“Low-key luxury in leafy West London: family-friendly self-catering apartments with 1-3 bedrooms, ideal for short breaks or longer stays”
The first thing you notice about your apartment is the amount of light - large windows let the sun pour in, and walls, carpets and sofas come in bright white or neutral beige. The second thing you notice is the space: you get a living room with a dining table, a bedroom with a kingsize bed, an ensuite, and a very roomy kitchen. The 2-bedroom apartments also have a twin room, a second bathroom and a hallway-cum-study with a desk. All have flat-screen TVs in both the bedrooms and living rooms, plus DVD players and CD players in the latter, so you can spread out and make yourself feel at home.
The décor is simple, stylish and classically elegant. Cushions, paintings and vases of fresh flowers provide flashes of lime green, and bronze is reflected throughout - in the silk curtains, the mosaic-tiled coffee tables, and the spindly wrought-iron chairs and dressing tables. Perhaps inspired by the garden outside (which most apartments overlook), there are whispers of the natural world in the fabrics and furnishings - the white bed linens are embroidered with subtle floral patterns, and the metal light fittings resemble feathers, leaves or twisted branches.
Bathrooms are clad in grey and white marble and feel a little austere compared to the other rooms, but they have everything you need: tubs with powerful overhead showers, piles of fluffy towels, and bottles of beautifully fragranced Ren toiletries.
There's also a 3-bedroom penthouse apartment with 2 large roof terraces, direct lift access and views across Maida Vale. It's normally set aside for stays of 14 nights or more, but shorter bookings are accommodated whenever possible.
The apartment kitchens are huge - making cooking an exciting prospect if, like us, you normally cope with a space the size of a shoebox. They’re also very stylish and extremely well-equipped: everything is sparkling white, from tiles to worktops, and sleek cupboards hide a fridge-freezer, a dishwasher, a washing machine and a tumble dryer. You also get an oven, a hob, a microwave, a kettle, a toaster, pans, cutlery and crockery, and every kind of utensil you can think of (including a few we failed to identify uses for, despite our best Heston Blumenthal efforts).
A complimentary welcome pack (Fair Trade tea, coffee, sugar, organic milk, hand-baked cookies, hot chocolate and mineral water) is provided, as are essentials like bin bags and washing-up liquid. You’ll find a small supermarket across the street, and there are some fantastic delis on nearby Clifton Road - head to Raoul’s Gourmet for cheeses, artisan bread, homemade sauces and tempting chocolates, and The Organic Grocer for a staggering array of fruit and veg. A shopping service is available for an additional charge - send staff a list before you arrive and you’ll find your cupboards stocked.
If you don’t want to self-cater you can order food through the restaurant delivery service (choose from European, American, Thai, Japanese and Indian), or eat out. The Warrington is just next door, serving posh pub grub (you can also pop in for a drink), and there are various eateries a 5-minute walk away on Formosa Street. We had a faultless meal of potted Cornish brie, pan-fried haddock with wild mushroom risotto and a zingy apple and mango sorbet at the buzzing Formosa Dining Room, followed by tipples in a cosy snug at the adjoining pub, The Prince Alfred.
Europa House makes a great London base for families - the apartments offer lots of space, and the huge garden with a playground provides a safe outdoor area. You're away from the city-centre crowds, yet the main attractions are easily accessible via the Tube or taxi, and the 24-hour telephone concierge can help with anything you need.
You get the Europa House Kids Directory on arrival, this details all local parks and playgrounds as well as their Top Ten of Fun Things to Do in London. There's also a toy cupboard with an impressive number of toys, books and games to which children can help themselves - when our Kids Collection Editor visited, her daughter loved the sign on the door which said 'Keep Out, Kids Only'!
Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)
The 2-bedroom apartments have a master bedroom with a kingsize bed for the grown-ups and a twin room for the kids, as well as a second bathroom - and both bathrooms have baths. Cots and extra beds can be added to all apartments.
Staff can book trained babysitters on request. There is a registration fee on top of the hourly rate, so it isn't cheap (see Rates).
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
The apartment kitchens are ideal for whipping up family feasts, or you can order takeaways through a restaurant delivery service. There are plenty of eateries nearby which cater for kids - you'll find a list of recommendations in your apartment and in the Kids Directory. Kitchens contain blenders and microwaves.
The garden behind Europa House is completely enclosed and well away from any roads, providing peace of mind for parents. There's a supermarket just across the road for nappies and baby items. There are some steps into the building but a ramp has been erected there for ease of access, and there's a lift to all floors.