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Hotel Highlights

  • Superb location: Kensington’s attractions within a 10-minute walk
  • Space – even the smallest rooms are pretty big
  • The 1960s-chic K Bar


A quiet South Kensington hideaway in the midst of London's museum-land, the Kensington Hotel hides behind the façade of a refined, well-kept townhouse off of Old Brompton Road. Inside, the style is just as elegant and thought-out, from the hand-picked furniture to the singular light fixtures in the surprisingly large rooms. Amid all this glamour, the dark-wood-panelled bar, with its spectacular chandeliers, stands out as a glamorous spot for a pre- or post-dinner cocktail.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking The Kensington Hotel London with us:

An Aromatherapy Associates gift, and members are invited to K Bar on arrival to make and enjoy a cocktail or glass of champagne each


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The Kensington Hotel – London – United Kingdom

Need To Know


150, including 24 suites.


Midday, though this is flexible subject to availability; earliest check-in, 2pm.


Double rooms from $256.20 (£195), excluding tax at 20 per cent.

More details

Continental breakfast is an additional £15 a person.

At the hotel

Gym, CD/DVD library, free WiFi, laundry service, valet parking. In rooms: flatscreen TVs, minibar, air-conditioning, free bottled water, CD/DVD players on request, Aromatherapy Associates toiletries, Nespresso machines in some rooms.

Our favourite rooms

We love Asian-inspired Luxury Studio Suite 115, mainly for its uplifting yellow, purple and blue colour scheme. It comes with gold-coloured hardwood floors, light-flooding windows and an enormous bathroom with double sinks and a TV built into the end of the bath. We also like the huge Corner Suite 123, with its green velvet chairs and access to a terrace, and high-ceilinged Standard Room 121, which comes with bold red flower-patterned curtains and matching satin pillows.

Packing tips

You’ll need to pack some serious party clothes for the private members' club Ramusake downstairs – the royal-rubbing Boujis crowd around the corner regularly make this their second (or third) home.


The huge brass doors in K Bar have been taken from Dublin’s General Post Office, scene of the infamous 1916 Easter Rising. Keep an eye out for bullet holes.


Kids are welcome. Tents can be added to rooms, and baby cribs are provided free of charge. Extra beds for under-16s are £35 a night, babysitting is available from £10.50 an hour (plus £25 booking fee) and Town House restaurant has a kids menu.

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Food and drink

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The Kensington Hotel – London – United Kingdom

Hotel Restaurant

Town House restaurant is where chef and Hix-alumnus Steve Gibbs serves up wonderful, seasonal English cuisine – peppered sirloin steak, roasted lemon-and-thyme chicken, and rhubarb and apple crumble – to a food-savvy crowd. The hand-picked wine list makes for intriguing reading too. Diners sit on green leather chairs at round wooden tables, and are free to move from the dining room into the bar whenever they feel. The atmosphere is casual.

Hotel Bar

K Bar has the air of a gentlemen's club, with oak-panelled walls and inviting sofas upholstered in racing green and royal blue. The bar's softly lit with chandeliers and a polished-brass bar display and doors add warmth. K Bar has a wonderful step-back-in-time feel. Sink back into one of the comfy dark-purple couches and await a classic or contemporary cocktail shaken up behind the leather-clad bar by an award-winning mixologist. We recommend the King of Queen's Gate, with Jameson Select Reserve whiskey, King’s Ginger Liqueur, lemon, rose syrup and orange marmalade.

Last orders

Town House restaurant stops taking orders at 10pm; K Bar carries on serving till 11pm.

Room service

Sandwiches, burgers, salads and other light dishes – and, of course, drinks – are available 24 hours a day.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Comfortable, low-level glamour.

Top table

Try to secure one of the long, leather banquettes for genuine comfort eating.

Local Guide

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

Worth getting out of bed for

Here in South Kensington, you're close to the Royal Albert Hall, the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and the wonderful V&A, as well as Kensington Palace and Hyde Park (where you can also visit the Serpentine Gallery). There's swanky shopping galore, 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

You only need to go downstairs for inventive Japanese fare at Ramasuke; stay for a nightcap or two when you've polished off your daintily dressed plates. South Ken's Bumpkin ((0)20 7341 0802) serves a hearty brunch and their indoor BBQ oven, nicknamed 'Bertha', cooks a mean 'firebread'. A 10-minute walk from the hotel, Obicà's ((0)20 7581 5208) mozzarella bar will satiate even the most ardent cheese enthusiast, and close by you'll find Daphne's ((0)20 7589 4257), which serves authentic Italian fare – there's a separate pasta and meat course – alongside a decadent black-truffle-infused set menu. Seasonal British comfort food – stacks of eggs and bacon and gourmet goodie-filled platters – can be found at Tom's Kitchen ((0)207 349 0202) on Cale Street in Chelsea, and Patara ((0)207 351 5692) is a trendy Thai joint.

