Victorian Brilliance in the Sophisticated Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea- The K+K Hotel George Kensington
When one travels there is a constant battle of wanting to find new adventure on the horizon, towards an alluring different realm to the everyday life you live. Comically combined with wanting the comforts of home so you feel safe and secure and in your place of Zen. London with its inter-laced culture and the “World Melting Pot” is just so, with the K+K Hotel George Kensington lighting the path to your home away from home- you are welcome!
Getting There –
The London tube is something out of the “Wizarding World of Harry Potter” if you are from the states, New York being the exception, but not as elaborately detailed. If you are like me and new to the “magical ways” of underground transportation, less is more in the hopping on and off the tangled web of the tube.
How about simply getting on the tube from Heathrow airport and take a lovely straight shot, half hour ride to Earl’s court, arriving in the mix of London’s West end? Lovingly titled the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, just incase you wanted to heighten the feeling that you are in LONDON, you know, near the royals.
Hopefully with light and 4 wheeled luggage, you find yourself turning the corner on to classic cobble stone streets of the past. Take notice that the noise slowly disappears as you walk towards Templeton place and your “Home away from Home” in London, The K+K George Kensington Hotel. Only a two-minute walk from Earl’s Court, tucked away in a quaint residential neighborhood, she stands proudly in her position dating from 1880. English Architecture in classic form, the London Townhouse- Grand pillars of crisp white standing strong in Victorian brilliance give the George Kensington her stance and guide your eyes to take in the 154 room hotel. Her grey flags waving you to come on in and stay a while, and I recommend you do!
Once a residential home, she has been standing as the K+K George Kensington Hotel for the past 25 years. The major bonus of the location being in a residential neighborhood, you are protected from the chaos and “vibrations” of noise that the edge of the city brings, thanks to the grand wall of Victorian town-homes facing her, fortifying your choice of home for your London adventure ahead.
As you step through the glass doors, you have stepped out of “Victorian Brilliance” and into modern sophistication. Greeted with welcoming and genuine hellos from the front desk staff, paired with the open lobby floor plan, you have been transported to the new London of the renovated past. Contemporary with bits of Transitional Design give off a very clean lined and cozy effect, reminding you of the historical past merging with her bright future.
The impressive street facing windows in the lobby pull in the light, of what London fall weather can spare of course. This is not the London hotel of the dark ages. The hotel has done a beautiful job of utilizing the large space of the main floor.
As you pass through the front desk area you enter the lobby, the size-able space places you in a small crossroads feeling.
If you go left, you are in the large restaurant seating area overlooking the adorably award winning English garden.
If you go straight and “down” you may feel like you are in the halls of a yacht heading to the many conference rooms and gym area.
Standing center you are faced with the recently added custom Hard wood communal table, seating 8, if you so choose to join in.
Lastly, head straight into the Bar and Bistro area, my suggestion for all your food and entertaining needs during your stay. Cozy fireplace lined with quirky books of British humor and a variety of comfortable seating from plush bar stools to inviting love seats.
The lovely thing about sunlight and residential views, either side of the hotel you will have them! Your options are overlooking the statuesque English garden on the rear side of the venue or onto your neighbors in mirror image of English architecture, pleasantly reminding you that you are not in “Kansas anymore”.
Continuing the flow of mid century modern meets transitional, the rooms blend some original characteristics of the residential home with a new and crisp touch. Timeless art, keeping a strategic minimalist approach merge with contemporary elements thrown in withs pops of color in accent chairs and headboards.
The rooms have been recently refurbished with the most deliciously comfortable beds and pillows, including duck down douvees; be sure to set an alarm or you will have a hard time racing out the door for your one of many walking tours!
*** Suggestion*** Liquid History Tours was my favorite if you are on the hunt for a fresh and refreshing walking tour. A believer in knowledge is power and having a beer in historically knowledgeable pubs, is a win win. I would recommend Mark again and again. Just a quick and easy tube ride to St. Paul’s underground station and the fun begins! **** Suggestion*****
The rooms are also equipped with convenient charging locations, and abundant closet space, for those who travel “NOT so light” like myself. With adorable rustic fixtures with a modern flare, all amenities you will need, and the convenience of the staff of dreams, you will quickly understand the return clientele effect.
Food and Fun at the K+K George Kensington-
The Hotel George Kensington is lucky to have at the helm of their food and beverage program, Mersim Asani. His resume in hospitality does not go un-noticed, as he is a vital asset to the George Kensington. Taking on the role of Food and Beverage Manager as well as the Executive Chef, would need someone of his expertise, which he carries and executes with a level of relaxed joy that should be bottled and sold to the highest bidder.
