The Pelham London
Eclectic, $$$ ($350)
From the outside, The Pelham London is indistinguishable from the adjoining townhouses along this exclusive, tucked-away lane in South Kensington: glistening white, with delicate cast iron railings and identical moldings. Inside this beautiful yet stolid facade, however, is a whimsical hotel bursting with discordant palettes, various textile motifs, and furnishings from every era — clashing be damned — that only Kit Kemp, the interior decorator/hotelier/artist-extraordinaire behind the design, could integrate harmoniously. If you're someone who takes comfort in simplicity, or prefer hotel rooms that resemble sleek futuristic space cubes, keep looking. For everyone else, even the skeptics who need to see hot pink candy stripe wallpaper to believe it, The Pelham London promises to deliver a sensory experience unlike any other.
At a Glance
Style: Playful, mismatched, and quirky. Picture loud, abstract headboards and upholstered dress forms, tropical bird motifs, and vintage hardwood bureaus. If a Victorian-era country estate and a chic boho flat had a love child, it would be this hotel.
Standout Detail: It's impossible to single out any particular design element as every one-of-a-kind space is a show-stopper.
This Place is Perfect For: Creative types.
Rooms: There’s no telling what you’ll get in any one of the 52 individually-styled rooms and suites, but if you’re not easily intimidated by splashy headboards, vibrant palettes, portraits that could have been painted any time within the last four centuries, Tibetan tapestries, candle chandeliers, paisley ottomans, decorative ceiling reliefs, and patterned wall laminate, the ensuing effect is truly spectacular.
On Site: Five private event spaces (designed with the same colorful aesthetic), a traditional English library, and Les Clefs d'Or Concierges.
Food and Drink: Turin-born, Michelin-starred chef Alfredo Russo serves innovative Piedmontese and Italian fare at La Trattoria, the hotel’s on-site restaurant, with specialties like whipped salty cod with olive oil, Parmesan flan, chickpea and rosemary soup, and baked aubergine. The adjoining Bar at La Trattoria does a proper Afternoon Tea, with towers of scones, finger sandwiches, and pastries that give way to craft cocktails every evening.
What to Do Nearby
South Kensington is home to three of the most impressive museums in the city — the Natural History Museum, Science Museum, and Victoria & Albert Museum — all of which are under a five-minute walk from the hotel. Hyde Park and Royal Albert Hall, one of London’s premier performance venues, are also within easy walking distance, as is Kensington Palace, the official London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Harrods, the world-famous department store, is just up the road in neighboring Knightsbridge, and reaching any other point in London is as easy as hopping on the tube at the South Kensington underground stop, located right across the street from the hotel.