One of the most enjoyable times in my life was the period I lived in London. While there (from 1996 – 2003), I frequented many of the hotels as some of the smartest bars and best restaurants are situated in them. It was great fun and now when I go back for a visit, I know just where to stay – a Chelsea Hotel London!
One of my favorite phrases used in London is “Smart Casual”. Nothing could be more understated. London’s hotels have always enjoyed the status of chic and sophisticated and that is no less true today. But with more than 70,000 three to five-star hotel rooms to choose from, where does one start to look for a place to stay? There are loads of travel logs which will tell you about the different areas of London and where to stay based on the location of the touristy places – matching your budget to a local hotel. That is not what I’m going to tell you about in this article. Instead . . . in this London hotel review, I’m going to tell you about the Smart Casual hotels – where you’re going to find a great meal – fantastic cocktails – lovely accommodations and service – and perhaps even some star gazing in the bargain! If you plan your stay right, and use our recommended services, you’ll get a great rate as well.
Nearly everyone in the Smart Casual set live in either Chelsea or South Kensington. There are some exceptions. For example, you’ll find a niche area in Knightsbridge or Notting Hill. Belgravia holds treasure to some seriously expensive homes whilst Pimlico is a pleasant diversion. There is a following of Americans in the Holland Park area as well. Predominantly however, most everything revolves around the Chelsea set. One can stay outside of these areas, but if you want to mingle, there’s nothing like being there! With that in mind, here is the first of my series on the Chelsea Hotels London!
Draycott Hotel 26 Cadogan Gardens London SW3 2RP
The Draycott is truly a gem. If you like traditional British 19th century charm – this is for you. The rooms and décor are true to the period of colonial Victorian England. Authentic antiques blend beautifully with contemporary amenities. The hotel is very close to Sloane Square and the King’s Road. London neighborhoods are blessed by their squares and Cadogan Gardens is no exception. The rooms are gracious and comfortable and the suites even have their own full kitchens. If you get a room at the rear of the house, you will have a wonderful view overlooking the gardens. For us Americans, you’ll be happy to know that it is fully air conditioned (and many of the older hotels in London are not!). In the winter, the fireplaces are fitted with gas and are totally operational. Talk about ambience! A 5-star hotel, the Draycott received an overall satisfaction grade of 5.0. A standard double room will cost approximately $353.00/night for two.
Wyndham London Chelsea Harbour London SW10 0XG
The Wyndham Grand is a beautiful hotel and if you want to be on the river (The Thames – prounounced temms), and still be in a Chelsea Hotel London, then this is for you. But be absolutely sure that’s where you want to be because Chelsea Harbour is somewhat off the beaten path. There is no tube stop nearby. You will have to rely on taxis or public bus service (the C3 bus runs between Earls Court tube and Clapham Junction via the Harbour every 10 minutes. The 11 and 22 buses run down the King’s Road to Sloane Square and the West End every 7 minutes. You can get this bus at the Lots Road bus stop). The hotel will also provide transportation and even arrange a river taxi.
On the positive side, however, Chelsea Harbour is in itself a beautiful place. You can sit and sip on a cocktail and watch the yachts coming in and out (when the tide’s in – the Thames is a tidal river) or just take a stroll along the banks of the river. Chelsea Harbour also hosts the Design Centre which is a combination of offices and showrooms for interior decorators goods and services. There are also cafes and restaurants and a health club on site. The Wyndham Grand is an all-suite, 5 star hotel. The service and accommodations are first class all the way and is a great choice for those in town on business (albeit not in “The City”) or holding conferences. They have first-rate conference centres on two levels with audio-visual conferencing. They are close to the major exhibition centers at Earls Court and Olympia.
Blakes London 33 Roland Gardens London SW7 3PF
Blakes is one of my all-time favorites. It’s situated in the heart of Chelsea between (the) Fulham and Old Brompton Roads. In fact, it is surrounded by beautiful Victorian homes – now mostly converted flats. This is a fantastic location for anyone wishing to be in the hub. South Kensington and Gloucester Road (pronounced Gloss-ter) tube stops are walking distance and taxis are abundant. There are fantastic restaurants and shops everywhere.
Blakes was designed by top international designer Anouska Hempel and, with it’s low-profile, is a favorite among travelling stars and starlets. The décor is absolutely magnificent – an unusual blend of traditional and contemporary using only the finest silks and tapestries. The rooms and suites are a must see. Each one is a true work of art as only Anouska Hempel can do it.
Blakes is a five star hotel all the way. Whether you stay there or not, you absolutely have got to have a meal in the restaurant. The cheese soufflé is something to die for. It is wicked! For dessert, try the Chocolate soufflé! Uggh. I wish I was there. I used to go there when my boss was in town just so I could have that cheese soufflé. A standard (whatever that means!) single room is approximately £175.00/night
Cadogan Hotel 75 Sloane Street Knightsbridge, London SW1X 9SG
The Cadogan (pronounced kah-duggan) is located on Sloane Street and, although technically in Knightsbridge, it’s really just on the fringe and close enough to Sloane Square to keep it in this category. In fact, what a great location. You’re walking distance to either Sloane Square or Knightsbridge tube stops; close to Harvey Nic’s and Harrods, walking distance to Beauchamp Place(pronounced Beech-ham) and the wonderful Walton Street shops. If you head the other direction and walk down Sloane Street to Sloane Square – you’ll be in heaven when you stroll down (the)King’s Road. Loads of shops, coffee places, restaurants (walk all the way down to the local favorite La Famiglia). If you want a taxi, there are plenty in that area.
This is accommodation London at its best. The Cadogan Hotel is a 5-star hotel -situated in a beautiful Victorian property with a townhouse feel. A Superior Double room (the standard) will average approximately $239/night for two. Which is really a great rate. The rooms are spacious and comfy with beautiful period furnishings. Travelers there have given it a 4.2 in overall satisfaction.
Source by Catherine Mitschele