Hotel Highlights

  • Quiet South Ken location near London's museum-land
  • Relaxed home-from-home ambiance
  • Pretty handmade beds and antique furnishings

Overview

Perfectly placed for all of South Kensington's renowned high-end shopping and Anglo-centric sightseeing, the Cranley Hotel is a genteel London home-base. The interiors of this handsome Georgian townhouse are all decked out in Regency colours and mahogany antiques; each historic room is distinctive, though all feature hand-embroidered linens. There may be no official restaurant, but a very good all-day room service menu, as well as complimentary canapés and champagne served in the evening, supplement the neighbourhood's excellent dining options.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking The Cranley Hotel with us:

A gift box from local cupcake boutique, the Hummingbird Bakery

Special offers

Exclusive rates, packages and special offers at The Cranley Hotel

Bed and breakfast Advance purchase offer: 10% off

Facilities

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The Cranley hotel – London – United Kingdom

Need To Know

Rooms

39, including a Junior and a Penthouse suite.

Check–out

12 noon. Earliest check-in, 2pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $260.27 (£155), excluding tax at 20 per cent.

More details

Rates are room only, but include a welcome drink, daily paper and glass of champagne served with canapés between 7pm and 8pm. Breakfast is £9.95 a person for Continental; £17.95 for full English (à la carte options are available, too).

Also

The Cranley's three component townhouses have had some interesting occupants since 1869, including a Crimean War General, Blitz refugees and a Notting Hill perfumer who sold his business to a certain William Penhaligon – his namesake products still sit in every bathroom. Every evening, at turn-down, a selection of home-baked treats is brought to each room.

At the hotel

Laundry, concierge, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: handmade beds, flatscreen TV, minibar, iPod dock, Penhaligon's toiletries, slippers, robes. DVD players and hairdryers on request.

Our favourite rooms

Rooms are all individually decorated in Regency colourways and focus on dreamy Beaudesert beds dressed with creamy, hand-embroidered linens, and a judicious smattering of quaint period pieces. We like all the Executive doubles, especially plum-hued Executive 307, a street-facing room with twin sinks and a walk-in wardrobe; bright, high-ceilinged Four-Poster Deluxe room 107 for sense of space; and the Four-posters, with high ceilings, Frette-dressed beds and bay windows overlooking Bina Gardens. Book the Penthouse and you can peer across rooftops from Imperial College to Big Ben.

Also

In-room spa and beauty treatments can be arranged, and if you can't do without your daily training fix, the hotel can hook you up with a local gym. Guide dogs only, by prior arrangement.

Children

Welcome. Cots (free) and extra beds (£40 a night) for children under 12 can be added to larger room categories (Executive and above); some rooms interconnect. Babysitting can be booked from £12–£30 an hour (minimum four hours).

Food & Drink

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The Cranley hotel – London – United Kingdom

Hotel Restaurant

There's no restaurant, but you can order dinner for your room, tea in the lounge or breakfast in bed.

Hotel Bar

No bar, but you can have drinks in the lounge or in your room; all guests are offered champagne and canapés from 7pm–8pm every evening. Snuggle up on the fireside settee for a nightcap after an evening out.

Last orders

There's an honesty bar set up in the lounge, and there's almost always someone at reception on hand to pour you a drink. Otherwise your minibar is open all night.

Room service

For a hotel with no dining room or restaurant, the Cranley has a surprisingly good room-service selection on its round-the-clock menu. There are no tea-making facilities in rooms, though, so you'll have to order up hot drinks.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Thomas Pink, John Smedley and Paul Smith are frequent visitors here.

Top table

There are only a handful of tables downstairs, so whichever's free; in summer, take your drinks to one of the tiny patios in front of the hotel.

Local Guide

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The Cranley hotel – London – United Kingdom
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Local restaurants

Cambio de Tercio on Old Brompton Road (+44 (0)20 7244 8970) does Modern Spanish food served with imaginative El Bulli-nodding spin in a quirky-smart colour-blasted space. Progress from salted Galician Padròn peppers via Spanish salt cod served with orange 'air' to red-wine caramelised oxtail accompanied by apple textures. Venerable Courtfield Road curry house Bombay Brasserie (+44 (0)20 7370 4040), now in its 30th year, still creates cosmopolitan Indian food with zeal. Go for the lunchtime Tiffin menus or have Indian-style tapas and cocktails in the bar – the Tamarind-infused Bombay Breeze is a must-try. Casa Brindisa at 7–9 Exhibition Road (+44 (0)20 7590 0008) is the perfect late-lunch pitstop en route to or from South Kensington's museums: it's a deli-style Ibérico ham carvery, tapas bar and sherry shack in one, with a nibbly menu of Med-coast morsels.

