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A much-loved London hotel is back in the spotlight

The re-emergence of Blakes is cause for celebration

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A much-loved London hotel is back in the spotlight

July 24 2011
Maria Shollenbarger

The hotel scene in London is only getting busier as 2011 progresses, with the imminent arrival of the Dorchester Collection’s 45 Park Lane (, from £395), and the newest Design Hotels member, Eccleston Square (, from £250), as well as the much-anticipated early 2012 debuts of the Bulgari in Knightsbridge and New York-based Thompson Hotels’ The Belgraves (

But sometimes there’s nothing like an old favourite undergoing a loving and pitch-perfect re-invigoration to win lifelong fans (and fill beds). Back in 1978, a certain actress-turned-designer of muddled Swiss-Russian-German extract opened a small, surpassingly stylish hotel on a leafy side road in South Kensington. After being sold and fading into, if not quite obscurity, definitely off the radar, Blakes was repurchased two years ago by a new owner and, after a several-million-pound restoration, has been restored to something resembling its former exquisite self (, from £259).

The rooms haven’t deviated greatly from what made them great back in the day – still replete with Asian antiques and potted orchids; sexy dark lacquered walls in one suite, seven different shades of white in another. The new bonus is the jewel-like Japanese courtyard garden – an ideal place to drink a kir royale and put heads together for a hushed conversation in the afternoon (though breakfast, lunch and dinner from the menu of the hotel’s excellent restaurant are served out here as well).

First picture: Cardinal Suite at Blakes. Second picture: Chinese Room.

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Hotels, London