- Some rooms feel cramped and dark
- Opulent aesthetic can feel cluttered
Grand and swanky luxury hotel with artistic, theatrical decor
The Blakes' aesthetic is theatrical and grand. The lobby -- with its dark walls, gilded bird cages (some of which have parakeets in them; others contain oranges), and bamboo chairs -- feels almost like the set of The King And I. The design is a successful mix of European and Asian elements, and books about Ralph Lauren, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Barber Osgerby remind guests of the property's cultured, artistic focus. A hotel of details, the Blakes has its own patented signature scented candles, which waft a citrusy perfume through the lobby. The property attracts well-heeled tourists and the occasional celebrity with its discreet, but opulent, ambience.
In a primarily residential stretch of quiet South Kensington
The Blakes is located in a quiet, residential area of South Kensington, surrounded by Victorian houses. There's not much in the immediate area, but there are some restaurants and coffeeshops within a few blocks. The nearest tube station is Gloucester Road, which is about a 10-minute walk away. Museums such as the Science Museum, the Natural History Museum, and the Victoria and Albert Museum are about a 20-minute walk or a short cab ride. Notable sites such as Big Ben and Trafalgar Square are farther away, roughly 15 to 20 minutes by cab or tube. Heathrow Airport is 45 minutes away on the Piccadilly line.
Ornate rooms in a range of sizes and styles
The rooms at the Blakes are intricately decorated and range in size from cramped single-bed rooms to multi-room suites. There's also a multi-room private residence for guests requiring greater seclusion. The aesthetics vary, ranging from boho-chic to romantic to Victorian, but all feature superb details, with every element centered around an artistic theme. Some rooms can feel cluttered with decoration and they're generally dark and low-lit, which can make reading a challenge. Rooms come with Bang & Olufsen electronics (including iPod docks) and free Wi-Fi. Bathrooms range in size and style, but many come with tubs and marble tiling. Toiletries are provided by Floris, a traditional artisan perfume house founded in the 18th century.
Eclectic dining and drinks, plus a gym and free Wi-Fi
The hotel's restaurant is due for refurbishment (set to be complete by Fall 2015), but it remains an elegant and convenient place to grab breakfast (which is served well until the afternoon) or dinner. The menu mixes eastern and western fare. Afternoon tea is offered in the hotel's bar, the darkly lit Chinese Room, which switches its focus to cocktails come nightfall. The hotel also has a fitness center and a few treatment rooms for pre-booked massages. Pets are welcome with prior arrangement, and there's free Wi-Fi throughout the property.
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