ibis Styles London Gloucester Road has a metro theme throughout the hotel, with artwork inspired by the graphic design and advertising you’ll see on the metro. Photo / Booking.com
Stephanie Holmes stays at Ibis Styles London Gloucester Road
Location: Kensington, London – within walking distance of museums, royal parks and the city’s fantastic transport links.
Style: Modern hotel in a heritage building with a design influenced by the graphics and features of the London Underground.
Perfect for: A few days exploring London when you just need a simple hotel as a base.
Price: Via booking.com, prices range from $177 to $500 per night. We chose a rate with free cancellation until 2pm on the day of arrival, which is a fabulous option in these times when you have to be prepared for last minute changes and delays related to Covid.
First impressions: Location is king at this central Metro Zone 1 hotel. We had arrived early that morning at Heathrow, traveling direct from Auckland, so we were feeling a bit delirious, to say the least. But the journey from Heathrow was as easy as it gets – we caught the Piccadilly line at Terminal 2 and traveled straight to Gloucester Road, without needing to change lines. The hotel was a five minute walk away.
It is located in a former Kensington mansion, five floors plus a basement, with many stairs and narrow hallways. Fortunately, there is also an elevator, but only to the fourth floor. If you are assigned a room on the fifth floor – as we were – you will need to carry your luggage up a short flight of stairs to get to your room.
Reception was bright and welcoming, with a member of staff sitting at a higher table in the bar, rather than behind a desk. She checked us in easily and quickly and prepared a room for us straight away, even though we were four hours early than check-in time.
There’s a London Underground theme throughout the hotel, with artwork inspired by the graphic design and advertising you’ll see on the Underground and its stations, as well as lamps and accessories that look like they’ve come straight from the Gloucester Road station itself.
Rooms: In the attic of the hotel, our room was small but bright, with two windows overlooking the street. A bed, two bedside tables, a wall-mounted flat-screen TV and a desk made up the main space, with a wardrobe and small closet in the entrance. There isn’t much space for luggage storage so we ended up with our suitcases open on the floor under the windows – fine for a two night stay but could get boring if you stay here longer .
The bed was incredibly firm, which might be too much for some people, and there was only one pillow each, both of which were a bit lumpy. But I loved the bright colors of the headboard and bedside lamp and the subway-inspired artwork.
Bathroom: Again, a small and simple space, with walk-in shower (one step to get there), toilet and a sink. Our bathroom had loops for a shower curtain but no curtain – not sure if that was an oversight or if it was meant to be that way. Toiletries were refillable wall dispensers from Ibis’ own “Press to impress” range.
Food and drink: A kettle and Nescafe coffee sachets and Tetley tea sachets with individual long life milk were provided, but there was no fridge in the room. There are a range of pubs, cafes and restaurants within walking distance of the hotel, as well as Waitrose, Tesco Express and Sainsbury’s supermarkets, but if you want to eat in your room you will need to ask the hotel to borrow plates and cutlery (or buy disposable items with your groceries).
Continental breakfast is available at the hotel, which we purchased as part of our room rate, and it was perfect to set us up for the day. The freshly baked croissants, breads and pastries, cereals, fruit, yoghurts, ham and cheeses were all excellent and the coffee machine, although not standard, was perfectly fine.
Facilities: Free Wi-Fi is available, but it didn’t work in our fifth floor room. In the lobby bar and basement dining room it worked well.
In the neighborhood: The Natural History, Science, Victoria and Albert Museums, Royal Albert Hall and Hyde Park are all within a 15-minute walk. There is a bus stop right outside and Gloucester Road tube station just around the corner. Take time to wander the back roads to discover beautiful lanes with gorgeous Victorian terraced houses, private gardens (like the one Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts discover in Notting Hill) and neighborhood pubs.
Accessibility: Accessible rooms are available, with features like roll-in showers, shower chairs, lowered sinks, and toilets with grab bars. However, there are steps from street level to the main entrance, so those with limited mobility will need assistance to get to the front door.
Sustainability: Towels are changed only on request and toiletries are provided in refillable bottles. However, the tea and coffee supplies were all single use, and there were plastic bags of Marmite, Nutella etc. at breakfast, so there is still room for improvement.
Contact: Search for “Ibis Styles London Gloucester Road” on Booking.com