Located just a few minutes walk from Gloucester Road Tube is the four-star Rydges Kensington hotel. It’s an impressive looking building which has been sympathetically refurbished to the tune of £5 million, to allow its Georgian architecture — high ceilings and decorative plaster work — to shine through its now contemporary decor.
You can’t miss it as its corporate blue flags hoisted aloft outside the white facade.
It gives the impression of being one of those impersonal and over-priced hotels targeting the businessman. Not so.
The lobby area, with its comfortable designer furniture and muted hues, gives a welcome refuge from the hubbub of the busy Gloucester Road outside.
On the day I arrived, there was a surprising wait at reception and strangely, I had to find my own way to my room – apparently they were short-staffed. They also charge for Wi-Fi – a pet hate of mine — but those issues aside, the bedrooms are well-appointed and decorated.
I was staying in one of the executive rooms which has a separate living area and a spacious bathroom. The room is not huge, bigger than a standard room, and the ultra comfy super king-size bed almost swamps the bedroom.
This room is also overlooked by the adjoining properties that meant keeping the curtains drawn for discretion.
There is a pleasant restaurant — The Jam Cupboard — which has a New York-style bar at its heart.
Alternatively the Polo bar is ideal for a tipple in a classic English pub style lounge by a cosy fireplace, before retiring.
Irrespective of any inadequacies, the Rydges has a wonderful charm to it. The much put-upon staff are friendly and helpful. And, given the quality and cleanliness of the rooms, its near-central location and its reasonable prices, it would be remiss not to recommend the Rydges for a long weekend stay in the capital.