Fancy a trip outside the City? Look no further than 100 Queen’s Gate Hotel, based in glorious Kensington – just 25 minutes journey from the Square Mile. The hotel (former 1870s home of well-travelled aristocrat, William Alexander) combines history, culture, and comfort to give the ideal setting for a luxurious escape.
The City Matters team was lucky enough to stay at the beautiful venue during the latter end of March, and boy, did we enjoy ourselves. Read on to discover why you need to book yourself in for a weekend stay ASAP.
100 Queen’s Gate Hotel, part of Hilton’s Curio Collection, is ideally based, within walking distance of several of London’s top attractions. During your stay, have your pick of local museums, with the Natural History Museum, V&A, and Science Museum on your doorstep.
We highly recommend taking a stroll through nearby Kensington Gardens or Hyde Park, and make sure to catch some entertainment at the Royal Albert Hall.
If you want to venture further afield, you can easily hop on a tube at nearby Gloucester Road and South Kensington stations.
The eating and drinking scene in the immediate area isn’t the most inspiring – a few pleasant chain restaurants, cafés, and bars – but that’s not a problem, since those housed within the hotel are splendid.
For shopping, we recommend taking the 20-minute walk to Brompton Road towards Knightsbridge, where you can find Harrod’s and other big-name stores.
The building’s exterior is full of the splendour of South Kensington – part of a line of pristine white townhouses, complete with classic pillars. Stepping into the lobby, you will be greeted by calming blue walls, stunning chandeliers, and gorgeous dark wood furniture. Coloured glass panels sit behind the reception, while two giant Chinese vases (a nod to Alexander’s fondness for Eastern antiques) add further embellishment.
Throughout the hotel, the décor combines Victorian charm with modern touches. Think, curved velvet armchairs, parquet floors, vintage trinkets (the sort that William Alexander loved to collect), opulent light fixtures, voluminous drapes, and chrome accessories. Colours flow very naturally from room to room, while expertly chosen plants and art adorn the walls (many of them in reference to the nearby Natural History Museum).
100 Queen’s Gate Hotel holds a variety of rooms, divided into Superior, Deluxe, and Luxury categories, with views of the atrium or the mews of Queen’s Gate. The most luxurious accommodation in the hotel by far, is the Queen’s Gate Suite. It’s a love letter to Victorian London in décor, with panelled walls and opulent furniture. It also has its own private entrance onto the street outside the hotel.
Almost all the rooms feature golden drapes, along with carefully chosen wall-art and furniture, and lovely patterned carpets. All Luxury rooms and suites are named after famous residents who once lived in the neighbourhood, including Agatha Christie, Henry James, and Alexander Flemming.
We were lucky enough to stay in the Alexander Flemming King Duplex Suite. Split across two levels the suite has a separate living area on the first floor, and a bedroom, walk-in wardrobe, and bathroom on the upper.
First impressions really count when it comes to a hotel stay, and the Alexander Flemming Suite gave an incredible one. The living area features gorgeously deep blue walls offset by a rust-coloured sofa and chrome accessories. We loved the little touches dotted throughout the room, like globe ornaments and pictures, a selection of old books and scientific trinkets. The suite also had a well-stocked mini fridge, coffee maker, and room service facilities.
We had barely been in the room five minutes, when there came a knock on the door, and an ice bucket with prosecco was delivered, complemented by strawberries. Truly great service!
The upper level of the suite is decorated in a slightly simpler way than the living area, with white walls in the bedroom, and mostly white tiles in the bathroom, except for a section of beautiful iridescent blue tiles. The bathroom is on the smaller side, though perfect for a few nights’ stay. It contains an ample bathtub and shower, and luxurious, complementary toiletries.
The king-size bed comes with a soft mattress, sumptuous pillows, and a snuggly duvet. While all these things are pivotal for a good nights’ sleep, we sadly struggled to drift off soundly. The connecting rooms’ feature might be great for families and friends staying at the hotel together, but if you find yourself in a connecting suite and with noisy neighbours, you can, sadly, hear everything.
Though the door to our neighbours’ room was obviously locked, noise escaped under the gap and their voices carried through to our room. If you can, we recommend requesting a non-connecting room for this reason (unless you want one!).
Other than that (and we might have just been unlucky with exceptionally loud neighbours!) we cannot fault the King Duplex Suite – it was stunning through and through.
Food and drink
100 Queen’s Gate is home to three eating and drinking establishments, Botanica, which serves an elegant afternoon tea, Cento, the hotel’s new Italian restaurant, and ESQ, a beautiful bar featuring a delightful ‘small plates’ menu.
ESQ was our venue of choice for dinner and drinks during our stay. Nestled on the lower ground floor, the space is stunning, showcasing a large and well-stocked bar with dimmed lighting, soft music, luscious palm plants, and comfortable bar stools and sofas.
We tried nine dishes from the ‘small plates’ menu, chosen with the chef’s recommendations. Stand-out dishes included the shiitake bao buns, green gyoza dumplings, and katsu sando. For dessert, the chocolate fondant with caramel sauce was sublime (so make sure that you save room!), though the yuzu cheesecake was almost as delicious.
ESQ specialises in homemade infused spirits created by the bar’s resident mixologists – and the passion for top-notch beverages really shows. Cocktail-aficionados will adore the menu; our favourite was the ‘sapphire sling’, a concoction containing Ophir Bombay Sapphire, Maraschino, Muyu Liqueur, lime, passionfruit, pineapple juice, and Banana Crème de Liqueur. Perfectly balanced in flavour, it was sweet but not too sweet, and very refreshing.
Service and facilities
The hotel’s staff are exceptionally friendly, boasting welcoming smiles and tonnes of knowledge about the hotel and it’s features. The mixologist in ESQ was very helpful when it came to deciding upon our drinks to accompany dinner, and directed us to those he thought we’d like based on our preferences.
As well as the three eating and drinking venues, a concierge service, meeting rooms, and a boutique, the hotel also has its very own lounge-library. It’s the ideal place for some down-time, with sinkable armchairs and plenty of books.
There is also a gym in the hotel’s basement, though it’s a tad small and easily feels crowded. It’s well-equipped for a gym of its size, but could do with a few more machines, if space would permit. There’s no pool or spa (but when there’s so much to see and do locally, who needs one?)
If you’re looking for a stay that ticks all the luxury boxes, 100 Queen’s Gate Hotel can certainly do that. With so much to do and see in the area, amazing eating and drinking options onsite, and gorgeous rooms, there isn’t more that you could want!
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