London, United Kingdom

The Ampersand Hotel

Rates per night from$201.42

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (GBP160.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Musing on museums

Setting

Cultured Kensington

The Ampersand Hotel draws on its South Ken locale: bird sketches that could have flown from the Natural History Museum, and musical motifs that riff on the Royal Albert Hall. The beds are blissfully comfy, and there’s an excellent basement restaurant with pretty cocktails, a tempting menu and an affable head chef.

 

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A glass of champagne each and a box of petits fours in your room

Facilities

Photos The Ampersand Hotel facilities

Need to know

Rooms

111, including five suites.

Check–Out

Noon. Check-in, 2pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $201.42 (£160), excluding tax at 20 per cent.

More details

Rates are room only; Continental breakfast costs from £16 (there’s also a tempting à la carte menu, with options such as waffles with honeycomb butter and caramelised bananas – yum).

Also

The hotel’s playful afternoon tea, served from 2.30 to 5.30pm during the week and 12.30pm to 6pm on weekends and bank holidays, is inspired by the neighbouring Science Museum. Jams are served in petri dishes, chocolates are shaped like spacemen and dinosaur biscuits will delight would-be paleontologists.

At the hotel

Gym, ping-pong table, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: minibar (with non-alcoholic drinks included), a flatscreen TV, an iPod dock, L’Occitane bath products and a smartphone with free calls to select countries.

Our favourite rooms

Do you like birds, botany, architecture, geometry, music or astronomy? Pick your room accordingly: each category has a different theme, inspired by nearby tourist-magnets: the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, the Victoria & Albert and the Royal Albert Hall. Some of the second-floor rooms face a primary school, and you may hear the kiddos at playtime; book one facing the front for peace and quiet (and the best street views). Coffee fans will be grateful for the Nespresso machines in suites’ kitchenettes.

Packing tips

Bring flat shoes for the museums and stilettos for South Ken’s drinking holes, but leave your slippers at home: the hotel’s own are foot-soothingly soft.

Pet‐friendly

Small dogs and cats can stay in Deluxe category rooms and higher, at no extra cost; just let the hotel know in advance. Owners will also be expected to keep dogs in check: no running amok in the civilised tea salon, please. See more pet-friendly hotels in London.

Children

Very welcome: cots and extra beds can be added for free to the Deluxe rooms and higher categories. Babysitting can be arranged (prices vary, depending on the time of day and number of children). Little Smiths are allowed in the restaurant.

Food and Drink

Photos The Ampersand Hotel food and drink

Top Table

Sit at one of the big round tables right by the window in the pretty tea parlour, so you can spy on London life between nibbles. In Apero, take a curtained basement booth and watch a procession of legs pass the poppy-red pillar box.

Dress Code

It’s pretty relaxed here, but dress up for afternoon tea (dizzyingly delicious cakes) with sherbet colours and a shot of silk. Dandies: sport a bow tie in custard-yellow, mint-green or violet, and flash some bold socks, in honour of the pretty patisserie.

Hotel restaurant

There’s been a bit of a buzz around Apero, the Ampersand’s basement restaurant and bar. Looks-wise, Apero continues London’s love-in with NY: industrial light fittings, polished tiles, exposed brick, dark leather seating and wooden tables. The dining concept is more Mediterranean: a menu that leapfrogs from one small plate to another, rather than a stolid three-course approach. Waiters nudge guests in the direction of around five or six plates between two, but choose wisely, or some rather odd combinations could arrive at your table all at once: smoked cod roe on little toasts, plaice goujons with avocado mayonnaise, and a rich, creamy seafood pasta, for example. Head chef Chris Golding is an affable chap: tell him what you liked if you see him.

 

Hotel bar

At Apero’s glittering bar, friendly barmen mix cocktails swimming with giant hunks of ice (for slower melting) and equally tasty mocktails. The drinks menu is inspired by the nearby V&A and its artists, as well as European philosophers and their Grand Tours. We recommend the Inigo J: gin, raspberries, blackberries and home-made spiced sugar, and the Sainte Victoire: a blend of cognac, apricot brandy, white grapes and prosecco.  

Last orders

The barmen will keep you from thirst until 1am on the weekends; midnight during the week. The restaurant stops plating up at around 10.30pm.

Room service

The 24-hour room service includes items from Apero’s menu during the restaurant’s opening hours; after that, there’s a smaller selection of sandwiches, salads and snacks.