Local bars

The Admiral Codrington ((0)20 7581 0005) is a cosy boozer with velvet banquettes, private booths and an excellent burger on the food menu.

Local cafés

Muriel's Kitchen ((0)20 7589 3511) is a cosy family-friendly lunching spot on Pelham Street. Dishes such as slow- and low-cooked spicy pork and chilli-pepper goulash, and creamy chicken and apricot curry feature on the moreish menu.

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Sumptuous South Ken

The Kensington Hotel London

109-113 Queen's Gate, London SW7 5LR, United Kingdom


The Kensington Hotel is 15 miles from London Heathrow.


The nearest Tube station is South Kensington, on the District, Circle and Piccadilly lines. The hotel is also within five miles of Paddington, Victoria and Waterloo, from where you can catch trains all over the country.


From Heathrow, follow the M4 into central London and look out for the Natural History Museum to turn right onto Queensbury Place.


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The Kensington Hotel – London – United Kingdom
The Kensington Hotel London
The Kensington Hotel London 109-113 Queen's Gate London SW7 5LR London United Kingdom

Anonymous review

Rating: 10/10 stars
Reviewed by Howard Bernstein City hotel bars can be full of lonely, wandering travellers – but they’re also ripe with possibility. Think Sofia Coppola’s Lost In Translation. Mrs Smith and I are relaxing in the Kensington Hotel’s amber-hued lounge, eyeballing a chandelier like a belly dancer’s belt, when I have my own Bill Murray moment. Instead of spying Scarlett J…
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The Kensington Hotel London

By Mr & Mrs Smith.

Reviewed by Howard Bernstein

City hotel bars can be full of lonely, wandering travellers – but they’re also ripe with possibility. Think Sofia Coppola’s Lost In Translation. Mrs Smith and I are relaxing in the Kensington Hotel’s amber-hued lounge, eyeballing a chandelier like a belly dancer’s belt, when I have my own Bill Murray moment. Instead of spying Scarlett Johansson lingering longingly, proffering peanuts and parties, I notice Erin O’Connor: she’s sitting right behind my beloved.

If I squeeze my left eye shut a little, and squint, I can transpose my lady’s head onto Erin’s limbs. Alternatively, if I wiggle my right eyeball, I can shimmy Erin’s sleekly coiffed head onto Mrs Smith’s body. It’s a visual bull’s-eye, either way. It’s also earned my unstinting loyalty to this hotel – going for cocktails and spotting someone Karl Lagerfeld describes as ‘one of the best models in the world’ is enough to keep me coming back.

Mrs Smith scrutinises me suspiciously. ‘What’s wrong with you?’ she hisses. ‘Your eyes are twitching!’ Deciding this is no time for subterfuge, I alert her to the presence of our model neighbour. She’s instantly enthralled. Minutes later, we’re sitting with Erin on a low-slung sofa, discussing politics over ghostly martinis and finger-thin rosemary grissini.

To the right of our VIP, a pair of sulky temptresses converse over dinner (Mrs Smith and I are booked in for food too, and the wafts from their plates are highly encouraging). To our left, an elderly German couple with gravity-defying hairdos and bandbox-neat attire are talking art, casting the occasional smile our way. It’s remarkably relaxed, more than a bit refined, and utterly cosy.

Sadly, our gazelle-like companion has a former engagement to attend, and leaves us basking in her afterglow. We’re more than happy à deux though, and enjoying the freedom to critique our surroundings. Check-in has made a good impression on me: warm welcome, citrus-scented towels, and instant upgrade to a Corner Studio Suite. My lady was also impressed by the lobby, with its red marble counter and Jan Pienkowski-style wall murals of trees. I rather fancy the light that mushrooms from the ceiling like a scrunch of giant bubble wrap.

Mrs Smith stretches out an impeccably manicured hand, pinches a hickory-smoked almond from the silver dish in front of us, and declares, through a nut crunch: ‘What I love about the Kensington is that it doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not. It’s a hotel, plain and simple, and a very good one at that. You can tell that from the reception: it’s not a secret bunker, or a robot-staffed techno den. It’s a hotel reception. Staff wear uniforms. None of this gritty urban twaddle, where a hotel needs sulky service and garbage bags for sheets, in order to be considered cutting-edge.’

