Reviewed by Lisa Lambert
Well where to start with this hotel other than to say what an amazing stay we had.
This 99 room boutique hotel is part of the Great Hotels of The World Premium Collection. The Hotel Xenia is located on Cromwell Road near Kensington in London. We made our way using the underground from Euston and got off at Earls Court but realised afterwards that Gloucester Road is probably a little closer and easier to get to. The hotel was really easy to find and we walked from the tube station no problem.
We were greeted at the door by a very warming smile of the concierge and he was very helpful and helped us in with our bags. Check in was quick and simple and the lady confirmed the room we had booked and ran through the facilities, where breakfast and evening meal would be served and opening time of the bar, the lady was very polite.
We got our room keys and she said leave your bags and the concierge will bring them straight up to your room, this was great as by this time I had enough of carrying my bag and was ready to sit down. We made our way up to the 5th floor, we were in room 514. Within a minute of being in the room our bags arrived and we could unpack and freshen up to go and explore the city.
The room was spacious and we had two single beds which pleased the other half no end as he said I star fish at home (cheeky I know). There was a flat screen TV on the wall and a Bluetooth speaker dock (although I couldn’t actually get it to work, however I am not technical when it comes to my phone and Bluetooth). They supplied a range of L’Occitane toiletries in the bathroom (shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, body lotion); you got large size in the shower and another set of miniatures ones on the sink along with hand cream, lip balm, beauty kit, nail file and shower cap. The bathroom had a lovely large shower with rainforest shower head, the water was warm and the towels were lovely and soft (1 bath and 1 hand towel each), we also had hanging on the back of the door a towelling robe each which was nice and comfortable. There was also a hairdryer, shoe polish, sewing kit, all the things you would expect to get in a hotel of this rating. The one great thing I have to tell everyone about was the hairdryer, well it wasn’t you average hotel hairdryer that’s takes 2 hours to do your hair with, it was a Babyliss Pro which pleased me immensely as I normally only take my travel one and this was great, a huge plus for the ladies.
We popped out for the afternoon to take up some of the city sites and shopping which was really good and very easy to get about and back to the hotel. We used the tube to get back to Trafalgar Square and then we walked back to the hotel putting a quick stop in at Harrods on the way.
When we got back to our room we had a pleasant surprise of a fruit tray having been left on the side for us and it was delicious. The fruit was so fresh and full of flavour. It included passion fruit, strawberries, pineapple, kiwi fruit, blackberries, raspberries, redcurrants and a fruit I don’t know but it was nice. It was a big silver platter and all prepared ready to eat with knife and forks and after all that walking it was such a lovely thing to come back to whilst we relaxed before our evening meal.
We received a knock at the door a few moments after returning in the afternoon and were presented with a dish with what I can only describe as 2 posh little mini cakes and a letter addressed to us thanking us for staying in the hotel and enclosed was a questionnaire to complete. You are asked to rate the following categories excellent, good, satisfactory or disappointing:
Overall how they rated
Also they asked would you come back and stay, would you like to mention any particular team member and there is space for any additional comments you may have. I liked how personal this was and not just a card posted under the door in the early hours of the night as you get in some hotels.
We relaxed for an hour before getting ready, there was the TV which had lots of channels to choose from, the usual you would expect. There was also a speaker which was and alarm clock, Bluetooth speaker and radio which suited us as we just popped a radio station on and had a drink and relaxed for a while enjoying some quiet time. There is also a Samsung touchpad that has all the hotel information on and tourist information for London and you can use this to contact the concierge regards booking attractions, use it to book a table in the restaurant, contact reception. It also has some games on and you can connect to some social media channels, quite a unique feature I haven’t seen in other hotels and was better than printed papers on a desk in a leather binder which is what you find in most hotels. It meant it had all the up-to-date information you needed.
Well it was food time and we were both really hungry and ready for a lovely meal, and we were not let down. We had made a reservation at the hotel restaurant who’s head chef is Andrea Angeletti and has been awarded with a Michelin Star. The restaurant is for both hotel and public guests and is called Evoluzione Restaurant. We had made our reservation for 7.30pm when checking in and we arrived a little early to the restaurant and were greeted by Pasquale (sorry if name spelt incorrectly) and he was the best waiter I have ever had by far. He seated us at a table in the main area which had comfy sofa like chairs, there was plenty of space around the table and the table was a good size and just right for 2 people. We were asked would we like sparkling or still water and presented with the menus. He advised that the Salt Cod, a starter, was off the menu that evening due to product sourcing issues which was good as we knew not to even look at that whilst choosing our food.
