This year, international hotel group, The Doyle Collection, welcomed into the fold its newest member, The Kensington Hotel. And the massive £24 million restoration that preceded the launch was certainly one big old facelift – even by Chelsea standards!
Now although Trafalgar Square boasts the capital's official Christmas tree, there's something about the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea that lends itself perfectly to the season. It might be the Royal Albert Hall, The Natural History Museum with its festive ice rink, midnight mass at the Brompton Oratory or even the great big alternative tree that is Harrods department store but one thing's for sure, The Kensington Hotel lies right at its epicentre.
Whether you plan to celebrate at an exclusive restaurant and champagne bar, throw an elegant private party or you're simply after a sumptuous crash pad in which to hang your chic new bearskin hat, you'll find it at 109-113 Queen's Gate.
Set in a Regency-style townhouse, The Kensington Hotel is a boutique property boasting 150 stylish bedrooms and suites – the varied ceiling heights and volumes of which give each the feel of a private residence – albeit one with 300 thread count linen, Wi-Fi, Nespresso coffee machines and Sony book readers on tap. And with the hotel's intimate drawing rooms replete with luxurious fabrics in jewel coloured hues, period furniture, pillars and roaring fires, guests might be forgiven for thinking that they've strayed into an exclusive members' club.
The hotel's restaurant, The Aubrey – named after the rather grand Aubrey de Vere, don't you know, who was granted the estate of Kensington by William the Conqueror – is a destination restaurant way beyond your traditional hotel establishment.
Designed by Dennis Looby, its racing green leather banquette seating, parquet floors and stunning chandeliers have made it a firm favourite with celebrities from Daisy Lowe to Dougray Scott and Erin O'Connor plus, of course, discerning mortals who love the eclectic menu from the Gressingham duck with pear compote to Slow cooked belly of pork with bubble and squeak and caramelized apple. However, best of all, the distressed mirrors and blue glass ceiling of the adjoining cocktail bar make supermodels of us all.
The private dining room too is an embodiment of old school elegance and accommodates up to 28 people around its antique table. It may not quite date back to William the Conqueror but certainly makes us feel like spring chickens while we're eating our Christmas turkey.
The Kensington Hotel, 109-113 Queen's Gate, South Kensington, London SW7 5LR
Tel: +44 (0) 207 589 6300, US Toll Free: +1 877 849 6258,