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Hotel Highlights

  • It’s a family owned hotel, which guarantees a friendly, laid-back vibe
  • Location – you’re close to all Chelsea’s shopping, eating and drinking spots
  • The wholly Italian staff – who make you feel very far away from London indeed

Overview

Italy comes to West London in the form of San Domenico House hotel, two red-brick townhouses packed with elegant antiques and furnishings from the Mediterranean. The traditional Chelsea buldings may be all London, complete with the original brick balconies and plant-filled window boxes, but the designers hit the perfect note between English and Italian styles to make this intimate city hotel warm and welcoming.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking San Domenico House with us:

A fruit basket and water on arrival

Facilities

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Need To Know

Rooms

15, including nine suites.

Check–out

12 noon. Earliest check-in, 3pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $255.57 (£150), excluding tax at 20 per cent.

More details

Breakfast is an additional £12–£18 a person.

Also

The hotel might not have any gardens, but there’s a small, secret terrace up on the top floor. If your room’s not blessed with outside space, then head up there and ask for some cocktails to be sent up to you.

At the hotel

Free broadband, laundry service, meeting facilities. In rooms: standard or flatscreen TV, CD/DVD player, air-conditioning, minibar, Molton Brown and Masseria San Domenico toiletries.

Our favourite rooms

We absolutely love Room 103, a junior suite that’s fit for a queen. It comes with gloriously high ceilings, hardwood floors, ragged walls with original panelled features, a bed with a draped headboard and red velvet coverlet, gilt-framed mirrors, a beautiful antique desk and its own terrace overlooking Draycott Place. We also like Gallery Room 304, which is divided up by latticed screens made from antique wooden doors, and Deluxe Room 404, which has a small private terrace that looks out over the rooftops of Chelsea towards Battersea Power Station.

Packing tips

Make sure you remember your best pastel-coloured cashmere jumper – to wear over your shoulders, of course. You also might want to start practicing your plummy accent if you really want to fit in with the hotel’s Sloaney clientele.

Also

Fear not, nicotine addicts – you’re permitted to smoke in six of San Domenico House’s rooms.

Children

Kids are welcome at the hotel. Complimentary cribs are provided for under-threes, and extra beds can be added to rooms for £70–£110 a night. Babysitting is also provided for £10 an hour – though you need to give 48 hours notice.

Food & Drink

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Hotel Restaurant

The hotel doesn’t have its own restaurant, but the small breakfast room in the basement does offer traditional full silver service if you’re after some afternoon tea or coffee. The room is a lovely spot, with duck-egg blue wallpaper, brightly coloured silk curtains and golden damask everywhere, and sits just on the right side of formal.

Hotel Bar

There is no bar at San Domenico House. If you sit yourself down in one of the communal areas, though, it won’t be long before one of the staff comes over to see if you would like them to mix you a cocktail.

Room service

Guests can order from a 24-hour room service menu, which contains a selection of breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes, as well as drinks and afternoon tea.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Go for creams and neutral colours – but avoid light-blues unless you want to camouflage yourself against the walls.

Top table

All of the white-clothed tables in the downstairs breakfast room are equally elegant.

Local Guide

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Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Local restaurants

Pretend you’re in Milan, with a trip to Tini, an aperitivo bar owned by the hip honchos behind Whisky Mist, Mahiki and The Punchbowl, at 87-89 Walton Street (+44 (0)207 589 8558). Arrive between 6pm and 9pm, and you’ll be treated to complimentary bruschetta, cheeses, meats and olives, along with elegant cocktails. Eat in the Saatchi Gallery’s café, the Gallery Mess, at the Duke of York Square (+44 (0)207 730 8135). In this serene, white and minimalist space, fresh from the exhibitions linger over fresh, seasonal dishes, such as beef carpaccio with parmesan, watercress, and truffle dressing, and sausage with slow cooked lentils.

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Steps from Sloane Square

San Domenico House

29-31 Draycott Place, London, United Kingdom SW3 2SH, United Kingdom

Planes

London Heathrow is the nearest airport. The Heathrow Express runs to Paddington station every 20 minutes, from where you can take the Circle line to Sloane Square.

Trains

The hotel is a three-minute walk from Sloane Square (District and Circle lines). Victoria is 5–10 minutes by car.

Automobiles

The drive from London Heathrow should take around 45 minutes away. It's a little longer from Gatwick – around an hour and a half.

Reviews

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Anonymous review

by Ginny Henry , Jewellery-design gem

Anyone who’s been trumpeting the end to decadence should take a trip to bustling SW3 and splash out on a spell at San Domenico House. A sumptuous Italian-owned boutique hotel a swerve from Sloane Square, it’s fashioned from two 19th-century townhouses, and it’s a gorgeously over-the-top bubble of Puglianese glamour. Pressing the bell to a central London hotel has never reward…
Read more

San Domenico House

Anonymous review by Ginny Henry, Jewellery-design gem

Anyone who’s been trumpeting the end to decadence should take a trip to bustling SW3 and splash out on a spell at San Domenico House. A sumptuous Italian-owned boutique hotel a swerve from Sloane Square, it’s fashioned from two 19th-century townhouses, and it’s a gorgeously over-the-top bubble of Puglianese glamour.

