Blakes is a hotel that is so atmospheric you might well want to spend a lot of time within its dark and bejewelled walls. If you do venture out, it's an easy walk to the Natural History, Science and V&A Museums, and you're also close to the shops and restaurants of the Fulham and Brompton Roads.
The hotel has five floors with bedrooms jumbled around all over the place, including some in a mews building at the back. They come in an equally complicated choice of designs and sizes so I suggest you call ahead to discuss your preferences. To get the best experience go for one of the Suites or Directors Doubles which come with ornate four-poster beds, sumptuous furnishings and a hefty price tag. The smaller Luxury Doubles and Singles are less appealing, although this should change when refurbishments are complete.
Step inside Blakes and you enter a sensual, decadent world of scented candles, heirloom luggage, tweeting love birds and artful displays of oranges and pomegranates. This is a hotel where I'm constantly spotting new and intriguing artworks and curios. As well as the centrepiece restaurant, you can also relax downstairs in the snug red Blakes Bar and exotically-dressed Chinese Room. At the back of the hotel is a large courtyard with wooden tables and chairs - best in summer - plus there's a small rooftop terrace accessed by lift.
Eating and drinking
The hotel's Oriental-themed decor is continued in its cuisine. All meals are served in the lower ground floor restaurant, an intimate, under-lit space with black walls decorated with global treasures. It's somewhat congested, with a naff tiled floor, but the menus are full of interest. You can breakfast on Changa Turkish eggs, have a Bento box lunch, splash out on an Afternoon Tea with fresh scones and cream, and dine on black cod with miso and ginger sauce. And if you want to be amazed, I recommend ordering the caramel soufflé for two...
A spa treatment room and a small fitness centre are due to open by spring 2011; alternatively, the hotel is affiliated to the nearby KX and Virgin Active gyms.
Friendly, discreet and welcoming - all guests are offered a complimentary glass of Champagne at check-in. Concierge and turndown services are included.
Who stays there
Celebrities, professionals working in film and fashion and wealthy international travellers who appreciate the hotel's highly individual style. Blakes is made for romance and special occasions.
Rates generally exclude VAT and breakfast (Continental £12.50, Full English £19.50, excluding service). Look out for promotional packages at weekends and in quiet periods. WiFi is complimentary.
- Fitness Centre
- High-Speed Internet
- Room Service
- Celebrity spotting
- Special occasions
- Chilling out
Pros & Cons
- Delicious Asian-leaning cuisine
- Romantic, sensual atmosphere
- Shows signs of its age
- Very expensive