My review of the impressive new Kimpton Fitzroy hotel

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This is my review of the new Kimpton Fitzroy hotel.

We have given a bit of coverage in recent months to IHG’s new Kimpton Fitzroy hotel in London’s Russell Square.  We also covered it when it re-opened as Principal London, before Principal Hotels was bought by IHG and IHG announced plans for rebranding the hotels.

The first rebrand to be completed was the jewel in the crown, Principal London.  Principal Hotels spent £80 million refurbishing the old Hotel Russell, near the British Museum.  To put this in comparison, it is more than IHG spent on its refurbishment of the flagship InterContinental Park Lane a few years ago.

I had never actually been inside the hotel until just before Christmas.  I had lunch in the Neptune restaurant and I was able to get a full tour of the hotel afterwards, including the rooms and suites.  I can now say two things with certainty:

Kimpton Fitzroy has, by far, the most impressive and attractive eating and drinking options of any IHG hotel in London

the rooms and suites are small – expensively decorated, but small – and won’t suit everyone

The hotel website is here if you want to learn more.

Kimpton Fitzroy

The public areas at the Kimpton Fitzroy hotel

Like many of the grand Victorian hotels (it was built in 1898, the architect was Charles Fitzroy Doll), the old Hotel Russell was built as a place to see and be seen.  The photos in this section are official hotel pictures because the areas were either busy, closed or had bad lighting (this was late afternoon) when I was there.

This is the lobby.  I mean, it is just crazy.  Can you imagine anyone commissioning something like this today?  Principal actually replaced a lot of the original marble that had been lost or damaged over the years.

Kimpton Fitzroy lobby

There are four separate eating and drinking spaces.  This is the Palm Court, which is very large and was surprisingly empty on my visit.  It looks fantastic.

The pasty chefs had build a 5-foot tall gingerbread house for Christmas which had apparently taken the team a whole night to ice together!  If you are looking for somewhere new for afternoon tea, especially at short notice when The Ritz etc is fully booked, try this.

Kimpton Fitzroy Palm Court

This is the Neptune restaurant where we had an impressive lunch.  This has had a lot of positive press coverage since it opened so you don’t need to take my word for it.  All of these venues have separate street entrances to encourage local trade.

The restaurant is, apparently, very similar to the main restaurant on the Titanic which Charles Fitzroy Doll also designed.  On the main staircase on the second floor is a bronze dragon – there used to be two of these, with the Titantic getting the other one.

Kimpton Fitzroy Neptune

This is Fitz’s Bar.  The hotel is taking this very seriously and is hoping to get onto many of ‘World’s Best Bars’ lists in the next couple of years, in much the same way that the Langham London hotel has made its Artesian bar a core selling point.  Again, a huge sum of money seems to have been spent here.

Kimpton Fitzroy Fitz's Bar

Finally, there is the coffee shop / casual dining restaurant, Burr & Co.  Buffet breakfast is served here – I think Neptune serves a separate a la carte breakfast, unless I misheard.

Kimpton Fitzroy Burr Co

The rooms at Kimpton Fitzroy

Here are my own photos of two rooms – a standard entry-level room and a suite.  ‘Cosy’ is the best description, although you can’t fault the money that has gone in to making them look good.

This is a standard double:

Kimpton Fitzroy bedroom

I was standing against the back wall when I took the photo.  As you can see, there is only about 18 inches of floor space around the bed on all sides.  What you can’t see is the table of amenities, including a coffee machine.  There is also a smart Ruark digital radio, alarm clock and Bluetooth speaker.  There are no shortage of plug sockets.

Kimpton Fitzroy bathroom

The bathrooms look like this.  There is a shower but no tub.

This is one of the larger suites:

Kimpton Fitzroy suite

and

Kimpton Fitzroy suite

The suite bedroom was also compact with little space around the bed itself:

Kimpton Fitzroy suite

and

Kimpton Fitzroy suite

The bathroom has a very large shower as well.

In terms of leisure facilities, there is no pool but there is a surprisingly large fitness centre.  If you are looking for meeting or event space, there is a large ballroom behind the Palm Court which connects to it and can be used either together or independently – the ballroom also has a separate street entrance.

Conclusion

Kimpton Fitzroy is a throwback to the era of grand hotels but very much brought into the 21st century.  The small size of the rooms means that it isn’t somewhere you’d stay if you spend a huge amount of time upstairs, but it IS somewhere I’d recommend if you want to eat and drink in very attractive and classy surroundings.

You also need to decide if the Russell Square location works for you or not, although the entrance to Russell Square tube is literally seconds away.  It is a direct Piccadilly Line train from Heathrow which is convenient.

Cash rates vary depending on when you stay and the room you take, but assume £225+ at weekends and £275+ midweek for a double.  As an IHG Rewards Club redemption, it is 70,000 points per night.

