The Rockwell

Kensington, London, United Kingdom Book from Book from £77 per night

Well-priced, well-placed hotel with a quiet courtyard garden, 5 minutes' walk from Earl's Court Tube
Among the bewildering array of accommodation options in London, The Rockwell stands out for its handy location, great-value rates and serene feel. Once 2 Victorian townhouses, then a budget hotel, it underwent a £9m refurbishment to become the peaceful city haven it is today. Outside it may look like its residential neighbours, but step into the lobby and you're greeted by a warm welcome and a striking combination of original floor tiles, deep sofas and contemporary lighting. It's upmarket yet homely, and very relaxing.

The unpretentious elegance extends to the 40 bedrooms (big comfy beds and neutral colours, jazzed up with vibrant wallpaper or textiles), and the food - a short menu of classics, cooked well and served in the high-ceilinged dining room or via 24-hour room service. Out back is a courtyard where you can kick back with a G&T and soak up the evening sun, surrounded by olive trees in giant flowerpots that make you feel like Alice in Wonderland. And when it comes to exploring, you’re a short stroll from the Natural History Museum, Harrods and the restaurants of the King's Road, and only 5 minutes' walk from Earl’s Court Tube.

Highs

  • Great value for money
  • Within walking distance of Kensington and Knightsbridge’s shops and museums, and near the Tube to zip all over London
  • The blend of Victorian features (mosaic floors, stone stairs) and modern details (Neisha Crosland wallpaper, White Company toiletries)
  • 24-hour reception and a 12pm check-out: perfect for lazy lie-ins (or recovering from a night on the town!)
  • A tranquil courtyard (a rarity in London), plus 2 Garden Rooms with private terraces

Lows

  • Although spotlessly clean, it's in need of an update - since our first visit the rooms have grown tired and furnishings worn
  • Set on a busy main road; there's double glazing but ask for a room at the back if you're a light sleeper
  • A budget feel to the in-room drink facilities (instant coffee with UHT milk) and breakfast (carton juices, packaged cheeses)
  • The dining room lacks atmosphere on quieter days
  • No in-room information folder

Best time to go

London is a fantastic year-round destination. Spring is lovely because the parks are flowering; the British summer spirit is infectious and alfresco dining is suddenly everywhere; autumn is quieter, but the trees are a glorious red-gold; winter can be cold and wet, but if you come at Christmas time, the light displays are amazing.

Our top tips

Pack an umbrella - we got caught in a downpour on both days, and the hotel does not have any for guests' use.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
Family
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 40
  • Restaurant and bar (open daily
  • 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
Room: Garden Room

Rooms

Each of the 40 rooms is decorated differently but in a similar style, with neutral colours offset by colourful textiles or feature wallpaper (we liked the red and white fennel design by Osborne & Little). This lends a focal point to a space which might otherwise seem bland - it’s simple but effective. Bathrooms are clad in beige tiling, with small but powerful showers (no tubs), bathrobes and White Company toiletries.

There are 6 categories, ranging from the bright but not terribly roomy Standard Singles and Doubles to the larger Deluxes. Our favourites were the 2 Garden Rooms: they’re set in the basement, but the payoff is a private terrace with a table, chairs and leafy pot plants. The top-of-the-range Mezzanine Suites are spacious split-level rooms, but bear in mind that the upstairs - containing either the sleeping area or a sofa and TV - has limited headroom and can get stuffy.

Rooms at the front overlook a main road but are surprisingly quiet; aided by blackout blinds and a very comfy bed, we slept like logs. That said, if you’re sensitive to noise it’s worth requesting a room at the back.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • TV
  • WiFi

Eating

Drinks and food are available via room service or in the open-plan dining room and bar. If the weather’s good, you can head out to the courtyard and eat in the shade of silvery olive trees.

The menu focuses on English classics: corn-fed chicken with thyme juice, steak with Bearnaise sauce, and Ceasar salad. We liked the sound of ginger and coriander crab cakes to start, and a fresh summer fruit salad topped with mint leaves for pudding. Prices are fair for London.

The Continental breakfast buffet will set you up well for a day exploring London. It's a bit no-frills (Kellogg's cereals, processed cheeses and carton juices) but there's also fresh bread, flaky pastries, Yeo Valley yoghurts and a bowl of granola. Cooked options are available at the buffet, too.

There are numerous restaurants within walking distance if you’d prefer to eat out; staff are happy to book tables.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Visit the Natural History Museum. No matter how many times you go, you'll find something amazing to look at, whether it's the ever-present dinosaur exhibition or the yearly Wildlife Photographer Of The Year competition
  • Check out 3,000 years' worth of priceless ceramics, furniture, jewellery and paintings at the V&A Museum
  • Indulge in some retail therapy: South Kensington is the place to splurge in London, with the likes of Joseph, Harvey Nichols and The Conran Shop at Brompton Cross; high-street heaven is just a stroll away on the King's Road; and there's some serious opulence on show in Harrods
  • Stroll round nearby Hyde Park, one of London's most beautiful public spaces and the old hunting ground of Henry VIII
  • Take in a concert at the Royal Albert Hall, home of the summer Proms, or at Earl's Court, just 5 minutes from the hotel
  • Hop on the Tube and explore: head east to Waterloo and ride the London Eye, then stroll along the buzzy South Bank; head north to bohemian Covent Garden and watch buskers and street performers; or go to Charing Cross and walk across Trafalgar Square to Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Theatre and live music

Kids

Families are welcome, and staff are kind. There are lots of child-friendly things to do in the area, including The Natural History Museum.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

The Mezzanine Suites have a sofabed so can sleep up to 3. Baby cots can be provided in Deluxe Doubles.

Baby equipment:

Baby cots and highchairs

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

Kids Activities nearby:

  • The Natural History Museum
  • The Science Museum
  • Boating lake at Hyde Park
  • Kensington Gardens (Peter Pan statue and the Diana memorial fountain to splash in)

Kid Friendly:

Location

The Rockwell is situated in London's popular Kensington area, 5 minutes from Earl's Court Tube, 10 minutes from the Gloucester Road Tube, and a 30-minute drive from London Heathrow.

By Air:
London has several airports - Heathrow (21km), Gatwick (48km), Luton (76km) and Stansted (77km). Most scheduled airlines fly into Heathrow and/or Gatwick; budget airlines use Gatwick, Luton or Stansted - click on the links below for a list.

You can take a taxi from all these airports, but this can prove expensive and all have fast train links to central London - the Heathrow Express to Paddington station, the Gatwick Express to Victoria, the Stansted Express to Liverpool Street, and various services from Luton. All stations are an easy Tube journey from the hotel.

By Car:
Driving around London can be stressful - and parking's a nightmare - so most people rely on public transport. However, if you want to hire a car to explore the surrounding areas, see our car rental recommendations.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.com.

More on getting to the UK and getting around

Airports:

  • London Heathrow 21.0 km LHR
  • London Gatwick 48.0 km LGW

Other:

  • Beach 90.0 km
  • Shops 0.1 km
  • Restaurant 0.1 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 3 independent reviews from i-escape guests

8/10
Room
9/10
Food
9/10
Service
9/10
Value
8/10
Overall

Lovely hotel, but the room I had was right next to the lift so was a little noisy.

7/10,

I booked it for my in laws and they loved it: they said it was clean, good value for money, generous breakfast, they had a quiet room and thought it was a good location.

10/10,

This is a lovely little hotel and excellent value for money. The rooms are beginning to look a little tired though.

9/10,

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