Hotels in the United Kingdom

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The Milestone Hotel

by Sarah Shuckburgh

One of the Leading Small Hotels of the World, with many international awards for excellence, the Milestone Hotel combines impeccable service with the elegant furnishings of a country house. Its motto is "no request too large, no detail too small" and guests are shamelessly pampered.

Champagne, sherry or green tea is served on arrival. At bedtime, you'll find a little hardback book on the pillow, a floating votive candle, slippers laid out on a laundered bedside mat, and a hot-water bottle tucked under the duvet. Every afternoon, tea is served in the book-lined drawing room. Sink into plumped cushions and choose homemade scones, tiny sandwiches and cakes from a three-tiered silver cake-stand. For a discreet dinner, you can book the Oratory, screened by a curtained doorway from other diners in the Cheniston restaurant. The head chef - Silvia Bellinato - combines the rustic cooking of her native Italy with traditional English dishes. Later, you could order a midnight feast of roast poussins, Cornish pasties, foie gras d'oie and brioche, creme brulee, fudge and champagne. Twenty-four hour butler service is included in all suites, and can be requested in other rooms.

Bea Tollman, the owner, has designed each room herself, with great panache and attention to detail, creating immaculate cocoons of plush and chintz, tassels and brocade, themed mixtures of fabrics, pictures and knick-knacks, and vases of fresh flowers. This is not a hotel for those who like minimalism or bare walls.

Regular guests become attached to particular rooms, and it is easy to see why. Each room is unique. From the airy Viscount Suite on the fourth floor you can gaze at Kensington Gardens through original 19th century leaded windows,
or recline on the kingsize four-poster bed in the afternoon sunshine. The Safari Suite is tented and draped with animal prints, and has rugs and ornaments from Africa. Under the eaves is the romantic Paris Studio, with jacuzzi bath, and peaceful views of Kensington Gardens through double-glazed windows. Room 507, one of the cheapest, is high up
in a Dutch gable. Sitting at the leather-topped desk at the circular window, with gentle breezes wafting from the roof-lights on each side, you can look out across the park to Kensington Palace. Or you could rent a luxurious apartment
with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, kitchen and sitting room - if you don't want to cook, just order meals and a butler from the hotel.

The hotel was originally two Victorian townhouses, built in Dutch revival style. The cast iron milestone near the front door survives from a time when London was one and a half miles away. A few minutes' walk takes you to the shops of Knightsbridge or Kensington High Street, or to the Royal Albert Hall, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Natural History Museum, and the Serpentine Gallery. Just across Kensington Gardens are Notting Hill and Portobello Road.

First published by Travel Intelligence Ltd

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