You can find out more on the Kimpton Fitzroy website here.

PS.  Pointless fact of the day: The ‘Russell Group of Universities’ is named after the Hotel Russell, which is where the heads of the founding universities met to plan the new organisation.

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Comments

  1. Sounds interesting. Tempted to use my free IHG night here then.

  2. Thanks for the pointless fact Rob – actually very interesting to me as I work with a number of Uni’s and I never knew that!

  3. Stayed in early December for one night

    Standard room was a perfectly goood size for two, comfortable and as it was around the back pretty quiet.

    Downsides was that there were only two pods for the coffee machine – one decaf and one espresso – hut fortunately there’s a Tesco’s express around the corner.

    My brother said breakfast was excellent but unfortunately there were massive waits at both resturants so we went elsewhere which was a bit of a shame

    Would give it another go

    • Lady London says:

      If you’re really stuck there’s a good Waitrose just behind the hotel in Bloomsbury Square.

  4. TGLoyalty says:
    • Wow aside from China most seems to be going up 5K. A pretty wide devaluation.

      • Lady London says:

        They already snuck 5,000 extra points onto most hotels in the past year. And removed some bargains that were to be had within reach of London, by upping the points for those.

        Greedy IHG.

    • Looks like a 5k increase for the majority, 5k decrease for the odd few properties.

    • Dimitri says:

      This is getting ridiculous now.

      @Rob you might want to re-evaluate your 4p per IHG point after this..

  5. I stayed here in December.

    I booked a non base room and had reasonable expectations of a good stay at £300 a night as a IHG Spire Royal Ambassador bit boy was I wrong.

    I was offered no upgrade despite plenty of availability for sale until I concluded a long argument at check on. I finally got a slightly larger room with a sofa but it would be very genius to describe it as a junior suite given the very small space available. Tne bathroom was large but poorly laid out (the opportunity for a separate shower despite clear space available was not taken), The rain-shower over bath hit my head it was so low and the heath Robinson control mechanism was baffling.

    My room overlooked an inner courtyard and despite being on the 6th floor was accompanied by the constant thrum of air-conditioning outside.

    The gym was pretty poorly equipped with a hotel of these pretensions with fairly low end kit, bit bars had “run out of beer” on both nights of my 2 night stay. The typical wait for an order in Fitz’s (obviously not of beer) was over 30 minutes and the whole place was rammed and difficult to find a seating space.

    Every staff interaction was painful, tne mind service clearly offered a turn down service as Insaw them in the corridors doing this in the evening but somehow never made it to my room. Tne overall quality of housekeeping was poor and the bathroom recycled toiletri s from previous guests (sure they were large sized toiletries but it is still gross).

    All in a lot of money has been spent on some of the rooms and infrastructure and none on staff training or service. This property is absolutely appalling value for money compared to many finer offerings for less in the close vicinity. The excellent Rosewood is typically cheaper in my experience.

  6. Stoneman says:

    OT no bits:

    My other half wants to take her friend on a two for 1 redemption with her BA voucher. My wife is on my household account and this is where the voucher has been accredited to. However, she needs to use the household Avios points to make the redemption which I am happy for her to do but not sure whether she is able to given I am the head of the household?

  7. O/T No Bits: My recent mirror friend platinum referral on 31st Dec credited as 3rd Jan, so going to assume that’s in this year’s allowance and chalk it up to poor planning rather than raising my head and risking getting it knocked off!

    My wife received a targeted referral mail with paper credit cards to give to people with her referral code on for BAPP with 18k for the *third* referral available (i.e. explicitly 9k, 9k, 18k), and an expiry of 31st Jan to reach the 3 referrals.
    This doesn’t show up online, but it currently says “You can earn up to 90,000 Avios on top of your existing cap from the 1 November 2018 to 31 January 2019 by referring your friends.”

    • I’ve done two 9k referrals on the BAPP after maxing out the Plat, friends that didn’t want to wait unfortunately. My Amex account then said 18k for the next referral which I did yesterday.

  8. OT

    I haven’t triggered my 241 yet but I will in the next couple of months. However I have saw an outbound redemption flight I’d like to book.
    Q. Can I book this flight using all avios and then once I hit my 241 call up and have it added on? Can I also book the return leg later if/when something suitable pops up?

  9. Which will be the UK Kimpton one to open, they’ve only said the others will open in 2019.

  10. I have a to say I was incredibly disappointed with this hotel, hubby is a spire IHG member but it meant nothing, the room was tiny and when I complained i was told tough it really was not big enough to swing a cat. The room was so small that they couldn’t even get a room service trolley around the bed. Let alone actually put it somewhere so you could eat it. The concierge were not great either, and we were extremely surprised at the poor selection of food offered in the restaurant.

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