Greeted with his warm personality which you will quickly learn this is the theme for the entire staff, they work to create a welcoming family vibe. After speaking with their lovely revenue manager Arnold Linares, I can honestly say it felt just so. The High Gate Management team that he is a part of came on board 2 years ago and has seamlessly blended hard work, consistent success and structure with a pleasantly non-corporate vibe, maintaining the “family effect”- Just brilliant if you ask me.
Above and beyond-
Mersim’s goal is to resource as much product from local suppliers; from freshly delivered bread to London spirits and liquors. He is in the process of releasing a refreshingly fun new cocktail menu, and it will challenge the speakeasy mixologists hiding nearby.
He has made efforts to go out and about in the area and discover what is being ordered and asked for at local pubs and restaurants. A fan of evolving with the times and researching what is breaking into the industry of Food and Drink. He does such a brilliant job at discovering up and coming London companies that add the perfect flare for the guest rooms such as, Gourmet popcorn by Joe and Seph’s, must try the goat cheese and black pepper, to being ahead of the curve with Rosemary water as a super-herb, tonic water.
Plan to be tasting the new and the up and coming when you visit, locally sourced of course.
“A breakfast buffet for the ages.”
The Hotel George Kensington strives to cater to their clientele, with 80 percent being tourist, the team has worked extensively to deliver what is being requested in the market. The deluxe breakfast buffet includes a full English and Continental breakfast options. Grab a seat in a darling window corner that overlooks the award winning English Garden, easily forgetting you are around the corner from the busy London Bustle. Start your day with classic English breakfast tea, or a double espresso- jet lag had demanded of me.
The staff at the George Kensington are trained at Level 2 in food safety. Level 3 for the Management. You can rest assured that all allergies are taken seriously! Even in the breakfast buffet. The kitchen is a huge fan of baking the dishes separately like baked mushrooms, tomatoes, and hash browns. Very careful to not mix or cross contaminate ingredients. This screams mountain movers for someone like me with annoyingly aggressive food allergies.
A vast selection of teas, juices, and Coffee. The buffet hits every sense on the food chain with a Wonderful selection of meats and cheeses, poached eggs and eggs over medium, roasted tomatoes and plentiful arrays of fresh fruit. – Grapefruit and figs were perfection.
The staff can also accommodate requests such as omelets and many variations of coffee. Double espresso please:)
*** Recommendation *** Take your coffee or tea with a book from the lounge and grab a seat in the sunroom outside. The K+K has earned a Certificate in Excellence from TripAdvisor and is one of the few hotels in Central London to have such a lovely and spacious award winning private garden, so please take her all in!! The darling Garden plays host to small weddings and events during the warmer times of the year. Perfectly hidden and gifted to the guests, it is easy to check out of the busy sight seeing and enjoy a moment of relaxation after breakfast. The Alice and Wonderland feel in the sunroom is priceless, thanks to the checkered floor and lush greenery all around makes it quite easy to fall down the Rabbit Hole with a great book and glass of Sparkling or Tea.
The K+K George is expanding its event opportunities in the Garden and they are so excited to share her more with the welcoming guests to come.
High Tea at the George Kensington
As you Mosey to the Bistro and Bar area, grab a seat on one of the cozy love seats near the fire, because it is High Tea Time at the George Kensington!!
“Be our guest, be our guest” from Beauty and The Beast starts playing on repeat in my head- not because of talking clocks and candlesticks, but the most adorable array of mix and match cups and saucers appear on the table!
Laced with gold and painted in the most romantic floral designs in the classic tea setting. Designed by “Heaven Scents” and rumored to have a fan in Prince Charles. In a way you are having tea with royalty, right?
Once brought back to reality from your own musical number, the 3 layered tower of heaven is presented to you. The base layer is sandwiches with freshly delivered bread from Leicester square. They kitchen team makes fresh bread runs 3-4 times a day depending on the demand- fresh is key to the George Kensington. I recommend starting with the smoked salmon, cream cheese and dill, on to cucumber and dill, then finish with the chicken pesto! Such a wonderful layer of flavors.
Next stop up the ladder or sugar and carbs- hey its vacation!
Cakes…little adorable cakes…. chocolate some how equally light and rich and vanilla was the perfect compliment for the transition too….
SCONES and CLOTTED cream. I never thought I would be so shockingly impressed by cream. It was if butter and perfected sugar had a baby and arranged her marriage to the heavy set Scone that lived down the street. He did “crumble to his knees in joy” and they lived happily ever after.
