So last weekend, we were lucky enough to be offered a hotel room in London for Cybermummy weekend. The hubby and I, after several long months apart, decided to have a quiet night on the first night, and headed to our hotel, the Thistle in Kensington Gardens, early on the Friday afternoon.
First impressions, I have to say, were slightly disappointing. The hotel is on Bayswater Road (an easy walk from Queensway Tube on the central line) and as soon as you glimpse the sign, all you see is a big petrol station. Happily, turning down the side street to the actual entrance, it just got better and better.
First off, it’s had a huge refurbishment, in the process elevating this fab little gem from a 3* to a 4*. The lovely Customer Relations Manager met us at the (sparkly) lifts and told us all about it. He also told us that we’d been upgraded to a suite. RESULT!
Those sparkly lifts caused quite a lot of hilarity. Firstly, they were teeny. On the sign it said you could fit 8 people, but honestly – we got stuck in there with a couple of sweaty German people and it was not pleasant. I should imagine 8 people in there would be akin to one of those Guinness record breaking ‘squeezing people into a Mini Cooper’ attempts. The other problem was that we were singularly useless at putting our room key in the slot and then pressing the button. Happily, the Concierge seemed to be well used to people going down instead of up and arriving in his lobby. He swiftly sorted out our card problems and send us soaring to the 7th floor.
Our suite was amazing, with a lovely lounge area complete with trendy grey wool sofas…
…a sparkly new bathroom:
and a bed as big as a bouncy castle (happily, as later, when the husband was all ‘tired and emotional’ after our two bottles of wine and conked out in an ungainly starfish position – I still had tons of room across the other side).
The views over Hyde Park were stunning (they even left us a little pair of binoculars so we could check out the Albert Hall and the Gherkin):
and as it was such a lovely evening, we headed out for a gorgeous walk – you’d never even know you were in the middle of London!
Obviously wishing to test the place as thoroughly as possible for you, my loyal reader, we then decided to check out the bar:
We weren’t disappointed. Our lovely waitress was not only chatty and friendly, she kept us topped up with gin and peanuts and told us a couple of nice places to try for drinks and dinner, all within easy walking distance of the hotel. Mind you, the menu looked so nice that we almost didn’t bother going out at all.
A short stroll took us to bustling Bayswater and a plethora of pubs, restaurants and bars. A packed Italian restaurant caught our eye and we feasted on beautifully tender salt and pepper squid, a lush rocket, tomato and avocado salad, and then huge prawns in a spicy tomato sauce and crispy fritto misto. Then came the two bottles of wine, the stagger home and the inevitable collapse.
The absolute selling point of the Thistle, Kensington Gardens, forgetting for a moment the beautiful decor and the great location, is the staff: from the amazingly helpful Concierge who helped me find a route home dodging around central line closures on the Sunday morning, not forgetting the polite and friendly breakfast staff who rushed to make me an omelette then checked twice to make sure I was enjoying it, to the lovely receptionists and the housekeeping staff who brought chocolates and wished us sweet dreams.
What a fabulous, fabulous place. We’ll definitely be back!
Thistle Kensington Gardens
104 Bayswater Road
London W2 3HL
Phone: 0871 376 9024 / +44 845 305 8324
Prices from £102 per room per night
From Tuesday 5th July, Thistle launches its national summer deal, offering guests an extra 30% off room-only stays with the option to add breakfast for only £10 extra. The offer runs across all Thistle’s 33 UK hotels. To book, and for more hotel package deals available, visit www.thistle.com/summer. Alternatively, call: 0871 971 1831
Thanks so much to Thistle Hotels for our fabulous break, and to everyone at Kensington Gardens for making us so welcome.