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Exclusive: Crowne Plaza Kensington becoming DoubleTree London Kensington

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Last month we reported that Crowne Plaza London Kensington, a surprisingly pleasant hotel on a fairly grotty road, was leaving IHG.

The hotel is rebranding as DoubleTree London Kensington.

It will reopen on 17th May after lockdown. There is no website yet, and it does not appear on hilton.com. You need to trust us on this …..

EDIT: The hotel website is now available – click here

The new DoubleTree London Kensington

Oddly, this is not the first DoubleTree London Kensington.

When 100 Queen’s Gate, part of Hilton’s Curio Collection, joined the chain, it was branded DoubleTree London Kensington. Once refurbishment work had been completed, it took on the Curio branding.

The new DoubleTree London Kensington is an interesting property. It is a townhouse hotel on Cromwell Road, opposite Gloucester Road tube.

Don’t be fooled by the exterior, however.

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 had an executive lounge when it was a Crowne Plaza – it isn’t clear if this will continue when it becomes a DoubleTree.

I did a review of the hotel when it was Crowne Plaza London Kensington 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.

This is a classy hotel and a great addition to the DoubleTree brand. What I don’t fully understand is why it is going to the time and expense of rebranding from Crowne Plaza, which is a more ‘solid’ four star brand.

The upside, of course, is free breakfast for Gold and Diamond members of Hilton Honors and hopefully a more proactive approach to upgrades and late check-out. Lounge access for Diamond members would also be attractive, if it remains.

You can book the DoubleTree or find out more on the Hilton website here.


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Comments (32)

  • J says:

    Interesting! And good. I stayed here a few times over the years and liked it a lot. Convenient location. Got upgraded to a duplex once (as Spire Elite) and on another occasion was given lounge access (nice enough, though not particularly special in terms of food offering as I recall). The switch to Doubletree and hence (presumably) free breakfast for HHonors gold/diamond would make it quite attractive if the price is right.

    I recall there being a good Asian restaurant to the right of reception – any idea whether it’s staying?

    • DeB20 says:

      Looking like it (Umami) will stay. But if it doesn’t, then the next time you stay there, have a wander around the area because there are numerous Asian restaurants that serve better food than this one does.

  • Andrew Wells says:

    Each to their own with their opinions, but personally I consider Doubletree to be the more solid brand vs Crowne Plaza.

    • Chrisasaurus says:

      Doubletree is a conversion brand and by definition is looser in standards than the main brands.

      • Rob says:

        Exactly. US tourists won’t think much of DoubleTree. I think it is the only brand which allows external aircon units in the US for example.

        • Ron says:

          May well change hands again by the time any US tourists are here in any great number. Besides, I guess external AC units won’t be top of anyone’s priorities either.

          • Rob says:

            That’s not my point. My point is that, in the US, DoubleTree is a brand which crappy old hotels with external aircon units can join, whereas most brands won’t allow them. This impacts how Americans see DoubleTree. They don’t expect luxurious duplex suites and one of the biggest private garden spaces in West London.

  • Andrew Wetton says:

    Great because one of the worst hotels I’ve stated in ever in London is Hotel Indigo Kensington – a real Fawlty Towers experience from start to finish.
    Firstly it’s not really in “Kensington” as you picture it in your mind. It’s in Earls Court. A lot of staff don’t speak English at all. The rooms are so cold in winter that you will need the staff to bring in portable electric heaters. Under the bed filthy dusty never cleaned. Housekeeping staff don’t speak English they are “just” cleaners so point to things to show & tell. Cracked cups in the cafe at breakfast. I could go on & on it was utterly terrible.

    • Lady London says:

      Gloucester Road rather than Earls Court. It’s almost opposite the Waitrose and on the hotel side of the road in the opposite direction just around the corner is the quite good former West London Air Teminal branch of Sainsbury’s.

      • Rob says:

        The Indigo is at Earls Court. CP is opposite Gloucester Road.

        • Alex Sm says:

          All these locations are well within the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea so no reason to complain

          • Rob says:

            I think anyone expecting to be amongst the boutiques of Sloane Street would be a little narked to next to the fried chicken shops, betting shops and general human detrius found outside Earls Court tube!

            Not that CP Kensington is any better on that score.

            The ‘thing’ with Kensington is that people assume South Kensington is Kensington but its not (as the name, to be fair, does suggest). If you being picky I’d say real Kensington starts at Cromwell Road / Brompton Road to the south and with Kensington High Street bordering it to the north. Problem is that this area contains vortually nothing except housing so no-one ever goes there. The Indigo is clearly Earls Court, being south of Cromwell Road / Brompton Road. The CP is ON Cromwell Road so has a better claim to the name.

    • Aston100 says:

      Andrew, I stayed at the Indigo for a few nights in October last year.
      I agree the location name is a bit ambitious.
      The bathrooms have no heating so it does get cold in there.
      However, the comment about staff being unable to speak English is just plain ridiculous.
      Just think about it for a moment, a hotel in central London with staff unable to speak English – just nonsense really.

      I spoke to 7 members of staff including receptionists, restaurant staff and a facilities engineer. No issues with English.

      I found the hotel to be really good, other than the cold bathrooms.
      The breakfast was excellent, the rooms were well decorated and a reasonable size and were thoroughly cleaned.

      • James says:

        Also never had problems at the Indigo, stayed there numerous times and will do again.

        • Rob says:

          I’ve eaten there. I would say it seems better than you would expect given the location ….

    • Alex Sm says:

      If this is marketed for tourists, it’s even better when the hotel staff speak their languages

    • Yorkieflyer says:

      I’ve stayed at the Indigo a number of times and it’s fine, the basement rooms to be fair aren’t great though. I’m a fan of the location, round the corner from Earl’s Court tube and a handy stopping point on the Piccadilly line if going out to Heathrow for a morning flight having trained down from oop north. Some nice pubs and a sprinkling of reasonably priced restaurants in the neighbourhood

  • Andrew Wetton says:

    Crowne Plaza (as was) on Cromwell Rd, now to be a Doubletree is much better. It has a really lovely garden at the rear and I was lucky to get an upgrade to one of their duplex suites on my last stay.

  • Sam says:

    If they are already generous to elite members under the stingy IHG system I’m pretty sure things would even be better under Hilton who are known to be generous to diamond and gold members.

  • Safety Card says:

    Will they do the cookies though?

  • Aston100 says:

    A vaguely related question.
    I see IHG have acquired a former Doubletree in New York, somewhere between Times Square and Hudson Yards.
    It is already listed on the IHG site, but has no branding.
    Currently showing as under renovation until August.
    Anyone know how to find out what brand this might open up under? I had a quick look at a thread pertaining to new hotels on the IHG forum over on flyertalk, but don’t think this hotel was on it.
    https://www.ihg.com/spnd/hotels/gb/en/new-york/nycvm/hoteldetail

    I note the URL contains ‘nycvm’. Could that stand for New York City Voco Manhattan perhaps?
    Isn’t Voco the IHG conversion brand?

    The prices seem reasonable at the moment, so it is tempting.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Voco is a conversion brand and that hotel very much needs a refresh!

  • Anna says:

    So a DoubleTree with breakfast for gold & diamonds instead of a CP with no breakfast – sounds promising!

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