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The Rockwell, London 

181 Cromwell Road
Tel: 44 207 244 2000
view web site ›'s insider take:

Outside, there's little to distinguish this white stucco Victorian from the many downscale hotels along this none-too-beautiful stretch of Cromwell Road, but inside, it's instant cheer. A couple of trendy architects were behind the May 2006 opening—which is easy to glean from the modish patterned wallpapers, contemporary couches, and interesting lamps. The 40 rooms benefit from intelligent layouts (especially the smaller ones like #402, a tiny double…but what a roofscape view!) and custom oak closets. There's air-conditioning, minibars, free Internet, satellite flat-screen TVs, Egyptian cotton sheets, and robes (but not tubs) in the bathrooms. Three of the rooms open onto a lower part of the courtyard; tables from One Eight One restaurant (modernized Brit fare that's much better than you'd expect) spill out onto the garden's upper level. The staff is involved and helpful, the net result being a homey vibe. Let's hope all the peeling, sad hotels around Earl's Court take the cue and follow up with their own design-conscious, detail-oriented reinventions.

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My husband and I stayed here for a week in early May '09 upon recommendation of a friend in the hotel industry who is also a former Londoner. The Rockwell is... more