I'd never live there again but London is a city that has long beguiled me, writes Liam Rudden.
It's lure has never weakened in the four decades I've been visiting. It's my compulsive obsession, so much character, colour and history. What I need is a home away from home and that's exactly what Fraser Suites Queens Gate offers.
Amid the stunning Victorian architecture of Kensington, Fraser Suites Queens Gate has a timeless classic 19th-century charm. You can imagine pulling back the curtains of a morning and looking into world peopled by the street vendors of the Oscar-winning film Oliver!, all plying their trade; the flower sellers, chimney sweeps and knife sharpeners. Who will buy this beautiful morning?
A Gold-Standard serviced residence in the heart of South Kensington with exquisite pillars, fluttering flags and soaring ceilings. It is comforting and chic and the welcome, friendly, fast and unfussed.
Budget or boutique
Fraser Suites Queens Gate caters for independent travellers, couples, small groups and families - reception and concierge services will arrange babysitting while the laundry service makes sure all your garments are fresh and clean.
Fraser Suites Queens Gate has 105 studio, one bedroom or two bedroom fully furnished luxury residences. I found myself in one of the first floor studios consisting of a bathroom, replenished as required with L'Occitane toiletries, that leads off from an open plan study, lounge and kitchen. Purple cushions and bed runner contrast nicely with the polished wooden floors and a shades of grey and cream colour scheme. It's a clever use of the space, as is the balcony sleeping area that overlooks the living space.
The kitchen comes equipped with everything needed, from cutlery and dining set to a microwave, kettle, toaster, oven and hob, and dishwasher.
When evening calls, or even just an afternoon nap, head up the 13 steps to the secluded balcony 'bedroom' and leave your cares behind, just like other Kensington residents.
The beauty of Fraser Suites is there is no room service unless requested. You're left to enjoy it without the need of a 'Do Not Disturb' notice, safe in the knowledge that the front desk is staffed 24 hours a day - wouldn't be the first time I've forgotten to pick up my key on the way out.
Wining and dining
Check out the classy Magenta lobby bar to relax with a drink before venturing out or if you want to take it easy, there’s in-suite dining until 1am. Breakfast is served in Queens Gate's grand dining room. There's also a varied choice of restaurants, bars and cafes a couple of minutes walk away and if you want to entertain 'at home', local supermarkets are a short stroll.
Worth Getting Out of Bed For
To walk along the Cromwell Road and into the West End, which I did to take in the smash hit musical Prince of Egypt, is to wander through London's rich history, passing some of the city's most familiar and eye-catching landmarks. Whether it's the Victoria & Albert Museum, home to Canova's The Three Graces and a permanent collection of 2.27 million objects, Harrods, or even the odd historic cabman's shelter creating an incongruous green traffic island, there are many iconic attractions. You might even spot a rare vintage London Routemaster.
Closer to home, take a turn into nearby side streets and discover picturesque mews, recognisable from film and television and be sure to look up as you approach nearby Gloucester Road tube station, its original dark plum facade preserved along with the Victorian ghost signs declaring it a 'Metropolitan Railway Station' with 'Trains To All Parts Of London'. History everywhere.
A lush welcome bowl of fruit was an unexpected and appreciated touch – and delicious too. Complimentary wifi is available throughout the whole building - a must in this day and age.
Prices vary depending on dates, check website for special offers, Fraser Suites Queens Gate, 39B Queens Gate Gardens, London, SW7 5RR, +44 (0) 20 7969 3555 | Fax: +44 (0) 20 7769 3501 https://london-queensgate.frasershospitality.com/en/location.html