Dramatic Style in a Classic Townhouse Setting
A striking reception at Blakes
Not for the faint-hearted but definitely for travel connoisseurs, this theatrical hotel in a series of late-Victorian townhouses was the first venture of Anouska Hempel, a.k.a. Lady Weinberg, the wife of leading city financier Sir Mark Weinberg. The dramatic results reflect her fashion and acting background.
Blakes's style is esoteric with strong themes running through each room's décor, from Biedermeier furniture to black Oriental lacquer. There are lots of swagged curtains, trompe l'œil wall treatments and marble in the bathrooms. Each bedroom is different, startling and idiosyncratic, some with painted floorboards, others with fantasy beds.
Some might accuse Hempel of over-decoration, and fans of minimalism should definitely steer clear, but this place is enormous fun and not surprisingly goes down big with celebrities who make up most of the guests. No doubt they appreciate the gorgeous aesthetics and amenities such as fireplaces and private balconies.
Downstairs, Blakes restaurant displays Hempel's keen interest in the Orient, with Japanese "Kyoto Country Breakfasts." There is also an expensive but beautifully executed international menu that attracts a glamorous clientele. The hotel has an affiliation with Holmes Place health club. It has a sister property in Amsterdam.
There is a Hotel in Chelsea, which is a true treasure. If you would ask me what a luxury hotel is, this will be it - it is small, unique and serves all your needs. Having had a drink with a group of friends there, I went downstairs where an exotic but modern looking lounge awaited me. The room was decorated out of dark wood and black walls, seats arranged in squares around tables. Sharing a table we ordered different cocktails. Next ot it there is a restaurant where dinner is served, the menu card is Asian.
I was told that each room looks different and has been carefully designed. Of course the interior is voluptuous and over the top - reminding me of a Hotel designed by Christian Lacroix in Paris. I am sure it is an experience. Nonetheless the prices are sky-high - no surprise in London!
Loving the location, in trendy, residential South Kensington neighborhood. Walking distance to many great spots. It feels more like a friend's flat than staying at a hotel. Upon entering, you notice the global treasures filling the dimly lit lobby.
We stayed 3 nights in a Chinese dynasty themed room. I am simply docking stars because the room was dark and a bit crowded. Too much furniture in a small space. I also had difficulty getting dressed in the dark space. The room seemed a bit dated and the pillows and accessories were very dusty! After spending the first night, my significant other and I awoke to the game of "Count the bug bites on our body." That ALWAYS worries me... is the room not clean? It should very well be for that cost!!!
The hotel was redeemed later that night as we had a drink at the downstairs hotel bar. A fun, small spot to start your evening where we met the gorgeous Ana, Head of Guest Relations, who recommended many fabulous things to do during our London stay. The bar attracts a groovy, international crowd and we ended up spending the entire night there... forgetting our dinner reservation!
Myself and a group of 5 friends ate at Blakes recently. We were greeted warmly by the staff and shown to our table. We had a great table for our party towards the back of this intimate restaurant.
We were presented with the menu and the choices looked sumptuous and when each course arrived, they certainly lived up to the description.
I have eaten at various well known West End restaurants and a few in Knightsbridge and Kensington, but so far this has been my favourite in all ways.
Perhaps the price is slightly more expensive than some of the best of the rest...or not so best of the rest, but on reflection the overall experience, food, wine, ambience and service was perfect and I couldn't find fault with Blakes.
Thank you for a wonderful evening and compliments to the Chef and staff. I'd love to return in the not too distant future.
While this hotel is very interesting in decor, etc. be aware that if you are not reserving one of their "suites" you will be stuck in a shoebox. My room was over $500 US and I had a single bed and a bathroom you could not turn around in without hitting the walls (I am 5'10, 180 so not a "big" guy). The brochure looks great but you cannot get one of those rooms for $500.
When I complained to management they said they were a "suite" hotel and they would be happy to show me a suite. I am sure at at least $1000.
I had also reserved the room and pick up from the AP. Due to travel agency issues they never got my flight info so I did not get the ride from the AP. They gave me 30 pounds credit! After they told me that it was worth 100 pounds.
I know this is London but really???
I travel a lot and all around the US and Europe but I have never seen anything like this. If it were $50-70 a night then I would expect this.
Go somewhere else, unless of course you can afford a suite! Although I cannot vouch for what they look like because I was stuck in a broom closet for a room.
One star is too much for this place.
Whether eating, drinking or staying in this sumptuous South Kensington hotel, designed by famous hotelier Anouska Hempel, you can expect to be taken care of royally.
Having spent many a night here ensconced in the bar, or fine dining, I definitely hold it dear. It is an area institution and deservedly so.
The staff are always warm and welcoming, especially to their favorite customers, and although it is dark through and through, the style of the place merits it.
If you desire to be taken care of properly, then definitely look no further than Blakes.
I thought the hotel had a great reputation but I was sorely disappointed.
1. No porters to assist with luggage (they have them but not there when I arrived or checked out)
2. Room size - my room was very small, you literally couldn't pull the chair out to sit at your desk
3. Room repair - toilet roll holder broken, room lighting broken, power at desk broken
4. Air conditioning - I don't think it had any and if it did it wasn't working
5. Internet Access - wired connection didn't work and wifi would stay up for more than 3min and you couldn't reconnect.
All in all, I will not be back
Blakes is one of my favourite places in London. It is all dark and squished, but in a good way. I would definitely recommend this place for a third date, it will get you laid. Fact. You might want to wait for pay day though.
Everything on the menu is pretty much amazing. Take heed if ordering the souffle, because it is the size of a small country and could feed five. Easily.
When Blake's first opened, it was a new idea in small hotels, and now that smaller hotels all over the world have followed its boutique design, I don't think it detracts from the hotel at all.
I've stayed there for long periods of time, and while the rooms can be small, I love everything about them. Every detail is perfectly thought out and you realize it. The attention to detail doesn't end with the rooms but carries over well into the service which is excellent.
Blake's is a great hotel from which to work if you're in London on business or if you just want a hotel off the beaten path. Either way, a few days there are like a little bit of heaven. Anouska Hempel may have moved on to other bigger locations, but she hasn't forgotten her roots with Blake's. Every time the rooms are redone, they are better than ever.
The restaurant and the bar are both superb, and you're as likley to share the bar with people from the neighborhood as people from other countries. It makes it all the better.
This was our first time at Blake's and I want to particularly comment in the staff. Blake's provides first class service starting with the general manager, Julian Payne, and continuing to the front desk staff, the porters, the wait staff.... They cannot do enough for you and they do it with style.
Our room is lovely with marquetry floors, a dramatic draped bed, and 3 French doors leading out to a wide balcony. The towels in the bath are the thickest and softest ever!
I recommend Blake's for the service, the location, and the style!
I love Blake's. It is quaint but keeps this high end feel to it. So you'd think a conflicting idea but not. The rooms are very European but comfy. The prices are high. Dinner was fabulous and also quite pricey but if this doesn't matter then well it doesn't matter!
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