Location

Photos The Ampersand Hotel location
Address
The Ampersand Hotel
10 Harrington Road, London
London
SW7 3ER
United Kingdom

Planes

Heathrow airport (www.heathrowairport.com) is 17 miles away – a 45-minute drive. You can take the Piccadilly line from the airport to South Kensington (a direct journey of around 50 minutes), or jump in a cab.

Trains

South Kensington is the closest Tube; London Victoria – a 10-minute Tube ride away – is the nearest major overground station, with services connecting to Kent, Brighton, Gatwick, Surrey and other UK destinations; King’s Cross is about 20 minutes away by Tube, with services to Leeds, Newcastle, Edinburgh and other British hubs. (St Pancras International is just across the road from King’s Cross, if you’re coming by Eurostar.)

Automobiles

Skip the congestion charge and leave your car behind: the Ampersand Hotel is perfectly located for getting around by bus, Tube or train.

Worth getting out of bed for

This is a location worth requesting a wake-up call for: you’ll need plenty of time to explore the tourist-magnets on your doorstep: the V&A, the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and the Royal Albert Hall. Kensington Palace and Hyde Park (where you can also visit the Serpentine Gallery) are also close by. There's stellar shopping, too, with Knightsbridge and Kensington High Street nearby – so you can get Harrods ticked off your shopping-to-do list. It's only a short Tube ride into the centre of London, if you want to catch a show in the West End or explore Covent Garden's boutiques and markets.

 

Local restaurants

Rocca, on Old Brompton Road (+44 (0)20 7225 3413), is an elegant restaurant (home to South Kensington’s only heated terrace) that serves classic Italian cuisine: octopus with black cassarecce pasta and paprika, lamb with aubergine caponata and thin-crust pizzas. London has a string of Lebanese Le Comptoir cafés, and there’s one close to Ampersand on Exhibition Road (+44 (0)20 7225 5006). There are plenty of dishes to choose from – tagines, salads, wraps and the ilk – and part of this café/deli/canteen is set aside for covetable cookery ingredients, displayed with panache – expect to leave with some exotic tea or hot sauce. Service is brisk but friendly.  

 

Local bars

Cocktail-lovers will appreciate Z Lounge, where you can dip Portobello mushrooms in a yoghurt and tamarind marinade and sip a Zaika: Havana Blanco, Galliano, lime juice and champagne.

Reviews

Photos The Ampersand Hotel reviews
Kathy Lette

Anonymous review

By Kathy Lette, Witty writer extraordinaire

The most effective method of looking young is to be photographed in front of a tyrannosaurus. A bunch of dinosaur bones certainly puts wrinkles into perspective. Which is why I like hanging out in museums. One of the best things about the Ampersand Hotel is its location, a stroll away from the Natural History, the Science and the Victoria and Albert museums. The Royal Albert Hall is also in the neighbourhood, which means that you can just absorb intellectualism and culture just by osmosis. (Boys, take note. The brain of course, is the only place where size does count. I do so love a man with a big, throbbing organ.) We have Prince Albert to thank for South Kensington’s monopoly of museums: in the mid 19th century, Albie put the profits from crowd-pleasing 1851 Great Exhibition towards enhancing the area’s cultural assets, resulting in a tract of land that’s veritably stuffed with exhibits. Now the area has another treasure: the Ampersand.

After overdosing on dinosaurs and diamantes, I explored the hotel. The Ampersand pays decorative homage to the Victorian values of discovery and invention that dominated the age. To echo the arts, history and culture, which are the heartbeat of South Kensington, all of the hotel’s boutique rooms and suites are wittily themed around astronomy, botany, music, geometry and ornithology…

Cushions and chair coverings are a creative nod to the patterns and textures of the V&A’s exotic costume collections (including beaded Elizabethan bridal gowns, Russian Tsar’s garters and David Bowie’s futuristic fashion.) Bedspreads are adorned with flowers and ferns and other exotic flora and fauna of the Natural History Museum’s 70 million items. The hotel hallway wallpaper is an intriguing collection of blown-up prints of ornithological drawings, planets, phials and specimens. Other rooms boast clusters of notes dancing across musical staves on bedspreads and pillows. The drinks cabinet in the hotel’s drawing room displays all its beverages as though they’re magic potions in a sorcerer’s den. (Having increased my brain capacity by touring museums all day, I then destroyed them with alcohol. Oh, to be an aqua-holic.)