The company Twining provides ample variety of tea in a loose leaf pyramid, giving the tea leaves a chance to move and breathe; English breakfast was a favorite on this trip.
High Tea is nicely recommended with a sparkling wine or a champagne. I would passionately recommend the local sparkling that is quite hard to come by, Chapel Down Classic non-vintage Brut, from Tenterden, England. Exquisitely balanced and dry to pair with the sweetness overload of the top two layers of your tray!
Afternoon tea is served from 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm, however Mersim is a fan of giving his guests what they want. “If they feel peckish, and would like tea for dinner, they are more than welcome.” -m-
The Bistro at Dinner-
The energy has shifted and become a tad livelier for dinner time in the Bistro. With a full restaurant area for sitting, most tend to stay in the cozy bar bistro area. The fire place taking on a vampy personality for dinner is equally as enticing as it was for tea- romantic dinner setting at it’s best.
The Bistro has a very seasoned and welcoming staff, there to answer and personalize anything they can. They strive to cater to the evolving world of food allergies and intolerances and want their guests to be tended to their needs.
Starting dinner with a crisp Cullinn View Chenin Blanc from South Africa. Light and fresh, easy drinking, off-dry white.
It pairs perfectly with the vast array of meats and cheeses placed on their various boards.
I would also recommend the Baked Camembert with Onion Chutney, because there is always room for more cheese.
The warm, spreadable texture looks as lovely as it tastes, paired with freshly delivered bread, you will forget that you are in a hotel and not at your grandmother’s cozy house with the home cooked meal to match.
Classic fish and chips on the menu, made with London Pride batter. Light flaky batter, and clean crisp fish. Paired with hand cut chips and mushy peas, the classic London dish is a must try! The wonderful vision of locally supported ingredients and product really expresses the passion of what goes on behind the scenes in the kitchen.
For a light but flavorful dish, I would recommend the Superfood Salad with Salmon added on. Pomegranate seeds bursting with flavor really balance the quinoa and sunflower seeds on a generous bed of greens.
Desert, Crème Brule was so rich and light if that is even possible, seeing a trend in the desert department here. The perfect crispy top layer and the loveliest end to a lovely day of food and drink.
If you decide to leave your comfort zone, you are in the right location. Earl’s Court tube stop is around the block, but I do recommend taking a lovely stroll to a few destinations.
Hyde Parksitting only 1.8 miles from the K+K George, is the most magical way to spend an afternoon out of the busy shopping streets of London.
The largest park in the heart of London thanks to it’s seamless merge with Kensington Garden’s, has so much more to offer than blissfully peaceful walking trails.
A lot of History still carrying the torch on today.
Her Memorial opened in 2004, gifted by HRH- The Queen. As you walk up to the fountain you sincerely feel what a wonderful representation of Diana lies before you. – Simply- Beautiful, ever flowing with the unique angle of the design-
Made of Cornish granite, the clean and minimal oval shaped fountain has more to the eye if you look closely. The water flows in both directions from the highest point of the fountain, making its way over different ridges in the middle and both sides will meet at the calming pool at the bottom.
In nicer weather children will be seen playing in the fountain and you can only imagine the joy they must bring to the Peoples Princess watching above.
Kensington Palace and the Gardens-
The Country Manor feel of the palace is a pleasant addition to her majestic gardens. Currently the London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, parts of the Palace are open to be viewed and offer tours.
If you are more in the mood for the grounds and the views, just take a gaze in front of the Queen Victoria Statue and reminisce on her past times there and the legacy that follows her.
The Lake in front of the palace is quite “a dream” thanks to the abundant amount of birds that take residence. Most impressively I would say would be the swans, gliding above the water as if they were royalty themselves. Walking in the gardens and the park you really grasp the feeling of being a London local enjoying their back yard, from dog walking to joggers and marathon runners all enjoying the escape of what is busy London.
As you wrap up your lovely stroll on a crisp and sunny fall day, stop by and say hello to Peter Pan in his bronze glory. Built in 1912 by Sir George Frampton, he sits on the west shore of Long Water. Modern day technology invites you to chat with peter via your smartphone. He can be longwinded, so I suggest walking and talking on your way to your next stop, the app is mobile, not Peter.
The website for the K+K George has wonderful information about more details for locations and travel and all the help you need to get to and from along your day.
I will see you next year, as the K+K George has a lovely return guest list, I am sure you will be added on for your next London Adventure. After all, Getting Lost in Rabbit Holes, and meeting Kings and Queens is much fun, but better when you have the safe light guiding you home to bed, at the K+K George Kensington.