London is a city of diverse cultures, fascinating people and international influence. But if there’s one place in London that has maintained a quintessentially British feel, it’s Chelsea. Whilst a certain E4 TV show may have well and truly put Chelsea on the map in recent years, there is one place that remains a well-kept secret for only the savviest of London visitors. Let me tell you all about 11 Cadogan Gardens.
11 Cadogan Gardens is a boutique hotel situated in the leafy enclave of Cadogan Gardens in Chelsea. Following a 1-year renovation project, the hotel relaunched in May 2016. I got to stay here for 1 night last month with my boyfriend, which made for a welcome respite in the middle of a particularly hectic time.
I arrived at Sloane Street tube station, Google Maps in hand, ready to locate our hotel for the night. I vaguely knew 11 Cadogan Gardens was ‘off Sloane Square somewhere’, but it wasn’t until we arrived that I realised just how close it was. The hotel is a 5-minute walk from Sloane Square and despite its proximity to such a buzzing part of Chelsea, the whole of Cadogan Gardens remains a quiet and tranquil escape.
11 Cadogan Gardens is located within a row of individual Victorian townhouses. Whilst most of them have now been split up into smaller flats and properties, the boutique hotel spreads throughout 4 of the original townhouses. Intricate white coving contrasts with vivid orange brickwork all along the street and the proud Union Jack swaying in the breeze above the hotel entrance only adds to the iconic London scene.
Compared to the light and bright exterior, things feel much darker and cosier as soon as you step inside 11 Cadogan Gardens. There are wooden floors, beams, high ceilings and all the original townhouse features you’d expect to see. I immediately felt a sense of history and presence when I walked through the doors (if the walls could speak, I’m sure they’d have plenty of stories to tell). We received a warm welcome from the doorman and briefly sat down at reception for the speediest of check-ins.
Four Poster Bliss
The hotel has a combination of 56 rooms and suites, each one completely unique from the next. Our night was spent in a signature suite, which was designed in a baroque style with gold and cream hues – ever so Chelsea darling. With a sumptuous four-poster bed, living area and lavish marble bathroom with heated floors, it was definitely fit for a princess.
A bottle of champagne on ice and fresh white roses were waiting for us on arrival, which made the experience feel even more special. Our signature suite was the definition of elegance and was perfectly in keeping with the rest of 11 Cadogan Gardens.
Dining at Tartufo
The highlight of our evening was an indulgent dining experience at Tartufo, the hotel’s Euro-Italian restaurant. Like the foodie geek that I am, I perused the menu online long before we sat down to eat. We chose the two course fixed menu which was priced at a very reasonable £30 each.
For my ‘primi’ course, I opted for the restaurant’s signature dish of Tortellini Al Tartufo Nero, a truffle tortellini with fresh walnut and mascarpone. It was one of the richest and indulgent pasta dishes I had ever tasted. Each mouthful felt like one of those euphoric food moments when all you can do is close your eyes and chew (I must have been rubbish company during that course).
My ‘secondi’ or main dish, was the Manzo Roast Beef Fillet, served with fondant potato, spinach gratin, celeriac puree, marsala sauce and truffle. I asked to have the fillet cooked ‘medium’ and for me, it was cooked to absolute perfection. I’m a sucker for truffle and the shavings on top of the pasta were plentiful.
We were served by a fantastic waiter, who was also a very knowledgeable sommelier. He described the menu perfectly and paired both of our courses with amazing wines. We told him the types of wines we liked and he found the perfect options to compliment the flavours on our plates.
Whilst Tartufo is based in the hotel, you don’t have to be a guest to eat there. You’d never stumble across it, but I would hugely recommend going there even if you’re not staying at the hotel. The food is to die for and the service is outstanding.
Breakfast of Champions
After a blissful night’s sleep in the heavenly four-poster bed, it was time for breakfast. Because of our rich feast the night before, I wasn’t remotely hungry, but I adore a lazy hotel breakfast so had to go and check it out. Guests can pick up continental options from a light and bright buffet room or they can order hot dishes from the menu.
I went for a cheese and mushroom omelete with avocado, which looked like a work of art when it was placed in front of me. As I ate the perfectly fluffy omelete I realised I had definitely been cooking omeletes the wrong way all my life. The hotel breakfast was the perfect start to our day.
Normally when checking out of a beautiful hotel, I have at least 1 flight and 2 airports to get through. But as we checked out of 11 Cadogan Gardens, I felt absolutely overjoyed to know that ‘home’ was only a quick journey over the river. Whilst we were staying in the city I lived in, the hotel experience made it feel like I could be a million miles away from home.
If you’re visiting the capital and dreaming of that quintessential London experience, 11 Cadogan Gardens is perfect for you. It’s fabulously British without feeling stuffy or pretentious and being tucked away from the hustle and bustle also means it’s a place where you can feel relaxed. Peaceful, elegant and most importantly boutique in style, 11 Cadogan Gardens makes it to the top of my hotel hotlist.
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Disclaimer: My reservation at 11 Cadogen Gardens was complimentary as part of a press stay. All views are my own.