By Rhiannon Taylor, May 2019
Down a pretty street corner in Kensington amongst rows of perfectly pristine townhouses lies a black-clad mysterious looking facade that is home to Blakes Hotel. Upon check in you’re greeted with a smile, bags are taken care of and we’re in our room in no time.
As one of prolific designer Anouska Hempel’s first hotels and part of Kiwi Collection, Blakes Hotel opened in 1978 and still retains a certain glamour and romance. The scene is international, the guests are chic and the vibe is luxe bohemian. In the communal spaces there’s lots of black lacquer and gold detailing weaved around Asian market finds and fabrics. There are moments when you feel as though you’ve stepped in to a Venetian party and the maze-like corridors and staircases give the hotel an air of secrecy and mystery.
There’s a small underground bar, a restaurant which serves breakfast and a back garden (designed by Matthew Williamson that is lovely in Spring) and that’s about it. The hotel’s biggest drawcard is its location, being only 15 minutes walk to the V&A as well as Brompton Cross and a smattering of upscale boutiques. Breakfast is excellent, with buttery, flaky croissants, great selection of tea and eggs cooked to perfection.
Rooms are unique and a little bit of a lottery, however all have Anouska’s signature style throughout. The hotel is cobbled together from a row of old houses, giving each room it’s own character and charm. Inspiration ranges from the British countryside for an attic room, medieval with ornate bed frames to the infamous white-on-white Corfu suite which comes adorned with mother of pearl chests of drawers and tromp l’oeil walls. Each room comes with it’s own bluetooth sound system so you can sync your device and play your own soundtrack to match the fantasy of the rooms. Bathrooms vary and depending on your room they might be tiny (compensated with a claw footed free-standing tub in the room) or generous with lots of light.
Service is charming, professional and smooth. Concierge is helpful with local recommendations for dining and upon finding our room didn’t lock properly we were promptly upgraded and moved to a larger suite. The hotel retains many of it’s original features and these quirks only add to it’s charm.
We were guests of Blakes Hotel and Kiwi Collection.