My first visit to London in 2013 was accented by our delightful stay at this charming hotel in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. History abounds in this structure, once the London residence of the Earl of Strathmore. Now with 77 rooms and suites, the home is a traveler’s delight. Our room was actually large (for London), with 2 Twin beds and 1 Double. There were 2 of us, and we had requested 2 beds, and my guess is we may have been upgraded to a suite. The room featured a private bathroom with full shower/tub, HDTV mounted to the wall, gorgeous tall windows with exquisite window coverings, a work desk, in-room safe, tea maker, ample lighting with ambient settings, telephone, WiFi (for a fee) and sitting area with very comfortable loveseat.
Arrival was quick and efficient and I was directed to the “lift” for my room on the first floor. Like most newcomers to London, I quickly learned the first floor is that floor directly above the main floor. Historic status requires strict guidelines be adhered to, and so the elevator (lift) is the smallest I ever used. Basically enough room for 2 people with 1 or 2 bags. But this is London, and this is the joy of staying at a well maintained historic property. To that end, one morning I watched as a worker carefully removed and polished each brass rail on the lovely staircase from the main level to the first floor.
We stayed for a week (6 nights) and the location was extraordinary. Out the door, it’s a block to a main road where you can catch sight-seeing bus trips, taxis or find numerous dining options and cafes. Nearby Brompton Road is home to Bumpkins (a favorite dining spot of ours) and 1 mile on foot you will find the famous Harrods Department store.
A few minutes’ walk, you’re at the incredibly convenient Gloucester Road Underground (Tube) station, on the Piccadilly line, with service that will take you right to Heathrow or of course all over London. We got the Oyster card and used the service daily to explore the city. For my return to Heathrow, with luggage on wheels, I walked the short distance to the station and in about 45 minutes, I was inside Heathrow airport. Across the street, a lovely park, and you’re only a short walk to the vast Hyde Park. Whether by foot or public transportation, it’s a great location to explore the city without being in the heart of the busiest parts. If you really want a spot near the West End Theater district, or Piccadilly Circus so you can easily stumble only a block or two after late night pub crawling, then the Kensington park area may be a bit far.
Each morning we took full advantage of the British continental style breakfast served in the hotel’s elegant dining room. This was included in our rate plan, but we also had the option to upgrade to a full breakfast. Full service is provided, white table cloths, cups and saucers – we really felt pampered! And yes, there was rich coffee too (and a vast assortment of tea). After returning in the evening, we sometimes took advantage of the lounge area for a beverage, or snack. Because of the smaller size of the hotel, options were limited (i.e. don’t expect a wine list), and the lounge menu was nothing spectacular. Service could be slow if the area got busy, which it did at times, but it was always friendly and pleasant.
Back in the room, housekeeping service was always top notch! The room was clean on arrival and maintained for our entire stay. Inside the bathroom, the shower pressure was outstanding, and plenty of lighting. However, counter space was almost non-existent. We were told this is due to the historic status of the hotel. Be that the case or not, ladies may find this a challenge.
As departure day neared, the only real hiccup during our stay was the ability to print our boarding pass. Possibly due to the smaller size of the hotel, the function was clunky at best, requiring me to email my boarding pass to the front desk to print. It was slow and didn’t work well on the first few tries, so plan some extra time (I first tried the night before departure, but the staff person working wasn't sure how the system worked). It was really the only factor of dissatisfaction.
During early morning or late afternoon busy times, the concierge, also serving as the bellhops were often overtasked. Understanding this is a small and in many ways a boutique hotel, these staff limitations are expected. Because of this, we didn’t utilize the service much, instead relying on alternate sources to purchase theater tickets, plan excursions and get dinner suggestions.
For us, traveling for pleasure and recreation but wanting access to business conveniences (i.e. a desk, WiFi), we found the hotel, the location and most of the guest service all a 5-star experience. I was able to take advantage of a great rate plan, so for us, the value was also exceptional. But even at the standard prices, for the elegance, this is a gem.
If you enjoy a bit of history, unique accommodations or maybe you’re a fan of small Inns or B&B’s, I think you’ll love the Grange Strathmore. I would recommend and return without hesitation!
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- Also Known As:
- Grange Strathmore London
- Hotel Grange Strathmore
- Grange Strathmore Hotel London, England