Last week both my husband and I had to be in London for business. However, being that it is Christmastime, we were determined to make it a proper getaway…at least to the extent time would allow. Lucky for us Christmas came early in the form of a two-night stay at The Baglioni Hotel (Thank you Mr & Mrs Smith for the introduction!). Part of the Baglioni Italian collection, the hotel is la dolce vita realized in the heart of London’s Kensington. Just east of Kensington High Street, opposite Hyde Park, the location (and view) is as desirable as any.
An oasis of Italian luxury, complete with dark, hardwood flooring and gorgeous Murano chandeliers, the entrance is exquisite. Location and interiors aside, the service at the Baglioni is impeccable. Within seconds of arriving a member of staff approached us, offering a glass of sparkling water and an introduction to our personal butler. Before being taken to our suite, the friendly and affable General Manager, Luca, came to greet us and welcome us to his hotel.
Following a chat with Luca, we were introduced to our butler who walked us through the hotel. We were escorted to our room overlooking Kensington Gardens, with a quick stop by the spa to confirm my afternoon appointment. Of the 67 luxuriously furnished bedrooms, 49 are suites. All accommodation at the Baglioni comes complete with butler service, and I do have to admit that it comes in handy when you realize the sheer amount of options that the hotel has to offer (a spa, fitness centre, valet parking, beauty salon, hairdresser, plasma TVs, an Illy espresso machine in the room, garment pressing and multilingual staff). Not only did we need her to introduce us the bewildering array of gadgets, but her instruction in the proper use of the room’s espresso machine was vital as was her immediate supply of ice for a quick cocktail.
Our hideaway on the fourth floor was a cozy, yet spacious enclave that was perfectly crafted. Rich chocolate browns and soft golds accentuated the room, Italian artwork lined the walls and a fireplace took center stage in a sitting room lined in sumptuous fabrics. My favorite room, though, was the black marble spa-like bathroom with hammered copper basins, limestone walk-in rain shower and over-sized sunken tub (complete with bath foam).
After unpacking, a visit to the Savoir showroom and cocktails with a new friend at the Savoy, I arrived back just in time for my hot stone aromatherapy message. I made a quick change into a bathrobe, resisting the urge to linger in the aromatherapy steam room. I was then welcomed by Emily—arguably one of the best massage therapists I’ve met in ages.
Feeling a bit too relaxed from my message (as if that was possible) and a little too tried from work and travel (that is definitely possible), we asked the concierge to suggest a casual-yet-nice-gastro-pub. He nailed it on the head when he suggested the Mall Tavern, a gastropub in Notting Hill Gate.
Each morning at the Baglioni we enjoyed a fabulous breakfast buffet served at Brunello in the hotel’s lobby. We occupied a spot next to the window, the perfect place to enjoy decadent espressos, smoked salmon, cheeses, fresh breads, yogurt and fruit. Richard, our waiter each morning, was truly the best…polite, friendly and attentive. On the second day he immediately remembered that we had requested apple juice, coffee and English breakfast tea the previous morning and, after confirming we were still so inclined, procured our beverages immediately.
Although is it was a short and very full trip, our stay at the Baglioni certainly made it feel like a luxurious getaway…if only for a few hours each day. Counting the days until we can return with nothing on the agenda!