This is my first full blown hotel review that I’m doing on my site and it is long overdue for this wonderful hotel in Earl’s Court in South Kensington, London.
I usually don’t get to stay in nicer hotels when I travel since I’m usually traveling solo and on a pretty tight budget. The night I spent at the Kensington Indigo Hotel in London is one of the few times I decided to treat myself.
I ended my first solo backpacking trip in London earlier this year. I was there for two nights, but only decided to splurge on a nice hotel for the final night of my 2 week trip.
Booking the Hotel
I booked my stay at the Hotel Kensington a couple of months out. One of the reasons I was able to afford this trip was because I had signed up for my Chase Ink Business credit card (affiliate link) that gave me a bonus 80,000 miles for using the card. I paid for my flights to and from Europe from Los Angeles and still had plenty of miles leftover.
It cost me a total of 14,037 points to book the hotel. If I booked it for cash, I believe it would have been around $175.
This is the first time I booked a hotel with my credit card miles and it was pretty seamless. I called the hotel the next morning to make sure it went through and they confirmed my stay was set.
First a quick little backstory on my early check in reason.
My first day in London was a disaster. The guy at the bus station told me to get on the wrong bus so I was across town from where I was staying the first night. I couldn’t find a cheap hostel so I figured I’d spend a little extra on a cheap hotel which ended up being the worst hotel I’ve ever stayed in. I stayed at a different hotel the first night.
I was in a neighborhood that didn’t sell food late night so I wandered around for an hour and a half looking for something until I just got in an Uber and went to Soho. Mind you, I was hobbling around on crutches because I broke my leg in Barcelona earlier in the trip.
The hotel my first night was tiny and disgusting. My bed was damp and caved in so I barely slept. I got up early and went to the Hotel Kensington hoping for an early check in.
I called ahead and said I was coming early, at 10:00 on my way in. They said I probably couldn’t get a room for a few hours but would do what they could.
I got to the hotel around the time most people were checking out. The staff was really sweet and helpful to everyone, but I got the extra attention since I was the idiot on crutches and a giant backpack.
The woman at the front desk knew I was there for an early check in and asked if I minded if she helped a couple of people checking out before working on my reservation. It was only about 5 minutes so that was no big deal at all. The lobby was relaxing and welcoming with some cool art and great music playing.
She made some attempts to find something open for me but said it might be a bit of time. She offered to have someone store my bags while I waited. I was starving and she recommended a close by restaurant to get a quick bite that also would offer a couple of nice sights. I walked out the door and as soon as I got to the bottom step her coworker ran out to grab me. A room just opened up!
I wanted to treat myself to a nice hotel, but I don’t have the funds to get myself a king suite. I just booked the standard room with a queen size bed.
Compared to the first hotel I stayed at in London, this room seemed like a palace. That bias aside, the room was really nice.
It was a perfect size I needed. The bed was comfortable and looked clean.
There were some small touches like free bottled water, a super comfortable robe, and the “His Lordship” tea mug that I may or may not have considered stealing.
Sorry, like I said this is my first hotel review so the only picture I took was of the mug and part of the bed. But, what a mug! Right?
I loved the design and color scheme of the room. Just like the rest of the hotel, it had a vibe that made you think clean, modern, and stylish.
The hidden around the corner was the bathroom. The bathroom with the huge, beautiful, wonderful, relaxing walk-in shower that I needed so badly. Not because I was gross and dirty, which I may have been, but because I needed to just stand under the waterfall coming from the ceiling and decompress.
Again I’m so sorry about the lack of photos of the room.
After I took my magical shower, I dressed in my robe and sat at the desk to write in my travel journal. I noticed a phone charging at the desk and was about to call the front desk to let them know the last guest left a phone, until I realized it was for me!
Nowhere on their site do they advertise this, so maybe I’m giving away the little surprise.
The phone is free for you to use around the city. It’s a Galaxy phone that has certain apps enabled that are helpful for getting around. I was able to buy discounted tour bus tickets from the phone when I was sitting at my English breakfast.
Being my first international trip, I didn’t realize how much data I’d waste searching for this or that and using maps to get around. This free phone helped saved me at least a day’s worth of data and gave me an extra phone to keep my iPhone battery alive.
Earl’s Court Neighborhood
Being my first time in London, I was given a few recommendations for where to stay. Kensington and Chelsea kept coming up so I looked around there. This hotel also wasn’t too far
Just outside of the hotel is a clean street with trees lining one side and traditional British buildings on the other side all looping around Barkston Garden. That is exactly what I’d picture as a British street. You can tell you’re in a city, but you’re in a calm little escape from all of the hustle and bustle.
There are a few restaurants and pubs within a short walk. One of the restaurants, Blackbird, kept coming up as one of the best traditional English breakfasts in the area. I decided to go to one that was a little closer my touristy locations that was also ranked up there the first day. I planned on going the second day but gave the hotel restaurant a shot instead.
As for major sites, the hotel is about a mile and a half from Kensington Palace and about 2 miles from the Queens house aka Buckingham Palace.
Theo’s – Hotel Restaurant
Against my original plans, I went to Theo’s Simple Italian restaurant in the hotel the 2nd day for breakfast. It was really out of convenience since I needed to get going to the airport and because I loved the hotel so much I figured the restaurant had to be great too.
The first day I went to The English Rose Cafe and Tea Shop for breakfast (photo below). They set the bar pretty high for the English breakfast so I figured the hotel restaurant would outdo a little cafe in Victoria Square.
I hate to say it, but I wasn’t really that happy with the breakfast at Theo’s. It was pretty bland and the service was mediocre. I think they were understaffed and the waitress kept forgetting about me. She didn’t drop off a drink until I was already done eating.
Getting some good sleep is obviously one of the most important things at the hotel, especially when you just had a rough night at the last nightmare location.
I had a very long day of sightseeing, barhopping around the marathon, and even a dinner date around Covent Garden. That queen size bed was calling my name.
The bed was as comfortable as any hotel bed. There were no special perks or anything, but the bed did it’s job.
The room was silent with no sounds from the neighbors. It was a little warm in the room so I opened the window. I felt like fresh air would be nicer than the air conditioner. Still, even with the window wide open, it was quiet. There was even a more peaceful white noise with the window open.
Super easy. Not really much to it.
Again, I was on crutches so there was some compassion from the workers. They insisted on at least helping me carry my giant backpack outside and helping me down the steps to my Uber.
I didn’t even realize when I booked the hotel that it was part of the InterContinental Hotels Group. I’ve had a membership with IHG Rewards for a while, but never stayed at a hotel to earn any points. My Chase card has the rewards account number on file, so I just assumed I’d earn the points.
I checked back a couple of months after the stay and realized I never got the rewards. It’s pretty easy to request missing points on their page so I did that.
The next day I got an email back saying that since I booked through my card’s rewards and not directly, I wasn’t eligible for points. They did say that they understand the confusion and it was my first stay so they gave me the points anyway! IHG your customer service is top notch!
I really enjoyed my stay at the Hotel Indigo Kensington! The room was inviting and comfortable. The staff was incredible and the location was close to great restaurants and plenty of sights.
To be perfectly honest, the price actually seems lower than I’d imagine for this hotel. Just the shower and free cell phone use were worth the price of admission.