For our most recent visit to London we wanted to stay in a different hotel, as earlier in the year we heard that IHG took over Principal Hotels we thought their London location would be a good choice to try out.
In the meantime the Principal London was rebranded into the Kimpton Fitzroy London, to better fit into the IHG Portfolio. The hotel itself is located in the magnificent classical Hotel Russell building dating back to 1898, recently completely refurbished and brought up to current 5-star hotel standards.
Location wise it is located at Russell Square, at the back side of the British Museum. Three of the most important London terminus stations (Euston, Kings Cross and Saint Pancras) are all just a short 10-20 minutes’ walk away, and the Russell Square station on the Piccadilly Line gets you to most places in Central London (and London Heathrow Airport) in a short time.
We were a bit unlucky in that, as we arrived there were some shots for a new Bollywood movie being shot and entering the hotel was made a bit chaotic with no staff at the door to give directions.
As a consequence we were a bit lost in the magnificent main entry hall until we found the reception desk tucked away in a corner of the adjacent room.
As we were quite early our room was not yet available but the friendly reception staff kindly offered to store our bags and send us a text when the room would be ready. We were also handed a 15GBP ‘Raid the Bar’ credit, which could be used to spend in any of the hotels’ bars and restaurants during our stay.
Before we continued our visit of London, we first visited the public toilets located on the lower floor. The nice thing is that they are unisex toilets, so no one can feel left out. Every toilet is its own little room with a toilet, a sink with both soap and body lotion and some high quality single use towels.
After our visit of Tate Modern, stocking up on our tea before Brexit and stuffing our face at Fortnum & Mason we returned back to the hotel to check out our room.
We had booked a Deluxe Room with two double beds and where assigned one the 4th floor with a bath tub.
Our bags where already waiting for us in the room, which I thought to be a very nice gesture which I haven’t yet experienced in other hotels where I arrived early and stored my bags yet. The room was rather spacious for London standards, with the two2 very comfortable double beds and a small table with two chairs in the corner.
On both bedside tables there was a bedside lamp and two UK power plugs as well as two USB charging plugs, so no stress that your necessary electronics will run out of juice. They also provide an adapter so you can use your European or American plugs in case you forgot your own.
On the central bedside table there was also a bright red telephone with a direct line to the Kremlin.
The turndown service took away all the decorative pillows from the bed and made it ready to sleep, while also putting a glass and a small bottle of water on each bedside table, once again a nice and subtle touch.
While the big windows gave out onto a small balcony, you could not access it as they were locked. A fancy coffee maker was put on the table in the corner, along with a bag of crisps and a bag of popcorn, while the tea kettle with tea and the minibar where located in the closet with the safe, iron and the hairdryer.
In the adjacent compartment there where four pairs of slippers and a bathrobe, the other bathrobe was hanging at the back of the bathroom door, the hotel also provided four towels of each size in the room as it could be used for four persons. This was quite a contrast with InterContinental Montreal where they struggled getting the correct amount of towels, slippers and bathrobes in the room, showing that in a proper run hotel no such hiccups need to occur!
The bathroom looked fantastic, in a Victorian style with some wonderful classic tiles. The sink was nice and big, however if you travel with a lot of toiletries you might find it hard to put them somewhere. The bathtub and shower also looked very nice and inviting, until I went to try it.
The bathtub was rather short (to fit into the room) and I could not stretch my legs completely in the tub. This however was not the biggest issue, and I could live with it.
As I stood up to try out the rain shower head, I was rewarded with a headache when I bumped into it. It was mounted rather low, at about the height of my nose making it very difficult to properly shower under it. Having to duck while showering is not the most pleasant experience. Water pressure and temperature was excellent however.
Kimpton Fitzroy uses multiple use dispensers for hand and body wash, body lotion, shampoo and conditioner, presumably as this is much more environmentally friendly.
While they look much more upscale than the push tubes used by an Ibis, in my opinion this is not something I expect in a 5-star hotel.
There was also only one dispenser of hand and body wash which you had to move from the sink to the bath depending on where you wanted to use it, maybe putting a dispenser on both places might be a better idea. The products used to fill the dispensers where of a good quality with a nice subtle perfume.
The Hotel offers a number of different bars and restaurants. Right next to the check-in desk there is Burr & Co a modern take on the classical Victorian coffee houses.
Here you can go for a drink and a light meal throughout the day. Between 5 and 6 pm each evening there is also the social hour, where hotel guests can enjoy a complimentary drink and canapes.
If you enter the hotel through the main entrance and continue straight across the main hall you end up in the magnificent Palm Court. Under a glass ceiling and two outdoor patios you have a beautiful light-flooded room with plenty of greenery forming the centre of the hotel. In the afternoon you can indulge in the afternoon tea served here.
In the other corner of the Hotel you have the Fitz’s bar, a cocktail bar that gives a feeling of the entering into the roaring 1920’s.
Every evening you can come in here to enjoy some cocktails and small bites. We decided to use out Raid the Bar credit here and enjoyed some wonderful cocktails along with a small bowl of steak and chips to satisfy our small evening craving (as we skipped dinner after the delicious afternoon tea we had earlier).
Right past the corner of Fritz’s you have the Hotel’s main restaurant, Neptune, A modern British restaurant. We only ate breakfast here but the setting of the restaurant looks very inviting to have an evening meal too.
The breakfast contained two main parts, you had the continental breakfast buffet with the usual fruit juices, cold cuts, cheeses, bread and pastries, yoghurts, fruits and some bacon and scrambled eggs.
You also had a hot menu from which you could select a dish which was freshly prepared in the kitchen and brought to your table. Obviously we had to try the eggs benedict, another bad habit I copied from Timothy.
Tea or coffee where also delivered to your table. The taste and quality of the products was excellent, while the buffet may not have been the biggest there is it offers more than enough and at a good quality for you to have a proper breakfast.
If you needed to get rid of the extra kilos you gained by enjoying the wonderful food and cocktails you could always head down to the basement where the hotel offered a very good equipped gym area.
We really enjoyed my stay at the Kimpton Fitzroy London. I would definably stay here again and can recommend it as an excellent hotel with a great yet quiet location in central London.
The very friendly staff and the service with attention for even the smallest details was what truly sets this hotel apart. If the hotel gives a glimpse of how service in other Kimpton properties is like I really look forward to stay in more Kimpton hotels in the future.
Have you stayed at a Kimpton Hotel before? How was your experience with them? Let us know in the comments below!