South Kensington, is a pretty fancy area of London. In fact, it is one of the most expensive areas of London to live in. The gorgeous white town houses. Private gardens currently full of Autumnal colours. Pretty little hidden mews. All create a gorgeous aesthetic. It is also of course, home to many of London’s fantastic museums, such as the V&A and Natural History. It is a great area to base yourself in for exploring London. We were in London to visit Kensington Palace. On a whim, we decided we would make a little staycay of it, and book a hotel. A google search later had us making a reservation at South Kensington boutique hotel, The Ampersand. Oh and what a little hidden gem it is! Let me show you around…
The Ampersand is tucked away, just off of the main areas in South Kensington. This means that although it is it in a busy and great location, it’s not noisy! The huge windows do a great job of keeping noise out. A win right from the off. The details;
- Address – 10 Harrington Road, London, SW7 3ER
- The nearest tube station is South Kensington (about a 2 min walk)
- Phone number – 0207 589 5895
- Website – The Ampersand Hotel
Boutique Hotel in South Kensington
My love of boutique or quirky hotels is well documented. My preference is to find hotels that are full of character and charm. London, like many big cities, has a huge amount of hotels to choose from. Making a choice can be a little over whelming! Well I have a tried and tested method now. Let’s face it, despite only living a short train ride away, my deep love affair with the fair City of London means I stay in Town a lot…
South Kensington also has a lot of choice! But, when I show you around The Ampersand, I am sure you will see why it caught my eye. I had not heard of this boutique hotel in South Kensington, nor know anything about it. Sometimes that is how you discover a gem though isn’t it!
Other London Hotels you may enjoy;
About The Ampersand Hotel
The Ampersand started it’s life in 1888, as The Norfolk Hotel. It had 80 rooms, that were all individually decorated. One of the original Victorian London hotels, it had already set it’s stall out as a hotel full of character and luxury. The reincarnation to the dove grey fronted Ampersand then took place in 2012, and is part of the Small Luxury Hotel’s Group.
The hotel is passionate about using the area it stands in, for it’s inspiration. The decor gives a nod to the museums and South Kensington sights. Curiosities and details with a scientific, botany and astronomy twist hinting at the museum district it stands in. Our room had the most beautiful floral wall art in muted tones of heather and grey. Oh, and THE bath of dreams….but I will tell you all later!
Sustainability at The Ampersand
So of course, you know I always check out a hotel’s ethos when it comes to it’s imapct on the planet! Although it does still have a little way to go, The Ampersand is making huge efforts and passed my criteria. Some of the initiatives they have are;
- Their electricity is supplied by 100% renewable source.
- All lighting is 100% led
- They are committed to no waste going to landfill
- used cooking oil is collected for recycling
- They have a thorough recycling policy in place
My review of this boutique hotel in South Kensington
Now I have done the formal introductions, let’s move onto the nitty gritty. The Ampersand have a selection of 5 room choices on offer. You can see all of the prices just here. From very comfortable double rooms, through to suites. We went for middle ground, and chose a Superior Room. These rooms have kingsize beds, a beautiful sofa, armchairs and desk. There is of course a bathroom with a huge walk in shower if a soak in the tub is not your thing.
It also had the item that sold the room to me……..a huge freestanding bath…..in the room!!!! I had seen this style of room via the google Gods, so requested that style when I booked. The hotel do their best to accommodate requests and although we had to wait a little longer to check in as the room with the bath was not ready, we got lucky!
You could also watch the TV from the bath. Seriously, does life get any better???
The tub is one of those deep, luxurious and indulgent baths that feels like a real treat. Fill it up and enjoy the Loccitane products, as well as a little rubber duck friend.
I would recommend pulling the curtains if you indulge in the bath. Although once in you are pretty safe, getting in and out of the bath could offer anyone glancing out of the windows opposite, a little more view than they bargained for……
The room has tea and coffee making facilities, including a Nespresso machine and cafetiere. Still and sparkling water, along with fresh oranage juice complete your in-room refreshments. You also had a very well stocked bathroom. You got a little kit with things like make up remover wipes, a body loofa,
Facilities at this pretty London Boutique hotel
The area of South Kensington of course has a plethora of restaurants and bars. However, you don’t need to even venture outside if you prefer to relax where you are staying! Let me tell you about the facilities that The Ampersand has.
