Hotel insider: Sydney House Chelsea, London, England
I arrive at the 21-room Georgian town house – a self-styled high-end B&B in a Grade II-listed building – a little early for normal check-in hours. Gladly, the smiling receptionist isn’t perturbed and I’m checked in with minimum fuss. A porter directs me to my room with a Fawlty Towers-level touch – he ushers me into the tiny lift, which is large enough for about one-and-a-half normal-sized people, pushes the button, then zips up the stairs to meet me at the room with my luggage.
The hotel is five minutes’ walk through a suburban street from South Kensington Underground station (on the Circle Line, making all of Central London accessible without changing trains). It’s a few doors from Fulham Road, which means easy access to high-end boutique shops. The upmarket nearby high street, boasting the likes of Lamborghini London’s showroom, is visible when you emerge from the station. It’s a similar distance in the opposite direction to reach Chelsea’s iconic posh shopping street King’s Road. For art lovers, the world-famous Saatchi Gallery is only a little further, too. Football fans take note: English Premier League giants Chelsea’s ground is 25 minutes’ walk away.
My first-floor premier deluxe double room has a small balcony that overlooks the street and the similarly Georgian terrace opposite. The room is decked out with a king-size bed, a small desk, a cream two-seater couch, a veritable newsagent’s shelf of magazines and a bathroom with arguably a little too much turquoise in its decor. Finding the DVD player involves a spell of hide-and-seek – it’s squirrelled away in the wardrobe. North American and European visitors can temporarily ditch their travel adaptors, because direct power outlets are provided.
As a B&B, there isn’t much beyond Sydney House’s rooms, breakfast area and a bar. The “bar”, however, is more a shelf of bottles in the reception area – it doesn’t appear to be continuously manned. During my stay, I don’t see anybody relaxing or serving there.
All perfectly friendly and helpful, although aside from breakfast, I barely see a soul – staff or customers – between check-in and checkout.
Served in a basement room adorned with modern art on the walls, breakfast is hearty and on the whole cooked well, although the poached egg in my English breakfast (£13 [Dh62]) could have benefited from a minute more in the pan. The range of fresh smoothies (£6.50 [Dh31] each) is a standout: I opt for kiwi fruit; passion fruit and coconut are among the other options. The room-service menu has some of the most reasonable prices you will find in a quality London accommodation, too.
The location and the balcony.
My bathroom suffered from a few imperfections in its finish and the tap seemed to leak. And being on the first floor meant that double-decker-bus passengers might catch a glimpse of things they shouldn’t through open curtains.
With very reasonable prices for this swish area of London, the Sydney House Chelsea is great boutique value for money.
The bottom line
Double rooms at Sydney House Chelsea (www.sydneyhousechelsea.co.uk) cost from £125 (Dh604), including taxes and Wi-Fi.
Published: September 8, 2016 04:00 AM