A new venture looking to combine the best of both hotel facilities and apartment-style living, The Other House has chosen South Kensington for its first outpost – another is set to open in Covent Garden in 2024 – a glam new space including more than 200 guestrooms known as Club Flats, as well as a food and drink offering and a Private Club with spaces only accessible to residents and members.
The concept aims to let you “make it your own space for as long as you like – this is your other house” – and the more I stay in hotels, the more I understand the appeal of a living/kitchen area in a guestroom, especially in a wallet-draining city like the Big Smoke and on a stay of more than one night.
Highly personable property expert Naomi Heaton is behind The Other House brand, explaining how it has been designed to be laidback and feel like home, for example, having the living area the part you enter on crossing the Flat threshold.
She also shows me some of the Private Club spaces such as The Keeping Room and The Den, both decadently cozy spaces that model the opulent mix of dark walls, gold-framed artwork, and thoroughbred chairs and sofas upholstered in rich jewel-coloured fabrics seen throughout the rest of the property.
It strikes me as the natural habitat of a trendy, glam clientele, although I take a sedate, early-bedtime approach on my stay at the property, which is just a few minutes’ walk from Gloucester Road Tube station.
The first thing I see entering my Club Flat is a small, L-shaped sofa in burnt orange velvet flanked by a table and chairs and a full kitchen dominated by a racing green colour scheme, while to the left is the compact sleeping area. Next to the bed are a couple of books, although I deem the burgundy-covered biography of German writer Goethe decoration rather than night-time reading, and opt for the TV, although the living and sleeping areas being divided by a stylish but unmoveable metal screen means my viewing location has to be the sofa rather than in bed.
Worth getting out of bed for
The property is near a good selection of cafes, and a sizeable Waitrose, while approximately 15-minutes’ walk away is the epic museum trio of the V&A, Natural History Museum, and Science Museum - I make my maiden voyage to the latter, and am fascinated by its detailed range of exhibits. Additionally, Gloucester Road Tube station enables you to travel directly to both King’s Cross in one direction and Heathrow in the other on the Piccadilly line.
Wining and dining
I dine at in-house bar and restaurant Owl & Monkey, where ornate, brightly-coloured wallpaper illustrates both creatures. The food offering comprises small plates, and I try roasted aubergine with red miso, soy and sesame, and a Scotch egg complete with bright orange yolk and piccalilli, accompanied by a non-alcoholic version of The Other Memory, its chilli and cacao a warming combination. Breakfast is served in The Other Kitchen, which has a brighter, more minimalist look, and I power through pastries, fruit and yoghurt. A major push to be eco-friendly includes menus made from dung from an elephant sanctuary.
Budget or boutique
Definitely boutique – the brand has the bespoke The Other House app, which includes the ability to check in, call the lift, reserve a spot at the bar, and check when the gym is quiet.
My favourite spot in the spa, in particular the bijou swimming pool tiled with small, iridescent tiles that dazzle in the low-lit space like the Koh-i-Noor diamond when they catch the light.
This is a glam property for those fond of late nights with a cocktail rather than watching the Bake-Off in bed with a cuppa, and for whom cool and Instagrammability are the top priorities.