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The best hotels in Kensington

Check out our pick of the best hotels in Kensginton, from affordable options to boutique hotels and luxury five-star stays

By Time Out editors
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Checking out the best hotels in Kensington is a good idea if you’re planning on visiting some of the city’s must-see museums and galleries, will be on the lookout for food and drink at the many pubs and restaurants of King’s Road, or don’t want to be too far from Olympia or Harrods.

As you may have guessed, luxury is abundant in this part of town, and the best hotels in Kensington are certainly no exception, so expect to indulge in top-of-the-line service while rubbing shoulders with the local aristocracy.

Looking for more options? Check out London’s best Airbnbs

The best hotels in Kensington

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The Franklin Hotel – Starhotels Collezione

Hotels South Kensington

Unlike its sister hotel The Gore over the road, black is the new black at The Franklin. In fact it’s got much the same sophistication about its interiors as Blakes, from the sexy monochromes about the general decor to the romantic intimacy of its suites. It’s by no means the same place, though – the out-of-bounds garden suggests club-like rules, and the Venetian influence about the lobby gives the impression this is The Gore’s dark, and rather surreptitious, sibling.

Blakes

Hotels Earl’s Court

An Eastern influence pervades Blakes (rooms give a gentle nod to the aesthetics of India, Turkey, and Russia, etc.), but not so much as to go overboard with the idea. The Empress Josephine Suite is a particular highlight, with its black wash and gold trim – a theme much in keeping with the Anouska Hempel-designed restaurant on the ground floor. Yes, there’s plenty to explore in Kensington, but this is a hotel you might never want to leave.

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Number Sixteen

Hotels Boutique hotels South Kensington
One of Firmdale Hotels’ ‘London Townhouses’, Sixteen has the intimacy of a city dwelling while retaining that classic modernity the brand is known for. The hotel’s close to South Ken tube station, but if you’re here for a weekend shop, there’s plenty of Stella McCartneys and Ralph Laurens around the corner on Fulham Road. Succeeding any retail sprees, the mini box hedges and trickling fountain in the garden affords the ideal environment for some R&R.
Gore Hotel/London
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Gore

Hotels South Kensington
Does the odd exhibit tickle your pickle? The Gore has the virtue of being a short five-minute stroll from the assemblage of museums that provide the makeup of Kensington’s main attractions. Plus, the Royal Albert Hall is so close you could almost join in with the operatic bel cantos contained within. Let that not distract you too much from the cosy four-poster beds, heavy tapestries, and oil paintings The Gore has to offer, though.
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Milestone Hotel Kensington

In terms of providing a service, no detail has been spared at Milestone. Though depending on what you’re after, this can prove overwhelming. Perhaps sir or madam would like a business card printed with their name (and the hotel’s) on it? Maybe charter the Bentley? Select what kind of pillow you’d like for the night? Preferences aside, what stands out here is the old-world feel about the candlelit dining room, and the very attractive sitting room.
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The Kensington Hotel

Hotels South Kensington
While there’s plenty about the Kensington area to keep adults entertained, perhaps there’s more to like about the Kensington if you’re yet to reach the realities of adulthood. The hotel’s a colourful one, and the concierge has a running order of kids’ and teens’ activities about town. Storybooks are available, as well as tents and tepees for the room, children’s mags, a collection of U-rated DVDs, hot chocolate, and complimentary meals, gifts, and snacks.
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The Ampersand Hotel

Hotels Boutique hotels South Kensington
The rooms at this restored Victorian hotel are heavily themed on the museums and galleries in the area. Doves are emblazoned on the walls, along with a bit of geometry here, and the odd star map there. The kicker about this place? The bar does a mean cocktail, and just down the road are one or two well-frequented establishments which pride themselves on their own cocktail-making skills, too.
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Royal Garden Hotel

Hotels Kensington
Perched on the very edge of Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park, there might be the temptation in the summer to spread a rug and join the hordes picnicking on the grass. But then you’d be missing out on the hotel’s Min Jiang restaurant, which has one of the best views in the city. While admiring the panorama, make sure you go for what is a crowd favourite – the whole crispy duck.
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Cheval Gloucester Park

Hotels Rental apartments Earl’s Court
Cheval Gloucester Park is another one with dreamy views of the city, provided you’re given the right room. These are serviced apartments, mind you, so if you’re into cooking and shopping for your own provisions (the concierge can help with the latter), then there’s plenty to keep you happy – good-quality dishwashers, crockery, ovens, and ceramic glass hobs are available in the apartment kitchens, and a nearby Waitrose helps keep the fridge full.
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Millennium Bailey's Hotel London Kensington

Hotels Gloucester Road
Having undergone a £7.5 million refurbishment, Bailey’s has a lot going for it – like walk-in showers, a revamp of the already good Olives restaurant, and soundproof walls. Given the latter point, the hotel is off the main drag, and therefore in a much quieter area than its competitors already. Still, it means the potential for a peaceful retreat in the middle of Kensington is even more on the cards.

Things to do in Kensington

V&A Friday Late
© Victoria & Albert Museum

Kensington area guide

Things to do

The affluent area of Kensington is home to many outstanding restaurants and bars, as well as a rich cultural heritage. Enjoy a concert at the Royal Albert Hall, or spend a day shopping (or window shopping...) on High Street Ken. Kensington Gardens are pretty nice, too.

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