This was a refreshing change from some of the poky horrors that you can expect to find despite paying substantial amounts for central London accommodation. Based in South Kensington, and not far from Old Brompton Road, you can walk to Harrods or travel a couple of stops on the tube. The area has great connections for the museums and masses of restaurants etc. Previously (or maybe still) known as the French Quarter, expect to find good bread and pastries here.
We travelled to London with business meetings and shopping on the agenda and were returning to an area that we had once lived in. This hotel has been given a facelift with unusual, light and clever design incorporated into both the reception area and the rooms.
The receptionist was young, helpful, polite and friendly and we were welcome to check in early. A true professional, she avoided that infuriating nonsense you sometimes encounter in certain hotels where the receptionist wastes time flirting with the males in the group while being condescending towards the female guests.
So to the rooms. These are not huge (this is after all, a town house) but they are quite fine. With clever use of colour, design and fabric, The Ampersand makes the most of the space available by cleverly drawing the eye towards the high ceilings. Flat screens, good fast internet connections and plenty of sockets scored high points The bed was really comfortable, towels super fluffy and the toiletries provided were elegant (the type of stuff you would happily have in your own bathroom). Again, somebody had been thinking carefully in that they provided both hair scrunchies and loofah gloves so you could turn your shower (with a huge shower head and decent water pressure) experience into a mini-spa.
The complimentary teas & coffee provided were organic and Fair Trade was not forgotten. Soft drinks were good quality.
What sets this hotel apart was how accommodating the staff were. Suddenly finding themselves without an office in which to hold an important strategic pre-meeting, our assembled group were invited to use an area where we were left in peace for hours and without extra charge. We then needed lunch having travelled from 3 different countries with varying levels of jet lag and no energy to wander around London. No restaurant had been booked and again the hotel came up trumps, quietly suggesting their lunch. Again that understatement, and again - at approximately £20 per head - far exceeding expectations.
We had five courses; Soup, served correctly in a tureen brought to and left on the table so that we could ladle as much as we wanted onto our plates. Beetroot risotto was delicious, no watery vegetarian slop either but perfect, tasty risotto with the right consistency. Generous meat course after this. Then a pudding. Then a selection of cheese(s). And finally coffee and chocolates. Excellent value and quality making us recommend this restaurant whether or not you are resident. There is somehow, a good feeling about the Ampersand.
Just one tiny security minus, but an important one. We found the distance between the room door and the bedside table nearest the door was too short even with the door chain applied. A stealthy forearm inserted through that space can easily reach items left on table while you sleep. The hotel needs to change the position of the door chain raising it to well above the level of a bedside table.
Otherwise, great place!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- With some of the most stylish hotel rooms in Kensington, The Ampersand is a privately-owned luxury London hotel that combines contemporary excellence in design, service, food and technology in an 1888 building at the capital's heart. We have been inspired by those great Victorian values of discovery and wonder - and given them a modern, whimsical twist. The result: a cosmopolitan, 111-room luxury boutique hotel, bar, restaurant and drawing rooms, delivering 21st-century warmth, humour and total comfort.The Ampersand Hotel is situated just a minute's walk from South Kensington tube station, and is well connected to Heathrow airport. ... more less
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