So we’re back out there travelling and visiting family and friends, and it’s wonderful – you get to see everything with completely fresh eyes. On my recent visit to the UK, I saw a few things for the very first time and stayed in a couple of great London hotels near Gloucester Road and one at Chelsea Harbour.
Well-priced central London hotels
London is expensive, as many places seem to be these days, but you don’t have to spend a fortune on hotels. We stayed in two central London hotels from the Singapore-grown group Millennium Hotels and Resorts that are well priced, in great locations and with good-sized rooms. They also have a handy points system that means you can stay in different parts of the world and get some great privileges and discounts.
#1 The Bailey’s Hotel – near Gloucester Road underground
This is a very pretty Victorian era hotel that’s been renovated so tastefully – and I love the area around it too. It’s about a 30-second walk to Gloucester Road tube station and about four minutes to a great pub, The Hereford Arms! But the style of the property and the surrounding area of Kensington just make you feel like you’re part of the gracious architecture, the history and the splendour – and without too high a price; the Classic Double starts at only S$283, before any loyalty discounts.
The hotel has a boutique feel, and the concierge and staff were lovely. It’s a very old building that has been done up well. The double glazing must be excellent because it’s very quiet, even though it’s right in the middle of everything.
The Bailey’s Bar is nice to relax in after a hard day’s sightseeing, and there’s a welcome mix of guests. We tried out the Bugis Street Brasserie next door – it’s part of the hotel; it didn’t really match the Singapore food standards we are spoilt with here, but the Bombay Brasserie is apparently excellent.
Around & about
We walked up to Kensington Palace, but we hadn’t booked – we’ll have to do that next time. Make sure you book for Kensington or Buckingham Palace, especially in the summer months. You can walk along from there to Hyde Park and to see the Changing of the Guard. Quick tip: go around to St James’s Palace and you can catch the band and the guards leaving their stables. It’s a much better view of them than near Buckingham Palace. That’s at 10.30am every day, but get there a bit earlier to get a good place.
We wandered along Knightsbridge and popped into Harrods. We also walked past the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Natural History Museum, but it was such a nice day that we just wanted to stay outdoors.
I would definitely recommend the hop-on-hop-off bus if you’re not familiar with London. You get a great overview and it’s more relaxing than going up and down underground stairs and corridors.
The Bailey’s Hotel
+44 2073 736000
#2 The Chelsea Harbour Hotel & Spa – with a view of the Marina
This is a little more expensive than The Bailey’s as the rooms are suites – from S$486 a night. It’s a good walk to the nearest underground but only a four-minute walk to the Imperial Wharf Rail Station with easy links to Clapham and other tube stations.
It has a view of Chelsea Marina from many of the rooms and from the restaurant, the Chelsea Riverside Brasserie. With its connection to Stamford Bridge, it’s where some of the Chelsea FC footballers stay. You might also get a glimpse of them! Or how about booking in to watch a game, if you can?
There’s also the Harbour Bar & Terrace for alfresco options: drinks on the terrace and authentic Italian stone-baked pizzas if you want to stay on.
Around & about
We walked up and down King’s Road and discovered an area I didn’t know much about. It’s also about a 30-minute walk to Battersea Park and the Chelsea Physic Garden, a charming walled garden founded by apothecaries in 1673.
Further afield, we also had an afternoon at Camden Market. It has really changed since I was last there, trillions of years ago. It’s so cool! Lots of good places for eating, people-watching and shopping. We didn’t do Oxford Street, but we went to one of the larger shopping centres, Westfield, near Shepherds Bush. We thought it would be a more efficient use of shopping time!
Using the tube and train is so easy now, it’s just a tap with your credit card. And Uber and black cabs were also pretty easy to catch, though expensive.
The Chelsea Harbour Hotel & Spa
+44 2078 233000 | email@example.com
This article first appeared in the October 2022 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!
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