The Ampersand: Kensington

Sometimes it’s lovely to just be a tourist in your own city. I often get so caught up in work, blogging and staying in touch with friends and family that a few weeks can go by without me exploring London. Last week I stayed at The Ampersand Hotel to rediscover one of my favourite parts of the capital – South Kensington.

With pop up restaurants, exhibitions and bar openings every week it’s hard to keep up with the culture and cuisine changes going on in London. As a treat to the art and architecture lover in me I set aside a Sunday to spend at the Victoria and Albert Museum after reading my book in a nearby cafe. The Ampersand is just a short stroll to the best museums so it’s the perfect location for anyone looking to stay in the museum district.

Once we returned we were excited to check in to the hotel and rest our weary feet. Thankfully the service was speedy so we were sent quickly up the spiralling staircase to our Superior Room. As we walked to the second floor we spotted collections and curiosities wherever we looked. The interior design of the hotel is superb and I think it’s quite an accomplishment to create such a beautifully boutique atmosphere in a hotel so large.

The eclectic decor melds luxury with eccentric chic, with rooms themed around local landmarks. I was staying in a room inspired by the Royal Albert Hall with lyrical wallpaper and music sheet pillows which I would love to buy for my own bedroom. After taking some pictures of the room I unpacked my essentials for our stay: magazine, camera, Anne Semonin cream mask, Essie nail polish and Jurlique oil. Afterall it wouldn’t be a hotel stay without a bit of pampering!

Our room was a Superior Double which was described as ‘more generously proportioned’ on the website but I thought it was a bit of a snug fit so I would definitely recommend staying in a superior over a single or double room as they looked too small for my liking. The suites in the hotel have balconies which I think would be a lovely addition to any stay as the views of South Kensington must be breath-taking.

I normally don’t even bother opening mini-fridges at hotels as I expect them to be over expensive but ours was all complimentary. After a stroll around South Kensington in the balmy summer’s weather it was lovely to collapse on to the big white bed and enjoy a cold orange juice.

For dinner we were spoilt for choice as the area is well populated with fantastic restaurants. My favourite sushi bar, Yashin Ocean House, lies just around the corner so if you like Japanese food be sure to read my review here. As well as the fabulous restaurants nearby there are lots of exclusive nightclubs in South Kensington. Boujis is a favourite of mine but be warned…you will get carried away and end up ordering bottle service! We decided not to go out as we thought that if we were staying in a luxury hotel it made sense to enjoy it and I would definitely recommend doing this. With room service, the fluffiest pillows ever, a large selection of films and each other’s company we couldn’t have asked for much more to make a perfect evening.

Once we had decided to stay in I changed in to my favourite new lace lingerie as the white shorts are comfortable enough to be pyjamas but sexy enough to be underwear. The retro longline bralet and high waisted shorts both make a flattering fit for curvier figures like mine which I love. People often ask me what the best lingerie is to pack for a weekend away and I think you can’t do much better than this Daisy set by Ann Summers, you can read the full post here.

As we were staying on a Monday morning we both had to get to work but because the nearest tube station, South Kensington, is a two minute walk we didn’t have to wake up early and could enjoy a leisurely breakfast.

The modern interior touches in the industrial setting of the underground bar made the perfect place to read a paper with breakfast. The menu was as modern and stylish as you would expect in a South Kensington eatery…with prices to match!

It was a bit confusing what was available with our stay because although breakfast is included with a night’s stay at The Ampersand a full English was priced at £11.50 and the buffet was priced at £15.00 so we weren’t sure if we could have both? For a hotel as luxurious as this one it seemed odd to not be able to have a cooked breakfast as well as some fresh fruit. If you just want the buffet breakfast that comes complimentary with your stay then be sure to try the homemade bircher muesli as it was the best I’ve ever tried.

Regardless of the cost we were both very tempted by the sweet treats on the menu so we decided to indulge in French Toast. The vanilla cream served on top was sweet but not too rich and the strawberries were deliciously fresh. I was also pleased that there were two slices as I’ve often found hotels can be ‘minimalist’ with their breakfast portions!

The hotel is inspired by, and named after, the iconic ampersand symbol (which is ‘&’ if you didn’t already know) as they believe it illustrates the hotel’s role in “connecting its guests to the best of South Kensington”. Although I only checked in for one night I felt truly united with the surrounding area during my stay so I would recommend it to anyone looking to reconnect with South Kensington.

You can browse the rooms and book a stay here: Ampersand Hotel Do you love South Kensington? Comment below with your tips for travellers in London!

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