In the 1800s, the Kensington, Knightsbridge neighborhood of London was deemed an iconically-privileged borough of London proper; where French-influence brought the bistro-bordered squares and London-classic emerged as an architectural appeal of endless Victorian-townhouses.
Ever since, Kensington’s quintessential charm has attracted the savvy traveler looking to experience the London portrayed in storybooks and television series. Even today, as the trending creative scene depicted on social media occurs only a 30-minute tube ride away in Shoreditch, the quintessentially British remains longstanding in this neighborhood
Dispersed throughout this area of London, Starhotels Collezione discovered a way to authentically emphasize old English, while simultaneously fulfilling key expectations of the modern traveler through its design and culinary scene. The Franklin London – Starhotels Collezione, The Pelham London – Starhotels Collezione, and The Gore London – Starhotels Collezione clutch onto this “old,” London charm with velvet furnishings and gothic decor, while subtly embracing the modern expectation with craft cocktail experiences and hen-party high teas, ensuring the archetypal British continues to withstand the creative renaissance.
Rooted in history
From royal guests to record-releases, the trio of Starhotels Collezione proudly showcase their role in a cultural past, while creating innovative opportunities to embrace history. The same bar that hosted the launch of The Rolling Stones record, Beggars Banquet, now syncs a craft-cocktail menu with the latest exhibits at the Victoria & Albert museum to acknowledge the significance of the property’s allegiance within the neighborhood. Their latest offering reflects the Ocean Liners exhibit, providing guests and bar-goers the opportunity to unwind under the essence of some of the world’s most prestigious ships, including The Titanic and the Normandie.
Furthermore, as a way to explore London without completely succumbing to modernity, The Gore and The Franklin offer day tours from the seat of a 1920s Rolls Royce; top down in the summer; you’re not only transported back in time, but treated to the essence of extreme royalty.
Time traveling through design
Housed in multiple-story, Victorian-style residencies that the elite once called, and some still call, home, The Gore and The Pelham’s interior designs reflect the ivory-washed exteriors of wealthy London. The lavish detailing includes canopy beds, plush-velvet pillows, ornate flooring, and what some may call over-the-top chotchkies, like bronze statues in the claw-toe tubbed bathrooms, and intricately carved vanities. Its in these properties where rooms are dedicated to Judy Garland or ‘Dame Nellie’ and where each room is truly unique—from turquoise—washed walls to royal purple rugs.
While these properties accentuate their wealthy, British-roots, The Franklin uses its brick-shelled exterior to encompass a type of modern interior; one that features its former reputation with a vintage mirror offering—from the bar to the bedroom. Hundreds of mirrors are used throughout the hotel as bedposts, trays and even a form of wallpaper replacement through the entirety of the first floor.
A taste of the past with a side of the future
Upon check-in you’ll notice a glass jar full of loose leaf tea in your rooms, specially blended for each property, to include a range of breakfast tea and afternoon flavorings; the difference exists in the type of blend, some requiring more milk, which is what tea consumed in the morning hours calls for. In the afternoon, tea is consumed with scones and finger sandwiches, so is a lighter blend to accompany the sweets.
Although The Pelham’s afternoon tea is enjoyed with the hotels’ house champagne, Taittinger, for the traveler who wants to swap sweets for happy hour, craft cocktails at The Franklin attract guests to the intimate bar for a truly personalized drinking experience. It is here where you can choose from a list of a classic martini and Peruvian Pisco, or allow Italian bartender, Salvatore Maggio, to concoct up a cocktail based on your flavor profiling; whether strong or sweet, longdrink or short drink, you can be assured you’re tasting a uniquely-curated recipe.
At The Pelham, you’ll also find an offering for the modern traveler, with the Michelin-starred chef, Alfredo Russo, at La Trattoria. Pasta shaken and served tableside, burrata thick and creamy, and a wine list to match, provides an easy itinerary for a night off from pub fare—while maintaining your feel in the same indulgent era.
Photos courtesy of Starhotels Collezione