurant (+44 (0)20 7225 1212) for expert cocktails. Bardot (+44 (0)20 7351 1711), a small but perfectly formed designer bar. K-Bar (+44 (0)20 7352 6200) for drinks and dancing in Chelsea. The Ifield (+44 (0)20 7351 4900), a stylish pub with good food. The Chelsea Ram (+44 (0)20 7351 4008) for a lazy Sunday lunch. Cooper’s Arms (+44 (0)20 7376 3120) for a pie and a pint. The Thomas Cubitt, on Elizabeth Street in Belgravia (+44 (0)20 7730 6060), has the best of both worlds with a cosy bar, as well as a stylish dining room serving excellent dishes.

Local cafés

The legendary Kebab Kid for a midnight feast on the New King’s Road. And for an afternoon tea of thinly cut sandwiches, scones, jam and clotted cream, why not visit the Ritz (www.theritzhotel.co.uk/tea)?

+ Enlarge
Secluded SW7

Blakes Hotel

33 Roland Gardens, London, South Kensington SW7 3PF, United Kingdom

Planes

The nearest airport is London Heathrow, officially only 30 minutes by car from the hotel's Kensington setting. From London Gatwick, it'll take about an hour. The Heathrow Express train takes you into central London every 15 minutes.

Trains

Gloucester Road and South Kensington (both on the District, Circle and Piccadilly lines) are the nearest Tube stations. The hotel is 10 minutes from London Paddington overground station (which you can reach from Heathrow using the Heathrow Express train), and 20 minutes from Waterloo.

Automobiles

Stay on the M4 until it becomes the A4 and you get close to somewhere resembling the bright lights of the city; then head in on the A3220 until you can switch to the Old Brompton Road and the hotel won't be far.

Reviews

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Blakes Hotel – London – United Kingdom

Anonymous review

by Lucy Yeomans , Glossy queen

Blakes – the very name conjures up a whole era of modern London decadence. The first time I visited Anouska Hempel’s South Ken boutique hotel, it was to interview a famous film director who had decided to take a suite, with his glamorous girlfriend, for the filming of his new movie. The shoot ended up dragging on, unsurprisingly, for more than six months. I remember thinking what an in…
Read more

Blakes Hotel

Anonymous review by Lucy Yeomans, Glossy queen

Blakes – the very name conjures up a whole era of modern London decadence. The first time I visited Anouska Hempel’s South Ken boutique hotel, it was to interview a famous film director who had decided to take a suite, with his glamorous girlfriend, for the filming of his new movie. The shoot ended up dragging on, unsurprisingly, for more than six months. I remember thinking what an indulgent gesture this was, but how he couldn’t have bettered his choice. From the moment you walk up the steps into reception (the subtle oriental decor sets the tone for the whole hotel), Blakes whispers seductively: prepare to be seriously spoiled.

Arriving for a weekend with my boyfriend, I tried not to dwell on the enticing scenario of a six-month check-in. The receptionist barely missed a beat when we owned up to a complete lack of luggage; he kept formalities to a minimum, handed over a reassuringly old-fashioned, clunky room key, and led us through a rabbit warren of corridors and stairways to our suite.

Simply put, the rooms at Blakes are the kind you never want to leave. Each has its own style, but all are inspired by various far-off lands: Russia, India, Turkey… The decor, while perhaps a little too redolent of the Eighties for some, is testament to Ms Hempel’s impeccable taste and astonishing attention to detail. You realise very quickly how Blakes earned its crown as the sexiest place in London to spend your wedding night (Patsy and Liam are just two of the hotel’s high-profile honeymooners).

Our room, in short, screamed hedonism. For a start, the walls were black: a colour guaranteed to conjure up a James Bond feel (there is actually a suite in the hotel called the 007). And then, there was the bed. What a bed. Four-postered, festooned with burnt-orange and black drapes, and set provocatively in its own darkened niche, it oozed sex appeal all on its own. The bathroom was equally lavish, a homage to black and gilt, complete with oriental-style blinds. So cocoon-like was the whole setting that we were never quite sure what time of day it was – what more can you ask from a naughty weekend away?

There are 52 rooms at Blakes, though the super-swift service and discreet atmosphere allow you to feel as though you are the only people staying there. With a visit to the dining room, on the lower-ground floor, we saw for ourselves that there were some other guests, not to mention chic diners from the outside world. Bamboo, walls of black mirror-glass and dramatic spotlighting set a rather theatrical scene for what was a delicious supper. The menu, as one might expect, has a strong Eastern influence, but there are Western dishes, too.

