The most romantic hotel in London? Some say so and we can see why. Moody lightly and a generous helping of plumped up cushions, makes for lots of dark, comfortable corners for whispered conversations and getting up close and personal. If you are looking for a spot for a secret rendezvous, or even, like us, just a calm location to rest your head in-between a busy few days in the capital, then Blakes could fit the bill. Hidden away on a residential street in SW7, this London gem is within easy reach of Kings Road or the temptations of Harvey Nics and just a short cab ride from the West End. We paid it a visit to see how it fared as place to catch up on your beauty sleep...
Comfort level: 9 out of 10
As soon as you step inside you can feel your heart rate slowing. It might be the gorgeous scent from the grapefruit candles (the hotel's signature scent, made for them by Roja Dove). Or the well balanced, classy decor - part colonial, part boudoir. Whatever it was, we liked it. While the images of some of the bedrooms look a bit over the top, ours were a picture of calm - decedent touches but dressed in a warm grey and pristine white cottons. Comfortable beds, top quality linens and a bathroom that's designed to spend time in. Comfort all round we say.
Noise level: 8 out of 10
Being on a residential street means the noise levels are minimal. Doors mid corridor, thick carpets and discrete staff and fellow guests mean it's unlikely you'll get disturbed. Double glazed windows ensure anyone trying to disturb you from street level is on to a loser.
Light level: 8 out of 10
We'll admit, it's when it comes to lighting we like things dark and moody - so this pace was perfect. Lots of well designed lighting in the room - although trying to find the magic switch to turn them all of was a bit of a bother. You can't fault the forward planning. The bathroom lighting was flexible enough to be bright by day and lovely and shady by night, just as well as the big old Victorian style bath demanded a long deep soak before bed. Our rooms (on the third floor) didn't have curtains, instead they had perfectly fitted wooden shutters. Even the TV obediently disappeared down in its wooden casing at the foot of the bed at a push of a button. Total blackout. Night, night everyone.
Temperature level: 8 out of 10
Aircon for you to control in the room and windows that open. We were just right all night.
Care level: 9 out of 10
Lots of nice little touches to hand - good toiletries, the offer of in room spa services, cushions and blankets aplenty. The cosy in house bar and restaurant down in the basement and the promise of 18hr a day room service means you can be sure you'll eat and drink well too. The hotel team were friendly without being fawning and clearly good at what they do. This was like staying at the home of a well-bred, and quite grown up, English friend. Although it's small and tucked a little out of the way, it has its own type of buzz. Everyone there, be it the well-heeled guests or the capable staff, seems to glide around effortlessly. Smooth indeed.
Total score: 5 ZZzzz's out of 6 - a perfect London hideaway with its own style - classic, calming and carefully curated.
Blakes Hotel London, 33 Roland Gardens, London, SW7 3PF, +44 207 370 6701. Book via www.blakeshotels.com or via www.mrandmrssmith.com