When it comes to picking a hotel in London, the choices can be overwhelming. Just like visiting New York, you first need to choose which neighborhood you want to use as your home base. Like all major cities, hotel rooms can be quite small so finding a family-friendly hotel in London is the next hurdle. Luckily my experience planning trips for clients has enabled me to find the best family hotels in London.
Since we were visiting for a full week, we decided to split our stay between two luxury hotels in London, to be able to experience different neighborhoods. We started off with four nights in Kensington at the Royal Garden Hotel and finished with three nights in Mayfair at The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences. Here is what you need to know about both.
Family Hotels in London – Royal Garden Hotel Review
Note: We received a media package at the Royal Garden Hotel and hosted stay at the Athenaeum, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission.
The Royal Garden Hotel is located just outside of Kensington Gardens, nestled between Hyde Park and Millionaires Row on a sought after piece of real estate on Kensington Road. With some rooms overlooking the park, the location really offers the best of both worlds. It is convenient to all major attractions (Tower of London, London Eye, etc.) with the Kensington High Street tube station just a five minute walk from the hotel. Yet you also have the peaceful views of the park with easy access to fun and play. It is a five-minute walk to Kensington Palace and just 10 minutes to the Princess Diana Memorial playground. The Royal Garden hotel even offers loaner scooters to families that want to spend time enjoying the park!
The Royal Garden Hotel décor has the feel of an upscale business hotel – clean and classy without a ton of personality. We stayed in an Executive Room and it was surprisingly spacious for the three of us. I didn’t have a chance to tour other rooms but the Executive Room with a king-sized bed and full pullout sofa bed is plenty of room for a family of four with two small children or a family of three with a teenager.
The bathroom was also quite large with both a tub and stand up shower. Of course it always makes me happy when a hotel offers a heated towel rack, robes and slippers – especially when I want to warm up after a chilly, wet day exploring London. Some of the other luxe perks that I appreciated were the turndown service with complimentary bottled water, complimentary shoe shine, and no additional charge for breakfast room service – this really helped us get out the door on time in the mornings!
Click on a photo in the gallery to enlarge:
The Royal Garden Hotel offers a number of hotel packages and special offers for families, including the “Food and Flicks” package. For 40 euro, you can have a fun night in with a selection of kid-friendly finger foods and unlimited movies. This was perfect for our first night in London. We didn’t sleep much on our Aer Lingus flight over and when we first arrived, our room wasn’t ready so we headed over to the Princess Diana exhibit at Kensington Palace. By the time we checked in, we were ready to shower, relax and spend the night inside. Since we had a late lunch, the fish fingers, mini pizzas, chicken wings, and fruit skewers was just enough to fill us up for dinner.
Since we stayed for four nights, we had time to enjoy all three of the Royal Garden Hotel’s restaurants. The kid-friendly Park Terrace restaurant offers pretty views and a generous breakfast buffet (so it pays to book a package that includes free breakfast), as well as options for lunch and tea. Bertie’s Bar offers light bites, perfect for when you need just a little snack after indulging at high tea. For a splurge, the Min Jiang restaurant on the tenth floor offers authentic Chinese cuisine with beautiful views over Hyde Park. Be sure to pre-order the Beijing Duck!
Family Hotels in London – Athenaeum Hotel Review
For the latter part of our stay, we switched over to the Athenaeum Hotel & Residences, on Piccadilly in the Mayfair neighborhood. This is a great location in the heart of London, just a couple of minutes walk to the Green Park tube station. Buckingham Palace, Fortnum & Mason department store, Hamley’s toy store, and Trafalgar Square are all within a five-to-ten minute walk.
The Athenaeum really prides itself on making you feel at home. Every time we walked in, it was “Welcome home Mrs. Gruber” and when we left “Have a good day Mrs. Gruber.” The deluxe rooms are a bit tight for a family of three once you bring in the rollaway bed, but the Athenaeum also offers family rooms and luxury serviced apartments with full-equipped kitchenettes.
The design and decor is luxurious and fashionable, while still feeling comfortable and child-friendly. The lobby is small but a cozy spot to enjoy a cup of tea and watch the foot traffic along Piccadilly. It was especially beautiful all decked out in its Christmas finery.
Just off the lobby is Galvin at the Athenaeum, from Michelin-starred London chefs Chris and Jeff Galvin. Galvin features local produce from independent farmers across the United Kingdom for a modern take on classic British dishes. Galvin serves breakfast, high tea, price fixe and a la carte menus. We had dinner at Galvin on our second night and enjoyed the braised venison shoulder, Dingley Dell bacon chop with bubble and squeak, and the parsnip and cider soup. For pickier eaters, there is also a children’s menu.
Upstairs, it was all about comfort. Our deluxe room was cozy and the bathroom was also much smaller than the family-sized bathroom at the Royal Garden, but the decor and touches were all about stylish luxury. You couldn’t beat our views over Green Park and, for overlooking Piccadilly, the room was surprisingly quiet.
The Athenaeum also provides the amenities you would expect from a luxury hotel — robes, slippers, turn down service, a coffee maker and mini-fridge with free coffee, tea, milk, juice, and water.
With such luxurious comforts, stand-out service, and convenient location, I would have loved to stay even longer at the Athenaeum.
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