London, United Kingdom

The Franklin

Rates from (ex tax)$310.71

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 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (GBP297.50), via, using today’s exchange rate.


Venice via Kensington


Swellegant SW3

In The Franklin, Anouska Hempel has styled another hotel as refined and ravishing as herself. Taking a cue from its sister Blakes, the Franklin looks abroad (in this case, to Italy). Even Gina Lollobrigida couldn’t fault the Franklin’s taffeta-and-velvet-bedecked restaurant, gin-toting bar, hammam, mini gym, ravishing rooms and fancy sandstone bathrooms. One thing is as British as bridge, though, and that’s the setting: a prime cut of cultured Kensington, with some of the city’s best bits on your doorstep.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A £50 hotel credit, to spend onsite


Photos The Franklin facilities

Need to know


35, including 19 suites.


Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.


Double rooms from $310.55 (£248), excluding tax at 20 per cent.

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 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (GBP297.50), via, using today’s exchange rate.

More details

Rates usually exclude breakfast (£35 a person, for a Continental spread plus à la carte options).

At the hotel

Hammam, mini gym, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: TV, desk, minibar, GHD hair straighteners and hairdryers, Penhaligon’s bath products.

Our favourite rooms

Is it weird to book a room for its minibar alone? We think not, especially when the minibars in question – attached to the Franklin’s Junior Suites and higher categories – are stuffed with champagne, spirits, wine, soft drinks and artisan snacks. Primp your tresses using the suite’s GHDs or loll about in the palatial bathroom, making the most of the fragrant Penhaligon’s bath products.


Instead of a spa, the Franklin has a hammam – your passport to the glowing complexion compulsory for nights at the hotel’s ravishing restaurant.

Packing tips

Saucy smalls; something dashing for the restaurant.


The Franklin shares Egerton Gardens with a gaggle of charming neighbours; sit in its leafy splendour with a cup of tea/G&T and the papers. Perhaps you’ll befriend a lord or lady…


Little Smiths are welcome, but the hotel is better suited to teens – picture crystal vases, glittering marble and plush velvets that won’t be improved by pens, crayons or other ‘embellishments’.

Food and Drink

Photos The Franklin food and drink

Top Table

Sit at a table by the windows, so you can play ‘I spy…’ (squirrels) over breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Dress Code

Go for Sloane Ranger redux: unleash your pearls, silks and velvets. Gents with a penchant for finery will be delighted: cummerbunds can come too.

Hotel restaurant

The Franklin Restaurant by Alfredo Russo – what a mouthful (literally and metaphorically). It’s refreshing to be served up a departure from exposed brick, exposed bulbs and shared plates on wooden chopping boards – here, you can expect Italian fine dining, presented with unapologetic old-school pizzazz. Dishes are as decadent as the velvet-and-taffeta-bedecked dining room: oyster sorbet, lamb with casserole and licorice and the ilk.

Hotel bar

Gin fans, rejoice: the bar has 22 varieties of London’s eternally fashionable tipple to canter through. Order the Franklin – a giddy blend of Botanist gin, rosemary, lemongrass and champagne – and enjoy it in the bar’s mirrored splendour, all Italian silks and velvets, plus ikat textiles from Istanbul.

Last orders

Dinner is served until 10.30pm; breakfast until 11am, lunch between noon and 2.30pm.

Room service

Order from a selection of hot and cold starters, soups, pasta, burgers, sandwiches, desserts and fresh fruit. Breakfast can also be enjoyed in bed.


Photos The Franklin location
The Franklin
22-28 Egerton Gardens
United Kingdom


London Heathrow is 22 kilometres away, a 45-minute drive ( The hotel offers transfers: £150 each way in a chauffeured limousine, with room for up to three people. Alternatively, London City airport is 19 kilometres away (


Victoria Station, served by National Rail, is just two kilometres from the Franklin – a half-hour drive or Tube ride (


If you’re bringing wheels, the closest car park is Chelsea Cloisters, a five-minute drive or 15-minute stroll from the hotel (drop your bags off first). The car park is open 24/7, with rates varying from around £8 an hour to £35 a day (that might sound eye-wateringly expensive, but it’s actually a special rate for the hotel).


If you fly into Heathrow, you can hop onto the Heathrow Express to Paddington Station, then take the Bakerloo and the Piccadilly line to Knightsbridge Tube station, a short walk from your boutique base camp.

Worth getting out of bed for

Start with the hotel’s highlights: a session in the hammam, a stroll in Egerton Gardens, a gin sesh in the bar... Set off on two feet to explore the ’hood’s considerable lures, including Knightsbridge’s boutiques and behemoths – hello, Harrods and Harvey Nics – and South Kensington’s cultural collective, including the V&A and the Natural History Museum. If you like arty cinemas, don’t miss a flick at the Ciné Lumière, an art deco cinema that screens fringe French films (and more). Once you’ve cantered around Kensington and hob-nobbed with the well-heeled in Knightsbridge, hop on a Tube to central London for retail, food and nocturnal thrills.


Local restaurants

Apero is an all-day Med-inspired brasserie tucked away in the basement of the Smith-approved Ampersand Hotel (worth lingering at for afternoon tea, too). Canter through small plates and cocktails – flash-fried chipirones (squid) with saffron aioli; stonebass ceviche with grapefruit and samphire; duck with lime jam and beetroot… you get the gist. London has a string of Lebanese Le Comptoir cafés, and there’s one close to the Franklin 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 cafés

Maître Choux at 15 Harrington Road serves confections so light and airy, we’re surprised they didn’t float up into the heavens before we could eat them. The maestro responsible for them – Joakim Prat – has three Michelin stars up his chef’s whites (

Local bars

Continue the Franklin’s longing-for-Italy theme at Vini Italiani, a smashing Italian wine bar on Old Brompton Road that serves cheese and charcuterie worthy of a Roman emperor.


Photos The Franklin reviews

Anonymous review

Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this sophisticated hotel in Kensington and unpacked their pearls and paisley, a full account of their city break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside the Franklin in London…

From the outside, the Franklin looks as British as bridge, brollies and queuing: the hotel occupies a stonking stately townhouse in peaceful Egerton Gardens, one of Kensington’s calmest lawn-clad hideaways. Step inside, though, and you’ll suddenly feel rather Roman, thanks to Anouska Hempel’s wonderful wanderlust styling, which nods to Italy. There’s a restaurant dressed in more silks and taffeta than a 19th-century heroine and rooms graced with ink-dark walls, botanical paraphernalia and gleaming-marble bathrooms – where full size Penhaligon’s plunder awaits. A little hammam maintains complexions at peak glow, there’s a mini gym that nobody expects you to use – not when there’s all that gin to drink, anyway – and there are the quiet gardens, designed for perusal of the papers or quiet tea and scones. Little sisters can be tiresome; Blakes’ is anything but.

The Guestbook

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