The Milestone Hotel & Residences, London, more or less reveals its location, although in fact it is ‘1.25 miles’, according to centuries-old signage, west of the city’s historic centre, Hyde Park Corner. More exact is that it’s 500 metres west of the culture-full Royal Albert Hall (or, on a more philistine level, the same distance east of Europe’s largest Whole Foods). Equally attractive perhaps is that the hotel’s directly across the road from Kensington Gardens, for exercise and royalty watching: Kensington Palace is London home of most inner-circle royals other than The Queen, and Prince Charles.
Uniquely, you could also hang out with Hermès right here, in the hotel’s suite 106. It’s no wonder this is so sought-after. There’s four-seat dining on its Victorian terrace. The bathroom is Connemara marble. The bedroom, anchored by a modern frame-only four-poster, and a metre-long tortoise holding a glass tabletop, has an off-white and pine green palette. Four-metre tall walls host, in total, ten full-size Hermès scarves (one features Wedgwood medallions on a red background).
Bea Tollman, doyenne of the Red Carnation Hotels family, wore these scarves when they were latest head-cover fashion. It’s she, with daughter Toni Tollman, who has designed this suite, and the entire hotel. As well as 57 unique bedrooms, there are six longer-stay residences. ‘William and Kate’, for instance, is soft residential taupe throughout, two ensuite bedrooms, an enviable Siemens kitchen, and a salon with working fire (apparently a girlfriends-quartet said ‘lovely stay but when do we see them?’).
Time to venture outside. Take the hotel’s shiny wood and brass elevator, perfumed with recent polishing, to the ground floor. Tightly furled-red umbrellas, ready if needed, exactly match red roses. Cross over to Kensington Gardens and its avenues of mixed trees, many in bloom, and well-tended grass. 400 metres ahead, behind tall railings with brass addenda, and a lifesize statue of an earlier namesake, William III, is Kensington Palace. Which windows belong to today’s William and his family?
Back at base, you could head down to lower level wellness, for a Sothy’s nOctuelle facial, or workout, in the vitality pool, or the well-equipped compact Lifefitness gym. Talk to the long-standing concierges which walking-distance restaurants are their favourites: as General Manager Andrew Pike says, with 3.5-night average stay he knows people want to go local.
At breakfast it’s silver-pot coffee and whatever, in the ecclesiastical look Cheniston’s (Kensington’s earlier name). Green and white check breakfast linens complement a waiter’s scarlet eyewear and his ubiquitous Red Carnation lapel corsage.
A final memory could be The Milestone’s exterior railings, garlanded end to end in fresh wreaths of green variegated ivy and assorted white blooms. The Range Rover Autobiography town car, driven – truthfully – by Colin Monplaisir, awaits. It’s dark green.