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Understated Elegance At A Red-Brick Townhouse Hotel In London

Oozing quiet luxury and understated elegance, The Chelsea Townhouse offers the ultimate luxury in one of London’s most-desired neighbourhoods – space. 

Located just a few-minutes’ walk from Chelsea’s Sloane Square, rooms average 27 square metres and many come with views across a leafy, green garden. Space is of a premium in London, no more so than in this part of town, and The Chelsea Townhouse offers it in spades.

Set inside the space formerly occupied by Draycott Hotel, this series of three red-brick townhouses in the heart of Chelsea was reopened by Iconic Luxury Hotels in 2023, and has truly been transformed. 

The Vibe

While the hotel has undergone a significant makeover since its Draycott days – gone is the chintzy decor, this is a space dressed in muted creams and subtle greys now – the building’s history is alive, well, and not only celebrated, but elevated. 

In a curious-yet-brilliant design decision, each and every room at The Chelsea Townhouse is furnished with the same pieces found in the original, Draycott, hotel rooms, before Iconic Luxury Hotels took over. This approach has been so closely followed that it is true even on a room-by-room basis: no original furnishings have been moved from bedrooms, so most of the pieces – from the desks to the bedside tables and the paintings that hang above them – have stood in place for decades. The only new pieces are large comfy beds, sofa beds, soft furnishings, bathroom fittings and electric appliances. As a result, the decor here has history and oodles of character. Yet, far from feeling outdated, the hotel offers a fresh perspective. One that effortlessly preserves stories of old as it looks to a new future.

The Rooms

Sizeable, even by non-London standards. The fact that hotel rooms of this size are not only available in London, but in one of the capital’s most prestigious neighbourhoods is impressive. At 28 square metres, our bedroom came with a large double bed, a sofa that could be converted into another bed, a dining table, lounge table, desk, television stand and a drinks cabinet – and it still felt roomy, with more than enough floor space to dress, dine, or even dance. 

Perhaps even more impressive is the green space that the hotel affords guests; it overlooks a large private garden. For this privileged view from your bedroom, book a Chelsea King with garden view or, for direct garden access, book the Chelsea Garden Suite. Our Chelsea King looked across the leafy garden which was a joy to wake up to – cup of tea in hand – in a city that tends to be building heavy.

The Food + Drink

The Chelsea Townhouse serves breakfast – a buffet and plenty of the usual à la carte suspects – and a casual all-day dining menu in its garden-facing Drawing Room, but for lunch or dinner in a more typical restaurant setting, sister hotel, 11 Cadogan Gardens, is just a one minute walk away and home to both The Chelsea Bar and the popular Hans’ Bar & Grill. You can reach the latter via 11 Cadogan Gardens, or from its street-side entrance on Pavilion Road, jostled in between neighbouring independent wine bars, cheese delicatessens and artisanal cafés.

From Pavilion Road, only those in-the-know would realise that Hans’ Bar & Grill belongs to a hotel – and perhaps this is why it’s become such a popular hang out space, with both guests and non-guests. That and the standard of its menu: we enjoyed a delicious dinner of beef tatami, Korean-spiced cauliflower wings and pumpkin gnocchi with parmesan cream, and returned the following day for a glass of champagne with friends at its bar.

The Little Extras

As well as the in-room Nespresso machine, bathrobe and slippers, we found a mending kit stashed away in the cupboard, a plug converter (global to UK) fixed inside a desk drawer, Noble Isle products in the bathroom and a Ruark radio tuned in to Classic FM. A cheery concierge team are keen to recommend nearby attractions and places to drink and dine, or leaf through the local-area guides handily provided in your bedroom: ours included Bill Wyman’s Chelsea, the Chelsea & Knightsbridge Neighbourhood Guide and Sloane Square magazine. Lastly, take the time to nose through some of the books propped up in your room for a journey through time – like the furniture, each of these are the very same books that were once found in the bedrooms of the Draycott, and many of them have been in place for decades. 

The To-Do List

In London? What isn’t there to do? If you’re keen to explore the local area, Pavilion Road is mere steps away, and is the place for a long, lazy lunch. Granger & Co. is a good choice. A couple of minutes’ walk away you’ll stumble across Kutir by Michelin-starred chef-owner Rohit Ghai: book for elevated Indian cuisine inside (another) old, traditional, red-brick townhouse.

London’s iconic King’s Road, Sloane Square and Duke of York Square are just around the corner, the latter home to an open air food market every Saturday from 10AM – 4PM, curated by the nearby, family-run grocery store and café, Partridges. Shopping opportunities are never far away in this part of town – you’ll find the Rixo flagship store at numbers 114–116 King’s Road, and close by are FARM Rio, Ganni, Free People, and perhaps the most famous store on this road, Peter Jones. For a culture fix head to Saatchi Gallery in Duke of York Square (it’s currently home to the largest exhibition of photographer Edward Burtynsky’s work). From here, it’s only a 20-minute walk to both the V&A and the Natural History Museum.

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