Review: Residence Inn by Marriott London Kensington, United Kingdom
With dozens of hotel options in London, United Kingdom, I chose carefully for our family stay that included myself and my teenage son. We ended up at the Residence Inn by Kensington on a Marriott Bonvoy Reward Redemption. We would end up staying in a comfortable Premium One Bedroom Suite with enough space for everyone’s needs. Read on to see what the advantages of the Residence Inn were compared to a regular hotel room for a stay in Central London…
This post is one chapter on our trip to Portugal, the United Kingdom (England and Norther Ireland) and Ireland. This trip was redeemed through American Airlines Advantage and enhanced through Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.
Read more from this trip:
- Introduction: Portugal, the United Kingdom, Ireland via TAP Portugal and British Airways Business Class.
- A Positioning Flight: Air Canada Vancouver – Toronto
- TAP Portugal Business Class: Toronto – Lisbon
- Sheraton Lisboa Hotel and Spa, Lisbon, Portugal
- The First Steps in the Hilly Capital City of Lisbon, Portugal
- Exploring the Turrets of Castelo del São Jorge, Lisbon, Portugal
- The Seaside Town of Belem and the Jerónimos Monastery, Portugal
- The Lisbon Cathedral and Iberico Ham at Time Out Market, Lisbon, Portugal
- TAP Portugal Premium Business Lounge, Lisbon, Portugal
- TAP Portugal Business Class: Lisbon – London Heathrow
- Plaza Premium Arrivals Lounge: London Heathrow Terminal Two
- The Residence Inn by Marriott London Kensington, United Kingdom
- Walking Piccadilly Circus, Regent Street, London, United Kingdom
- Churchill’s War Rooms & Westminster Abbey, London, United Kingdom
- Touring the Tower of London and Tower Bridge, London, United Kingdom
- Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace and St Paul’s Cathedral, London, United Kingdom
- De-Cyphering the Rosetta Stone and Camden Locks, London United Kingdom
- Day Tripping to Stonehenge, Salisbury, United Kingdom
- The Moxy London Heathrow Airport, United Kingdom
- The Plaza Premium Lounge, London Heathrow Terminal Two
- Aer Lingus: London Heathrow – Dublin
- Aloft Dublin City, Dublin, Ireland
- Discovering Temple Bar District, Dublin, Ireland
- Calling on the Guiness Storehouse and Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland
- The Shertaon Athlone Hotel, Athlone, Ireland
- Drinking at Ireland’s Oldest Bar, Athlone, Ireland
- Hiking Along the Cliff’s of Moher, Ireland
- Crystal Springs Bed and Breakfast, Killarney, Ireland
- Circling The Skelling Islands and Driving the Ring of Kerry, Ireland
- Kissing the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle, Cork, Ireland
- AC Hotel by Marriott, Belfast, Northern Ireland
- Experiencing the Tragedy of the Titanic at the Titanic Museum, Belfast, Northern Ireland
- In the Shadows at the Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland
- Terminal One T1 Lounge, Dublin Airport, Ireland
- British Airways Club Europe: Dublin – London Heathrow
- Cathay Pacific Business Lounge, London Heathrow
- No1 Lounge, London Heathrow
- British Airways Club World Business Class: London – Vancouver
Review: Residence Inn by Marriott London Kensington, London, United Kingdom
We had a five day stay in London. While London is never a cheap hotel market, there are some value based opportunities if you look carefully.
Booking the Hotel:
I ended up picking this property as the Residence Inn properties offer kitchenettes. I figured that WT73Jr would probably appreciate some home cooking, as would the weight of my wallet in this expensive city called London. The property also offered more space given that they had separate bedrooms. This would prove to be an advantage on a family stay in a city that typically has smaller hotel rooms in historic buildings.
Under the Marriott Bonvoy rewards program, the property appeared to offer both studio and one bedroom suites at the lowest reward point offering at 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night. With this math, It made complete sense to book the larger room. I found this to be a great deal with the usual Marriott Bonvoy fifth night free on an award redemption. This brought the rate down to 28,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night, or 9,333 Starwood Preferred Guest points under the old system. It was a heck of a deal compared to the old Starwood Preferred Guest program where many properties in London went for 25,000 SPG points per night. As a result, we redeemed Marriott Bonvoy points for our five night stay for 140,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.
The paid rates at the time of our visit were around 180£ GBP ($235 USD), or $1,135 USD for a 5 day stay.
I had applied suite night awards to the highest room category but they failed to clear. This wasn’t really surprising given that we were travelling in the middle of summer.
We ended up really enjoying the stay here and would easily return. I’ve recommended the property to MrsWT73 whom has since completed a separate 2 night stay this fall and also endorsed the property for what it was: a Residence Inn where you can self cater on your own, with a larger than average room allowing for a little extra space to exist in Central London.
Getting to the Residence Inn London Kensington:
The property is well situated in Earls Court Kensington area of London. It is within the Zone 1 area of the London Underground, making for the cheapest possible sightseeing within Zone 1 on the Oyster Card.
It is also worth mentioning that the property is also situated with a Tesco Supermarket immediately next to the hotel. This made stocking the in room fridge exceptionally convenient.
After arriving off TAP Portugal Business Class Lisbon – London, we departed the London Heathrow Terminal Two airport. For simplicity, we took the London Underground Piccadilly Line from Heathrow Terminal Three station to Earl’s Court station.
