THE AMPERSAND LONDON HOTEL REVIEW
WE REVIEW THIS SOUTH KENSINGTON HOTEL IN LONDON
Photography by Amy Murrell
Stepping off the noisy streets of London into the tranquility of the Ampersand hotel instantly relaxes you, and the porters are on the ball to take your bag off your hands the minute you step through the door.
'Everything just runs like clockwork'
If you’re tired of the vast number of traditional hotels that dominate the premium market in London, this hotel is a complete breath of fresh air.
Feeling like it was built yesterday, it has all the mod cons but without the coldness of a minimalist design. Instead it’s packed full of colour and quirkiness.
One of our favourite parts of the stay was the free-standing bath complete with TV screen at your feet to watch while you take a relaxing dip.
The hotel opened in 2012 after an extensive renovation and is one of London’s original Victorian boutique hotels, having originally opened in 1888.
Impressively it is listed on both the Small Luxury Hotels of the World and Mr & Mrs Smith websites. Staying here is a new London experience with individually styled bedrooms and balconied suites and splashes of contemporary art throughout. It is clear that their unique concept is inspired by the nearby world-famous cultural district.
The Ampersand Hotel is also on the doorstep of Hyde Park and Knightsbridge, with easy access to the best that London has to offer. Classic English heritage meets a contemporary interior with restored original Victorian features visible in all areas from the impressive high ceilings to the hauntingly beautiful gargoyles.
We stayed in one of the Deluxe Studios and enjoyed a generous living space, a grand bathroom, a Nespresso coffee machine, a huge bed and wonderful views from 2 large windows. Guests enter a kaleidoscopic world with a design aesthetic inspired by the surrounding world - famous museums of Natural History, Science and Victoria & Albert, as well as the Royal Albert Hall, all devoted to botany, music, geometry, ornithology and astronomy.
These 5 themes are intricately incorporated throughout The Ampersand Hotel, from the 20-foot staircase installation accented with goose feather wings to the bespoke upholstery featuring flowers and ferns. Individually designed guest rooms and public spaces, spread over seven floors, including 5 suites, all of which have their own balcony offering views of London’s iconic skyline.
Located in the original 19th century vault below the hotel, you’ll find the Apero restaurant. As you enter this restaurant on the lower ground floor of the Ampersand hotel you’ll instantly hear the traditional Mediterranean music, giving you a clue as to what the food might be live. However, the impressive décor resembles a New York style bar making for an interesting contrast.
We were greeted with a smile and given the option of a cool semi-private room (which we enthusiastically took). The dinner menu is made up of tapas style dishes with 2/3 being recommended per person.
Each dish is very reasonably priced and the waiter helped us pick a selection which would all complement each other. He mentioned that beetroot is the chef’s speciality and the chef also sports a beetroot inspired tattoo on his arm. It turns out he was right, the beetroot risotto was our favourite dish.
The Drawing Rooms
Set on the ground floor of the hotel, The Drawing Rooms reflects Albertopolis, the cultural quarter of South Kensington, boasting a beautiful patisserie lounge where both hotel guests and local residents can enjoy artisanal, premium coffee complimented by sweet and savoury pastries to be enjoyed in the romantic setting of over-sized armchairs and hand woven rugs.
The Games Room
This Games Room is every Gentleman’s dream socialising space. A bar in one corner and a huge TV screen in the other. The far wall is full of books and historic sporting memorabilia, with the main centre feature being a full size table tennis table. We ended up spending more time in this room than we planned... whiff-whaff is addictive!
The gym is small but also rather quiet so it felt like we had our own private gym. There’s a cardiovascular room featuring modern machines (treadmill, cross trainer, 2 cycling machines) and a weight training room with free weights, a weight bench and a cable machine.