When it comes to choosing top notch hotels in London, Mr Sunshine and I have a little experience under our belts. As busy expats that love nothing more than a quick trip home at least twice a year, we’ve flown in and out of Heathrow on numerous occasions since we moved to Qatar. In order to break up journey times to and from friends and family and to help us to relax before and after a long-haul flight, these trips to England are almost always accompanied by a short stay in a luxury hotel at either end of our visit.
Accumulating all of our knowledge and experience, I’ve put together a handy summary of my top 6 hotel picks for short stays in England’s capital in 2016.
1. The Kensington
No hotel represents traditional English hospitality more perfectly than The Kensington Hotel. Part of the luxury boutique hotel chain, ‘The Doyle Group’ which includes The Bloomsbury and The Marylebone, the hotel is situated just a few steps from South Kensington station, and it oozes historic charm and a deliciously homely feel.
The hotel’s restaurant, Town House, along with the Town House Bar is actually a series of interconnected drawing rooms, with large bay windows and ancient fireplaces. A very special space from which to enjoy afternoon tea.
109-113 Queensgate, South Kensington
2. The Montcalm at the Brewery
An old favourite of Mr Sunshine’s and mine, we have stayed at this converted brewery on countless occasions. We love it for it’s interesting features and cosy bedrooms, as well as the big discounts that you can often find on a room if you’re booking out of season.
An extra selling point is the excellent gastro-pub, The Jugged Hare which is situated just downstairs – very handy when you have just stepped off a flight and you’re craving a roast dinner with all the trimmings, and a glass of prosecco or two.
For a full review, head here.
52 Chiswell Street,
3. Cheval Phoenix House at Sloane Square
These apartments and suites were the location of Mr Sunshine’s and my most recent stay in London just after Christmas, and we had a brilliant time! We were kindly upgraded to a loft suite which comprises of two floors, with a generous bedroom and bathroom at ground level, and stairs that lead up to a mezzanine level and a spacious living room and kitchenette.
What really made our stay were a few small but generous touches that helped us to settle in quickly, such as a welcome pack comprising of bread, jam, tea bags, crisps, biscuits and muesli (and a Christmas cracker!) – something we really appreciated given that we have become accustomed to hotel living and room service! We also enjoyed the fact that we were a two minute walk from Sloane Square and The Kings Road, arguably our favourite place for shopping and dining in the whole of London.
1 Wilbraham Place, Chelsea
4. The Ampersand
I would really struggle to find a single fault with The Ampersand. It has everything that I look for in a hotel: beautiful architecture and modern, bright and clean interiors; quirky decor and friendly staff; great location and beautiful food.
It’s one of those hotels that I would return to ‘just for a coffee’, which I think is a very good sign. Its pretty corridors have won over my heart, and with it my life-long custom and loyalty.
For a full review, head here.
10 Harrington Road, South Kensington,
5. The Conrad
Conrad Hotels and Resorts are a luxury hotel brand that are owned by the Hilton Group, with properties spread across 5 continents in some of the world’s most sought-after locations. The Conrad London St James is no exception. It sits on the doorstep of Westminster, Big Ben and Buckingham Palace, just a stone’s throw from the Royal Parks in one direction, and the meandering Thames in the other.
If luxury is what you’re after, then this hotel really delivers, particularly if you’re lucky enough to be able to afford an executive floor room, and access to the Executive Lounge. If not, then the Blue Boar Restaurant and Emmeline’s Lounge are very special spaces in which to dine, serving regional British produce and an excellent selection of wines.
22-28 Broadway, Westminster,
6. The Mondrian
Although this list is in no particular order, I think I might have inadvertently saved the best for last. The Mondrian is housed in the quirky converted Sea Containers building on the Southbank, and it will always hold a special place in my heart. It was in the bathroom of our hotel room here that I took the pregnancy test that told me that I was 3 weeks pregnant with our little girl right at the end of our honeymoon last year. Because I was shattered from the early stages of pregnancy, we mainly enjoyed this hotel for its enormous fluffy beds, and the view of the beautiful sunsets that spread out across London’s rooftops from our window.
However, I think you will enjoy it for it’s proximity to the eclectic and cosmopolitan vibe of the Southbank, the 1920s glamour of the building which is punctuated by unusual art and installations, and the plethora of excellent (and award winning) eating and drinking options that will take you from sumptuous breakfasts through to late night parties on the roof of the hotel.
20 Upper Ground, Southbank,
Which hotels have I missed? Where would you choose for a short stay in London in 2016?