Hotel Review: The Ampersand Hotel, London
England’s capital has it all. Glorious parks, historic squares and museums filled with colonial history – it’s a cultural kaleidoscope. Smack in the centre of London’s Museum quarter you will find the elegant Ampersand Hotel, says Assif Majid.
The Victorian boutique hotel, built in 1888, opened its doors just in time for the 2012 London Olympic games. The 111 rooms are inspired by the surrounding buildings such as the Natural History Museum and the Royal Albert Hall, with five themes – botany, music, geometry, ornithology and astronomy – included throughout.
With some of the most stylish hotel rooms in Kensington, The Ampersand is a one-off, privately owned hotel that combines contemporary excellence in design, service, food and technology in a Victorian building at London’s heart. The luxury London hotel has been inspired by those great Victorian values of discovery and wonder—and given them a modern, whimsical twist. The result: a cosmopolitan luxury boutique hotel, bar, gym and two restaurants delivering 21st-century hospitality humour and total comfort.
First impressions: elegant, wow, stylish.
In typical British style it was raining cats and dogs as we arrived. The luxury London hotel was across the road from South Kensington tube station, which was a relief.
We were greeted by the friendliest of staff on arrival, our luggage was taken while we checked in. The receptionist asked if we would like a complimentary newspaper for the morning, which made a nice touch as most hotels charge you for this service. We were then escorted to our bedroom, which was on the first floor, number 107.
Ours wasn’t the largest of double rooms but it was, truly, impeccably proportioned with lovely sash windows that looked onto a wall, not the best of views! The bed came with an oversized velvet bedhead and lots of pillows. Unfortunately the pillows had a strange musky odour – not impressed! We also had to report a problem with the electronic safe but as we were late for dinner the member of staff said she would have it fixed while we were gone, rather than keeping us in the room. And true to her word the safe had been repaired.
The monochrome bathroom was a decent size, a twin sink, massive shower with rain forest shower head and plenty of posh toiletries to complete the ablution package.
The next morning we took breakfast in the rather hip Apero restaurant, which is tucked beneath the high Victorian cellar arches, with cool white metro tiles, marble tables and exposed brick walls, Apero is an intimate, laidback and glamorous restaurant. We settled down to a continental breakfast – a wonderful selection of fresh juices, cereals, fresh muffins, fruit and yoghurts. Service is the friendliest we’ve encountered in London.
In addition to the Apero, the luxury London hotel boasts a patisserie The Drawing Rooms – a French finesse meets British aplomb serving French-inspired salads and tartelettes, edible cocktails served in elegant glasses and delicious cakes showcasing a selection of Anglo-French influences. The Drawing Rooms are decadent but not excess. We recommend the chocolate and mango cake it was a gastronomic delight – and you won’t be disappointed.
The Ampersand Hotel, 10 Harrington Road, London SW7 3ER, England, ampersandhotel.com
Images courtesy of Amy Murrell.