July 24 2011
The hotel scene in London is only getting busier as 2011 progresses, with the imminent arrival of the Dorchester Collection’s 45 Park Lane (www.45parklane.com, from £395), and the newest Design Hotels member, Eccleston Square (www.designhotels.com, from £250), as well as the much-anticipated early 2012 debuts of the Bulgari in Knightsbridge and New York-based Thompson Hotels’ The Belgraves (www.thompsonhotels.com).
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 (www.blakeshotels.com, 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.