South Kensington is one of the most luxurious neighbourhoods in London, and the Ampersand Hotel definitely fits. The hotel has been privately owned since its creation in the 1800s as the Norfolk Hotel and is one of London’s original boutique hotels. The stylish and quirky design is inspired by the culture of the neighbourhood – music, ornithology, botany, geometry and astronomy. These themes are cleverly incorporated into the overall design and décor, with clever maps of London cut into hummingbirds outside the lift, bird designs on the chairs in the café, and each of the 111 rooms cleverly integrated into the themes.
Your room has a complimentary mini-bar (soft drinks only) and tea and coffee facilities. The digital touches really bring the luxury hotel experience into the 21st century. This includes your ‘do not disturb’ notice and a button for calling service to your room. It’s the small touches that impressed me – an international adapter in the desk, sophisticated electronics panel in the desk, breakfast served in your room if you request before 3am, dressing gowns, Miller Harris toiletries (including make-up remover, vanity kit and other easily forgotten items), slippers and your own rubber duck. You can choose from a range of rooms, from the smaller simpler double and single rooms through to the suites situated on the fourth and fifth floors of the hotel.
Breakfast is served either in your room or downstairs in Apero restaurant, yet again with slick contemporary design. You can choose from the continental buffet which includes treats such as spinach and ricotta pastries, brioche, homemade bread, eggs, fruit, cereals, there is something for everyone.
South Kensington is perfect for lots of classic London experiences. You’re only a short stroll from the Victoria and Albert Museum, Science Museum, Natural History Museum and Royal Albert Hall, as well as only a couple of hundred metres from South Kensington tube station if you want to explore further. Alternatively, the hotel can arrange for a taxi to shuttle you to your desired destination.