Local bars

The younger-spirited sister and neighbour of Asian-fusion big boy L'etranger, Meursault on Gloucester Road (+44 (0)20 7584 9719) is somewhere to soak up well-crafted cocktails with sharing platters of caviar. There's a restaurant too, if you want to eat something proper before sampling the 'molecular mixology': the menu includes a trio of liquid-nitrogen-crumbled sorbet mojitos.

Local cafés

One of the first and best cupcake-craze cheerleaders, the tiny Hummingbird Bakery at 47 Old Brompton Road (+44 (0)20 7851 1795) crafts pretty, sparkly, butter-cream-swirled confections to eat in or take away. For reluctant companions, there are other sweet offerings, including cakes, brownies and 'whoopie' pies.

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A meander from museum-land

The Cranley Hotel

10 Bina Garden, South Kensington, London SW5 0LA, United Kingdom

The Cranley Hotel enjoys a great location in a quiet residential area just off the Old Brompton Road in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, close to some of London's best-loved attractions. There are three Tube stations within a 10-minute walk.

Planes

London Heathrow is only 15 miles away (about 25 minutes by car on a good day). Gatwick airport is also convenient, either by car (45 minutes' drive; £85 in a taxi) or by train: the Gatwick Express leaves every 15 minutes and will whisk you straight to Victoria train station in just half an hour.

Trains

Less than 10 minutes away by car, Victoria station is a major transport hub, with a Tube station and local and intercity connections by rail or coach. Gloucester Road Tube station is only a few minutes' walk away, with South Kensington and Earl's Court close by, too.

Automobiles

You're better off without a car in London, but if you're bringing your wheels, there's metered car by the hotel as well as resident bays; there is also a 24-hour NCP car park two minutes' walk away, which costs around £35 a day.

Reviews

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The Cranley hotel – London – United Kingdom

Anonymous review

by Simon Morrison , Disco dispatcher

‘We don’t have far to walk for dinner, do we?’ asks Mrs Smith as she climbs out of heels that have spent the afternoon punishing the pavements of Kensington and Chelsea. We have retreated to the safe tranquility of our comfy room at the Cranley hotel, beaten back by the retail forces of the Fulham Road, at considerable podiatric cost. The Cranley is perfectly placed within thi...

Read more

The Cranley Hotel

Anonymous review by Simon Morrison, Disco dispatcher

‘We don’t have far to walk for dinner, do we?’ asks Mrs Smith as she climbs out of heels that have spent the afternoon punishing the pavements of Kensington and Chelsea. We have retreated to the safe tranquility of our comfy room at the Cranley hotel, beaten back by the retail forces of the Fulham Road, at considerable podiatric cost. The Cranley is perfectly placed within this London borough, with its galleries and museums, parks and gardens and river all close by. And the shops. Good God, the shops.

‘Well, I’ve already booked our table for tonight,’ I reply, having figured out my ruse on the walk back down Bina Gardens. ‘And it’s this one,’ I say, tapping the mahogany of the grand circular table nestled in the bay window of this Victorian townhouse. Mrs Smith surveys this room that distinctly doffs its cap to the Regency era and squeals with delight. It is feet-up, hotel-slippers-on time for these Smiths, for the rest of the evening.

The Cranley doesn’t have a restaurant as such. They have turned that into a positive, and cheery staff and an obliging kitchen can turn out quintessential British dishes (roast beef; fish and chips; afternoon tea) to enjoy in the lounge or in your own quarters. The extensive in-room information pack also carries recommendations for restaurants in the area, but room service works just fine for us. You see, Mrs Smith and I are using this weekend break to relax, unwind and escape the varying demands of the four Smith progeny. Did I say escape? I meant ‘evade’. Evade? Ahem. I mean ‘miss terribly’.

Londoners by birth, and northerners for a long time since, we’re tourists in our hometown which lends an enticing, nefarious dynamic: we’re hiding our heads under the luxurious duvet in this Kensington bolthole, having made none of our friends and family aware of our visit south. The Cranley itself shares a similar heritage. The 60-acre Gunter estate was originally purchased by another displaced northerner – a Yorkshire landowner – in the 1790s, when it was used for horticulture (rather than the haughty couture the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea now makes a specialty). It was the eldest son, Robert, who founded Messrs Gunter in Berkeley Square, once as famous a food emporium as the nearby cornershop, Harrods. The coming of the railway turned the Gunters into property developers in the 1860s and the Cranley Hotel is formed from house numbers 8, 10 and 12 Bina Gardens.

As we wait for dinner to arrive, Mrs Smith attends to her evening ablutions in the elegant, period-styled bathroom, and yelps upon uncovering the toiletries – the Blenheim Bouquet perfume from Penhaligon’s. ‘Darling, you do realise that a previous owner of this very house, one Robert Moggridge, actually ran a perfumery in Notting Hill?’ I casually remark through the bathroom door. ‘Which he sold to William Penhaligon, who was a Cornishman of course…’ Mrs Smith has emerged from the bathroom befuddled by my sudden professorship in British history, only to discover me leafing through the hotel’s literature. Busted.

