|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
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
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