The Milestone Hotel offers 44 deluxe guest rooms, 12 luxury suites and six long-stay apartments. Seen here is the Grand Master Suite.
If you’ve got just a short time in London, The Milestone Hotel at 1 Kensington Court in Central London is an ideal place to stay. Everything about it is authentically British and the staff on hand (that’s a two-to-one ratio) is clearly there to ensure you’ll make the most of your time. A member of Red Carnation Hotels and The Leading Hotels of the World, The Milestone is intimate in size with just 62 rooms, suites and apartments.
What we loved: The Milestone’s lobby is filled with staff that together feels like a family that’s concerned with only your care.
Case in point: As we headed out for a brisk walk around the lovely Kensington neighborhood (the hotel is literally across the street from the grounds of Kensington Palace and Gardens), the concierge enquired if we had specific plans and suggested a visit to the Victoria & Albert Museum, which is just a 15-minute walk away. We immediately headed over there and after a few hours absorbing it all (the V&A is the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design), felt all the richer for getting a dose of culture. Bonus: The V&A does not charge for general admission. And, if you’re interested in fashion at all, its gift shops are stocked with unique books on the subject, sure to inspire any budding designer.
Back at The Milestone, we enjoyed Afternoon Tea in the Park Lounge parlor under a grand painting of Cole Porter (just ask anyone for the story behind that). Tea is served at sittings at 1, 3 and 5 p.m.; that last time slot works well for theater-goers who can indulge on tea sandwiches, macaroons, cakes and, of course, scones, Devonshire clotted cream and jam, then return after the show for a snack and night cap.
Steps away, Stables Bar is a virtual cocoon with attentive and personable bartenders who emanate an authentically British luxury tone; they also oversee the adjacent and cozy Conservatory, which dazzles with its black and white color scheme. Dress your best for these venues, it’s world-class sophistication at its best.
All of this is overseen by the affable general manager, Andrew Pike ([email protected]) who is often found in the lobby looking after guests; many greet him as a dear friend when they spot him.
Pictured: The Conservatory Suite has a glass ceiling allowing guests to sleep under the stars.
Note: The Milestone has a series of lovely rooms. Ask for accommodations overlooking Kensington Park for views of greenery or book a suite; they all have plenty of personality. If you’re settling in to London for a lengthy stay, there are six apartments, each with two bedrooms and bathrooms, which provide all of the services of the hotel.
Note: Be sure to grab a breakfast and a dinner at Cheneston’s, where service is attentive and the “Pot Roast Dover Sole” is a must, as is “Bea’s Chicken Noodle Soup,” a recipe crafted by Beatrice Tollman, president and founder of Red Carnation Hotels.
More on the neighborhood: Make a left out of The Milestone and you’re quickly at Kensington High Street, where you’ll find shopping favorites such as Top Shop, H&M, Zara, Boots and Marks and Spencer, as well as moderately priced restaurants, including Italian, Lebanese and Asian cuisine, along with English pubs, of course. There’s also an exciting Whole Foods just steps away from the hotel (one of the few in Europe); it’s an active hub, with ground-floor restaurants and an upstairs martini bar. If you cross the street at Whole Foods you can head up to Kensington Court Street, which is lined with local patisseries and restaurants, antique stores and thrift shops selling vintage clothing. If you’ve got time, keep walking and you’ll end up at Notting Hill.
If The Milestone is classically British, ‘41’ Hotel is its sexy sister, with a private club vibe and black and white styling everywhere. This luxury enclave sits atop 41 Buckingham Palace Road and directly overlooks Buckingham Palace’s Royal Mews. Note: This location makes it fun to observe the comings and goings of the palace’s horses and carriages all day; there’s also a sweet little authentic Buckingham Palace gift shop just steps from the hotel where you can pick up tasteful, palace-themed gifts to take home.
Pictured: 41’s lounge which serves as the hub of the hotel, offers plenty to read and drink.
41 also has a cozy, caring environment, particularly in its lounge, which serves as the center of the hotel. Here, you can settle in to a great lounge chair and enjoy pampering service all day long. There’s plenty to read and drink and the team there is quite doting. You won’t starve, either, as the hotel prides itself on its “Raid the Pantry” amenity which gives guests access to food in the fridge at all hours.
Good to know: The hotel is also just a few, walkable blocks away from Victoria Rail Station, whose vast network will get you virtually anywhere in the UK by trains or Tube.
Note: The Victoria Rail Station area is under redevelopment now; upon completion it will offer an abundance of retail and office space, with plans for it to become a hub for London’s fashion industry.
VIP contacts for 41 are its general manager, Malcolm Hendry ([email protected]) and Lauren Hargrave ([email protected]), resident manager. Terry Holmes ([email protected]), executive director of Red Carnation Hotels, oversees the U.S. market for the company and is also a good contact.