Back to the toiletries. Posh potions are usually a good indicator of a bunk-up’s attention to detail and here at the Cranley, along with the tasteful decor, they betray just that. Along with the welcoming open fire in reception and Chinese-blue walls, Benninson-clad cushion-scattered settees and Georgian chandelier of the downstairs drawing room. As for our high-ceilinged boudoir: the heavy curtains, purple tones and a bespoke four-poster Beaudesert bed you need a stepladder to scale, all confirms that this is somewhere where the devil is in the detail. Even the lift here is elegantly hidden, Scooby Doo style, resembling the insides of a Queen Anne cabinet.

Our uncharacteristically elastic, childfree weekend is spent simply mooching around our temporary London locale, letting the changing of traffic lights or the whim of an interesting pedestrian dictate our direction. The area is full of striking Victorian architecture, these proud buildings adorned with blue plaques that loudly drop names such as Rossetti, Oscar Wilde and George Elliot. We crisscross the River Thames, heading over Battersea Bridge and back over eccentric Albert Bridge, then via antique markets, old bookshops and charity stores (Kensington cast-offs are not to be sniffed at). We meander along the Kings Road, pop into the Saatchi Gallery and wind up at the Chelsea Physic Garden, close to where the Chelsea Pensioners reside (no, not Frank Lampard). We spread out in a local hostelry with pints and the papers, people-watching local chaps in their crisp shirts and khaki shorts.

Back at the Cranley, our bed has been turned down and fresh water and cakes provided. We accept an invitation to step onto the hotel’s terrace to enjoy complimentary champers and canapés, then retreat to our room, to hide back under that duvet. Deep in the velvet quiet of the night, I strain to hear the ghosts of the blue plaques pull free of their portico prisons to stalk the wide streets of Kensington – Thomas Carlyle, Bram Stoker, Mark Twain, Mick Jagger (though not technically dead yet) – have all been local characters. These are the personalities with whom we share this perfect weekend, enjoying a window into a world of Bentley magazines and The Daily Mail, of bubbly and amuse-bouches on the terrace of our SW5 des res.

After saying farewell, we extend the fantasy by upgrading to first class on the train home, grazing on a posh picnic of Belgian chocolates, fine wine and Hummingbird cupcakes given to us as Mr & Mrs Smith members. We polish it all off just as the train pulls into Stockport station… recharged for an extended period back in the very loveable brand of chaos that we call home.
 

The Guestbook

Reviews of The Cranley Hotel 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…

BlackSmith

Stayed on 28 Mar 2014

We loved

I liked the peaceful atmosphere within the hotel, yet it's only a short walk from good restaurants and museums. The staff is friendly and very efficient; service is superb.

Don’t expect

Even with the air-con running we found the room was too hot – thank goodness our stay was in March and not July!

Rating: 8/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on 15 Feb 2014

We loved

The hotel was beautiful.

Don’t expect

They could give more information on what's free in the room.

Rating: 10/10 stars

GoldSmith

Stayed on 7 Nov 2013

We loved

It was my first time there, and this hidden gem was a very nice discovery. I enjoyed the warm and welcoming team, nice English atmosphere and the large and very comfortable room. It's not quite central, but the location is manageable if you have time to wander around and are not in a rush.

Rating: 8/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on 2 Oct 2013

We loved

Really enjoyed my stay and the very helpful and accommodating staff (I was able to be served in French, English and Spanish). We had a charming room in a great location and felt very comfortable. The cupcakes were delicious. I was unable to take advantage of the free cocktails, but heard they were well attended and a nice way to socialise with other guests and enjoy the lovely Cranley living room. I would be happy to go back.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on 30 Aug 2013

We loved

This is a great place to stay in London! We enjoyed the location very much. It's just a few blocks from two different stations on the Picadilly line that goes to Heathrow as well as to the centre of London. The hotel itself is very comfortable. It's quiet and had everything we needed. The juice and fruit in the lobby, as well as the umbrella stand, were nice touches. We wish that breakfast came with the room; instead, they offer champagne and snacks at 7 pm. Unfortunately, we were never able to enjoy this, though, as we were either sleeping off jet lag or out at dinner. The people at the desk were very helpful and kind. The only thing that wasn't perfect was that the hotel is old and has an antiquated air-conditioning system. When it was hot everyone was using the air-conditioning at the same time, so it crashed.

Rating: 9/10 stars

GoldSmith

Stayed on 12 Aug 2012

We loved

Excellent service, attentive but understated.

Rating: 9/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on 10 Aug 2012

We loved

Great location.

Don’t expect

Decor is a bit tired.

Rating: 10/10 stars