Frankly, any hotel sporting a giant bird cage conservatory – overlooked by half a zebra jutting out from a neighbouring wall – could totally slack off on everything else, and no-one would care.
But the 5-star Blakes isn’t one to do things by halves*. Designed by lauded interiors and architecture guru, Anouska Hempel, each room is individually (and completely extravagantly) furnished with a nod to far-flung locations. And the communal spaces aren’t too shabby either, from the Mediterranean private courtyard, to the Studio 54-meets-opium den cocktail bar. Here’s what’s tucked behind the enigmatic soot-coloured Kensington facade…
*except that zebra.
Credit: Helen Murray for the Royal Court
Thanks to its celebrity clientele, Blakes’ long-standing policy has always been one of privacy and discretion… which essentially requires the hotel to be hidden in the depths of residential West London. But while you might not be as well-connected to the transport network, there’s plenty to see within walking distance – including London’s big museums; The Royal Court theatre, which champions new writing; and plenty of super-luxe mansions to gawp at.
Every one of the 45 rooms is lavished with decadent furnishings and unusual artefacts picked up by Hempel on her travels across the Far East, while bathrooms are kitted out with luxurious tubs and monsoon showers. The interior design ranges from the pared-back, monochromatic single rooms to the enormous Library Suite, which features secret doors disguised as bookcases, and a double-height four poster bed. Which, considering four poster beds are already about three times higher than they need to be, is pretty impressive.
THE FOOD AND DRINK
Food is served all day in both the private courtyard and the extravagant black and gold lacquered in-house restaurant, where the menu is predominantly Mediterranean with a nod to the East. The Oriental theme is taken up more heavily by the Blakes Below bar, right down to the drinks – the Chai Tea Martini comes infused with sake. And if you want to venture outside, you’re a mere stone’s throw from the recently Michelin-starred Claude Bosi at Bibendum, or light levantine fare at Ceru.
If the Matthew Williamson-designed courtyard, birdcage-shaped conservatory and wall-bound zebra are mere distractions to you, there’s plenty other perks to enjoy. Besides round-the-clock room service, free wifi and in-spa room treatments, Blakes frequently run private tours of art galleries and will happily supply you with guest membership to swanky nearby spa and fitness centre, the South Kensington Club. And for anything else you can think of, the 24 hour reception and concierge service can help out with everything from emergency nannies to table reservations.
Which should be the only reservations you have during your stay here.
NOTE: A double at Blakes starts at £250 a night (breakfast not included). You can find out more and reserve on their website HERE.
Blakes Hotel | 33 Roland Gardens, SW7 3PF
Staying in the area? Make sure you squeeze in a drink at the Evans & Peel Detective Agency