LONDON: The clickity-clack of your luggage wheels on centuries-old cobblestones accompanies you to your home away from home, the K+K Hotel George Kensington, London.
Only a two-minute walk from Earl’s Court, the centrally located K+K is on Templeton place in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. A quaint residential neighborhood, the property, a Victorian Terrace home, dates to 1897. The building’s façade is charming with wrought-iron balconies, bay windows and crisp white columns flanking the entrance stairs.
Outside the windows of the 150 room hotel, gray on gray flags flutter in the afternoon breeze.
The K+K Hotel George Kensington has stood proudly as a hotel for the past 25 years. Being nestled in a residential neighborhood just three blocks from Kensington High Street. The noise and “vibrations” of the city are kept at bay by a wall of Victorian residential townhomes just across the street.
Beyond the Victorian entranceway is modern sophistication. You are greeted with welcoming and genuine hellos from the front desk staff as you enter the spacious lobby floor plan.
Contemporary design is mixed with the transitional, resulting in a bit of the historical past merging with the K+K’s bright future.
Large lobby windows allow the occasional London sun to stream across the inviting wood plank floors. On gloomier days, the effect is quite warming.
The hotel has done a beautiful job of utilizing the large space of the main floor. As you pass through the front desk area, the space gives you the sense of being at a crossroad. To the left is a large restaurant overlooking the award-winning quintessential English garden.
A custom hardwood communal table seats eight. Great for large parties or those who wish to join in a group and meet someone new. The Bar and Bistro is the ideal place to relax with a great bite and a classic cocktail.
Straight and “down” you may feel like you are in the halls of a yacht heading to the many conference rooms and state-of-the-art gym.
Your room at the K+K
Rooms either overlook the quaint English garden to the rear of the building or the charming residential street.
Continuing the eclectic designs of the lobby and public spaces, the designer blends the homes original architectural elements with touches of crisp modern design in this delightful boutique hotel.
The recently updated rooms are in keeping with the property’s four-star rating. Beds are comfortably dressed in duck down duvets, plush pillows and oh so smooth sheets.
In keeping with today’s technical challenges, rooms now feature USB ports for convenient charging of all your technology. The older property also features abundant closet space, an amenity that newer built properties cannot boast.
Following a restful night’s sleep
London offers many tours, from the Harry Potter to the Historical, from food too, my personal favorite, the London Liquid History Tour. Take the refreshing walking tour, stopping at anywhere from four to six local pubs for a beer and lessons in local lore, legend, and history. Each tour is small in size and departs from the easily accessible St. Paul underground at 2 pm London time each day. Reservations are a must.
Other easy adventures include strolls to a few unique destinations.
Hyde Park is just 1.8 miles from the K+K Hotel is a most magical way to spend an afternoon away from the busy shopping streets of London. The largest park in the heart of London has so much more to offer than its blissfully peaceful walking trails.
A gift of HRH Queen Elizabeth, this memorial to the People’s Princess opened in 2004. As you walk up to the fountain, you realize what a beautiful tribute to Diana it is. The fountain is, like its namesake, classically beautiful. The water flows in both directions from the highest point of the fountain, making its way over different ridges in the middle and both sides to meet in the calming pool.
More than a fountain, the memorial is an immersive path.
The ‘river’ of water invites people to wade in, listen to the sounds as the water rushes over hills and into valleys. Down the steps to rush into rapids. In other areas, the water bubbles up to burst the surface.
In nicer weather children will be seen playing in the fountain and you can only imagine the joy they must bring to the princess watching from above. The fountain is an accurate representation of a woman who charmed London and leaving a legacy her children are no living.
The Country Manor feel of the palace is a pleasant addition to her majestic gardens. Currently, the London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, a large portion of the palace is open to the public.
There are multiple exhibit spaces plus the renowned Orangery Café. Visitors will see the 16th-century King’s Staircase; peek into Queen Mary’s State Apartments; learn more about Queen Victoria in the Victoria Revealed exhibition, and explore Queen Caroline’s Cabinet of Curiosities.
You can also admire a collection of iconic dresses worn by Princess Diana in the Diana: Her Fashion Story exhibit. The exhibit is only open through February 2019.
The Palace Gardens
After touring open areas of the palace, tours are allowed to stroll the landscaped palace gardens.
Stop in front of the Queen Victoria Statue and reminisce on her legacy.
The Lake in front of the palace is “a dream” thanks to the abundant amount of birds that take residence.
The swans are most impressive, gliding above the water as if they are royalty themselves. Walking in the gardens and the park you grasp the feeling of being a London local enjoying the back yard as dog walking to joggers and marathon runners all enjoying the escape of what is busy London.
Before you leave the gardens, please stop by the west shore of Long Water and say hello to Peter Pan. Built-in 1912 by Sir George Frampton, Pan is forever captured in glistening bronze as the boy who will never grow up.
Modern day technology invites you to chat with Peter via your smartphone. He can be longwinded, so I suggest walking and talking on your way to your next stop, the app is mobile, not Peter.