Pressing the bell to a central London hotel has never rewarded us with such smiles and charm. Add to that a mention that our stay is a treat for my birthday tomorrow and five minutes later a beautiful package of spa goodies is in my paws. A cheery ‘happy birthday!’ the following morning certainly takes the edge off having to check-out, too, but without ending our tale before it’s even started, a word on why our escape is so special…

Richly carpeted and decorated in deep browns and seductive blacks, our two-floored Gallery Suite boudoir groans with antiques, portraits and prints. The only thing that hints at this eclectic collection of stairways and landings all leading to hidden rooms as being a hotel as opposed to an enclave of a friend’s palazzo? A minibar and perhaps the TV tuned to a Italian channel. Mezzanines are always extra-sexy, but a little more challenging shall we say, after a cocktail or two. An added frisson comes from the fact stairs lead steeply from our own snug rag-roll-walled sitting room down to a canopied bed, draped and festooned with leopard and feather tie-backs. As confirmed minimalists I’d have expected such opulence to have Mr Smith and I flinching. The reality? We adore every gilded, overstuffed inch of it.

Locals in these Sloaney parts are known for their conspicuous consumption, and so shopping, supping and people-watching around here is top-notch. Before meandering out into the bustling Kings Road to find a bite to eat, we are tempted to pause in the muffled comfort of the intimate lounge for a glass of white wine and some nibbles on the overstuffed tapestry sofa, losing ourselves among the dozens of cushions. But hunger forces us out and we pop across the street to the Gallery Mess at the grand Saatchi Gallery on the Kings Road. This café-cum-bar, situated a couple of minutes walk from the hotel (if you can avert your eyes from the shopping opportunities provided by the King’s Road and Duke of York Square). The beautifully designed, narrow, vaulted bare-brick and white-painted space soothes our inner minimalists while tempting ud to window-shop while we pick at perfectly chargrilled chicken breast, watercress salad and French fries that wittily come in their own mini fryer baskets accompanied by miniature pots of ketchup and Dijon mayo.

It being my birthday eve, the celebrations extend beyond chips to martinis and mojitos at Tini Bar on Walton Street. In this purposefully dark and glitzy setting we treat ourselves to a game of Sloane Square Safari Watching. This sport involves small troupes of tanned, tousled and perfectly accessorised blondes sipping cocktails and casting glances at circling groups of impeccably groomed, seriously aftershaved males. The bar draws to a close, and the safari members move in for the kill (some more successfully than others), and we wobble back to our gorgeous suite. Those narrow stairs negotiated, we collapse into our incredibly comfortable and romantic bed. Well, actually, it is more a case of jumping – the huge mattress resembles that of the fabled princess and her pea.

Following the best night’s sleep we’ve ever had in central London, we savour just how discreet this intimate hotel is – even the air conditioning seems to whisper rather than hum. In that near total darkness only really great hotel curtains can provide, it is a serious chore to think we have to drag ourselves out of this hibernation-worthy hideaway. Mercifully a delicious breakfast is calling and after a shower in our sumptuous black marble bathroom, using a selection of my gorgeous spa products of course, we head downstairs.

Now in lodgings as luxurious as this, room service in bed is always an option, but as we haven’t yet seen or heard a single other guest, the temptation to eyeball a few other residents proves too great. In the swagged, antique-filled basement we see evidence that other people have eaten their continental breakfasts, but again we seem to have the place to ourselves. Galvanised by a generous serving of fruit, pastries, tasty smoothies and decaf-with-a-kick coffees, we’re ready to check out some of those world-class flagship shops. Not before lingering a lot longer than is strictly necessary in the hushed reception hoping to catch a glimpse of some fellow inhabitants. I wish, in turn, I could describe the typical clientele of San Domenico House, but it’s so discreet we don’t spy a single other guest.

Prising ourselves from the previously unfamiliar surroundings of Chelsea, we’re better attired and lighter of pocket, but bestowed with a new appreciation for the leopard-print tie-back. Owned and run by the same family behind Masserias San Domenico and Cimino in Puglia, San Domenico House is an indulgent helping of Italian luxury, and these lovers of minimalism would happily swap pared-down white spaces for another serving of candlelit more-is-more homeliness. What a birthday treat I’ve had – who knew when we head for SW3 I’d get such a taste of the bel paese. The beautiful country indeed, and only a cab ride from home – perfetto.

The Guestbook

Reviews of San Domenico House from Smith members

Whenever you book a stay through us, we’ll invite you to comment when you get back. Read the Guestbook entries below to see what real-life Mr & Mrs Smiths have said about this hotel…

SilverSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The service was incredibly hospitable. The ambience was comfortingly old-fashioned but with an Italian twist.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Really personal and a little bit of Italy in Chelsea, excellent service.

Don’t expect

Let you know about pre booking local spa/gym.

Rating: 10/10 stars