The whole hotel feels like a film set. First there are the ornate high teas offering cappuccinos brewed in a Victorian coffee press and fresh pâtisseries baked on the premises. (Do indulge in the cakes. Just remember that there are three billion women in the world who don’t look like supermodels. And only six who do. And how often do you get to eat almond parfait, espresso marzipan custard, almond crumble, caramelised almond and salty toffee, all in one bite?) Then there’s the games room and library, lined with artifacts quirkily displayed in a Victorian style. I kept expecting Sherlock Holmes to come striding in on the sniff for an evil genius fugitive.

Dining at the Ampersand is also an excitingly experimental experience. Apero’s open-plan basement dining room of white metro tiles and vaulted brick walls, serves modern tapas. The inventive chef Chris Golding creates inspired culinary concoctions. I nibbled on the most delectable mix of stone sea bass, sumac and beetroot risotto, meltingly tender grilled beef onglet, cavolo nero, onions and celeriac. Followed by autumn truffle croquettes and truffle mayonnaise and wet polenta with New Forest mushrooms.

The decor of the lounge channels Kit Kemp’s style in its mix of bright, clashing colours and antique furnishings, but it would be murder with a hangover. The place is so ‘hip’, at first I imagined being arrested by the chic police, with the line: ‘I’m sorry but you’re just not fashionable enough to rub shoulder pads with these people’. (Although thankfully none of the staff here carries a condescension chromosome.) If I were to split hairs, another observation is that the gym is small. Mind you, Hyde Park is only a five-minute jog away. As for the bedrooms that are not huge, let’s face it, you’re out most of the day at one of the many museums or shops, so who cares? (Thankfully the beds are big and swathed in marshmallow-soft linen and the humbug-coloured bathrooms are stocked with the most thoughtful of extras, including eye-makeup remover.)

Really London is all about conquering the Great Indoors. After we’d overdosed on the museums, I hit the department stores. Pretending to have a High Life Visa, I made for Harrods with its 300 departments, and Harvey Nicks with its fabulous Fifth Floor Café. To many females, Knightsbridge department stores are like Mecca. These shrines to fashion are only a hop, skip and well-heeled jump away. Back at base there are things to play with too: Ampersand’s basement den has a ping-pong table, vintage boxing gloves and a stash of books.

Come to think of it, typing this review is stealing away more shopping time. So, I’ll stop prattling. In short, the Ampersand is a chic, quirky hotel in the shopping and museum Mecca of the most fashionable area of London. And I mean really fashionable. Put it this way, the Science Museum was not the only place I studied the celestial firmaments – I saw quite a few stars on the streets as well. A stellar assortment of personalities lives in South Kensington. Strolling between shops, I glimpsed a couple of Oscar nominees and at least one Rolling Stone – proof that dinosaurs do indeed still roam the earth. Must tell the Natural History Museum.
 

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel or villa, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in The Ampersand Hotel’s Guestbook below.

We loved

Our superior room was wonderful – a nice surprise to be upgraded as it was my husbands 50th birthday and they were able to check us in early. Huge comfy bed and lovely bathroom with underfloor heating. Complimentary soft drink mini bar is a nice touch and more places should do this. We had a glass of champagne (Smith Extra) in the cellar bar, which had a great atmosphere and returned to find a plate of petit fours wishing hubby a happy birthday. This is a great find in London mainly because the price is good value for money but it is really well situated for the museums and many lovely places to eat all your meals.

Don’t expect

We loved everything and would happily stay again!

Rating

Stayed on 6 Oct 2018

We loved

Our family of four loved the little luxurious details like the bathroom products, plump pillows and help yourself soft drink minibar. The location is also fabulous: everything London has to offer is at your door step. And while the design and decor is very contemporary, the hotel maintains a connection to it's past grandeur, having been a hotel since the 1890s. And last but not least, the staff are exemplary in their warmth and efficiency. While you are there, we can recommend a walk to the beautiful V&A and the shop is a great place to purchase gifts for friends and family at home. We also walked to Knightsbridge which was fun. For cafes and bars, you are spoilt for choice in the area around South Kensington Station.

Don’t expect

To travel far, if you arrive by tube at South Kensington Station. The hotel is literally a two minute walk from the station - very convenient.

Rating

Stayed on 27 Jul 2018

We loved

The clean, comfortable and modern room. Beautiful drawing room for pre dinner drinks.

