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The Kensington Hotel

I was going through some things the other day as a part of Quarantine Cleaning/Culling, and found an old notebook from when I first went to London. My high school's marching band was invited to march in the 1999 London's New Year's Day Parade, so we were there from the last days of December 1998 to the first days of January 1999.

Anyways, according to the notebook, we stayed at the Kensington Hotel. But when I googled this, what came up was a very posh hotel that the band neither could have afforded nor likely been welcomed at. So I ask you, dear Forum Members, for help in locating my Kensington Hotel.

Here is what I remember. It was - well, actually, it was a standard Rick Steves hotel. I remember the elevators were tiny and slow. The wood was heavy and dark. The bedrooms were nice and clean and old without being run-down, if that makes sense. The bedding matched but wasn't like a big chain hotel. It felt homey. I remember my mom and another mom ordering coffee to their room and it seemed so elegant. The light-up sign out front read KENSINGTON vertically, with HOTEL horizontal at the bottom. We were walking distance to Kensington Palace, because I remember visiting the gardens. In fact, I am almost positive we were on the road across from Kensington Gardens, because I remember the bus always parking across the street and there were no buildings behind it. And it was a fairly busy street, not a side street.

Is this ringing any bells? Or has quarantine finally driven me mad?

Thank you in advance!

Posted by
29654 posts

Have you tried "walking" the general area by Streetview to see if something looks familiar?

Posted by
858 posts

Concur with Nigel on the google walk advice.

A similar thing happened to me. Back in the 90's I made several business trips to London on military lodging rates staying at the Elizabeth Hotel across from Hyde Park and the Lancaster Gate metro stop. Looking at the hotel pictures today, it's much posher than it was back then. Just checked the rates for a stay later this month and amazing deals. Not surprising with the covid situation. But even at full rates it's still a pretty affordable London hotel. I do remember the hotel being closer to the corner (which is a fancy apartment building) so either my memory is bad or they gave up some real-estate.

Posted by
2714 posts

cj -Back in the 00's, I stayed at a hotel on Bayswater close to Lancaster Gate. Since I read Allison's post I have been wracking my brain trying to remember the name of the hotel. Pretty exterior, tiny room, even tinier bathroom - but perfect location. It could have been the Elizabeth.

Thanks Allison for prompting an enjoyable trip down memory lane.

Posted by
858 posts

Prophet, yes it might have been the Elizabeth. I remember my room being pretty small but loved the heated towel bar. It's a well located hotel with the metro and Hyde park across the street. At the end of one business trip I added a few days at my own expense and had a great time touring on my own. The only drawdown was street noise from Bayswater. And I can remember being able to hear the traffic lights audible signals.

Posted by
174 posts

Nigel - Thanks for the suggestion! I had looked on google maps, but only to see what hotels were in the area, not at the streetview. The closest I came to finding the hotel is the Corus Hyde Park, which matches what I remember of the building and its location, although it's on the north side of Hyde Park/Kensington Gardens, and I thought we were on the south. Oh, well. I made a scrapbook from the trip and the address might be in there, but that's in my parents' house in Florida, so who knows when I'll be able to look for that. But it was fun to "walk" around that part of London.