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The Crowne Plaza Kensington hotel has a secret beach in Summer

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If you are looking for somewhere classy for a quiet drink in West London over the Summer, Crowne Plaza London Kensington (the townhouse hotel on Cromwell Road, opposite Gloucester Road tube) has brought back its Secret Beach until the end of September.

I popped in for the launch party on Monday night.  As you can see – click to enlarge:

Crowne Plaza Kensington secret beach

….. they have done a very good job transforming the huge garden behind the hotel into a sand-covered lounging and drinking area.

If you’re looking for somewhere different for a private lunch or dinner the hotel has also – as you can see just behind the beach in the picture – installed some domes for all-weather outdoor eating.  Each is fully airconditioned, has wi-fi and power sockets and has been set up with a circular dining table and chairs.

Crowne Plaza Kensington secret beach

Crowne Plaza Kensington is a very classy hotel – don’t be fooled by the townhouse exterior.

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Comments (121)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • The Streets says:

    Not true about the contactless metal touching

  • Chrisasaurus says:

    Who in the hell was putting the chip up against the payment terminal anyway? Are these the same people talking into the end of their phone as they hold it flat In front of them?

    • The Original David says:

      Never underestimate the stupidity of the general public…

      • Nick says:

        Does it really matter?!

      • Rob says:

        I just saw someone do this in Pret! I admit it never crossed my mind.

        But then I tend to physically touch the terminal with my card, which is also not necessary.

        • Chrisasaurus says:

          I think touching the terminal is fair enough – rather easier to judge than wafting it exactly x millimetres away from it.

          Much like my attitude to parking (an attitude that leasing companies seem not to like)

        • John says:

          It’s contactLESS after all…

      • TGLoyalty says:

        I just take it out of my wallet and tap whatever side I can regardless of chip or not.

    • John says:

      I hold my cards “upside down” out of habit, also because sometimes it prevents the cashier from seeing it is an Amex (which some shops pretend not to accept even if they do accept it), and it also hides the BA logo on the BA card.

      I don’t have the Plat but according to the picture the “front” side is the back, as to me the front is the side with the 15 digit number. So I think Amex is actually saying that if I had the plat I would hold it the correct way.

  • TGLoyalty says:

    OT – did anyone have the additional stay in June IHG offer? Or in other past accelerate promos remember if checking in on the 30th/31st but out on the 1st counted as a stay in that month?

    • Chrisasaurus says:

      Checking in on 31at June would not be handled well, especially by IHG’s IT

      But in my experience it always counted for both dates, insofar as you would get credit for either month when you had a stay that included the overlap.

    • David says:

      I had a 30th June stay that received the 3k June bonus today. As predicted, it didn’t count for the “complete 3 out of 4 tasks” bonus even though I only have 3 main tasks.

  • Boi says:

    OT: if you had to choose between BA vs United business class (same price) heading to west coast which one would you pick?

    • Graham Walsh says:

      If you are chasing TPs, then stick with the alliance. If not, chose the one you’ve not been before. Also depends on the aircraft, is it a 747, so you could travel in the upper deck. Chose something that’s different so you get an experience.

    • Rob says:

      Depends what aircraft it is. At least with BA you know what you’re getting. Remember United earns Avios if you credit to Aer Lingus.

  • Anne says:

    OT – but Amex Plat related – has anyone recently accessed the St Pancras Eurostar lounge with a Plat card? Last time I did this (Nov 18) they just glanced at the card but recall reading in previous comments that they are possibly checking names/expiry dates or even swiping cards now?

    • Bootlace says:

      I travelled to Brussels recently, just gave my Plat a very cursory glance. I guess it depends on who is working the door

      • Kevin says:

        I was there two weeks ago. They just gave the card a glance. They wouldn’t let my teenage son in though as he didn’t have a card.

        • Anne says:

          Brilliant, thanks for the info guys – really appreciate it.

          • Andrew says:

            I’ll be there tomorrow week (11th) so can update then if not too late. Or if you’re there and fancy a coffee…

          • Anne says:

            Cheers Andrew – I’m travelling on the 13th.

          • mike says:

            who’d have thought it, hfp is now a dating site.

    • MD says:

      Was there last month and it was very busy, so they were carefully checking the name and expiry, and seeing if it looked appropriate for that person as they peered at us fairly suspiciously (gender, I guess?), but that’s as far as it went. No swiping. They bounced at least three chancers that I saw.

    • Rui N. says:

      They sometimes check the name on the card vs. the name on the ticket. But they always flip the Amex to see if it is an European one.

    • Pierre says:

      I traveled to Paris and back 2 weeks ago. At both the London and Paris lounges they asked to see the name on the boarding pass, together with the Plat card.

  • Olly says:

    Also Amex related…… what do people find the best way of paying someone using their Amex, a person not a company? I’ve got the offer of 2000 reward points for a £2k spend and will have a builder to pay for a little over that amount.