Food and Fun at the K+K Hotel George Kensington
Mersim Asani. is in control of the food and beverage program at K + K, working in the Grand Cayman Islands before landing in London, working with the PPHE Group, before joining the De Vere Group and the K + K.
He is a vital asset to the property also taking on the position of Food and Beverage Manager. Like all the staff at the K + K, he traverses the property exhibiting his joy at being there.
Going above and beyond at the K+K Hotel George Kensington
Asani’s goal is to resource as much product from local suppliers. Guests will enjoy freshly delivered bread as well as London spirits and liquors. Always evolving as the food and drink industry moves to the next best thing, Asani seeks London based companies to provide for his guests.
While at the K + K enjoy gourmet popcorn by Joe and Seph’s, locally sourced goat cheese with black pepper, and the latest health trends, such as rosemary water as a super-herb, tonic water.
“A breakfast buffet for the ages.”
With 80 percent of the K+K Hotel guests being tourists, the food and beverage staff deliver classic English fare with international flair. The deluxe breakfast buffet includes full English and Continental breakfast options. An array of meats and cheeses, poached eggs or eggs over medium and then there are the oh so English roasted tomatoes!
Grab a seat in a window corner overlooking the English Garden for a gentle start to your day.
After breakfast, or for an after lunch respite, take tea with a book from the lounge, then find a spot in the glassed-in sunroom.
The K+K has earned a Certificate in Excellence from TripAdvisor and is one of the few hotels in Central London to have such a lovely and spacious private garden.
The garden serves as a space for small weddings and intimate events perfectly hidden from the street. The Alice and Wonderland feel in the sunroom is priceless, thanks to the checkered floor and lush greenery all around.
High Tea at the George Kensington
A visit to London would not be complete without a proper tea. Sitting down at a table with its mix and match cups and saucers, one can’t help but hear Beauty and the Beasts “Be our guest, be our guest.” Classic tea settings are laced with gold outlining the most romantic floral designs.
This china is designed by “Heaven Scents” and rumored to have a fan in Prince Charles. In a way, you are having tea like royalty.
High tea includes a classic triple layered tower of savory and sweet treats. The lavish afternoon tea sandwiches are traditional.
A personal favorite being the cream cheese and dill – simple but delicious. The sweets include chocolate and vanilla cakes, tea cookies and fresh fruit.
Scones and Clotted Cream
However, the pièce de résistance one cannot resist is the scones and clotted cream. Clotted cream is fresh milk that has been allowed to “sit” in a shallow pan from twelve to twenty-four hours. The process requires the scalding of the milk to get the cream to rise “and clot” together. One pint of milk will make less than 1/2 cup of sweet and buttery clotted cream.
High tea is accompanied by a selection Twining teas or a flute of Pommery Champagne.
You may also want to try the Chapel Down Classic non-vintage Brut from Tenterden, England. Exquisitely balanced and dry to pair with the sweetness overload of the top two layers of your tray.
Afternoon tea is from 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm, however, Mr. Asani is a fan of giving his guests what they want. “If they feel peckish”, he says, “and would like tea for dinner, they are more than welcome.”
The Bistro at Dinner-
The property energy shifts toward dinner as guests come in from the neighborhood for dinner time in the Bistro.
The Bistro seasoned staff is there to answer your questions and personalize the menu to your taste or necessity. They strive to cater to the evolving world of food allergies and intolerances and want their guests every need to be met.
Start dinner with a crisp Cullinan View Chenin Blanc from South Africa. Light and fresh, easy drinking, off-dry white. It pairs perfectly with the vast array of meat and cheese course.
I would also recommend the Baked Camembert with Onion Chutney, because, well, there is always room for more cheese.
The warm, spreadable texture looks as lovely as it tastes. Paired with freshly delivered bread, you will forget that you are in a hotel and not at your grandmother’s cozy house enjoying a home-cooked meal.
Fish and Chips
Classic fish and chips are on the menu. A light, flaky batter from London Pride adds a flavorful layer to the crisp white fish. The fish is plated with hand cut chips creating an upscale classic London dish.
For a light but flavorful dish, the Superfood Salad with Salmon is a lovely choice. Pomegranate seeds are bursting with flavor balance the earthy quinoa and sunflower seeds perched on a generous bed of greens.
A sweet end to your day
Crème Brule for dessert is light and melt in the mouth. I see a trend in the dessert department here. A crispy caramelized sugar glaze is atop a creamy custard creating the loveliest end to a delicious day of exploring London and her food and drink.
The website for the K+K George has terrific information about more details for locations and travel and all the help you need to get to and from along your day.
I will see you next year, as the K+K George has a lovely return guest list, I am sure you will be added on for your next London Adventure. After all, Getting Lost in Rabbit Holes, and meeting Kings and Queens is much fun, but better when you have the safelight guiding you home to bed, at the K+K George Kensington.
When You Go:
K+K Hotel George, London
-15 Templeton Place
+44 20 759 887 00