I put the pressure on WT73Jr to navigate us from London Heathrow station to Earls Court on his first navigation of a subway map in his life.
We then took the Warwick Road exit from the station and walked the 800 meters up the road to the Residence Inn Marriott.
It took approximately 55 minutes to get from London Heathrow to the Residence In by Marriott London Kensington using the Underground system. While it was not quick, the times were typical of transfer times from London Heathrow to Central London.
Checking into the Residence Inn Kensington London:
After the five minute walk from the London Underground Earls Court, we arrived the the Residence Inn by Marriott London Kensington. When we arrived, it was a bit of mayhem in the lobby. The lobby was consumed by many middle eastern families whom appear to favour this property, as they do the city of London, in the summer months instead of the warm Middle East.
At check in, we were offered the usual 500 points as the Marriott Bonvoy Elite welcome amenity. The Residence Inn features breakfast included with every rate. Surprisingly, on our arrival at 1:15 PM, our room was ready and waiting for us. I had Marriott Bonvoy Titanium status during our stay. As a result, we received a further soft upgrade to a Premium One Bedroom Suite from the regular One Bedroom that we had booked with our reservation. It’s not common to get an upgrade at a Residence Inn, but I’ll sure take any free upgrade thiat is offered.
The Room: A Premium One Bedroom Suite
1 Bedroom Suite, 1 Double, Sofa bed, Skyline view, Top floor
We guided ourselves to Room #921, which was a premium one bedroom suite situated on the top floor. It was right at the end of a long hall of similarly designed room configurations.
The Premium One Bedroom Suite was a compact but reasonably well equipped suite. Immediately upon entering the room, we found ourselves in the bedroom of the suite. Being closer to the hallway, the one bedroom did not have any windows and was a bit of a darker space.
The Master Bathroom:
The bathroom was immediately off the master bedroom. The bathroom was a little musty smelling, but an open window took care of that pretty easily. There were some cautions on websites that the steam from the shower would set off the smoke alarm, so I took care to keep the door closed at all times while showering.
The Living Room & Kitchen
Heading further into the suite, the living room was a compact area. It was made even more compact by the sofa bed that WT73Jr was to be sleeping on was unfolded and made ready for the stay.
At the time, the fact that the room had sofabed’s was missing from the hotel website, and we didn’t exactly know if we were going to be splitting the king size bed, or whether there was a roll away that was going to be requested on our arrival. It has since been updated on the website, so you know exactly what you are getting.
The living space was much brighter as a result of being on the top floor and next to the windows. While daylight windows are never something that I come to expect when staying in London’s hotels, the room had a nice amount of daylight.
The other half of the living room was the kitchenette and dining table that was on the other side of the living room. The kitchenette featured a mini kitchen, a sink for dishes, a small refrigerator, and a HOB; defined as a flat plate with cooking burners integrated into the cabinet.
There was a caution warning on the toaster. Several reviews from some other travel sites report the fire alarm going off quite a bit at this property from the shower and the kitchens.
The room was missing the Nespresso Coffeemaker. I ended up calling down to make sure that we weren’t charged for it. It was eventually delivered around the 3rd day of the stay. It was featured along with the coffee tray.
The room also featured an information sheet, outlining all the breakfast information and hours. It also described the bar hours and the laundry features.
Being on almost the top floor, the view was reasonable for London standards. I’ve never expected too much from London hotel room views, but this one was definitely on the reasonable and favourably unexpected side.
The Included Breakfast with Every Stay:
The included breakfast was more than satisfactory for a 5 day stay. Although I would have preferred a made to order breakfast in the room with supplies from Tesco next door, it was easier to take the included breakfast and we avoided the hassles of supply shopping.
Breakfast was offered between 6:30 AM and 11 AM on weekdays and 6:30 AM and 11:30 AM on weekends. The breakfast offering changed every day and included eggs and a whole host of assorted items.
The breakfast itself was substantial. There were baked goods, cold cuts and even hot items available with something for everyone.
It was at times, mayhem at the breakfast bar; so much so that the hotel had a pop up display cautioning staff of the best times to visit. As a result, this may be something to take into consideration if you’re planning on turning up with your family of four between 8 – 9 AM on a weekday.
The breakfast counter doubles as a bar in the afternoon. The hours of the Bar were between 5:30 PM and Midnight. I ended up with wine in the room from Tesco and didn’t get the opportunity to visit “the bar” during our stay.
The Residence Inn also offered a washer and dryer machine in the basement. We were able to have a mid trip wash of clothes to get the heat from Lisbon out of our suitcase about halfway through the trip. There was a bit of a wait in the evening for this between 8-10 PM on a weekday, as it was a popular option.
There were days that we returned from sightseeing to a message on the television apologizing for the fire alarm. Although we never had the opportunity to hear one ourselves, it apparently remains a possibility for those on longer stays at the hotel.
The Bottom Line: The Residence Inn London Kensington
The Residence Inn was a terrific place to stay with a teenager on an extended visit to London. In addition to being a great value on reward redemptions, it also offers more space compared to many other London Hotels which are often in historic buildings that offer substantially less space. It offered enough space for a family, the convenience of a Tesco Supermarket next door, in addition to being only a short tube ride away from the major attractions in London. I would easily stay here again for a family stay.