    • Shoestring says:

      £2K is pushing it with PayPal, as a one off it might squeeze through though I’d be inclined to limit it to £1K. Can you pay him some in vouchers from Morrisons? (today’s the last day for the Amex statement credit).

      • Spurs Debs says:

        Could you split it over 2 Amex cards through pay pal 1k each? I’ve never paid anyone through pay pal before so I’m not sure but interested to find out as it could be a way to soften the blow of paying for new doors!

        • Shoestring says:

          Amex won’t be the issue – it’s PayPal banning you that is the risk – they are ultra cautious about money laundering

          • Spurs Debs says:

            Tbh them banning me won’t be a problem. Must be ten years since I used them.

          • s says:

            Amex *definitely* care, and are well aware of friends and family payments

          • AndyGWP says:

            I thought that they ban you, BUT also withhold the funds?

            (which is obviously going to be more of a problem!)

      • Olly says:

        I don’t think the vouchers would go down well Harry, even if I did have the Morrisons offer on my card. I saw you mention it the other day but couldn’t find it. I did think if Revolut or Curve could be used to pay it, especially now Curve take Amex. Not sure about Revolut, which I’ve had on my phone for years but never used it apart groin putting £20 into it. I dismissed Occasional in my minds due to the mention on here previously about money laundering.

        • Jonathan Choy says:

          Curve take Amex? Haven’t seen any news on a reversal?

        • MD says:


          Er, I have some bad news for you about Curve and Amex. I believe there was a small amount of coverage and a few comments on this site…

          Revolut do not accept Amex sadly.

    • Spurs Debs says:

      I wondered if you could do this through pay pal ? Like you I’ve got 2 new front doors to pay for that I could use Amex to get bonus points.

    • John says:

      I thought paypal etc was excluded from these offers.

      If it is included… if you are on friendly terms with the guy, help him to set up a paypal account, prepare him to provide passport and utility bills as paypal requires these to accept amounts over £1650 (this is not written anywhere but is widely known). Then get him to send you an invoice via paypal and link his bank account. Try to pay the invoice (you need to pay the 3.4% fee that he would be charged), and withdraw it to his bank account. If it goes through, great. If not, then you may need to provide his passport/bill at that time, then try withdrawing again. This may still fail following which one or both of you may be banned from paypal. In this case there are only two options – get him to refund the paypal payment to your Amex (possibly resulting in the ending of your Amex relationship), or both of you can wait 180 days to see if paypal releases the money. You also need to compensate him as he will not be able to use ebay with his real name and address forever.

      • Spurs Debs says:

        Oh good point re being excluded! Think best thing for me is just to ask him if he takes Amex !

        • Memesweeper says:

          For a small trader setting up with Stripe, iZettle, SumUp etc these days is a doddle, and the percentages fair unless you do large volumes.

      • RIccatti says:

        The interesting aspect is how AMEX decides to terminate relationship based on a refund from Paypal. Paypal is not reliable and decision made by someone lesser trained in Philippines, after which AMEX treats that with full prejudice as court-proven money laundering..

    • Anna says:

      Billhop? You could pay the bill in one go and not worry about any kind of comeback as long as you have an invoice from a registered company. The fee is 2.95% but this sounds as though it’s less than Paypal. Last year I paid a £3k roofing bill via Billhop on BAPP as it triggered a sign up bonus and helped get me to the 2 4 1 which we then used to fly F to NYC recently, so I considered it was well worth it.

      • LewisB says:

        if you email CS at Billhop they will reduce the amex rate. Got mine lowered to 2.75%. Seen on here before that some have had it lowered to around 2%

    • Simon says:

      £2k via PayPal will 100% NOT trigger 2k MR bonus — 3rd party.

  • Olly says:

    OT…. IHG related…. for those, like me who gave up on the IHG status match, my HH D Diamond to Spire match has come through on my app overnight, no email notice. Also IHG related, CP Kensington is excellent. I stayed a few months ago as Platinum and was upgraded to one of the garden facing duplex suites. This was when the plastic domes Rob’s article mentions were set out in the garden with heaters etc for romantic dining. Great staff there and club lounge was well presented and stocked.

  • Shoestring says:

    Halifax Clarity is again offering the free £20 for new customers

    No foreign exchange fees or ATM charges, near perfect exchange rate, S75 protection.

    • Harry T says:

      I’ve had this card for a few years – got it last time the 20£ offer was on. Great card. I use it less now because I like Curve for earning points abroad.

      Btw have you seen the 10£ off Amazon credit for using a Mastercard as your one click payment method? Used that yesterday, as well as using AMEX25OFF for the fourth time this year.

      • Shoestring says:

        Sounds good, I didn’t see that yet so thanks, I used it on Dominoes once for £10 off as well

        • Harry T says:

          You’re welcome. It’s super easy to use but I’m not sure if it’s targeted. It appeared as a banner on my Amazon app.

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