Blakes, Chelsea, London

Blakes, Chelsea, London

A grown-up playground for the well-heeled of West
London, Blakes hotel is just the right
side of louche, and utterly delicious in every way.

A veritable playground for the well-heeled West London set,
Blakes is encased in a charcoal
exterior that hints at the sultry realms that lie within like a
smoke signal rising over Fulham Road.

Touted as the “original boutique hotel”, it’s decadent and
slightly louche inside, meaning that this sleek hideaway has
lasting (sex) appeal.

For grown-up playfulness, Blakes is a great spot in SW7 to
escape to for a romantic night or weekend getaway.


Across the hotel’s 45 rooms (including 10 theatrical suites),
designer Anouska Hempel’s mark beams bright. From the paired-back
Provence Room – all grey with gilded fittings and swathes of velvet
across most surfaces – to the Cardinal Suite’s kingly drapings in
luscious shades of red, rooms at Blakes can always be classified as
a flamboyant place of rest. The jewel in the crown is the Corfu
Suite, an all-white oasis with floor-to-ceiling drapes and a
come-hither four-poster bed whimsically adorned with muslin.

What’s for breakfast?

Check-out is at noon and breakfast, rather conveniently, ends at
the same (civilised) time. Take your pick of healthy breakfast
foods ranging from açaí bowls to avocado on toast and gluten-free
hazelnut and chocolate muffins. A moreish vegan breakfast of
avocado, mushrooms, baked beans, tofu, tomatoes and quinoa outdoes
the Full English here, while the drinks menu serves as a
scrumptious side act; it’s a toss up between the Peanut Butter Bomb
(a blend of whey protein, sugar-free peanut butter, banana, cacao,
yoghurt and milk) and the mango lassi for us. Dine in the sleek
main restaurant or, weather permitting, in the courtyard – top
table goes to the Matthew Williamson designed bird-cage-like
structure, complete with the designer’s patterned cushions and
weather-safe glass roof.

How about lunch and dinner?

With a menu so good, it’s tempting to eat at Blakes’
ground-level restaurant at every meal – you’ll enjoy A+
Meditteranean cuisine with Asian influences. Start with the
soft-shell crab with nam-jim dressing to share before ordering a
smattering of starters for the table – we were tempted by the
vegan-friendly option of cauliflower steak with salsa verde, tahini
and turmeric, and the wild-mushroom-and-truffle ravioli (divine).
For the main event, you can’t go wrong with the miso black cod,
while pudding preferences were whittled down to apple tarte tatin
and a vegan tiramisu that we would confuse for the real deal. The
black-and-gold Anouska Hempel-designed dining room offers guests
and well-heeled locals a space that is equal parts luxe and low-key
(thanks to screens which cleverly partition the dining space to
create private pockets for diners).

Is there a bar?

Blakes Below is open from 7pm from Wednesday to Saturday,
serving up music and martinis on tap until 1am. It’s best suited to
nightcrawlers who detest nightclubs but don’t want to turn in come
10pm – call beforehand to book a table if you’re not a hotel


Light on extras, Blakes ensures gym and wellness fanatics still
get their endorphins fix via the nearby South Kensington Club. Use
the hotel’s’ membership to access SKC’s gym facilities as well as
other novelties including a communal Russian banya and watsu pool
(a therapeutic experience combining warm water and shiatsu

Things I should know

Pets are welcome – even in the restaurant.

Within a short walk I’ll find…

The Edition 94 on the Fulham Road is just an eight-minute walk
away. Greeted by a cavalcade of hand-blown Italian glass tumblers,
fine-silk eye masks, ceramic-shell lamps, hand-embroidered napkins
and other beguiling oddities, you’re likely to lose hours (and
serious pounds) in this utterly scrumptious enclave.