Greatly in need of a mini break, it was perfect timing that we received an invite to be hosted at the at the Royal Garden Hotel. Usually we use hotel stays as an excuse to go and explore the local area but this time, once we had checked in and seen what the vibe of the hotel was, we decided to spend most of it within the hotel’s doors and chill out on a mini Hotel Holiday.
24 hours at the Royal Garden Hotel
14:30 : Arrive in Kensington after a journey from Birmingham to Kensington High Street via a nippy Virgin Train and a couple tubes.
15:00 : Arrive at the Royal Garden Hotel via Boots and a cheeky Ben’s Cookies, (my favourite cookies in the world!) Also I sort of took us in the wrong direction despite practically being able to see the hotel from the tube station exit!
The check-in was smooth and very courteous. We had reservations for the restaurant the following day which was confirmed with us at check-in and also we were asked about reservations for the evening so we made one at the bar for 19:00, still unsure of what to do for dinner.
Accessibility : There is a lift at the front steps to avoid the several step up to the entrance.
16:30 : Step into the room which is more like a studio apartment. A king size bed, a desk, a very cool raised living space with massive windows overlooking Kensington Gardens and London city. It was hard at first to take in any details about the room as the view kept drawing us in. It was possibly one of the best views we’ve had in London.
17:00 : Conscious of the fading light, we unpacked quickly into the wardrobe (that was bigger than our wardrobe at home), I made some tea and we just sat on the sofa, eating the biscuits that had been left for us and watching people in the park, looking at London City skyline and Kensington Palace as the sun set. It felt our little holiday had begun.
The hotel room was furnished to make you feel at home, and having lived in a studio apartment, it felt very familiar. Perhaps the newest part of the room was the bathroom which had both a shower and a bath and a large space. The theme for the decor was wood and though starting to look a little dated if compared to some other hotels, it was comforting, very clean and functional.
“It was possibly one of the best hotel views we’ve had in London”
For all of Kensington’s attractions and interests, we had no inclination to step outside and explore. Our adventurous spirits punished us for this with welling guilt to not even walk about the gardens but in all honesty, with the view from the room, we were practically in the garden already.
If I did want to venture out at any stage however, I was safe in the knowledge that I wouldn’t have to walk too far as the hotel’s location right in the middle of Kensington, 5 mins from Harrods, 5 mins from the tube etc. and given my disability, I felt safe having a place to rest so close.
18:45 : Feeling pretty relaxed after doing nothing at all whatsoever we got ready to go downstairs for drinks. Still not having committed completely to having dinner in the hotel. This was our sense of adventure not letting go and telling us to go for a walk.
Before heading down we noticed the menu card to order breakfast in bed – something which we don’t usually do so in the spirits of holidaying we chose everything we wanted and put the card on the front door handle as we left for the bar. I think Elizabeth was more excited by this as I’m a fan of a good buffet but thought we should try something new.
19:00 : We were shown to a table in the bar and the cocktail waiter came over to go through the options. We opted for a couple of cocktails and in traditional fashion, Elizabeth had the Margarita and I ended up with the pretty one with flowers in!
Drinks menu – it was a good menu with a well stocked bar. The beers were a bit limited but the forte here was the cocktail menu.
20:00 : After speaking to the very entertaining bartender for a while we thought we would have a look at the menu for the restaurant. There were two menus available. The ground floor restaurant, the Park Terrace, aptly names as the windows look out to the park, has a fine dining section and a casual dining section at opposite sides of the bar.
20:45 : Park Terrace Casual Dining
We were taken to some comfy sofas at the back of the restaurant area which felt very indulgent and we ordered some wine. The food menu was very impressive and clearly from a fusion chef, influenced by the East. When we spoke to the waiter, he explained that the chef was Malaysian so I decided to try something I loved from our time in Asia, a Singaporean favourite Kway Teow, a flat noodle dish with rich flavours. Elizabeth on the other hand was torn between the Falafel burger and her carnivorous cravings for Chorizo which was on a different burger. Explaining the dilemma to the waiter, he arranged for chorizo to be added to the burger which made Elizabeth very happy.
21:30 : The food came out quickly and hot. Piping hot which was a welcome change to many noodle dished had elsewhere. The food was impeccable and very reasonably priced.
“For 2 mains, 2 cocktails and 2 glasses of wine, in a 5 star hotel, in Kensington, overlooking the Palace Gardens, came to £50.”
Which we thought was very reasonable.
22:30 : Feeling very satisfied we called it a night. We contemplated going out one of the local Kensington Bars but decided we had had a pleasant evening in that was more than enough.
The sleep was comfortable and the bed nice. We had a slight issue with the air conditioning as it was a little cold but one call to reception and it was sorted remotely by the maintenance team. We also requested firmer pillows and a heavier duvet which brought quickly.
The only issue we had was that the guests next-door were talking a little loud and decided to watch American Football at 2am. This I think was a mix of the guests being inconsiderate and the walls being marginally too thin.
08:00 : Breakfast was booked for 8am so it doubled as our alarm. I will perhaps use a normal alarm next time as I was looking a little out of sorts when I invited the porter in to setup the table. This was fascinating to watch as people who had never order breakfast in bed. The cart transformed into a table and within the cart was a heated space where the food was kept in transit.
08:15 : Elizabeth (unsurprisingly) woke up to the smell of bacon and we sat in our hotel gowns and slippers eating breakfast. I had a full english with a very nice black pudding and Elizabeth had poached eggs and bacon on toast. All of it was lovely and when we requested some more tea, it was brought quickly and hot.
09:00 : Breakfast finished, we had a lazy morning watching tv and getting ready. The only sad thing was that just as we were getting into the relaxed vibe, we were packing to leave.
The shower was very nice and powerful and the bath was relaxing and a good size according to Elizabeth to lie down and relax.
I realised that I had finished the toothpaste the night before so sheepishly called reception for a solution. Within minutes they had sent 2 complimentary dental kits consisting of a brush and mini toothpaste. Ready and packed we choose to spend the last hour or so sitting on the sofa watching the London morning.
We have a sofa at home but with Kensington Palace, the London skyline and Kensington High Street all in view, this one was a little bit better.
12:00 Check-out – was easy and painless. We used the pre-authorised £50 to pay for dinner and drinks the night before and spent the time before our booked lunch to take some pictures and video and have a read of some of the history of the hotel.
We left our luggage with reception and went off for lunch. We will follow with a review of the Min Jiang at the Royal Garden Hotel as this deserves a special mention.
The stay at The Royal Garden Hotel was reminiscent of our stay at the St. Regis in Doha that we visited in 2015. Although London in the Winter is very different to the Middle East, the attention to detail and the service was fantastic and very personable.
The location of the hotel is fantastic, it is accessibility friendly, the food is wonderful and the staff a pleasure. We set out to have a mini holiday and I think we managed it. We would highly recommend a stay at the Royal Garden Hotel but would suggest at least 2 nights to take advantage of the relaxing vibe.