Number Sixteen

South Kensington, London, United Kingdom Book from

Reviewed by Tom Bell
Dreamy English elegance for the 21st century, in one of London’s smartest residential quarters
Clutter? Not unless you bring your own. Number Sixteen is a temple to cool colours and clean lines. Simplicity lies at its heart. The style is subtle yet graceful, a rarity in England, and you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in France. The effect is warmly seductive. Wander at will and you’ll pass driftwood furniture, a wooden Victorian birdcage, framed collages of butterflies cut from books, and impeccable contemporary art on the walls. Smartly-dressed waiters swoop for your baggage, sleek sofas flaunt themselves in Sunday-best fabrics.

Above and below are 41 gorgeous bedrooms, yet it feels like there are only a handful. You're minutes from the Tube in South Kensington, yet there's no street noise. And as you enjoy a weekend lie-in, breakfast in the garden or snooze over the papers in the dreamy lounge, you're wrapped in a cocoon of peace. One of the first of Firmdale's boutique hotels, this is urban chic at its very best.


  • Beautiful tree-lined garden and airy orangery; a perfect spot for the hotel's delicious afternoon teas
  • An intimate, friendly vibe amid exquisitely stylish and fresh interiors
  • A great location with the shops and museums on your doorstep and the tubes and buses less than a 2-minute walk; useful for families
  • Well-priced bedrooms that pamper you all the way with Kit Kemp toiletries and blissfully comfy beds
  • Wonderful, friendly staff who are happy to help


  • The smallest rooms are quite small
  • The breakfast didn't blow us away and there's no restaurant, but room service can be taken wherever you want
  • Third-floor rooms are accessed via steep stairs and there's no lift
  • WiFi can be patchy in some rooms but they're working to improve this

Best time to go

Anytime. London is a great year-round destination. Spring is beautiful with parks full of daffodils; it's generally the warmest place for summer in the UK; autumn can be blustery with trees turning and the skies generally blue; at Christmas time, big city lights can be dazzling.

Our top tips

Indulge in a quintessentially English past-time and treat yourselves to Afternoon Tea. Served in the garden, it's themed according to season and the English Breakfast tea is a bespoke blend created especially for the hotel by The Rare Tea Company.

Great for...

City Style
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 41
  • Breakfast + afternoon tea
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
Room: Deluxe Room


The rooms at Number Sixteen spoil you in ways you didn’t know were possible. There are all the must haves: big white towels, sparkling granite bathrooms, fluffy bathrobes and 24-hour room service. But you also get Frette cotton linen, Tivoli radios and piles of cushions that stand to attention on the beds.

Colour schemes vary wildly; all are beautiful. Sleep in a different room every night for a week and encounter lime greens, pinks and purples, royal blues and groovy greys. Smaller rooms (Singles and Queens) are just that; fine for a night or two, but if you’re staying for longer, you’ll need something bigger (a Superior, Luxury or Deluxe). We particularly liked the lower-ground floor rooms as they're the lightest and have private courtyards leading onto the communal garden. You may also come across Chelsea fabrics, original fireplaces, big old mirrors and the odd mahogany dresser.

When we revisited, we stayed in a first-floor Deluxe and it was wonderful. A sublimely comfortable kingsize bed was decked out in perfectly ironed linens; our stylish armchair looked out over the garden, and the granite bathroom had a powerful shower, a cosy tub, and Kit Kemp toiletries to pamper with. We slept deeply and left extremely reluctantly.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Cd player
  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Desk
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Frette linens
  • Hairdryer
  • Ipod dock
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • Tv
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet


The bright and breezy orangery leads to a tranquil garden perfect for relaxed breakfasts and indulgent afternoon teas. This is one of the highlights of the hotel, very leafy and serene with a pretty koi pond and little wrought iron tables and chairs set up in intimate spaces. We enjoyed a decadent champagne afternoon tea with Veuve Clicquot Champagne and lots of tasty morsels; don’t miss the mushroom Arancini balls and the strawberries dipped in chocolate.

Come morning, the papers wait in the drawing room or outside your bedroom door if you prefer. Have breakfast in bed or head downstairs to thebuffet: mini pastries, homemade granola, fresh fruits with honey and organic yoghurt (pomegranate and kiwi when we stayed). Hungry souls can up the ante with bacon sandwiches, eggs Florentine or bubble and squeak.

For other meals, the room-service menu has a small selection of light dishes - burgers, Caesar salads – and you can eat wherever you like. Drinks-wise there's an honesty bar in the drawing room.

For supper, we’d recommend dining out at one of the many restaurants within a 1-mile radius; staff will advise. And if you get peckish during the day, pop to The Hummingbird Bakery on the corner, for utterly delicious baked goods.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Children meals
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Lunch by arrangement
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
Activity: The Serpentine, Hyde Park


  • Shop till you drop: you're bang in the middle of it. Head south to the King’s Road or east to Brompton Cross (Conran Shop, Paul Smith, Joseph) and Knightsbridge (Harrods, Harvey Nichols)
  • South Kensington is known for its museums: the Victoria and Albert, the Natural History and the Science museums are all within a 5-minute walk
  • Stroll through Hyde Park - 15 minutes away - or hire a boat and paddle about on the Serpentine
  • Take in a show - whether you prefer mainstream musicals, Pinter plays, the ballet, or fringe comedy, there's a whole world of entertainment to explore
  • First-time visitors will enjoy Picadilly Circus; the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. Several famous poets and musicians (Purcell, Chaucer) rest in not much peace at Poets' Corner, just outside

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Shopping / markets


This well-appointed townhouse hotel is great for a family break. South Kensington is close to many family-friendly attractions, not least the museums along the Cromwell Road (a few streets away) and there are plentiful public transport options. Mini-bathrobes are provided and families will enjoy the comfortable eclectic rooms.

Family friendly accommodation:

Superior and Luxury Rooms can hold a baby cot; Deluxe Rooms can take a baby cot or extra bed. Some of the Deluxe and Luxury Rooms can interconnect if more space is needed. If more than one room is required, the hotel guarantees that families can stay in rooms adjacent or very near each other


Available by arrangement

Baby equipment:

  • Baby cots
  • High chairs
  • Children's cutlery
  • Bathroom amenities for babies and children

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

The 24-hour room service menu child-friendly dishes: fish fingers and chips, mac and cheese, and penne pasta. Dessert options include ice cream and berries. Afternoon tea in the garden is a highlight of staying here

Kids Activities on site:

  • Welcome gift on arrival to suit the child's age
  • London activities book to complete while exploring famous London attractions
  • Bedtime milk and cookies
  • Children's books and board games
  • Family DVDs
  • iPod docking stations
  • Family Sky TV channels

Kids Activities nearby:

  • World class museums on your doorstep including the Natural History, Science and V&A Museums
  • Hyde Park
  • Great shopping


  • Airport 35 minutes
  • Hospital: 10 minutes
  • Shops: 1 minute
Kid Friendly:

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