The Ampersand Review

City Breaks , 7 August 2013

The Hotel Review / The Ampersand, London

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There is nothing more indulgent than staying in a hotel in one’s own city; for those of you considering staycationing in style, I applaud you, clever things that you are.

Now, though I may be venturing down a contentious path here, I firmly believe that the joy of departing the home for an infinitely more comfortable dwelling nearby is felt more keenly by the female sex. By and large it is we who labour at home to keep everything sightly and we who so enjoy a little respite.

Why the need to stay close to one’s base? Well, I have found the restorative benefits of being away considerably augmented by having not travelled far. This is also something men don’t quite appreciate in the same way, loafer-clad and light-packing as they tend to be.

It therefore seemed prudent to embark on a period of testing London’s hotels to find the very best for those women amongst you who need to escape every now and then.

The Ampersand Bar

My first recommendation? The Ampersand Hotel. Originally opened as an independent hotel in 1888, the Ampersand opened its newly-refurbished doors in 2012. Located in Albertopolis, the hotel is a stone’s throw from the famous museums of South Kensington and the decor perfectly reflects the area – it is a mix of luxury and quirky Victoriana.

The bedrooms (which are, by the by, considerably sized for a London hotel) are designed around five themes of botany, music, geometry, ornithology and astronomy to mirror the surrounding institutions. Don’t for one moment think design has trumped comfort here – the beds are sumptuous, the bathrooms well-appointed and the rooms well thought out.

The Ampersand Apero Restaurant SOuth Ken

Moving on to the all-important food. Forget the erroneous belief that hotel grub fares inversely well with the quality of room – this restaurant provided me with two of the best meals I’ve had in London. I tucked into mixed Mediterranean dishes washed down with a cocktail in the atmospheric Apero restaurant that’s located in the basement under the Victorian arches. The next morning I was impressed by a hotel rarity – the breakfast catered to my health-conscious side (avocado, coriander and lime on homemade bread).

Breakfast at Apero in the Ampersand

So there we have it my fellow city-dwelling women: take a room at the Ampersand and wander museums safe in the knowledge your feet will not ache during the effort of travelling home. Enjoy your own company without being encumbered by the thought of facing the rigours of home life and snigger at those foolish enough to clamour for flights to the continent.

NB. Men, you’re allowed too should you agree not to whisper a word of complaint at visiting the costume section of the V&A.

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