The Cranley: A Classic London Hotel
By Emma French
The Cranley Hotel in South Kensington distinguishes itself from numerous other London establishments by having service at the very heart of its ethos. I enjoyed afternoon tea there recently, and was then kindly offered a tour of a number of the rooms and facilities. With just 39 rooms in total it has a boutique feel, and a restful, classy ambience. First impressions set the tone, as a formal reception has been shunned in favour of a more discreet, home-like entrance, and the colour palette is muted Regency throughout.
The hotel management have come up with some ingenious touches to distinguish themselves. On arrival each guest finds a little handwritten card, with a unique message wishing them well in their stay. Some rooms are provided with the distinctive multi-pastel-coloured cupcakes produced by the famous Hummingbird Bakery. They also bake their own cookies and put them in the rooms as part of the turn down service. They offer complimentary champagne and canapés every night. To celebrate London’s extraordinary summer, they are currently giving away free Olympic medallions.
In addition to Classic and Double rooms they have Executive Rooms, two Executive Suites and a lovely Penthouse with its own balcony. All the rooms are surprisingly spacious and very well-stocked, with attractive bathrooms designed with vintage-style fittings. There is no restaurant on site, so you can choose to have your breakfast either in your room or in the light and airy lounge. There is a simple all day room service menu, too. They also offer a free booking service for many of the top restaurants on the doorstep, which in this affluent and stylish part of London include Bibendum, Amaya and Gordon Ramsay at 68 Royal Hospital Road.
The hotel was previously three Georgian mews houses that have been blended together, and it still retains evocative remnants of that era in some rooms, with high ceilings and floor to ceiling windows. In keeping with the historic feel, they have handmade beds, eight of them four poster, Irish linen and antique furniture. However, they have recently upgraded all their plasma screens and have DVD players and free wifi, so modern comforts are freely available too.
It is perfectly situated for globally renowned attractions including the Serpentine Gallery, Natural History Museum, V&A and the Royal Albert Hall. After my tour I was not at all surprised to learn that they have many repeat guests and a very low staff turnover. It’s a lovely place, really quintessentially English, and I might have to concoct an excuse to stay for a night sometime despite the fact that I live in London.
ABOUT THE BLOGGER:
Phileas French is my travel brand and blog avatar, but I am Dr Emma French, a London-based writer who was born into the Diplomatic Service in Puerto Rico. I have been travelling ever since, often with my two small children. My book, Selling Shakespeare to Hollywood, is out now. I have lived in San Juan, Washington, Muscat and Milan and I am almost halfway to my goal of travelling to every country in the world. I write for numerous publications including The Travel Belles, Travel Culture Magazine and In The Know Traveler. I also guest blog at The Adventure Travel Shop."
Her website: www.phileasfrench.com
Follow Phileas on Twitter: @PhileasFrench