The Ampersand Hotel | London
My base for London Design Festival this year was the newly opened Ampersand Hotel in South Kensington. It's a fantastic location for design lovers as it's right in the heart of the Brompton Design District and the cultural district that includes The V&A, The Royal Albert Hall, The Natural History Museum and The Science Museum - a fact we were particularly grateful for after a late night at the V&A's London Design Festival party. Knightsbridge and The Serpentine Gallery are also within easy walking distance and the hotel is very near South Kensington tube station so its easy to get around.
The design concept by Dexter Moren Associates draws inspiration from its location within this part of London. It's an area that is steeped in Victorian history and each of the 110 bedrooms is decorated with themes from botany, music, geometry and astronomy, paying homage to the Victorian era of knowledge, discovery and exploration. These themes are also continued into the public areas of the hotel, and feature in the bespoke wallpaper throughout the corridors and in the museum style collections set behind glass in the drawing rooms and meeting rooms.
We stayed in a Deluxe room decorated with an ornithological theme. It was generously sized with plenty of room for the two of us to spread out and relax in the armchair or on the sofa. The room also had wi-fi, a workspace, and thankfully, tea making facilities. Other hotels please take note - no matter how wonderful your room service is I really don't want to inflict the sight of myself minus make up and in my dressing gown upon your waiters first thing in the morning. Being able to make yourself that first cuppa of the day is a must in my book.
The first thing that hits you as you enter the rooms at The Ampersand is the oversized buttoned headboards which instantly evoke a sense of opulence and comfort - ours was upholstered in rich purple velvet. Should you wish to try to recreate a similarly luxurious boutique hotel look in your own bedroom I tracked down some similar ones here. I also loved the Bestlitefloor and table lamps.
A welcome gift
The bathroom had a TV above the bath (and directly below the shower head!) something that I noted with a little trepidation at first, but I soon warmed to the idea. Another huge plus was the spacious double washbasin, complete with exceptionally flattering mirror and lighting.
Afternoon tea in The Drawing Rooms.
Downstairs in the basement The Apero Restaurant has a chic, relaxed and elegant feel, with exposed brickwork, a marble top bar and tables, metro brick tiles, Thonet cafe chairs and industrial style lighting and stools. The staff here, as throughout the hotel, were warm, charming and friendly and the breakfast (I ordered scrambled egg and smoked salmon) was excellent. I can also happily report that they make a perfect pot of tea.
Apero, The Ampersand's restaurant, is tucked beneath the hotel's Victorian cellar arches.
I loved the black and white geometric tiles. The design takes its cue from the fabulous mosaic floors in the nearby V&A. My favourite feature though was this stunning goose feather winged light by Ingo Maurer. It travels the full height of the stairwell through several floors, from the basement up to a skylight in the roof, giving the appearance of birds in flight.
Birds, Birds, Birds - the stunning stairwell chandelier is by Ingo Maurer
We couldn't have asked for a more wonderful place to relax and unwind after a long day wandering around London Design Festival. I slept superbly well in the plush king sized bed and I'd stay at The Ampersand again in an instant. With all the cultural attractions of South Kensington literally on the doorstep it's a perfect London destination for design lovers.
Design Hunter was a guest of The Ampersand Hotel