Pasquale came to take our orders and he knew the menu like the back of his hand and was able to describe anything on there and offer advice on what to choose. We ordered our food which I will discuss below and Pasquale then suggested a good wine to accompany our food and he knew what he was talking about, he was certainly well educated in the food industry and knew a lot about wines. We went with one of his suggestions and had the Pinot Grigio Biologico 2012, Villa Merighi, Veneto, Italy priced at £32.00, we are both not big wine drinkers but we don’t mind a glass with a meal and once it arrived I tasted the wine and I was really pleased it was a light flavour not to heavy and really did accompany our food.
Once we had given our food order we had warm bread and olive oil served to us and again the service was superb down to Pasquale describing the flavour of the olive oil to us and that it has a hint of aubergine and it did and was extremely tasteful.
We were then extremely surprised and shocked when an egg shell with crispy shreds of potatoes was served to us, we thought what is this we didn’t order it and Pasquale explained it was a chef creation and it was a carbonara sauce with peppers and crisply potatoes on the top. Well WOW the taste was unreal, it was bizarre and took a bit for Neil to get his head round as he doesn’t like eggs but this was a creamy carbonara sauce with pepper s and olive oil served in and egg shell and it was divine such a good creation.
TOMATO GRATIN WITH AROMATIC BREAD FILLED WITH MIXED VEGETABLES
Pomodoro gratinato con pane aromatico e ripieno di verdure £ 10
ROASTED SCALLOPS WITH ORANGE SAUCE, ASPARAGUS AND TAGGIASCHE OLIVES
Capesante arrostite con salsa all’arancia, asparagi e olive taggiasche £13
FORTY DAYS HUNG SLICED HEREFORD BEEF SERVED WITH PARMESAN, ROCKET AND BALSAMIC VINEGAR
Tagliata di manzo Hereford servita con grana, rucola e riduzione di aceto balsamico £25
SCOTTADITO RIBS OF LAMB WITH GARLIC AND ROSEMARY
Costine d’agnello scottadito con aglio e rosmarino £22
Our starters were served quickly and they were presented to a high standard, I ate mine so quick, in what seemed like seconds as it was so yummy. Neil however took a little more time with his as he likes tomato but the tomato was a large beef tomato with a variety of pepper stuffing and a lovely breaded crust, he ate quite a bit but I also had some and it was no reflection on the taste or quality just purely he doesn’t like to much cooked tomato.
We then had a short break before the mains were brought out and I was so looking forward to the beef as I had looked at the menu in the weeks before our trip. They were served to perfection and as Pasquale explained there was no salt or pepper on the table as the chef’s belief was they were seasoned and cooked to perfection they didn’t need anything adding to them, and he was correct they were perfect. The beef was served in slices and it was cooked medium rare so still a little pink but just how I like it on a balsamic reduction. We had roast potatoes as our side and they were so yummy, they were little baby new potatoes sliced in half, roasted till crisp in the edges with fresh rosemary. Neil had the lamb and he said it was cooked perfectly, it was served with the bones cleaned so you could easily pick it up to make sure you got every last bit although it was funny because Neil was trying to use a knife and fork at first.
We could not have asked for a better meal, so far the food was just perfect and really tasty, cooked to our liking and served beautifully. What made it even more special was that chef Andrea Angeletti came to ask us if we had enjoyed the food so far and what we thought of it, it was really nice to meet the face behind such great flavours.
Once our mains had time to settle we were offered the desert menu. I certainly have a sweet tooth unlike Neil so I took my time and carefully looked at all options before reading the last one on the menu and being sold immediately as I love waffles. It was a waffle with strawberries which had been reduced in grappa (sorry I don’t have a copy of the exact details) it was delicious though and like the other 2 course wasn’t on my plate very long.
Once we had finished eating we sat back, relaxed and listened to the piano player that had been playing all evening. She was really good and it sparked some old memories for me of an old friend. She played a variety of music, it wasn’t too loud and was a nice background volume and set a lovely tone to the evening.
Overall the restaurant for me was perfect, the food the service was like no other I have received anywhere else, the wine and food were just amazing – I will certainly come back to this hotel and eat in the restaurant without a doubt.
