While a trip to London offers the opportunity to enjoy a wealth of restaurants and attractions, a desire for home comforts and not blowing the budget every day cannot always be met by a hotel environment.
Enter Marriott’s Residence Inn brand which is focused on extended stays, with rooms boasting high-end kitchen facilities. It’s present in more than 700 locations globally and has branches in Edinburgh and Aberdeen.
This outpost, which opened in September and has more than 300 rooms, is a short walk from Earl’s Court and West Kensington Tube stations, making it handy for central London.
Budget or boutique?
A reasonable starting room rate for London makes this more budget but with some boutique-style touches.
I’m booked into a suite on the tenth – and top – floor and on exiting the lift I’m blown away by the panoramic views of the city, including the Albert Hall and the distinctive outline of illuminated skyscrapers.
My accommodation is split between an elegant, homely living area with TV, and comfy green sofa underneath a shelf housing a selection of artwork, all in all feeling like the sitting room of a stylish friend rather than hotel room. There’s a coffee table and another table you could eat/work at, while the kitchen is stocked with high-end equipment including a toaster and kettle.
The bedroom is small but relaxing and uncluttered, with its own TV, and it provides access to a large balcony where I can imagine having Bucks Fizz al fresco while admiring the view. There is also a well-appointed gym, although I decide that my daily step count negates the need to visit it.
Wining and dining
The hotel doesn’t have its own restaurant but it’s next to a Tesco Extra and staff can pop out and do your grocery shopping. Restaurants nearby include an Italian almost opposite the hotel.
But I decide to eat in my room on my second night and get a takeaway pizza from a nearby Pizza Express.
Breakfast is something of a bunfight given the relatively compact space for the number of guests, although the hotel highlights likely peak times, and I find a spot to tuck into my platter that includes continental fare, yoghurt and pains au chocolat. You can also sit in the area during the day and the breakfast counter turns into a bar at night.
Additionally, there’s a “Grab’n Go” in the lobby where you can pick up snacks, drinks, sweet and savoury items and ready meals around the clock.
Worth getting out of bed for
I rack up 20,000 steps a day during my trip, heading for a potter among a blissfully quiet section of the V&A, near the Science and Natural History museums, and then along to Knightsbridge, where I veer off the main thoroughfare and admire the rows of chocolate box mews houses on backstreets nearby in between several café stops.
The hotel is easy to find, and the check-in prompt and straightforward. It also reminds me of a time I went on a night out in London years ago where, after we missed the last Tube from Wimbledon, we passed this corner of the city as part of what ended up being a three-hour journey home. If this hotel had been open then I would have been happy to check myself in and avoid any stress.
As well as the grocery delivery service, there are communal laundry facilities, and the hotel is pet-friendly. I also come back to my room to find a handwritten note from the cleaner wishing me a good stay.
A comfortable, stylish and well-equipped base in a handy location, letting you enjoy the best of the city – but properly relax after a day exploring or working in what can be an exhilarating but exhausting place to visit.
Suites start from £100 a night, including breakfast. Residence Inn London Kensington, 181-183 Warwick Road, London W14 8PU (020 3146 7980, rilondonkensington.co.uk)