Hotel Xenia is rather special. Housed in what was once a Victorian building in Kensington it is now a 99-bedroom charming and characterful boutique hotel combining individuality, luxury and modern comfort.
It is in a great location about a six minute walk from Gloucester Road tube station, and within easy walking distance of museums like the Victoria and Albert, and the Science and Natural History museums, as well as being within easy striking distance of the fabulous Knightsbridge shops or the West End.
A few of the restful décor rooms maybe slightly on the small side, but all of the four room categories are fitted out to a very high standard featuring beautiful bed linen, L’Occitane toiletries and personal touches – maybe an ornament, cushions or pictures – touches that lift Xenia from the corporate or chain hotels into a league on its own. The de-luxe rooms and suite certainly have the wow factor in bundles!
Downstairs the flair of individuality continues with the slightly quirky, but nevertheless attractive décor of the public rooms – the entrance hall, lounge area, two bars – one with a humidor and a pretty, heated outside terrace.
And for fans of seriously good cooking there is the Evoluzione restaurant.
This is one of those excellent hotel restaurants – that provides not only a hotel entrance but also a separate street entrance – perfect both for hotel guests and casual diners. One of us made their way to Evoluzione through the hotel lobby, the other the street entrance! Incidentally most of the dining room is housed in the attractive, bright and airy conservatory.
The kitchen is under the direction of Michelin star awarded chef Andrea Angeletti . Chef Angeletti believes in cooking with tradition, with a talent and delicious flair for combining innovative flavour combinations with fresh seasonal ingredients.
A lick-the-plate-clean sauce
Consequently the menu changes on a regular basis. When we were there we started with an amuse bouche consisting of an egg served in an egg shell, before progressing on to gloriously cooked squid, a pasta dish in a lick-the-plate-clean sauce incorporating white rabbit meat, deliciously tender lamb cutlets and a dessert with the first of the season’s strawberries.
The meal was absolutely delicious and the service impeccable – friendly and efficient. I managed to drop a knife and before I had had time to even straighten up from having bent down to pick it up – a tray with a fresh knife had appeared beside me.
We were there for lunch and chose from the main lunch menu, but there is also a very reasonably priced Express Lunch Menu of Lite Bites. Wine starts from £25 for a bottle, with wine by the glass from £6.50.
NB: Every six weeks Hotel Xenia are holding a series of culinary events inviting a different Italian ‘Guest Chef’ who takes diners on a journey through a different Italian region, showcasing its tastes and traditions. The next culinary treat takes place on 24 June with Chef Luca Collami from Liguria. Each dish on the menu will be paired with a different Italian wine, and its preparation demonstrated at the hotel’s show-cooking station. http://www.hotelxenia.co.uk/evoluzione.html