Something to note – Due to the current pandemic, the restaurants and bars at The Ampersand are operating on reduced days and hours. We were there on a Sunday and unfortunately, this was a day that they do not open them. We did get wine from the local supermarket though, and the hotel supplied us with an ice bucket and gasses.
Apero at The Ampersand
This restaurant, built into the arched cellar of the hotel, immediately felt inviting. It has an intimate, laid back feel that welcomes you.
The food on offer is inspired by the Mediterranean. Fresh, vibrant ingredients are used to create a menu that foodies will love. You also have options of booking the “chefs table”. A large, 10 seater table right outside the kitchen so you can watch the magic as it happens!
If you really fancy something special, you can book the “Taste of Science”. A unique experience created with inspiration form the nearby Science Museum. In one of the private dining rooms, you will be served dishes that are part food, part science lab spectacular! Picture dry ice, scented mists and syringes filled with flavour and you are there.
There may or may not have been the cocktail menu of my dreams too……. The bar is small but perfectly formed. Sit up at the bar and watch the skilled mixologists, make you your pre-dinner cocktail.
The Drawing Rooms at The Ampersand
I loved this dining area. It is a “Salon de Thé” but with the comforting feel of an English drawing room. It is also where they serve their ever popular Science Afternoon Tea. A twist on the traditional English afternoon te, again, inspired by the Science Museum.
If you fancy your afternoon tea a little more grown up, the Teapot Tails could be your cup of tea…(see what I did there….). A selection of sweet and savoury treats with tea infused cocktails to help wash them down.
The Games room and The Library
The Ampersand has an additional floor of nooks and crannies for guests to enjoy. On this floor is the games room/ library. Shelves are stuffed full of books you can read. There is a table tennis table and comfy armchairs. Nik and I had a game of table tennis and yep, my 14 year old Youth Club champion self has still got it..
If you are feeling guilty after your afternoon tea indulgence, never fear. You can work off the guilt in the well equipped gym. The small gym has all you need to keep your fitness routine going while on your staycay. I would love to give you my own experience of it but…..the dog ate my trainers….
The Wine Room
Now this is a room I can get on board with! A wine room??? Yes please! All joking aside, I think this is a beautiful idea for a get together. Let me set the scene. A rich oak banqueting table stretched down the centre of the room. Gathered around the table are 9 of your favourite people, seated comfortably on the leather backed chairs.
Glass fronted cabinets adorn the walls, filled with 100 bottles of wine from all corners of the World. Sparkling wine glasses are set along the table, ready for your wine choices to be poured. Laughter fills the air. The atmosphere is light and happy. Your private dining experience can now begin… How lovely would this be for a special occasion?
Worth noting – there is a lot on offer at The Ampersand in the way of events. If you have something to celebrate coming up and fancy something a little different, I would highly recommend checking out what’s on offer.
Would I recommend this South Kensington boutique hotel?
In a word, YES. However, there was just a little negative that in the interest of full disclosure, I feel I have to mention. I was a little disappointed to find that no effort had been made to fulfil an expectation they had set. The hotel states on their website the following;
Let us know if you’re looking to celebrate a special occasion at The Ampersand. We’ll add the extra touches to make sure your stay is memorable.
Well for us, we were celebrating a huge event, and I had let the hotel know in advance. We were celebrating Nik having a clear scan result during lockdown, after his 3 year battle with grade 4 cancer. Pretty big reason to celebrate! A huge deal for us! Not a thing had been done at all. Not a card, not a welcome treat, nothing. I was just a little let down by that.
This would not stop me staying here again. In fact, I will be returning to the bar in a couple of weeks. I just feel that I should mention it as it is something that would stop me giving a 10/10 score (if I were keeping score…). I feel the hotel kind of shot itself in the foot as it had set an expectation. When an expectation is not met, it feels like a negative doesnt it.
Other than that small gripe, our stay was amazing and I LOVE this South Kensington boutique hotel. What do you think? Is it the sort of hotel you like? I would love to hear your thoughts.