Anouska Hempel's daring South Kensington boutique hotel.
Fans of minimalism steer clear of this one. But lovers of the weird and wonderful --- welcome! Travel connoisseurs will love this dramatic and somewhat theatrical hotel whose rooms are all themed on far-off lands including India, France, Russia and Turkey. Anouska Hempel, also known as Lady Weinberg, the wife of Sir Mark Weinberg, a leading city financier, has given Blakes an esoteric style that translates to strong themes running through each room’s décor, which includes Biedermeier furniture, Oriental lacquer, gossamer netting and mother-of-pearl details. Each bedroom is individually designed with occasionally startling and idiosyncratic painted floorboards, while others contain fantasy beds. Some might accuse Hempel of over-decoration, but the hotel is enormous fun and, not surprisingly, goes down big with media types and the film industry, who make up most of the guests and no doubt appreciate the in-room CD and video players, Wi-Fi and high-speed Internet access running throughout the hotel. Downstairs, Blakes restaurant continues Hempel’s keen interest in the Orient with Japanese Kyoto Country breakfasts and an expensive, but beautifully executed, international menu attracting a glamorous clientele. The hotel has an affiliation with Holmes Place health club.