We may be lucky enough to call London home but we definitely take it for granted some times. So, we made the most of playing tourist in our own city, bedding down in the glorious 100 Queen’s Gate Hotel, Kensington for the night, with some of London’s most iconic shopping streets, museums and parks within walking distance.
From the curiously charming interiors to the Instagrammable atrium, the dark moody rooms to its hidden gem (the basement bar) here’s everything you need to know…
100 Queen’s Gate sits somewhere between old opulent English stately home and an inner city boutique hotel – think Bridgerton and the City without all the scandal – and every inch is filled with curiosities and thought provoking artwork. It’s a mishmash of sorts but it works, and reflects the hotel’s rich history – it was once the home of Victorian aristocrat William Alexander.
Corners are peppered with ceramics from around the globe, bookcases curated down to the last millimetre, antique Chinese vases sit precariously on top of consoles in the lobby and quirky vintage suitcases made into tables are mixed with rich velvety jewel toned furniture. The hotel’s entrance holds a sense of adventure and although it was our place to rest and recoup after amidst busy London life, we could feel a sense of fun ensue.
Named after its address, 100 Queen’s Gate sits just south west of central, making it far more chill than a Soho, Covent Garden, Leicester Square, or even a Shoreditch option. And while the offerings on the hotel’s doorstep aren’t amazing – lots of chain restaurants and sad looking cafes – you are only a stone’s throw from so many of the city’s attractions. In under 10 minutes by foot you can be at the V&A or the Natural History Museum; head east and you’ll hit Harrod’s and Harvey Nichols; south and you can take a trip to Chelsea and its cornucopia of restaurants, posh pubs and boutiques; or head up to the top of the Queen’s Gate and you’ll hit the picturesque Kensington Gardens and its royal residence. It really is perfectly placed if you want to see the city without a thought of a bus or tub, and even after 15+ years as an honorary Londoner, it was a joy to see the city in all its glory and soak up so many of the places, parks, people that you blink and miss when you actually live here.
Our room was on the cosy side, but that’s no big shock when it comes to London hotels. You can of course pay for the extra square footage if you want something a little more comfortable. In fact, the suites are something else with beautiful wood panelled walls, banquette seating, regal headboards and even mezzanine floors.
That’s not to say the room disappointed. The huge bed with the softest white sheets was a stark contrast to the moody blue Farrow & Ball walls and traditional fireplace. Vintage botanical prints adorned the walls and a neat writing desk and warm leather accents running throughout made the room feel like a home from home, albeit a really, really nice one. In the bathroom, floor-to-ceiling marble reminded us that yes, this is Kensington, while the proverbial fluffy white robe and divine smelling minis from traditional beauty and fragrance brand Floris made bath time and winding down easy.
100 Queen’s Gate has long held a partnership with the brand with their hand soaps and creams decked out in all the loos – reason enough to go the toilets alone – as well as afternoon tea and cocktail collaborations created with a botanical edge.
We could not fault the staff at 100 Queen’s Gate, especially since this was one of the first hotel stays bringing along a baby under one. They made it easy, with travel cots set up on arrival and little touches like Child’s Farm minis for bath time. For toddlers and older children, they put mini me dressing gowns in the room and extras like Tonies boxes to make bedtime away from home as dreamy as possible.
In the W/A restaurant – named after William Alexander himself – it’s a Belgian affair, with classic brasserie style dishes, grills and traditional bowls of moules. It’s worth checking out their signature dish, ‘The Waffle Burger,’ if you’re hungry, as well as the breakfasts which are hearty and delicious, perfect for setting you up for a day treading the streets of London.
There’s also the glorious Botanica room where the hotel serve their famous Floris afternoon tea. While we didn’t indulge, we peered our head into the glorious, light-filled atrium room. The steep white panelled walls, chequered floor, art deco chandeliers and bounty of lush green botanicals are an Instagrammer’s dream, while the high tea itself looked utterly divine. Mental note for next time to skip lunch and book here instead.
The best bit
The bar. London is in no deficit when it comes to chic hotel bars but when we find a new one, we’re thrilled. The ESQ bar at 100 Queen’s Gate is one of those gems you simultaneously want to take people to and keep your little secret.
Nestled in the hotel’s basement – there’s something about basement bars that just make them cooler – you’d never really know it’s there. But come down the sweeping staircase and you’re met with dark wooden walls, jewel-toned seating and cosy corners to knock knees over martinis in. With a baby grande piano at one end, talented mixologists behind the bar and live cuban music Thursdays to Saturdays, ESQ is our new favourite hidden London secret and the cherry on the top of this charming Kensington hotel.
Rates start at £152 a night, with the most expensive room (the Queen’s Gate suite with private entrance) starting at £1,900 a night.
100 Queen’s Gate Hotel London, Curio Collection by Hilton, 100 Queen’s Gate, South Kensington, London SW7 5AG