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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)

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  • Zoe says:

    OT for anyone considering booking a Flybe flight. If you hand luggage measures 20 x35x 55 it will not fit their sizers. At Southampton they are checking every bag before the security queue. Got extorted £40 each for 6kg bags. Obviously not prepared to pay them a single penny on the return so my husband has removed the wheels. ( it and sub-zero 2 wheeled 55cm bags, unzip lining use cross head screwdriver) #FlybeNot4Me

    • Alex M says:

      why would it not fit the sizer if 20 x35x 55 is their hand luggage allowance?..

      • Shoestring says:

        Bag manufacturers often seem to forget about sticky-outy wheels when they give the measurements.

        Point you make is correct though – Zoe’s bag won’t be 20 x 35 x 55 but something like 22 x 35 x 55, so it’s not the bag sizer’s false dimensions that will be the issue.

        Flybe staff have been instructed to maximise revenue from stuff like oversize bags, so beware.

        • Zoe says:

          Worth noting that Flybe’s current PR disaster all over Twitter (being accused of racism denying boarding to 19 / 20 year olds in Amsterdam) started with charging £40 for oversized hand luggage.
          I asked the crew on our flight how it had been for them since the ‘zero tolerance bag policy ‘
          ‘Horrendous’ was her reply.
          Of course posting to their Facebook page gets a cut and paste suggesting they are doing it following customer feedback. They wouldn’t elaborate on the survey question or how many customers had asked to be charged £40.

          • Shoestring says:

            BA can get a well-deserved big up here – at least they’re not too prissy about the odd cm on an oversize bag, I never had any problems with 1kg too much either on checked luggage though somebody here had to re-arrange luggage for less than that the other day – probably an out-station!

            Actually their generous oversize policy with checked bags can be really helpful, I checked in a massive box at half term, it was pretty much ski length plus was a hefty cardboard box nearly 30kg – several garden spades & forks since you ask! 🙂

          • Lady London says:

            they seem to have removed the oversize waiver on US routes though.

      • Zoe says:

        We were not carrying a tape measure unfortunately. I plan to measure the sizers on our way back through Southampton next week. As I was waiting at baggage reclaim in Alicante about 40 ‘cabin sized’ bags came off the belt. Maybe it’s a way out of their cash flow issues 40 x40 would be £1600 on that flight alone. Of course there is no lifetime view of the customer, we would only book with them now if nothing else was available in a dire emergency.

        • Alex M says:

          A4 sheet of paper measures 21 × 29.7 cm. Half would be 10.5 by 15 cm. You can measure almost everything with that fairly accurately.

  • John says:


    I’ve probably been a bit silly. Applied for Green, then upgraded to Platinum straight away, then referred myself for nectar for the 12,000 referral bonus all within a month.

    On the upside; everything worked well and I now have enough avios to take a first class redemption.

    On the downside; looks like Amex credit checked me for each of those applications and my credit score has plummeted.

    I should say that first of all, part of me anticipated that something like that might happen, but also that I’m not one of those people that gets too panicky about credit scores and it’s not like I’m majorly concerned about it.

    The only red-face on my credit score is ‘too many applications in too short a time’, and I have no reason to apply for a product I’ll be credit checked for in the next 6 months or so so it’s not worrying me.

    Just wondered if it’s a case of time being the healer on this one, or if there is any practical remedial action I could take to get it back to normal?

    Any ideas?

    • John says:

      You don’t have a credit score, you have many credit scores with every financial institution that provides you with a credit product. You also have three credit scores with each of the credit reference agencies. As these do not lend money, their scores are almost completely irrelevant (some financial institutions do auto reject any applications if the CRA they use calculates a particularly low score).

      You say you are “not one of those people that gets too panicky about credit scores” but this post is entirely panicking. Are you also worried about the amount of Facebook likes you have?

      • John says:

        I suppose ‘not too panicky’ is different from ‘I’m not panicking at all’- sorry if that threw you.

        Came off Facebook two years ago and haven’t missed it at all. Hope that makes you feel better.

        • Alex M says:

          John, I hope you are talking to different John and not yourself! 8)

    • AndyW says:

      It will clear itself up in a few months. Probably just don’t do anything else that will trigger a check for the time being if you are concerned about it.

      • John says:

        Thank you Andy.

      • Matt B says:

        Last year I bought a car from motorpoint split across our virgin mbna cards. Paid off mine immediately and my wife’s a week later. Made the mistake of letting her account cycle at almost full utilisation (almost £15k) and her Amex pre approval tanked to 2/10 from the usual 9.5/10. Left it a month or so and it went back to normal.

