Let's start by saying I'll probably stay here again when I need to be in Kensington next year. It's a good enough place to stay, but not a destination in its own right. We booked here based on the recommendation of a friend. After reading a few negative reviews on Tripadvisor, I found myself asking "just what do people expect at this price in Kensington?" But somehow I still expected more and after 2 nights I was asking myself the same question. There are some genuine disabled access issues which I'll detail at the end, but otherwise this is a workaday 4 star hotel. Service was usually good, and there was very little to complain about, but very little to get excited about either. It's a hotel, not a resort.
Our first impression was not good.
Whilst I was paying the taxi driver, despite requests from both of us to take the bags and leave me with the wheelchair, the doorman whisked my wife away like a supermarket trolley full of groceries. We frequently meet this overenthusiastic help at hotel entrances, not just at KCH. Staff training needed?
There was a short queue at reception. No problem in itself, but why were there so many staff behind reception apparently busy with other tasks? If you're not available to help guests don't hang around behind reception. We find it annoying - don't you have an office?
As we were early ,1400, we were asked to wait just 20 mins while the room was prepared. Bonus point for service there. We had a coffee in the lobby cafe while we waited - paper cups - points lost.
Our bags magically arrived in the room before we did. Another bonus point.
We had an executive room - nothing smaller would be wheelchair accessible. I see that other people have complained about small rooms. Well this is Kensington. Look in the estate agents windows, and you'll get an idea of how much every square meter needs to return before before you start to pay the hotel running costs. You need to have realistic expectations - check the website.
The website says that the hotel has been renovated. I believe this, but the style, both in the room and public areas, is uninspiring and reminiscent of the 1980's - maybe that's just my personal taste.
Ditto, the renovated pool and spa area. Good enough, but far from luxurious. I won't dispute the website claim for the largest pool in Kensington, but it's not enormous. I know a bigger one nearby, but technically that may be just across the border in Westminster.
There was no hotel guide or restaurant menu in the room, and the TV info system wasn't working. I thought I'd try the hotel website for information, but found KCH is one of the few that still charge for wifi. As a result we didn't even consider eating in the restaurant - I'm not even sure there is one.
The room walls must be rather thin. We clearly heard conversation from the next room, and there was a lot of noise from other parts of the hotel during the night. The bed was very comfortable however, and the aircon works.
Throughout our stay we found the staff were not just polite, but genuinely keen to help, so top marks there.
As I said at the start I'm coming back to Kensington next year. I could pay more to get the facilities and room I want in the Kensington area. Or I could get more for the same money in another part of London and commute by taxi. But probably I'll come back to Kensington Close.
Now for the wheelchair users comments:-
The overenthusiastic help at the door has already been mentioned.
Wheelchair access via a fire exit at the side seems a bit of an afterthought, but is better than many hotels.
The wheelchair lift down to the main public area is convenient and safe with "press and hold" buttons. This is modern best available equipment.
The en-suite wet room (room 432) was well equipped and laid out, but seemed to lack adequate ventilation, remaining damp, and dare I say a bit smelly.
Another common problem with "Accesible Rooms" - the mirrors were all too high for my wife to use the hairdryer or do make-up whilst sat in the wheelchair.
The main lifts were all a bit tight for wheelchair plus one person, and we've never previously encountered a lift as small as the one down to the pool. We had to remove the footplates from the wheelchair to get the lift doors closed.
There is no unisex changing room at the pool, or unisex disabled toilet in the public area, so it is not possible for a person of the opposite sex to assist the disabled person.
From a wheelchair users perspective, KCH is below par, but workable.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Holiday Inn London - Kensington is a beautiful 4-star hotel centrally located near Kensington High Street tube station and a short walk from Kensington Palace & Gardens, Royal Albert Hall, Earls Court and the West End. The Hotel has 708 well-equipped non-smoking bedrooms including Executive bedrooms and Suites. Enjoy fresh seasonal dishes in the brasserie or a drink in the sunny private garden. Business traveller's appreciate the powerful WiFi service, wide ranging room service menu and an executive lounge for VIPs too. State of the art meeting facilities for up to 250 delegates are ideal for meetings, dinners and weddings. Shopping at Westfield and Oxford Street is a short distance away. Imagine Health Club and Spa includes a fantastic new gym and an 18 metre swimming pool with sauna, steam rooms and jacuzzi. The Spa offers an enticing selection of massage, facial and beauty treatments with our expert therapists. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Kensington Close London
- Hotel Kensington Close
- Kensington Close Hotel London