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Occupying a mansion opposite Kensington Palace and offering a butler on each floor and a chauffeur-driven Maserati, the Baglioni is certainly luxurious, yet it has none of the snooty formality of some of its deluxe English counterparts. The ground-floor Italian restaurant and bar are part baroque, part Donatella Versace: spidery black chandeliers, burnished gold ceilings, gigantic vases and a truly magnificent mirror from Venice. The chic bedrooms are more subdued: black floorboards, taupe and gold-leaf walls, dark wood furniture enlivened by jewel-coloured cushions and soft throws. Instead of the usual marble, the swanky black-panelled bathrooms have hammered iron sinks imported from Morocco.