Michael Musgrave, from Northern Ireland, has always specialised in boutique hotels of the Malmaison calibre. He is now in charge of Hotel Indigo London Kensington – Earl’s Court (oh what a mouthful for a luxury hotel). He came in at 7.15 am when the gal was just about to leave. Here he is, in Kensington Quarter Café-Bar-Restaurant, the all-purpose eatertainment area that actually seems to join the various parts of the 100-room hotel together.
From outside you can see how terraced houses built in the early 20th century have been skillfully combined, without upsetting the heritage, to form a lifestyle hotel. It is only three minutes’ walk, by the way, from busy Earl’s Court subway underground station, ideal for getting to and from Heathrow as well as, say, Piccadilly Circus. From the hotel, two minutes’ walk in the other direction leads to a leafy Kensington-area park where most afternoons little kids play, adult minders watching.
Yes, you do feel as if you are a resident, yourself, in this desirable part of London. Suite 219, for instance, looked down into others’ gardens, with lots of trees. The suite has pale oak floors, and walls are mostly cream plaster but some show collages of local images, including a sign for the actual street, Barkston Gardens. There are so many idiosyncracies: tea and coffee equipment comes with mugs marked Her Ladyship and His Lordship. The supply of hardback books includes Christopher Winn’s I Never Knew That About London.
This is a luxury lifestyle hotel for those who really want to feel they are part of London – the energetic young staff are full of ideas for short and long walks, and what to see that tourists usually miss. One tip, here, do not miss breakfast. The buffet is splendid, as is the Grumpy Mule coffee. Alternatively go à la carte and try the KQ Full English, with two eggs, bacon, sausage, roast mushrooms, tomatoes, home-baked beans and toast. Now THAT is the way to start any day!