    • Anna says:

      John – I recently applied for a First Direct credit card to use a balance transfer offer. They called me to ask why there were so many Amex applications followed by card closures. I told the CSA I used them all for sign up bonuses and she laughed and approved my application. I honestly think that good payment history is way more important than how many applications you make.

    • Charlieface says:

      Banks can see history going back 6 years, but most only care about 6 months worth. Some of the more clever ones will weight more recent applications higher than older ones.
      Also you often get multiple checks for a single application. I don’t think banks have any way of verifying whether two checks are separate or part of the same application. I think they just guess based on how far apart they are.

  • Nate1309 says:

    Fly out of T5 friday in ET no status, have Platinum and PP, where would you go? 17:00.

    • fivebobbill says:

      What’s ET, Economy?
      Anyway, looks like your only option is either Aspire with Priority Pass, or Plaza Premium with your Amex Plat. Plaza Premium isn’t just as exclusive as it used to be given they now allow Natwest accounts in, but it’s still a huge step up from Aspire (which you mightn’t even get into)!
      No brainer…

      • fivebobbill says:

        Oh Euro Traveller, sorry …

      • Lady London says:

        +1. Aspire is really not up to standard, rammed, waste of time.
        If you can’t get into Plaza P spend your money somewhere like Gordon Ramsay’s or Fortnum’s Cavia Bar instead…. even the noisy Pret area on the ground floor would be a better use of your time and money.

        Next time I suggest you choose T3 to fly out of where there is much more to choose from, or Gatwick!

    • Memesweeper says:

      Plaza Premium

    • Nate1309 says:

      Yes Euro Traveller. Thanks both. 🙂

  • Mike says:

    If you have Amex Platinum, can you give yourself a supplementary gold rewards card?

    • Mike says:

      Yes, but it won’t have the benefits of the Gold Rewards, it’s basically a Platinum in gold disguise.

      • eli Gold says:

        I have a friend who claims he upgraded his gold to a platinum during the first year while free and he’s not paying anything for having the platinum card till the end of his free gold year. does this make sense? anyone know about this?

  • Ian M says:


    Emirates chauffeur service.. I made a First class reward flight booking with Emirates back in January for a trip in November, their website clearly stated that this included their chauffeur service. I know they’ve since withdrawn this for new bookings but I was under the impression that for bookings made before then service would still be honored. I just called Emirates to book the chauffeur and was told because I didn’t book the chauffeur before 1st March it’s no longer available, despite the fact I booked the flight in January! Has anyone else has this issue?

    Like I said, their website very clearly stated this service was included when I made the booking.

    • Rob says:

      Emirates is correct, this was the policy they put in place. You still qualified as long as you booked it via the cut off date.

    • Neil Donoghue says:

      That would be a nasty trick if that’s the case but I wouldn’t be surprised! It did say book before the 1st of March

      • Chrisasaurus says:

        Very clever trick knowing pickup requirements by the end of Feb for a November flight if that is what they expected of you!

        • Ian M says:

          I thought it meant book your flight by 1st March, not book the chauffeur itself.

          I had no idea what hotel I would need picking up from back in February!

          • Lady London says:

            I’d call to cancel the flight and let them know why.

            Emmirates is not that much cheaper so guessing you have many alternatives?

  • Paul Stevens says:

    OT: Had Spend £100 get £20 back for Hawksmoor this morning on two BAPP. Valid until 31/8/2019. Very nice given I already have two bookings there!

    • Waddle says:

      I just checked and have the same, also a 4 bonus Avios per £1 offer at Hakkasan and £20 back for £100 spend at Gordon Ramsay restaurants.

      • Paul Stevens says:

        I’ve used the Gordon Ramsay one before and it works as advertised. Went to Hakkasan in NYC ages ago but never in London. Maybe now is the time to try it…

  • Alan says:

    OT – AMEX Gold Lounge Card

    Flying from LGW shortly and was considering popping in to a lounge to check it out. If I use my lounge card, that still has its 2 uses intact , to get Wife and myself in would I need to pay to get our 15 year old in or are accompanied minors allowed in with you?


    • Shoestring says:


      you can ask nicely, of course

      2 & unders get in free, I don’t think most desk staff care about 5 & unders

    • Rob says:

      Depends on the lounge – you need to look up their policies on the Lounge Club website. Unlikely though.

    • Alan says:

      OK thanks both of you.

  • Aidan says:

    The new metal card simply has a ‘sticker’ on the back (with signature panel etc) which is where the contactless bits must be under.

    A friend from the US showed me his metal chase credit card with the back peeling off, I can see that happening with my card eventually as my plastic cards never last till their expiry date…

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