Taking up a substantial section of London’s Kensington Road, The Milestone Hotel & Residences is a worthy neighbor to the royal abode sitting directly opposite. The family- and pet-friendly hotel is two-thirds into a three-year renovation program, which runs until early 2019 and will see more than half of the guest rooms refurbished.
At the heart of the project is an interior design team led by Red Carnation Hotel Collection’s president and founder, Beatrice Tollman, and her daughter Toni, who are transforming the historic hotel into a chic blend of old and new.
On the eve of the renovation’s third phase, we look at the standout features that make this Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star stay a splendid choice for a trip to the British capital.
The Signature Suites
There are 56 rooms and suites in this luxury Kensington hotel, each one decked out in resplendent home comforts (such as luxe Penhaligon’s toiletries) and dressed in covetable antiques, fine fabrics and original artwork. Still, the crowning jewels are the two brand-new signature suites.
The Meghan Suite, named in honor of Ms. Markle’s inauguration into the royal family, is a stylish, sunshine-hued space that seamlessly blends 18th-century furnishings with contemporary décor. Located at the front of the hotel, the 538-squre-foot beauty boasts an airy feel, thanks to a trio of tall windows through which you can spy Kensington Palace Gardens, where the Duchess of Sussex lives with Harry in one section, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge reside in another.
Heavy mirrored double doors open up to reveal a striking monochrome marble bathroom — big enough to hold a small party — while the main space is carpeted in a fun, leopard-print pattern accented with lemon-striped Indian silks that dress the windows and a handmade Savoir bed fit for royalty.
The 106 Grand Master Suite (aka the Hermès Suite) is another step up the glamour scale, with floor-to-ceiling doors leading out onto a private balcony that boasts the same regal viewpoint as the Meghan. A Nicholas Haslam polished bronze, four-poster bed sits proudly in the 667-square-foot space among sumptuous emerald green furnishings and white velvet walls adorned with individually framed vintage Hermès scarves.
No stone goes unturned when it comes to making your stay as comfortable as possible here. With your reservation confirmation comes a guest preference form, probing you about everything from your dietary requirements and cocktail of choice to your favorite music, hobbies and even your pillow tastes.
Upon arrival, you’ll be treated to your ideal welcome drink, and made to feel at home with fresh flowers and seasonal fruit, home-baked goods and little turndown selections that go beyond the standard chocolate on the pillow. But the best part is that this VIP treatment is offered to all guests — not just those staying in suites.
The staff’s dedication to going the extra mile is legendary. We heard about one occasion where a guest was keen to attend an already sold-out exhibition. The concierge waited in line for five hours on the off-chance a return ticket might come up for grabs — and it did.
Named in honor of its former designation as the property’s place for keeping horses, The Milestone Hotel’s Stables Bar might just serve the best Old Fashioned in London. The cozy lounge’s signature cocktail is as fun to watch being prepared as it is to drink. Made with housemade orange bitters and whiskey — barrel-aged for 60 days in Canadian maple syrup and vodka — the libation is finished with a final flourish of theatrical apple- and orange-scented smoke, providing perfect fodder for your Instagram feed.
Of course, if brown spirits aren’t your thing, the bar boasts a menu of more than 40 classic and contemporary sips to try, from the straightforward Negroni to the Breakfast at The Milestone (orange-marmalade-infused vodka, spiced Scotch, apple and lemon juices, topped with champagne).