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FLAIR AND FLAMBOYANCE make atmospheric Blakes – designed by Anouska Hempel – a true '80s couture hotel. The foyer in this Kensington townhouse hotel is a throwback to days of the Raj, with its retro-style Edwardian trunks and rattan chairs, while dramatic and decadent bedrooms are designed to seduce the senses.

Choose one that’s white on white on white, or others in theatrical golds and blacks. Each is an original, with colours ranging from the bold and dramatic to the restful and soft. Trompe l’oeil and fabric covered walls are set off by silks, velvets and swagged drapery. Sensuous colour palettes are ripe with cardinal reds, lavender, vanilla and tea rose.

The result mixes '80s rock chic with stylish comforts. Sip a cocktail in the atmospheric bar or surface for air in the hotel’s courtyard garden, before dining on slickly presented east-west fusion cuisine in an incense-infused setting. Blakes remains a sought-after hideaway in chicest Kensington.

Seductive dining

Blakes was London's first original boutique hotel, and rooms have stood the test of time impeccably well. Our quarters had black walls, gold lamps, colonial wooden blinds, a stencilled floor and a lordly Edwardian bathtub. We slumbered in a vast four-poster draped in silks and sipped champagne, feeling shamefully decadent.

Blakes’ glossy-black restaurant has been aptly described as being “like an opium den managed by Coco Chanel.” Start swooning – lots of other guests do, and proposals here are rife. Oriental screens and swish decor add to the expensively laquered feel.

Bedrooms invite you to choose between the darkest Orient, a 1930s cruise liner, or a sultan’s harem. Some are more masculine in deep copper and brown, while the light and airy 007 suite is all biscuit and white, with a huge four poster and French doors.  All invite you to soak up the throwback extravagance of it all.

© Room for Romance

Blakes was reviewed for Room for Romance by Mike North

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