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Exclusive: Crowne Plaza London Kensington leaving IHG

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Crowne Plaza London Kensington, a surprisingly pleasant hotel on a fairly grotty road, is leaving IHG on 1st April.

It is, oddly, still bookable on, but trust me on this ….

It will be rebranded, but I don’t know at this point what it will be.

EDIT: We now know that the hotel is becoming the DoubleTree London Kensington, which is a Hilton brand. The new hotel website is here.

This is an interesting property. Crowne Plaza London Kensington is a townhouse hotel on Cromwell Road, opposite Gloucester Road tube.

Don’t be fooled by the exterior.

For a start, the hotel has a huge garden. In Summer it runs ‘Secret Beach’, importing a pile of sand – here is a picture from the 2019 launch party:

Crowne Plaza Kensington secret beach

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.

The inside of the hotel is also a lot better than you would expect from the exterior. It went through a hugely expensive refurbishment five years ago, and I had a full tour at the relaunch. It does deliver everything you would expect from a Crowne Plaza, including an executive lounge.

I did a review of Crowne Plaza London Kensington here based on a press tour. It is best known for its duplex suites which are not hugely expensive and, being set over two floors, are totally different to your usual hotel room.

I’ll let you know when I discover how the hotel will be rebranded (EDIT: it will become a DoubleTree, see the Hilton website here). I hope it can attract a brand in keeping with its quality.

PS. The Holiday Inn Kensington Forum, opposite the Crowne Plaza, will also be closing in the medium term. Plans for its demolition have now been approved by the local council. There is no date for this yet. As one of the bigger eyesores in this part of London, it won’t be missed. (EDIT: as noted in the comments, this decision may be overturned at a public enquiry set up after local opposition.)

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Comments (23)

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  • Chrisasaurus says:

    Well that is a real shame. Big loss to the brand

  • Simon says:

    Is the holiday inn opposite the tall tower block? Having been ’upgraded’ to a higher room, had the pleasure of a fire alarm in the small hours and a long wait on the street before the fire service put out the small fire and allowed us back in. Sun was coming up! And we had the pleasure of 17/18 flights of stairs.

  • Paul says:

    The forum hotel is one of the worse in London, i stayed there last October did a review…. yep that’s human waste bubbling up through the sink!!

  • Benilyn says:

    Nearly booked this after your reviews Rob for August using my 2x IHG vouchers expiring August, but SWMBO wanted IC Park Lane instead for location.

    Out of curiosity what happens to reward / voucher bookings once they leave the portfolio?

    • Rob says:

      Redemptions are cancelled – and indeed are being cancelled already here.

  • memesweeper says:

    My first stay after Lockdown I was here — I think we were the third guests to check in. Loved it — a bit quirky in the right ways and well located. What a loss for IHG.

  • Blair says:

    HI Kensington High Street and Kensington Forum are nearly as bad as each other, but Forum just edges it. I would struggle to find anything redeeming about either. I’m not often moved to write Tripadvisor reviews but they were both that bad. I wonder can we enter a draw to swing the wrecking ball?

    • Ken says:

      Nothing better than reading a Jay Rayner skewering of a restaurant on a sunday morning.

      90% of UK hotel restaurants are terrible and a tiny sliver could ever be descibed as both excellent and great value.

  • TGLoyalty says:

    What are the thoughts Marriott or Hilton?

    • Rob says:

      Unlikely to be a Marriott as there is a monster Marriott across the road next to the Holiday Inn. Not sure if fits well with any Hilton brand although the chain is a bit thin in that part of town. It can’t easily join Curio as it doesn’t have another name, if you know what I mean. It would need to get a name first eg The Cromwell Hotel, Curio Collection.

      Hyatt could really use something in West London but would it be more lucrative than Crowne Plaza? Same with Accor via Sofitel but it’s not a brand you see on townhouses. Pullman via Accor? Melia has a townhouse place around the corner so they won’t take it.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Not sure being close to another Marriott bothers them. Look at the park lane area.

        It’s interesting what happens.

      • Chrisasaurus says:

        The Kensington?

        It’s a really great place – not many places I’ve stayed at with stairs in my hotel room and the location is just superb for sightseeing

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