When the places you stay at are pivotal to your travel experience–be it by virtue of a uniquely artistic design, a special location, in-house events or unusual services that offer extra insight into the city or town you’re visiting
A Lower-Cost Gem in Posh South Kensington
By Shana Ting Lipton
Don’t let the space-age name fool you. Base2stay is not some sci-fi pod dwelling geared towards contemporary Blade Runners. What it is is a tasteful, chic and central so-called budget hotel for London visitors not keen on battling crowds and notoriously high Central London accommodation costs.
I might put it in my ‘more caché than cash’ category, however, it’s not a dirt cheap budget hotel by any stretch of the imagination either.
If you like your hotels non-hotely, this place is for you. In other words, if you like to experience the sensation of what it might be like to actually live in Kensington (who wouldn’t?), base2stay will appeal.
Instead of returning from a day of city-touring to a busy hotel lobby with an adjacent mega-priced touristy restaurant, you return to a pretty little townhouse in a quiet mostly residential area. You get buzzed in, and when you enter, the small reception area is tucked away to the left. Straight ahead, a flight of stairs beckons.
My double-twin room was nicely sized. It had rather high ceilings and a spectacular view. One of the windows looked out onto a small, charming building across the street; the other onto a private garden (which most romantically inclined Americans would associate with the film Notting Hill).
The decor is clean, contemporary and bright–nothing too artsy and outrageous, but there are definite chic undertones.
Technically considered an ‘aparthotel,’ base2stay boasts a compact, hidden kitchenette in each room which includes a sink, refrigerator, microwave and shelves filled with dishes–which is perfect since, as mentioned earlier, there is no restaurant on-site. They do make up for the latter by offering 10-30% discounts at local neighborhood eateries though.
There is a wireless keyboard by the TV screen in each room and free Internet usage (there is a small charge for unlimited downloads via broadband). Most people will probably find the free wi-fi the most practical. The latter is a bit slow at times; then again whose wi-fi isn’t?
And if you’re eco-conscious, you’ll be pleased to hear that this is also a certified green hotel.
The location is damn near unbeatable. As I mentioned, you’re smack dab in the middle of a very pretty (especially when the flowers are in bloom in Spring and Summer) largely residential block in Kensington. The Earl’s Court and Gloucester Road tube stations are roughly equidistant from the hotel. And it’s about a seven minute walk from some great Spanish tapas spots on Old Brompton Road.
In summary, base2stay delivers on the promise implied by its name. I enjoyed daily walks around the lush gardens of lovely Kensington, only to return to a charming and oh-so-civilized home base.
25 Courtfield Gardens
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