We opted for the Blakes blinis with caviar, and flirted with the excellent wine list before settling for a bottle of champagne. My one reservation is that women are still given an unpriced menu, which seems slightly out of touch, and could make the experience seem sleazy rather than romantic. The corner tables are intimate, but others are better placed for people-watching opportunities. The staircase down to the restaurant is a definite focal point; try as you may to concentrate on your food or, indeed, your date, it’s impossible not to wonder just who those slim Jimmy Choo-clad ankles could belong to. The dining room is also open for breakfast, but I advise the ‘in bed’ option. Nowhere have I tasted fresher orange juice or more expertly cooked scrambled eggs.

For those who can muster up the strength to escape from Blakes’ opulent clutches, there is plenty to do in the South Kensington area. The retail extravaganza of Oxford, Regent and Bond Streets is a 20-minute cab ride away, but the more villagey area closer to hand probably gives you more flash for your cash. The chic Brompton Cross area, where Chanel, Ralph Lauren, Joseph, Paul Smith and other designer boutiques cluster around elegant restaurants such as Daphne’s and Bibendum, is a 10-minute walk away, and Harrods and Harvey Nichols are just beyond that. We decided to go for a stroll in Kensington Gardens, and popped in to see the current exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery, where there are free must-see shows all year round.

There is no lavish spa here, nor any business facilities of note but then, being healthy and businesslike just isn’t the point of a hotel like Blakes. If you want to feel like a film star for a weekend, though, or like a Bond girl/007 himself, then Blakes, with its superb suites and serious service, is the place for you. If there were ever a hotel for a lost weekend, then this, most definitely, is it.

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel with us, we'll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Blakes Hotel's Guestbook below.

 

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I enjoyed the warm welcome, well-presented reception and great location.

Don’t expect

Our room decor and upholstery was tired.

Rating: 6/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I liked the sumptuous and unique decor, individuality of the rooms, lovely snug bar area and the general luxurious feel of the hotel. It has a nice outside eating area, and the manager was particularly helpful.

Don’t expect

The restaurant is cramped given the number of rooms and did not have the same special feel as the bar (which is next to it). Pricing is on the high side of steep. Staff were generally very helpful and attentive, although the morning team seemed to be suffering from the night before, as the service was less than stellar.

Rating: 8/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I liked the really excellent staff.

Don’t expect

The room needed some loving care (some bulbs were burnt out).

Rating: 9/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I booked a Director's Room for our wedding anniversary and we were upgraded to a suite - lovely room, but the lighting was so dark it was hard to find light switches after the second bottle of wine! We had dinner and breakfast in the restaurant – not many tables, which suited us fine, and the food was good quality. The barman made the best Old Fashioned that I've had in a long while.

Don’t expect

If I was being picky, the shower in the room could have been more powerful, but it was not a real issue.

Rating: 9/10 stars

GoldSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Despite the location, the feeling of being in an oasis of calm, away from the hustle and bustle of the Kings Road, Fulham Road, and Kensington and Chelsea as a whole, is a joy to behold. Superb-looking hotel, and with so many amenities nearby, it's almost the perfect London hideaway.

Don’t expect

I couldn't fault the hotel on this visit.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Gorgeous hotel and we were upgraded to the most beautiful suite. Very friendly and helpful staff. Great breakfast and room service menu (although pricey). Pretty, quiet location, very near King's Road and Gloucester Road tube. Very good cocktails in the intimate bar downstairs.

Rating: 9/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Our overnight stay at Blakes was extremely luxurious. Our room couldn't have been more delicious and the whole hotel encourages you to keep looking at it. It all came up to the expectations we had having read the Guestbook review. The terrace is pretty for afternoon tea or a chilled glass of something lovely. We were off to St. Pancras to catch an early Eurostar to Paris the next morning so didn't have too much time to luxuriate in the beautiful interiors of the hotel, but we had dinner there and can thoroughly recommend the restaurant. We were the first and only people down for breakfast at 7am, but everything was ready and staff were bright and cheerful. The hotel is in an excellent position for everything, and has easy access to the tube and buses if you're planning a trip away from the area. You won't want to leave the hotel I'm sure, but if you do, there is lovely shopping on the Fulham Road and a huge variety of restaurants and pubs around. We wished we'd had more time to enjoy Blakes, and I know we will go back soon.

Don’t expect

The window blinds in our room. It was a hot day, and as we had a west-facing window the room was very warm. Hardly anything to complain about at all though.

Rating: 10/10 stars