Blakes claims to be the world’s first luxury boutique hotel – whether that’s actually true we wouldn’t like to say! Based in South Kensington the unique blend of eastern designs, colours and inspiration was created back in 1978 by designer Anouska Hempel drawing inspiration from her travels.
LondOntheInsidewere invited to stay in one of the hotels luxury suites for a night. Upon entering the hotel you can instantly see and smell it’s quite different from any other hotel. There are oranges everywhere, tons of oranges with a strong citrus smell even a glade air fresher couldn’t recreate.
The reception with its old leather suitcases, big chairs and wooden tables feels like you are stepping back in time, boarding the oriental express. After check-in you are offered a welcome drink before being shown to your room – hotels take note, this makes all the difference as you actually feel welcomed not just another number.
The suite itself was like an antiques showcase with art lining its walls, a huge four poster bed, tables, lamps, small walk-in wardrobe and big bath. Decked out in silk fabrics of gold and blacks it felt like a sexy Aladdin’s Cave. After relaxing on the sofa and testing out both TVs we finished our welcome drinks and headed down to dinner.
The restaurant is located in the basement, and keeping with the hotel’s travelling theme the menu is a blend of East and West . The food was, put quite simply excellent, we started with the Dive scallops with ginger and basil which were juicy, plump scallops cooked perfectly – they went down a little too fast.
The Rack of Lamb with minted cous, cous was so tender it literally fell of the bone, Black Cod with miso and ginger sauce was a generous portion of meaty cod coated in a sweet, sticky sauce. The food and service were exceptional but like all 5-star hotel restaurants the prices are on the high side. The cheapest bottle of wine is £30 but as a house wine it is perfectly drinkable.
Back in the room we crawled into bed and woke feeling alone, having managed not to touch each other all night – seriously the beds are that big! Breakfast in the basement has a completely different feel but not being able to see the sun on a Summers morning made us anxious to get outside. The Turkish eggs did take our mind off it, two running eggs coated in yogurt and drizzled in chilli oil – amazaballs!!
Even now, over 30 years since the hotel first opened it still manages to feel like an exclusive secret, hidden away down a residential street. The public areas themselves are quite small but rather than feel crowded they feel intimate and sexy. Yes, we think Blakes is the perfect place for a dirty weekend away, even if you are a Londoner – Ooo la la!
Room rates start at £245 per night
Blakes, 33 Roland Gardens, London, SW7 3PF