Words: Tim Heap
Sure, London has a raft of beautiful hotels for visitors to choose from. Mammoth, cloud-like beds? Naturally. Luxury fixtures and fittings? Of course. Sweeping views? If you’re lucky. A Nespresso machine? Better be.
What most don’t have though are things like a humble toaster, a fridge that you can actually use, and glasses that hold more than a thimbleful of water. That’s what sets the recently opened Residence Inn by Marriott London Kensington apart.
Located on Warwick Road, a short walk from Earl’s Court Underground station and not far from Kensington High Street, there are 319 suites (no basic rooms here) across 10 storeys, making it the largest of the brand’s seven European properties.
For two nights over a weekend in November, I’m treated to a top-floor, one-bedroom suite boasting a private terrace with views across the city.
Though Residence Inn properties are designed for longer stays (some guests stay for months), this of course means that a short stay is extra sweet. I don’t quite use the kitchen enough to have to tackle washing up pots and pans (there is a dishwasher, fear not), but do enjoy a couple of homemade G&Ts on the Saturday night before heading to XXL, with ingredients bought from the Tesco handily found just around the corner from the hotel’s entrance.
Then, when we roll back in several hours later, a couple of slices of toast help to soak up the alcohol while we sleep. At any other hotel, I’d have been down the road at the nearest all-night kebab shop and regretting it not long after.
The living room is equipped with a wall-mounted smart TV, sofa and coffee table, with a muted colour scheme and dark wood furniture creating a sense of calm. Large floor-to-ceiling windows ensure plenty of natural light floods in, with one of the windows also a door that opens onto the roof terrace.
It’s not the time of year to be sitting out unfortunately, but with it being the weekend just before Bonfire Night we do watch a few fireworks in the distance until forced back inside by the cold.
The bedroom, though fairly small, has enough space for a weekend’s stay and USB ports on either side of the bed – great for someone like me who always forgets to pack the plug for my phone charger.
The bed’s one of the comfiest I’ve slept in, and another wall-mounted smart TV means a hungover Sunday morning watching Netflix is the only sensible thing to do – after breakfast served in the Living Room downstairs. It’s a well-stocked buffet with all the usual suspects, plus full-sized pastries which I gorged on.
Afterwards, a long, hot shower continued my recovery. The bathroom, though compact, has a large walk-in rainfall shower, full-sized toiletries and everything else you’d need (bar an actual bath – but I’d argue that the idea of a bath is always better than the reality).
Facilities in the hotel include a 24-hour Fitness Centre, a laundry room for those on longer stays, and a games room next to the lobby, with pool, giant Connect4 and more. Check out is 12pm, but our request for an extra hour wasn’t a problem, thankfully.
If you’re looking to venture out and explore the local area, the Design Museum and adjacent Holland Park are a five-minute walk away in Kensington High Street, which also has plenty of shopping and dining options. For a cosy pint, I’d recommend the Scarsdale Tavern, tucked down a side street amongst beautiful houses that you’ll only dream of being able to buy.
In the meantime, at least you’ll have the home comforts of the Residence Inn to enjoy. And yes, there’s even a Nespresso machine.
Suites start from £90/night. rilondonkensington.co.uk