Being the fashionista and girl about town I am, there is something very appealing about the stylish and celebrity favourite that is Blakes Hotel. Designed by the world renowned designer Anouska Hempel, this boutique hotel is striking both inside and out. You are greeted by the matt black exterior, which sharply contrasts the red brick of the Victorian townhouses amongst which Blakes resides. The interior is an eclectic and mysterious mix of the Orient and Renaissance Europe, and the most unique feature of this hotel is not one room is the same.
After a hectic day in Mayfair, I head to South Kensington to check in, as I enter the lobby I am hit by the intense, exotic smell of incense, then the décor, rich hues of gold and ebony, the wonderful touches of vintage Louis Vuitton cases as tables and a bamboo staircase leading down to the restaurant and bar. I feel like I am in another place, another time. Ana, the lovely Head of Guest Services, shows me to my room, a Directors Double on the picturesque fourth floor. Ana explains how this is her favourite room, and it is clear to see why with its beautiful colour scheme of navy and deep red, massive king size bed, spacious lounge area with all mod-cons (iPod dock, flat screen TV with HD Sky), a vintage Louis Vuitton case as a coffee table (like in the Lobby and Bar) as well as a stunning bathroom with terracotta brushed walls and a rainfall shower. I drop off my bag, hang up my coat and head back downstairs to the Blakes Bar, which is located in the basement, for pre dinner cocktails. The barman asks what I would like to drink, my response “surprise me”: a true test of a good bar is a good mixologist, and Blakes came up trumps. Now anyone who knows me knows I am somewhat of a Champagne fiend – I especially like it in cocktails – and the wonderful barman made me a fabulous concoction of bubbles, rum and bitters with an orange twist. I recline back in to the sumptuous seating of the bar lounge and wait for my dinner guest, the gastronome Qin Xie.
Arriving in a flutter after her busy day at Leiths, we take our seat in the restaurant and enjoy a wonderful glass of their house champagne Canard-Duchêne Cuvée Léonie while contemplating the menu. We manage to polish off three courses each, including what can only be described as the largest dessert I have ever seen, the caramel soufflé, which Qin makes a sizeable dent in despite its size.
The waiter also makes excellent choices of wine pairings with our courses including a great dessert wine, Château d’Yquem, 1er Cru Classé, Sauternes, which balances perfectly with both of our desserts. After dinner we make our way to the bar, which luckily was about two metres from our table, for after-dinner cocktails. I opt for a Corfu’ Request while Qin chooses the Missing Book, both cocktails beautifully presented and, more importantly, very tasty. After several more cocktails it is time to retire to the room; luckily after so much extravagance in the restaurant and bar there is lift to transport me to the luxurious retreat of the fourth floor.
Waking up the next morning, after what can only be described as a blissful night’s sleep, I take a shower before breakfast; the toiletries in Blakes are Molton Brown so it is difficult not to look and smell great. The rainfall shower is amazing, I could have stood there for hours, but breakfast beckoned. Breakfast at Blakes can be served in the room or down in the restaurant, I opt to have a working breakfast in my room. As I eat my Scrambled Eggs with Truffles, a known favourite of mine, I take in the ambience of the room, in the daylight. The room is of a great proportion, every last detail has been thought of – the colour scheme, the furnishings, even down to the mini bar (which even has Berocca). It feels like a home away from home, welcoming, relaxing, so much so that when it hit check out time I was somewhat sad to say goodbye.
Blakes is indeed boutique at its best, with great design, fabulous food, exemplary staff and the trendiest bar that only the London elite are seen sipping cocktails in. Whether you are staying for business or pleasure this hotel has that perfect combination of hip and trendy with warm and relaxing, something not easily achieved, but Blakes it seems is the exception to the rule.
33 Roland Gardens