Unless you're quite wealthy, staying in London becomes a matter of compromise to fit your budget.
We chose to cut on space to keep a central location with great bus and good tube access and a clean facility.
Seraphine Kensington Gardens (SKG) overall met our expectations quite nicely in a very compact room. (about 1m around three sides of the bed is what you get).
In pouring over other SKG reviews, we knew we wanted a high floor room and not 102 because of the noise issues.
We made a request with follow-up a few days before arrival.
After flying all night from Canada, we arrived at the hotel quite early, but were quite tired from not getting my usual sleep on the plane. Planning on dropping luggage and doing an easy touring day 'til we drop, we check in.
"Sir, your room is ready". Great, we can drop the luggage & freshen up, but... it's room 102. Only one available for that night.
They will move us up following day. Rather than blow a fuse, I thought our sleepless flight & jetlag can probably beat any noisy neighbours and we accept that room for the night.
We crash exhausted at 9, but at 330 am I wake up to the noise of a pub at hotel across the street emptying out. Back asleep at a little after 5 AM. My wife did sleep through this racket.
Thus we concur with all others before that the pub noise across the road, and the pub next door is greater than Jetlag. Try to avoid this room even if you think you're a heavy sleeper with no ear plugs.
Next night we're up in room 405 facing the back of the building. The Silence is wonderful. Room is a few mm larger than previous room, very clean as well and well maintained.Also this bathroom is "slightly" bigger also. The staff was friendly, courteous and helpful.If you're on the fourth floor, make sure to utilize the elevator provided.It is for all even though it appears as if it's a handicap elevator. Quite likely as the elevator (installed 2009) is retrofitted into the building built many years earlier.
Breakfasts here had a good selection of cereals, juices, yogurts, pastries, hard boiled eggs, Nespresso machine and pkg's of Marmite for those who wish to try this British stuff on their toast (keep the layer very very thin).
Water pressure from the showers in nothing short of incredible. (I've never said that about a hotel before!)
If/When we return to London we will definitely stay here again. Cleanliness and speed you can get to places with about 6 bus routes running just across the street and the tube about 3 blocks west makes it a great home base.
If it wasn't for the initial issue of reservations, I'd have given 5 roundels instead of 4.
Getting to SKG skip the expensive fast trains from Heathrow, as you will still need to drag your bags to the regular tube/bus to get to your destination.
On your way to the tube at Heathrow, buy your Oyster card at the entrance to the tube station (don't pre-order by mail) within the air terminal. To get there without dragging your bags up and down multiple stairs to get different tube lines follow these directions and you only have one set of steps to contend with. Get on Picadilly (blue line) Line at Heathrow, when you arrive at Hammersmith Station, exit train and walk across the island platform and get on first district line (green line) train. Exit train at Earls Court station. Wait at the same spot until you see a District(green) or Circle(yellow) line pulling in that says either High St Kensington, or Edgware Rd. Ride up one stop and you're at Kensington High Street Station. Exit and walk up the 31 steps and you're at street level.Travel time is 45-50 minutes.
Upon exiting the pass gates/turnstyles if you're hungry from your flight, to your immediate left is popular Soup/Sandwich shop and a Coffee shop.
As you walk through the station/retail area toward street, on the Right side just before you reach the street is a cellular store where you can pick up a SIM for your phone if it's unlocked. At time of writing it was best deal in UK with unlimited data for 30 days for 15 pounds.(making data based voice/video easy to keep in touch with family/friends).
Turn Right and walk for about 3-4 minutes until you see the Spaghetti House sign and you're at your almost hidden entrance way. IF you need luggage assistance, press the button as you walk in door so staff can carry bags up first flight to elevator level for you.Enjoy your stay.
If you need a quick bite to eat right by hotel, on one side is Giraffe for breakfast or lunch (skip supper at this place). Other side is Spaghetti House for lunch or supper (our fav was Salmon Pasta dish). Walking towards tube station Fouberts has good deserts, pass on all other food items there. Best two restaurants we tried in the area was walking a block towards tube station, there's a little cobblestone alley way you walk down to the left. On One side is Cote, and other side is Prezzo. Both are very good with Cote winning by a nose.
An unlocked smart phone is Golden allowing London Transport and other map apps to get your around and TopTable to help you save time and $ & book dinner reservations at good prices. If your phone isn't unlocked, you can still utilize wifi in London however I'd suggest a VPN connection to protect your privacy from hackers.
Take advantage of London 2-for-1 offers, make sure you have a correct paper Travelcard you need to benefit.
We used the Oyster card to go in/out of Heathrow and TravelCard for all travel in zones 1&2 on tube/bus. We purchased our TravelCard at Victoria station where there is a big Rail Ticket office with lots of real people to help. A little internet searching will make it easier for you to build your own London Toolkit. When you arrive at Heathrow for your departure, you can return your Oyster card for full credit of what you've not used.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- This modern, intimate, chic hotel is the perfect choice for either a pleasurable few days holiday or short business trip. The Seraphine, KENSINGTON GARDENS is conveniently located near the stylish High Street Kensington shops, Holland Park, major tourist attractions, tour buses and tube station. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Expedia, Hotels.com, TripOnline SA, getaroom.com, Evoline ltd, Ebookers and 5viajes2012 S.L. so you can book your Seraphine London Kensington Gardens reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.