The Ampersand Hotel
This post is in collaboration with The Ampersand Hotel
Arriving in London after an 11 to 14 hour flight can be a bit frazzling. Jade and I have taken this trip a few times and between the jet-lag, the usual cramped flight arrangements, and the having been up for almost 24 hours straight, we really just want to get in an cut out for the day. We try not to plan anything too big or arduous the day of arrival because we know we’ll be out of it and wanting to just kick back. This is where The Ampersand Hotel worked out perfectly for us on our first day in London.
The Ampersand is a small, boutique hotel located in South Kensington, on the corner of Harrington Road and Queenberry Way. When we got into the London Heathrow Airport, after clearing customs, we were able to go down to the lower levels to jump on the tube. The Eastbound Piccadilly line took about 40 minutes in taking us to South Kensington Station, where we literally walked out of the station, and there a half block away was The Ampersand. No lugging our suitcases for blocks and blocks. No annoying, traffic filled taxi ride to finally get to our destination. The hotels location was one of the most convenient we have ever experienced flying right in. Taking the tube into London from the airport never bothers us, strangely. Its relatively inexpensive, seems to be quicker than a taxi, get to peer out at many different neighborhoods on the way, and you get to see a lot of interesting folks from all over. I saw an adorable Asian couple who could have almost been our Asian dopplegangers. I also saw, no, experienced, a bleached blonde, overly tanned german guy in shorty shorts who looked like he stepped out of 1989. He was magnificent. The tube always promises a good time.
As we checked in, the helpful staff took our bags, and then directed us into their Drawing Room, where they serve tea, coffee and an assortment of treats and plates all day. Our room wasn’t quite ready as we had arrived a bit early, so we ordered a couple of cups and relaxed. After sitting in a scrunched up little plane seat, it was extremely luxurious to sit in a quilted, high back chair and drink real coffee. Just what we needed to wind down from the hustle and bustle of the tube and airport.
Shortly after we finished our coffees, we were escorted to our room, up the lavishly decorated spiraling staircase, the lights like little winged angels. No joke, the lights had wings. Our room was cozy, intimate, with a King size bed and a cushioned head board that reached for the ceiling. This was definitely a luxury for us since we had to downgrade to a Queen size bed living in our loft apartment in Portland. We glanced out the window to see London row-houses, and the cloudy grey skies peeking back at us. This is when we collapsed for the afternoon. I always think maybe we can go and check some of the local neighborhoods out after long flights, but that’s me thinking optimistically. In reality, as soon as we see our hotel after getting in from the other side of the world, all we want to do is try to stay up long enough to break the jet lag, and eat something filling.
We ordered room service, flipped on the telly to watch a couple episodes of Friends (which is ironic since we flew half way across the world to watch what I would have watched at home). The bathroom was one of my favorite parts of the room honestly, not only because of the heated floor and rainfall shower, but because the sound system in the room allowed you to hear the television while you showered. Its a strange feature, but I loved it. Listening to Friends dialogue and showering is strangely comforting after being awake for more than 24 hours. It was like Ross and Joey were reminding me that wherever I go, I’ll always have the comfort of syndicated television. Room service arrived promptly after my shower, where we settled onto our lavish accoutrements, trying not to nod off too soon. We ended up dozing off around 9pm. Then woke up around 3am just to watch a bit more telly and nod off once more till the morning. Jet lag is the weirdest thing. I don’t recommend it.
Still feeling pretty jet lagged, but extremely comfortable, we decided it would be best to go down to breakfast in the house restaurant, Apero. Jade was feeling a little ill from the jet lag, so she ordered a palatable salmon and egg whites, while I ordered the traditional English Breakfast. Eating English Breakfast in the morning in London is always a highlight of my trips there. They had an open breakfast bar we could have taken part in too, but sitting in one place and having food brought to us seemed far more appealing. The whole design of the restaurant, from the quaint seating to the staircase that lead up to the fully stocked wine selection and pantry.
We had plans for later in the day so we had to make breakfast brief to pack up and get on our way. That is one of the more regrettable things about going on a trip like this is we try to plan out as much as possible to be seen and experienced in one day. The rest of the trip was a little more laid back, but the first day is the most important, so we gathered our bags to head down to check out. It was raining cats & dogs, so we kindly had the concierge call us a cab. While waiting for the cab to arrive, we sat in the Drawing Room once more, sipped a couple of coffee’s and gathered our wits to adjust the plan for the rest of our day. Overall the experience was more than pleasant, the staff were helpful, the accommodations suitable, and the stay was well worth it.