Why We Love This Hotel
- Travelzoo staff went and were impressed by the funky decor such as the transparent piano
- The location is hard to beat -- it's near Earls Court and Kensington Gardens
- Walking distance of the Natural History, Science and Victoria & Alfred museums
The white-pillared, Victorian-style Hotel Xenia sits pretty in South Kensington, less than a five-minute walk from Gloucester Road Tube station. Earls Court, Kensington Gardens and attractions such as the Natural History Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Science Museum and the Royal Albert Hall are all within a 15-minute stroll of the door.
The lobby is a feast for the eyes, where Vivienne Westwood tapestries, shimmering green chandeliers and faux-snakeskin chairs combine in a fun, modern way.
Rooms are decorated in what Condé Nast Traveler calls "muted biscuit shades," with photos of London landmarks and Union Jack-decorated pillows. Xenia is also tech-savvy: Wi-Fi is free, plug sockets are multinational and tablets by the bed are loaded with local information and room-service menus.
Some of the Classic Rooms are on the small side, but this is common in London's historic buildings. However, some do have balconies, and Executive Rooms have more space around the king-size bed. Extra marks for the espresso machines and treats at turndown time.
Evoluzione, the hotel's conservatory restaurant, marries traditional Italian cooking with nutritional science -- expect delights on the menu such as passatelli with parmesan fondue, and grilled lobster with thyme prawns. However, with three-course meals adding up to less than 800 calories, you're unlikely to leave the hotel any heavier. There's also a bright Champagne bar and the seductive Living Wall cocktail bar with a heated terrace in the herb garden.