Beaverbrook Town House couldn’t have a more upmarket address, occupying two Georgian residences a few blocks down from monied Sloane Square opposite private Cadogan Gardens (lucky guests get a garden gate key on request).
Out of London’s big four airports, Heathrow and Luton are the closest, both around an hour’s drive away. Gatwick and Stansted are both 90 minutes away. Chauffeured airport transfers can be arranged from £80 one-way, and if you’re travelling between the two Beaverbrook properties you can be driven from one to the other in the hotel’s own chauffeured car (this service is free with the City to Silence package).
Sloane Square Tube station is around a five-minute walk away, making it easy as can be to zip around London; it services the Circle line which will loop you around the city and the District line, which will ferry you from west to east, and to reach everything in between, Victoria Station is one stop away, which handily happens to be the terminus for the Gatwick Express. (The Heathrow Express stops at Paddington, from which you can take a slightly roundabout route to Chelsea via the Circle line).
Nah, mate – Londoners tend to Uber about, and those with cars should abandon all hope of finding a decent parking spot near Cadogan Gardens. Zippy tubes and comprehensive bus routes make a set of wheels somewhat redundant, and you’re in one of London’s prettiest enclaves, so pavement pounding is thoroughly recommended. If you insist on driving, at least Chelsea is just beyond the Congestion Charge zone.
Worth getting out of bed for
Hey, big spenders, you’re in luck – Chelsea is where fashion’s biggest and brightest names have chosen to land their UK motherships: Versace, Armani, Valentino, Fendi, Dior, Chanel, Prada, Tom Ford, Tiffany & Co, Cartier… Dahling, the list goes on and on. And Harvey Nichols and Harrods are just a well-heeled trot away too. The King’s Road may long have left its countercultural and punk reputations behind it, but there’s still a good mix of indie, high street and more haute boutiques to explore along it, plus interiors stores for the covetous, vintage emporiums and a number of spas and beauty salons. Pedestrianised Pavilion Road, just down the street from the hotel, has a more village-y feel, with a general store, baker (Bread Ahead), cheesemonger, butcher (Provenance), stationers (Papersmiths) and wine peddlers (Pavilion Wine). It’s here you’ll find KXU Gym, the hotel’s partner and gym to the stars (and mortals who want an elevated exercising experience), who run 20 classes to cover the core disciplines and whose personal trainers rank among the best. And you can also get invested in london’s cultural scene here – the Saatchi Gallery has sometimes controversial yet always involving modern-art exhibitions, the Royal Court Theatre has an exciting roster of plays, many by up-and-coming writers, and Kensington’s grand-dame museums (the Science Museum, Victoria & Albert and Natural History Museum) are within easy walking distance. Those who appreciate the hotel’s considered style will also like Leighton House’s intricate decor and the Design Museum’s showcases of iconic pieces. You’re a hop and a skip from Hyde Park for the Serpentine Galleries (and pavilion come summer), pedalos on the lake and Kensington Palace across the border, but you could take the elite option and ask reception for a key to private Cadogan Gardens – a rare luxury for locals and guests alike. This manicured green stretch has a playground, rare trees and plants dating back up to 300 years (black bamboo, maples, palms), Sir Hans Sloane’s garden from the Chelsea Flower Show, a pollinator meadow and tennis courts. And, for more green-fingered fun, head to the Chelsea Physic Garden, which was first planted in the 17th century and now houses around 4,000 useful, edible and medicinal plants; they often hold supper clubs, tours, workshops and fairs too.
Chelsea’s dining scene reflects its ritzy nature, and you’ll quite literally pay for the privilege here; but, in exchange, you will dine very well indeed. Sit shoulder to shoulder with the ‘hood’s top brass at Daphne’s, which has been serving elegant pastas in an exquisitely dressed space since the 1960s. There’s no faffery with the menu – simplicity and quality are key; spaghetti comes topped with chunks of lobster and a dusting of chilli, a spritz of lemon is all that’s needed to awaken the veal Milanese, and a whole section on truffles let’s the delicacy speak for itself. Elystan Street might have risen to the Michelin star firmament, but it has a foot on the ground still. It’s friendly, unflashy and serves food that’s straightforwardly tasty. The double-baked cheese soufflé with melted leeks and truffle, mallard breast with chestnut, crab-apple and currant, and pears poached with sloe gin, epitomise umarket comfort food. And Myrtle has shown us that there’s a galling dearth of Irish fine-dining restaurants in London. Chef Anna Haugh (who you may have seen on Saturday Kitchen Live, Royal Recipes or Ready Steady Cook) has compiled a seven-course tasting menu that’s plucked produce from all over the isle, with oat-crusted hake and a mackerel chowder, boxty stuffed with Burren beef, chocolate mousse with Guinness sponge and Carrageen moss, and selection of sweets to finish.
Fans of wild, foraged farm-to-fork fare should hop to Rabbit, where dishes use delicacies from the Gladwin Brothers’ Sussex farm and whatever they can sniff out in the neighbourhood. Their mushroom-marmite éclairs have quite the reputation, but the menu’s one hit after another, with pork, apricot and pistachio terrine, fallow deer with truffled turnip, and gin-cured trout with golden beetroot and dollops of crème fraîche. Pizza joint the Jam – which has sat on the King’s Road since its Seventies punk hey-day – looks like a giant Jenga game with its labyrinth of wooden cubby-holes. But, once you’ve worked out the logistics of getting into your seat, you can dive into delicious sourdough pizzas and mix-and-match small plates such as paprika cauliflower with butternut mash, tiger prawns in a brandy and mascarpone sauce and wild-mushroom salad with quail eggs and mustard. There are separate vegan and gluten-free menus too.
Perhaps it’s something to do with their air of in-the-know exclusivity, but there’s an abundance of speakeasies squirreled away in Chelsea. Aptly housed in the Chelsea Cloisters is Barts, where you’ll need to knock at the letterbox before you’re whisked into what looks like a prohibition-era train carriage. Luckily, their ‘bootleggers’ have got their hands on an array of fine spirits, so the menu runs long, with sweet, savoury, sour and dry libations, plus champagne aplenty. Callooh Callay hails from east London to the King’s Road, and it’s a little less subtle – they have a sign and everything – but, there are still secrets to uncover within. Head through the wardrobe door and you’ll find yourself in a wonderland of decadent decor and indulgent cocktails – make ours a salted caramel and vanilla espresso martini.