The Baglioni, Hyde Park Gate, Kensington, London, UK ****

Q: What is it? A: A competent hotel that knows a thing or two about overstated luxury and a crazy-high service level with an Italian twist. Located a mere prosecco cork’s shot away from Hyde Park Gate.

The Baglioni Hotel, London, United Kingdom – bedroom
Architects behind the Baglioni were dead serious about the interior. Not even that theatrical mirror with light bulbs felt like a little wink but more like directed to those who travel with an entourage.

The Baglioni Hotel, London, United Kingdom – living room
This is the room you work in (or the room your assistant will take notes in). This is the room where you could watch TV from the not-so-comfy couch. It’s mainly some (much appreciated) extra space.

The Baglioni Hotel, London, United Kingdom – espresso machine
An Italian-styled outpost in London without espresso machines in the guest rooms? Not very Italian if you ask me. I’m glad to report that the Baglioni did their part. I also appreciate the lack of aluminum pods.

The Baglioni Hotel, London, United Kingdom – bathroom
Diana Ross would appreciate this. It comes with a pretty funky blue bathroom floorlight. And a handmade copper basin, imported from Morocco. And, if you’re into those things; Ortigia toiletries.

You may leave London for a while, even if you’re there.
The Baglioni will mess with your sense of location. You have entered a Georgian building with Murano chandeliers and fountains of white roses from the monster-sized gold vases and there are the charming doormen and the gorgeous smiles in the reception and you are not in grey England anymore. It’s very polished. If Shoreditch is your neighborhood of choice, stop reading. Now. You won’t appreciate what’s coming.

There’s nothing laid-back about the Baglioni.
And that I mean in a good way. The staff is hyper-attentive. It’s not just that they notice you and take your orders. They also notice your patterns of having breakfast, where you’d like to sit with your laptop and whatnot. After you’ve been served one tiny glass of espresso, you’re greeted by name for the rest of your stay. It’s done in a very charming way and I’m getting instantly used to it. Sorry. Erase that. I appreciate it. Molto. This is how it should be done, goddammit!

Over-the-top becomes normal.
This hotel isn’t oozing with tradition. The Baglioni opened as late as 2004 and is run by the Polito family who have only been in the hotel business only since the oil crisis. It’s grand in the more Mediterranean sense of the word, without any mahogany or thick carpets. Rooms are pretty large by London standards and the suite that I’m upgraded to is even larger. I’ll let the photos above do most of the talking. The one thing that lacks the grandeur: Through my windows I may rest my eyes at a brick wall and a maze of pipes. Rooms facing the Hyde Park are likely to have a more inspiring view.

Reasons for staying here:
1) The exuberant decoration. This is the kind of hotel that comes with descriptions and adjectives like ”opulent”, ”…featuring ambiances with luxurious details” and ”truly unforgettable”. Just realize that it was all thought out without the slightest nudge of irony. 2) The staff. If you once in a while find it nice to be – as they say – ”pampered”, you have also found the main reason for staying here. 3) Location. It’s close to the park and close to the Knightsbridge shopping and a lot of good stuff. It is also an 8-minute walk from the High Street Kensington tube station. Oops! That may be the most unnecessary piece of info in this entire review, as this is a hotel with a Maserati car service. I repeat; a Maserati car service.

Baglioni Hotel
60 Hyde Park Gate
London SW7 5BB
United Kingdom

+44-207-368-5700

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