The façade of The Ampersand Hotel is something you cannot miss. As one of London’s original boutique hotels (it originally opened in 1889, but has now been extensively renovated), the hotel is a centre piece of South Kensington’s architecture. Named Best New UK hotel and 8th best in the world in TripAdvisor 2013 Hot New Hotels, The Ampersand Hotel has guestrooms designed around the world-famous cultural aspects of the local area, a beautiful ground floor patisserie serving artisanal coffee and champagne, a gym kitted out with state-of-the-art Technogym equipment and a Mediterranean restaurant in an underground vault. Located next to Hyde Park and Knightsbridge, The Ampersand Hotel is just down the street from the finest restaurants, shops and bars that London has to offer.
The rooms are worth a visit in themselves. Individually styled (with suites possessing their own private balcony, perfect for watching the sun set over the London skyline from), the design aesthetic emanates from the surrounding area of London – particularly the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum – with all 111 rooms having designs revolving around botany, music, geometry and ornithology (ours focused on astronomy). This theme was carried through the hotel, resulting in a centre piece encapsulating the essence of the design aesthetic: a 20-foot-high staircase installation delicately crafted with goose feather wings.
A stay at The Ampersand Hotel is not complete without a visit to their Mediterranean restaurant, Apero. Inspired by modern Mediterranean cuisine, the restaurant has endless options that fulfil every palette’s wishes. For starters, we enjoyed with a whipped feta, blood orange, dandelion and pomegranate salad, followed up by a duo of new season lamb, barley, wild garlic and spring vegetables. Dessert was a highlight, with the hot bitter chocolate fondant, with a side of honey toffee, deep fried rosemary and rosemary ice-cream wonderfully rounding off the meal.
Cocktail-wise, Apero stems from the idea of the aperitivo hour, so their cocktail list is extensive, covering a myriad of gin, vodka and rum-based cocktails. The Flying Ace, with Portobello gin, Campari, rosemary and thyme sugar, grapefruit juice and grapefruit bitter kicked off our evening, while the National Velvet (Disaronno Amaretto with lemon juice, cinnamon sugar, chocolate bitter, egg white and red wine) was the perfect after-dinner drink. After dinner, there is a games room to retreat to, keeping you fully entertained throughout the evening. Those that like fine Mediterranean dining, delicious cocktails, a strong but classic design aesthetic and a room that’s like none other, should treat themselves to a stay at The Ampersand Hotel.