And it didn’t stop here, we went out for an hour to a local bar and had a few drinks then made our way back to the hotel. After a long day we just wanted to unwind, kick back and relax. Pasquale had recommended the cocktails in the bar to us earlier that evening so we thought why not have a night cap and relax.
We arrived at the bar and we were greeted by Zsolt who was friendly and welcoming. Neil ordered a bottle of Corona but I was being more adventurous and looked at the cocktail menu. I chose the below 3 cocktails, not all at once, but we had 3 drinks and each time he would bring Neil’s Corona he poured it in a very bartender way that amazed Neil no end and I have been tasked with replicating when we get home.
Luxury Mojito (Havana 7yrs, mint leaves, fresh lime juice, sugar syrup, Angostura bitter, Champagne) £9.50
Kiwi-Lychee Martini (Ketel One, fresh lime juice, kiwi, lychee syrup, apple juice) £9.50
Green Apple-tini (Ketel One, Green Apple Pucker, fresh lime juice, green apple puree) £9.50
Zsolt was really friendly and attentive to our every need, he even took a picture for us and provided and excellent service.
We retired to bed about 12.30, By this time we were shattered and knew we had long day on Saturday, the beds were comfortable and we watched a bit of TV to wind down and discuss the day and evening we had just had and all we could talk about was how amazing the food and the service was in the restaurant that evening, it has really left a long lasting impression with us.
We had a great night sleep with no disturbances, we never heard a sound from the corridor, no one walking past, no doors banging, just sheer silence all night (a rare thing in hotels so good work Hotel Xenia).
Saturday morning we woke up and got ourselves ready knowing there was no rush as check out is not until 11am. I got ready first and made my way to breakfast at about 9.00 leaving Neil to get ready as he never eats that early. I wasn’t sure what to expect and what sort of service it would be. I was pleasantly surprised at the choice on the menu. I was seated in the conservatory area and it was comfy but not as comfy as the night before in the upper area of the restaurant but fine for breakfast. I looked at the menu but was asked within minutes of sitting what I would like to drink and coffee was brought over very quickly for me. I decided on scrambled eggs on toast and some bacon well done. Whilst I waited I made full use of the continental breakfast laid out for you to help yourself, there was fresh fruit juice, fresh fruit which I had and it certainly lived up to the fruits from the previous day, it was extremely fresh and well prepared. You could also choose from a selection of meats cheese and pastries there was a good selection and it was replenished when needed but not huge amounts were left out in the open restaurant which I liked as it was always fresh produce this way. My scrambled eggs arrived and they were presented on a round piece of toast, 2 slices of NON fatty bacon and were delicious. My coffee cup was kept replenished whenever I asked and was warm nice well brewed coffee. Once I had my eggs I asked for some toast as it is a tradition in hotels for me it to have toast with real butter and those little pots of jam, I was offered white or brown toast. The toast arrived and I was given 3 slices and what was a huge tick and plus point was it was warm a rarity for hotel breakfast. I ate 2 slices and enjoyed every bite with real butter and blackcurrant jam. I was stuffed after breakfast I had really enjoyed it and was ready for my busy day ahead.
After breakfast I made my way back to the room and we decided to set off out on our day of exploring but didn’t want to carry our luggage all day so asked could we leave it with the hotel and return later, this was fine and something most hotels offer. The concierge took our bags and gave us a ticket for collection later that day. We checked out with no issues, the account was clear and we received a voucher for our next stay which would entitle us to a free fruit basket up presentation at reception on check in which I thought was a lovely gesture and is done in a tradition of Xenia (Greek Hospitality).
Overall we had an excellent stay and I would certainly return to the hotel and recommend it to friends and family. The highlight of my stay was the meal and the fruit basket we received in our room. There was nothing I would change or wish was different. I would like to make a special mention to the service Pasquale provided, it was 10/10 and he was just perfect in everything he advised us and the way he connected with us, also Zsolt the cocktails were fantastic very well made and the service was excellent.
Look forward to staying again in the future.
Hotel Xenia is a member of Great Hotels of the World Premium Collection. Double rooms start from £150. For more information or to book, please visit www.ghotw.com/hotel/home/xenia-hotel.htm or call 020 7380 3658.
Hotel Xenia. 160 Cromwell Road, London SW5 0TL