City breaks have been off-limits for a long time but as travel restrictions in the UK ease, checking into London’s luxurious Apartments by 11 Cadogan Gardens means you get total privacy, space to work and all the benefits of hotel service and amenities. Jenny Southan reports
The Apartments by 11 Cadogan Gardens are located in a six-floor residential red-brick mansion (number 20) in London’s Chelsea, just around the corner from buzzing, pedestrianised Pavilion Road, which is lined with coffee shops, restaurants and high-end boutiques. Sloane Square and the King’s Road are just around the corner.
Operated by the nearby 11 Cadogan Gardens hotel (part of Relais & Châteaux), which has 56 rooms and suites, they are an extension of the brand’s accommodation offering – at a very good-value £350 a night for a one-bedroom apartment.
The property opened on April 12, just as the UK government began allowing overnight stays for business travel purposes or for leisure purposes in secure, self-contained lodgings (guests have electronic key cards to enter the building and a video system for buzzing in visitors).I checked in a few days later with my family to see what it would be like to take a workation in the centre of London during the pandemic. We were greeted by the general manager Ian Richardson outside number 20 Cadogan Gardens (we all wore masks), where our young daughter happened to be having a tantrum. Ian patiently guided us into the building and up in the lift, saying there was a surprise for our daughter in the apartment.
As soon as she walked into the living room, she stopped crying – in the corner by the huge fireplace was a teepee tent, a giant soft bunny chair, some books and a big cookie on a plate that she quickly helped herself to and settled down with a story. Ten points to the Cadogan!Having an apartment instantly felt more relaxing than staying in a hotel as there were a huge amount of space. It was also immaculately clean, being brand-new, so I felt reassured that there wouldn’t be any lingering germs anywhere.
The interiors were beautifully designed and light, and I particularly liked the big dining table which was an ideal spot to set up our laptops, while still being able to look out of the window and keep an eye on our daughter. I also liked the well-curated collected of Taschen books distributed throughout the bedrooms and living room.The Apartments by 11 Cadogan Gardens are the first apartment suites managed by Iconic Luxury Hotels UK, the brand behind Cliveden House, Chewton Glen, the Lygon Arms and the new Mayfair Townhouse, which was unveiled in December 2020.
Available for stays of as little as two days but ideal for longer stints of a number of months, the six apartments come in one-, two- and three–bedroom configurations. They also feature fully fitted Bosch kitchens (a real bonus, especially for anyone anxious about eating in restaurants or with children who need food prepared for them throughout the day).
Another highlight is the fact that each apartment has views over the manicured, gated Cadogan Gardens, which had trees in full blossom when we stayed. Ian said that if we wanted access, all we had to do was call the hotel and ask to be let in. To have an exclusive, dedicated garden felt like the height of luxury and a real benefit when staying the city during the pandemic. Unlike staying in an Airbnb or even a more upmarket home rental from the likes of OneFineStay, the difference with the Apartments by 11 Cadogan Gardens is that they offer all the service and support of a hotel (although we chose not to have daily housekeeping so cleaned up after ourselves). Other benefits include access to the hotel gym, concierge and lounges.One of my favourite things was being able to order room service – although the menu was limited, the portions were generous and the food genuinely delicious. Much better than your typical room service as it comes direct from the hotel’s Hans’ Bar and Grill restaurant. (We also ate dinner here one night outside on the street, and thoroughly appreciated the warm service, excellent Italian wine and cosy blankets that were provided.)
My favourite dishes were the spicy cauliflower “wings” (£8), roasted sweet potato and courgette curry with brown rice and coconut yoghurt (£16), and the well-built falafel burger on a brioche bun with chips (£15). The lime and coconut cheesecake was also outstanding (£7). In the morning we sorted our own breakfast, popping down the road for coffee from one of the local cafes, and warming up croissants that had been left in a hamper for us in the kitchen. There was also selection of jams and honey in miniature pots, a loaf of artisan bread, bottles of freshly squeezed orange juice (superb), milk, butter, eggs, tea, olive oil and seasoning.The kitchen was really well kitted out with high-spec Robert Welch knives, cooking implements and cutlery, Joseph chopping boards, a small dishwasher, bin bags and washing up liquid (but no handwash), glassware, saucepans and crockery. It was also handy to have our own fridge to fill up with groceries. The only small snag was that it was hard to reach the plates and bowls in the higher cupboards and there weren’t any large plates, but that was quickly remedied.
Bathrooms have enormous tubs and rainshowers, as well as miniature bottles of shampoo, shower gel and shampoo (although I found them to be a bit too fragranced). I also would have preferred bigger refillable bottles rather than single-use plastics.We found it easy to work in the apartment – the free wifi was speedy and reliable – and it was much better than having to hunch over a hotel room desk facing a wall. I felt productive having a change of scene after so many months at home, and we all enjoyed being able to wander around the local area and do a bit of shopping.
Overall it was a very comfortable home-from-home experience that I would highly recommend to anyone staying in London for work or leisure, especially for an extended period or with family.