Don’t expect

Massive rooms.

Rating

Stayed on 27 May 2018

We loved

We love the staff, the location and the super comfy beds! Wonderful touches like Nespresso machines, welcome petit fours and fizz make it feel even more special! Muriel's Kitchen for a great breakfast!

Don’t expect

Quiet nights on the lower floors if you are a light sleeper, you can hear the rumble of the tube...

Rating

Stayed on 20 Apr 2018

We loved

The incredible bed, underfloor heating, stunning decor, personal service and phenomenal cocktails! Spend a few hours wandering through the VA, walk the Kings Road and Old Brompton Road, and Harrods is down the road!

Don’t expect

To be disappointed!

Rating

Stayed on 17 Mar 2018

We loved

Quality of the room, comfort of the bed, excellent friendly staff.

Rating

Stayed on 8 Mar 2018

We loved

We loved everything about The Ampersand Hotel. The location was perfect for two American tourists looking to explore London by Tube. The room was beautiful and the beds were super comfortable.

Rating

Stayed on 27 Dec 2017

We loved

The heated bathroom floors! And the room itself was lovely, along with a portable smart phone that we used while staying there. Breakfast was fabulous – a delicious and wonderful selection of hot and cold foods. The staff was most helpful and gracious. Perfect South Kensington location on top of it all! Go to Gail's, just a few steps away, for delicious pastries and the best granola I've ever had. It's across from the South Kensington tube stop, fyi. And the Hummingbird Bakery is also close – are you seeing a pattern here?

Don’t expect

To be disappointed.

Rating

Stayed on 10 Nov 2017

We loved

Everything about our room, the friendly and helpful staff, and the location. Our only regret was that we had so little time there and couldn't make time for breakfast. Try Otolenghi's which is close by, as well as Spitalfield's Market and the old Brick Lane area. And if you need access to the London Stansted Express train, Liverpool St. Station is an easy walk.

Don’t expect

aAcrowded lounge or reception area. This hotel feels like a private sanctuary – just lovely!

Rating

Stayed on 24 Sep 2017

We loved

Location!! The 'Handy Phone' – to use for free local and international phone calls and free internet access while out of the hotel – was a great addition too. Great rooms. Very friendly, helpful staff. Make the most of the proximity to Hyde Park, the Natural History Museum, the VA and the Royal Albert Hall. Little India in Gloucester Rd and Natural Burger near the hotel are good for local eats.

Rating

Stayed on 2 Jul 2017

We loved

The service, well equipped room and the good shower.

Don’t expect

A large room.

Rating

Stayed on 29 Jun 2017

We loved

The friendly and efficient service. Great area for for wining and dining, with museums on the doorstep.

Don’t expect

Kids running along the corridors.

Rating

Stayed on 7 Jun 2017

We loved

The energy and artistic elegance of this wonderful hotel. The rooms are cozy, colorful and the windows open so you can take in the light and fresh air from the river below. Go to the spa next door at the Grand Hotel...worth every penny!

Don’t expect

A family friendly hotel.

Rating

Stayed on 11 May 2017

We loved

The food was constantly great, as too was the promptness of the room service. Highly recommend eating at Wright Brothers just a 5 minute walk away.

Don’t expect

Large rooms; typical luxury London hotel with tiny rooms.

Rating

Stayed on 23 Apr 2017

We loved

Smart room, friendly staff, everything you needed within easy reach. The bar downstairs is great for a cocktail.

Rating

Stayed on 21 Apr 2017

We loved

The restaurant, the staff, the location (steps away from the tube), the decor. Splendid in every way. Muriel's cafe, just across the street by the South Kensington station, was a great spot for breakfast. Star of India, about a ten minute walk down Old Brompton Road, is the best Indian cuisine I've had in the UK.

Rating

Stayed on 16 Feb 2017

We loved

The delightful vibe of this hotel - such friendly staff. Loved them. The room decor was great and a good size, the heated bathroom floor a real treat and the breakfasts substantial. Did I mention the fabulous location? Am such a fan of the Ampersand!

Rating

Stayed on 3 Jan 2017

We loved

The fabulous service, comfortable beds, central location. I had a lovely treatment at John Tsagaris Clinic which is close by and was recommended by the Ampersand reception. Divine.

Don’t expect

Light and bright rooms - it was all about mood lighting in the rooms. The verdict is still out on that.

Rating

Stayed on 26 Dec 2016

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