Kensington’s Number Sixteen feels less like a hotel and more like an elegant, private London home. It’s one of a small, unique collection of properties created by renowned British designer Kit Kemp and every space features hand-picked fabrics, furniture and artworks bearing her trademark whimsy. The result is a joyful jumble of colour, carefully-selected art and impossibly comfy sofas. Read on for the full review.
The final flourish is The Orangery, the hotel’s light-filled eatery, which leads into a delightful English country garden. Having a Champagne afternoon tea among mulberry trees, wisteria vines and puffs of hydrangeas is the stuff of English countryside dreams, right in the heart of London.
Where is Number Sixteen?
Number Sixteen is on Sumner Place in the heart of South Kensington. It’s a 40-minute Tube ride from Heathrow Airport to South Kensington station or a 15-minute Heathrow Express train ride to Paddington, then 15 minutes in a cab.
What’s near Number Sixteen?
It’s a great spot for Kensington attractions: about a 15-minute stroll to the Science Museum, Natural History Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum, and a further five minutes to the Royal Albert Hall and Hyde Park. It’s also about 15–20 minutes to the pubs, cafes and boutiques along Chelsea’s buzzing King’s Road. South Kensington Tube station is close to the hotel, making it easy to access all of central London.
Room types range from compact Single Rooms up to the sumptuous Sumner Room (28 sqm). The latter has a sofa bed and walk-in wardrobe (ideal for a small family) and all rooms feature a granite and oak bathroom, Italian Frette bed linen, minibar and bath products from Kit Kemp’s own RikRak brand. Rooms have pretty aspects over the hotel’s garden or the terraces of Sumner Place.
Restaurants and bars
The hotel’s modern English cuisine restaurant, The Orangery, serves a hearty breakfast from 7am daily and a la carte lunch from 12pm until the evening. Expect small bites such as cured sea bream carpaccio and artichoke, as well as larger meals including broad bean and mint risotto, and salmon and smoked haddock fish cake. Afternoon tea is also served, with a good assortment of sandwiches, cakes and, of course, pots of English tea, followed by dinner between 5pm and 8pm. If the weather’s good, book a table in the charming garden. A two-minute walk away, on Old Brompton Road, is the Zetland Arms, reputedly once owned by Charlie Chaplin, offering good pub grub.
The hotel is part of the Firmdale group, which has a sustainability policy that includes the minimisation of miles travelled by produce and materials through bulk buying. Design director Kemp also sources antiques and vintage pieces for the hotels rather than buying new, while furniture is regularly reupholstered and upcycled.
Travel for work
Although not strictly a business hotel, Number Sixteen has a writing desk in all bedrooms as well as high-speed wi-fi throughout the hotel. It also offers 24-hour room service, a valet service and a concierge service.
What you need to know
One of the great treats at Number Sixteen is having a sun-drenched breakfast on a summer’s morning in the charming urban garden or an evening cocktail under the mulberry trees. Even if it’s cloudy, throw on a jumper and get out there.
Best for: Couples
Design: Unique, colourful, avant-garde
Ambience: An urban oasis
Number of rooms: 41
Rates: From £258 per night
Wi-fi: Free and fast
Parking: Not nearby, no valet parking
Address: 16 Sumner Place, London, SW7 3EG, United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7589 5232
Earn 3 Qantas Points per $1 when you book your next stay at qantas.com/hotels