I first stayed at Collingham Apartments in 2000 and thought it was charming. Thing is, it is not really moving with the times. Each time I return, I feel as though Tony Blair has just become PM and that the Sydney Olympics are just around the corner. While it is comfortable and in a convenient location, I will probably look elsewhere when needing an apartment in London in future.
Why? Well, firstly it is quite expensive for what you get. Our family took a three bedroom apartment for one week at a bit over £500 a night. I think it is about 30 per cent above a fair price. You expect top-notch amenity for the tariff - but get a standard of fit-out below that.
The floors are so creaky. If you have a jet-lagged family in the room above, it is possible that you won't get any sleep at all - because of the 3am footsteps, bathroom visits, television, conversations etc filtering through. Not their fault, mind you. That's what happens in hotels and short-let apartments in international cities.
The kitchen is fine. No dishwasher (except me) but an efficient clothes washing machine (supported by airing cupboards in the bedrooms). The kitchen is a pretty squeezy size - but reasonably well equipped. Had to buy own washing powder.
The bathrooms work, but the hot water pressure is a bit up and down - and there's not really anywhere to put things.
There was a portable air conditioner taking up a fair bit of room the our sitting room - looking a bit like a prop from "Dr Who". We didn't need it, as it was a chilly Spring week.
I suppose the thing that opened my eyes to the shortcomings here is the standard of amenity in apartments in other international cities like Paris and Sydney. That is not to knock genuine heritage design and architecture. Rather, a plea for functional modernity.
This area of London has always been a bit devoid of local colour. Sure, there are museums and Waitrose and Sainsbury supermarkets close by on Cromwell Road. But, it is a place where people visit and transact, rather than live. That said, there is a good little wine bar nearby in Earl's Court, the Kings Head.
There are, however, many benefits of staying here. An efficient and helpful front desk - who value your custom. A lovely aspect overlooking Collingham Gardens. The cleaners do a fine job each day and keep the towels and facilities in good shape. The fact you can get three bedrooms together - a reasonably rare thing in London. I guess that's why there is a premium tariff.
Oh, and the newspaper provided to all rooms is the "Daily Mail" - so visitors to the UK get a pretty scary take on British society and politics. "The Times" would be a better fit.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Collingham is situated in fashionable South Kensington, within easy walking distance of Gloucester Road, South Kensington and Earls Court underground stations. Close to the superb shopping areas of Knightsbridge and Chelsea's Kings Road. All apartments are fully furnished to a high standard. All apartments (except for the studio) have a sofa bed which is suitable for sleeping 1 additional adult or 2 children. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Collingham Serviced Apartments Hotel London
- Collingham Apartments London
- Collingham Apartments Hotel London