Latest London Hotel Review: Holiday Inn Kensington Forum, London
Holiday Inn Kensington Forum
In the South Kensington area, the Holiday Inn Kensington is an iconic landmark rising above the skyline and making it very easy to find as you enter London on the A4 Cromwell road from the M25 or M4.
The journey time from London Heathrow is relatively short by either road or tube.
The area around this 4 star hotel is upmarket being prime residential London. As such there is a huge infrastructure of restaurants, bars, retail outlets and transport links. Within walking distance you have Knightsbridge, Chelsea, Earls Court, Fulham and Kensington.
Local cultural attractions include the Natural History Museum which is an essential visit, the Science Museum, the Royal Albert Hall, Hyde Park, the Victoria and Albert Museum and Chelsea Physic Garden.
Retail therapy offers upmarket Harrods, Harvey Nichols, High Street Kensington and the Kings Road.
Restaurants in the area cover every requirement in terms of taste and budget from fast food to Michelin star quality.
If that was not enough, the hotel is in one of the safest areas of London. It also has a huge underground secure car park.
Walk out of the hotel, turn left, walk 200 metres and you are at the Gloucester Road tube station. This is served by the Circle and District line which encompasses central London. You can travel as Far East as the Tower of London which borders the Financial District (City of London) or alternatively right into the West End and Theatreland.
Despite being one of the largest hotels in London, the Holiday Inn Kensington Forum has a reasonably efficient checkin.
The foyer is huge and includes the Reception Desks, a vast seating area, a small general shop offing newspapers, cigarettes and souvenirs, a very nice deli offering Starbucks Coffee and an open plan restaurant.
The lifts are at the back of the foyer and require a key card to access the bedroom floors so security is top class.
Walk past the lifts and you have a large sports bar which offers bar snacks. It is themed as an English pub called the Cromwell Tavern and tends to be populated by the aircrews staying there on lay over.
The bedrooms are typical Holiday Inn and hold no surprises. They have all the usual chain hotel facilities including, for us, the essential kettle. Internet is chargeable and adequate enough to hold a video call. The bed was average comfort and very clean. The views were excellent being above the neighbourhood except for Point West opposite which is a private apartment block.
Breakfast can be an issue. It’s a buffet affair with a great selection of products. You are shown to a table and then it’s self service. At the weekend, the wait for a table was unacceptable, especially on the Sunday.
Unless breakfast is included, we would recommend that you use one of several restaurants in the immediate vicinity. These will be much cheaper and faster. There are two in the Gloucester Road shopping arcade just two minutes walk away and also one opposite the station.
Also opposite the station is an HSBC bank, a pub serving food including breakfast, a couple of fast food outlets including Burgerking and a Pauls French patisserie.
For evening food, just near the tube station is the world famous Bombay Brasserie. Here you can eat contemporary Indian cuisine is a colonial setting. Less expensive and less grand, but equally good, is the Light of India next to the Montana Hotel at the junction of Cromwell Road and Gloucester Road.
Take the tube one stop east to South Kensington and you have some seriously good restaurants on the Brompton Road.
If its a sunny day you can walk along the Cromwell Road to Harrods. It will take around 20 minutes. A little further along and you have Knightsbridge and Sloane Street with its uber expensive shops.
The Holiday Inn Kensington Forum is a great choice of accommodation. It has everything that you require on site, the prices are generally OK and the area is excellent for tourism. There may be more stylish 4 stars in the area but pound for pound its a good buy. If its asking a high price then you may as well also check out more stylish hotels in the same area like the Xenia Hotel or Ampersand Hotel. Also the NH Harrington Hall is an alternative.
Our tip: just 300 metres west of here is a 24×7 Sainsbury’s Superstore. Apart from being able to buy food, you can purchase ready made sandwiches and hot meals to take away. There is also a Starbucks inside. You can park on the roof for up to 2 hours free of charge.
Also, for cheap drinks and meals join the Casino underneath the Millennium Gloucester Hotel just 2 minutes walk from the Kensington Forum.