Andy Mossack enjoys the bespoke hospitality of the Mantis Draycott Hotel, one of Kensington’s bijou luxury hotels.
I knew this hotel was going to be a little bit special the moment I arrived outside. Just a small discreet plaque to the side of the front door announced it as the Mantis Draycott. Lovely, no fanfare just quiet prestige. Tucked away in leafy tranquil Cadogan Gardens next to Sloane Square in one of those grand Edwardian mansion blocks, it was hard not to feel like a local. A clutch of Chelsea tractors were parked outside a nearby junior school for the school run pickup, while a stressed yummy mummy manoeuvred a buggy down to a basement apartment with her phone clamped over an ear.
Just a snapshot of everyday life in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
This red-brick Edwardian townhouse was built in 1890 and was once a private gentleman’s club as was the fashion around Kensington back then. As more members requested to sleep over, they added bedrooms and eventually acquired two more adjacent buildings. It was the perfect scenario to become a hotel, and Mantis, the African conservation-focused hotel group added it to their growing global portfolio.
I was warmly greeted in a lobby that was more like the plush front room of a stately residence. Just a small antique writing desk and a couple of lounge chairs. “Welcome Mr Mossack, we have you in Vivien Leigh I believe.” My intended flippant comeback was immediately withdrawn when I remembered each of the 35 rooms was named after a famous actor or writer, and I was lucky enough to have landed Vivien’s first-floor suite.
And I have to say, Vivien would have been very proud of it. Directly overlooking the hotel’s private garden, the main room was a magnificent space. The high ceiling, as only found in buildings of a certain age like this, was adorned with an impressive glass chandelier. Satisfyingly heavy drapes hung around the bay windows where French doors led out onto a small balcony where you could appreciate the majestic garden in all its glory. An ornate dresser lay to one side, while on the other, a heavy round table was accompanied by two elegant, overstuffed armchairs.
The bed was enormous with acres of Egyptian cotton and there was a working gas fireplace in front of which sat a very comfy three-seater couch. A writing desk was against the wall which thoughtfully had 21st-century tech connected to its side; a power block containing multiple USB slots and two plug outlets.
Back down the hallway, a fully fitted kitchen was off to one side, while further down lay a beautifully turned-out bathroom with two sinks, a large bath and shower, a toilet and bidet and Noble Isle toiletries.
It was a suite certainly fit for royalty, which I was led to believe was exactly the case as a certain Queen of a Nordic country has been a regular guest in the suite for over a decade.
It certainly made me feel very regal
Back downstairs there are two public rooms. The spacious Drawing Room, a cosy place with plenty of comfy couches, a grand fireplace and door access to the garden. There’s a fully stocked honesty bar and the room comes with a house tradition. Complimentary tea and biscuits are served here every day from 4 pm, glasses of bubbly from 6 pm and a hot chocolate nightcap from 9 pm.
The other room is The Library, another glorious place to feel right at home. Plenty of reading material, more comfy couches and a table by the window looking out at Cadogan Gardens.
There’s no full-service restaurant deemed necessary with so many eating choices a stone’s throw from the hotel doorstep, but a la carte breakfast is served in the breakfast room and there’s 24-hour room service for any guest wanting food who can’t face having to choose where to go. Talking of breakfast, it was like staying with a close relative who insisted on supplying you with whatever you wanted. In my case, I sacrificed the full English for my preferred smashed avocado and poached eggs but fancied a banger on the side too. It materialised as if by magic as my dream dish.
Honestly, I can’t think of a hotel so perfectly placed in such a sought-after location. The iconic King’s Road, Sloane Square and the Saatchi Gallery are a two-minute walk away, with Knightsbridge a slightly longer stroll. It’s also an ideal base for the annual Chelsea Flower Show. If the draw of the private garden is not enough and you yearn for more green space, there is Battersea Park and Hyde Park nearby, but the concierge directed me to a gem of a place a short walk away. The Physic Garden just off Royal Hospital Road has been in place since 1692 and was created by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries to grow plants to be used as medicines. This four-acre site is unmissable. Grab one of its free daily tours. The café isn’t bad either.
The Mantis Draycott Hotel is everything you would want in a home from home in one of London’s most desired addresses. The service is old school bespoke, as befits its rich history, and most of its guests come back time and again.
Aside from actually buying a property off Sloane Square, it’s surely the next best thing. I’m sure Vivien would agree too.
Vivien Leigh suite and food images (C) Andy Mossack. All other images (C) Mantis Draycott.
Tell me more about The Mantis Draycott Hotel
The Mantis Draycott Hotel, 26 Cadogan Gardens, London SW3 2RP
T: +44(0)207-730-6466 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Double room, English breakfast included, from £238 per night
Suites, English breakfast included, from £467 per night