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Christmas Shopping in London? Here’s Where To Stay

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Before staying at The Milestone Hotel & Residence I had passed it many times, without realising what a gem lay inside its historic country manor façade and carved window frames. Its location, opposite Kensington Palace and Gardens and close to the Royal Albert Hall, means there are many fabulous shopping opportunities on its doorstep. The gift shops at Kensington Palace and the V&A Museum are both go-tos of mine, while Knightsbridge and High Street Kensington are equidistant from the hotel doors. No need to broach Oxford Street and its mayhem. But let’s discuss service and style, not shopping. Both are plentiful at The Milestone.

Not having given an estimated arrival time, as I stepped out of my taxi, I was greeted by the doorman who knew my name. It’s details such as these that standout to travel-weary guests and it’s The Milestone’s attention and intuitive service which remain long after a stay. General Manager, Andrew Pike, sets the tone and he is one of the best hoteliers I’ve met.

If you like classical elegance, cosy dining, interesting artefacts over contemporary minimalism and corporate hospitality, you’ll love The Milestone.

Spread across three converted Victorian townhouses, there are 44 deluxe rooms and thirteen unique suites in three categories – Grand Master, Master Suite and Junior Suite. No two rooms are the same and each has its own theme – from Venetian classicism to 15th-century pantomime. More is more is the ethos here with each room and suite enhanced by the owners – Bea and Toni Tollman – who also own Ashford Castle and are head of the Red Carnation group of hotels. The Tollmans have personally selected pieces of furniture and artwork. Chintz, gilt, clashing prints and comfort are all prioritised.

The Meghan Suite

I’ve stayed at The Milestone several times now – and on the latest visit saw some of the recently refurbished rooms and suites which have a certain Parisian flair. The Ruhlmann suite is inspired by Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann, the French designer and is decorated with Art Deco flair, while the theatrical Mistinguett Suite is named after the French actress and singer. All rooms feature Penhaligon amenities and decadent touches such as a pillow menu, butler service and use of the hotel Bentley, if it is available, to take in the sights.

I was fortunate to see inside the lush green Hermes Suite – a fashion-lover’s dream, so-named because of the vintage scarves displayed in perspex. The suite overlooks Hyde Park and Kensington Palace and is flooded with light via its floor to ceiling windows and doors. The Meghan Suite, named after a certain Duchess, is for those who love leopard print, offset with a stunning black and white bathroom.

Stable’s Bar

As for dining options. Stable’s Bar is a favourite for meeting my friends where the famous “Milestone Old Fashioned” is served, and its menu sufficient for a casual get together (do order the prawn and crayfish cocktail and for comfort food the chicken pot pie). Learning the art of champagne “sabrage” is one of the services on offer too. For a special occasion there’s the 2 AA rosette Cheneton’s Restaurant, while The Park Lounge is where traditional afternoon tea is served. Other dining venues are the airy Conservatory and Oratory.

I would definitely recommend a post-retail therapy session in the dinky hotel fitness area which has a resistance pool, gym and beauty salon. Irish beautician Fiona Keane is the hotel facialist, who has a long list of A list clients – and an international reputation. Offering bespoke facials by Sothys, I don’t think you will find a better treatment or facial massage anywhere else in London.   

The Park Lounge

As for further shopping recommendations – while you’re in the area, do head to Walton Street, and visit The Design Museum before (reluctantly) checking out of The Milestone.

Need to Know: The Milestone Hotel & Residences, I Kensington Court, London, W8 5 DL; www.milestone.com.

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