I murmur in absent-minded agreement (disregarding the fact that we have never, to my knowledge, slept on garbage bags, or been checked-in by robots), and nibble companionably on lemon- and chilli-spiked popcorn.

My lady continues to wax lyrical. We both praise the drawing room, styled like an opulent clubhouse, with carefully curated artworks, heavy drapes and flickering fires. I’m already imagining afternoon tea here, when my stomach interrupts with a growl.

Luckily, it’s dinner time, so Mrs Smith and I abandon our snug corner for a prime spot in the masculine Aubrey restaurant, styled with toffee-brown wood panelling and chunky green leather banquettes (Murray could have filmed his Tokyo whisky ad here). We sit at the back, right by the window, overlooking the elegant chalk-white townhouses.

Following a ravishing meal – plump scallops with pea shoots and broad beans in a tomato broth, followed by a melting duck confit with peppery potato hash – we stagger back to our boudoir. Our glitzy gold suite ticks the boutique boxes: desirable mod cons (giant TV, iPod dock), and make-yourself-at-home luxury. Candy-coloured furnishings – lime-green chairs, violet lampshade, cherry-drop-red antique chair in the bathroom – have Mrs Smith reconsidering the complexion of our Stateside pad.

The outside of our suite is equally impressive: a balcony with views of Queen’s Gate, just blocks from Hyde Park (scene of my morning jog). Anyone familiar with suave South Kensington will know that’s as peaceful a respite from central London as you could find, and boasts the lion’s share of the city’s cultural Titans: the V&A and the Natural History Museum, with the Royal Albert Hall, Harrods, Christie’s, and the Serpentine Gallery within easy reach.

Tonight though, we’re staying put. As Mrs Smith sinks into a plush velvet armchair, and considers a bottle of room service red, I retreat to the bathroom, with a good old-fashioned soak in mind. Having previously encountered luxury hotels in Europe with showers the size of shoe closets, this palatial preening area has me purring (there’s even a TV above the bath, for chrissake). And let me tell you something: warm towel rack equals instant bliss. Rainy London days pose no threat, when there’s a steaming bath and a toasty towel beckoning in your hotel room.

The next morning, post-run, I make my final discovery: the fitness facilities. The Kensington Hotel has a full gym, with equipment that outshines most health clubs in New York. I’ve discovered the perfect spot in which to reverse the waistline-widening effects of last night’s dinner (I omitted mention of a mint and chocolate calorie-burst in my earlier account – put it down to denial). The memory of this sugar-hit keeps me thrashing around on the running machine for a good hour or so. Sweat-dripped and aching, I feel infinitely masculine. If only Erin could see me now…

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 have to say about The Kensington Hotel London in the Guestbook below…


Stayed on

We loved

The attention we received from staff on the occasion of our mum's 80th, the relaxed glamour and the proximity to central London. Daphne's Italian restaurant 5 minutes away was a wonderful place for a family meal.

Don’t expect

Superior rooms to be too luxurious, they are pretty and comfortable.

Rating: 10/10 stars


Stayed on

We loved

The staff was very nice and helpful. Changing my room from a queen-size bed to a king-size bedroom was done in an instant. Lovely areas with open fire to sit down and have a drink after being out a long day. Nice food, both breakfast and lunch. Delicate and quiet rooms, even when facing the main road. Nice location in South Kensington. Love the place!

Rating: 10/10 stars


Stayed on

We loved

The decor, the atmosphere and the service.

Don’t expect

Amazing views - my window looked out onto a back alley.

Rating: 9/10 stars


Stayed on

We loved

The relaxing and peaceful qualities of this hotel, the décor was beautiful, from entrance reception to rooms to bathrooms and the service was next to none.

Don’t expect

Lively and noisy nights out, lovely bars and restaurants around the hotel but not for a lively night out which suited us perfectly.

Rating: 10/10 stars


Stayed on

We loved

Location is wonderful - perfectly tucked away on quiet, pretty, Queen's Gate Road whilst still being conveniently central to sights and destinations. The hotel was clean, with friendly staff and attention to amenities.

Don’t expect

Soundproofing isn't bad but could be a little better, particularly towards the hallways.

Rating: 10/10 stars


Stayed on

We loved

Loved the area of South Kensington. Loved being only a 5-10 min walk to the underground. Loved the big, high bed with fluffy doona. Loved the big bathroom with heated flooring. Loved the library area for breakfasts. Loved the freshly squeezed fruit juices in the morning. Loved the warm welcome.

Rating: 10/10 stars