South Kensington has always been a little bit special and a lot cosmopolitan with its continued draw for Francophiles and London’s French community with it’s home to the Lycee Francais and Institut Francais. The location of our best museums (The V&A, Natural History and Science) and the Royal Albert Hall keeps the area in constant motion and, along with its sidekick Brompton Cross, continues to grow its enclave of charming chi-chi bars, restaurants, cafes, boutiques and see-and-be-seen places to meet.
The latest welcome addition to the area within a minute of South Kensington tube and a spanking new find is The Ampersand Hotel in Harrington Road. Originally built in 1888, The Ampersand Hotel’s original Victorian finery has been transformed totally interior wise to a light, airy, contemporary, open group of communal spaces, meeting rooms and individually themed rooms, all taking their inspiration from botany, music, geometry, ornithology and astronomy that’s so prevalent in the area.
The destination hallway features a stunning 20 foot staircase installation accented with goose feather wings to the bespoke modern upholstery featuring flowers and ferns. The communal areas impressed as well as the easy, relaxed yet supremely attentive attitude of the brand new Levis wearing staff (a brand sponsor) but the rooms which varied in size from double, superior, deluxe and suites seemed smaller than expected and the huge, oversized padded bed headboards (which I loved but my colleague did not) may have added to slightly ‘big bed in a small to average room’ feel.
There’s nice touches like the Miller Harris bath & body products, the scented wallpaper in the communal loos and some oh la la features like the bedroom with a double bath set on a podium in a bay window (with easy viewing from the flats opposite who are bound to get more than an eyeful) as well as plush long corridors that will all help service a short stay consumer very well, especially in this central location.
What The Ampersand does is offer a great go-to destination in the South Kensington area whether it’s for relaxing in the ground floor area where they serve patisseries, coffee and champagne (served from a champagne trolley) or chilling out in the lower ground floor at the new aperitivo bar/restaurant, Apero. Head Chef, Chris Golding, says, “When creating the menu I was inspired by the European culture of communal eating, where food and drink bring people together. We want to create the same neighbourhood feel at Apero.” The menu is centered around dishes that are perfect for sharing, including stone bass, sumac & beetroot risotto, free range chicken, potatoes & fennel and green apple & castelfranco.
I’ll definitely be dropping by for cocktails and aperetivo. It’s a date.
Apero: 2 Harrington Road, South Kensington, SW7 3ER www.aperorestaurantandbar.com Telephone: 020 7591 4410 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Ampersand Hotel: 10 Harrington Road, South Kensington, SW7 3ER www.ampersandhotel.com Telephone: 020 7589 5895 | Fax 020 7589 5511 E-mail: email@example.com