What's So Special About Kensington Palace and The Milestone?
The Milestone Hotel, London
On our recent trip to the UK, my daughter Ashley and I spent our first two nights in London at The Milestone. While standing very near this spot, waiting to catch a cab for an appointment, the doorman informed me that I’d just missed seeing Prince William and Kate drive by.
“WHAT?!” It was exciting to think that I'd come so close to having seen them—that they were actually driving right by the hotel where we were staying.
But then it occurred to me: why not? They live right across the street!
So I decided to cover both The Milestone and its royal, across-the-street neighbor, Kensington Palace, in the same post.
Kensington Palace was where Princess Diana lived with her two boys. It is now the London home of Prince William and Kate, as well as Prince Harry, who will continue living there after his marriage to Meghan Markle.
You may recognize the garden as the site of their engagement announcement.
Sorry, that’s not Harry and Meghan in the photo.
It was not our first time to see Kensington. That happened when Ashley was 10, and Al, apparently, had blue hair! (Sad how old film photos degrade.)
The garden was even more beautiful on this trip.
And it looked different from nearly every angle.
Inside the palace was a temporary exhibit of some of Princess Diana’s dresses. I should add that this is a very popular exhibit. Our thanks to The Milestone’s concierge for getting us sold-out tickets!
The blue gown on the right was the only long dress Diana owned when she and Prince Charles became engaged.
The exhibit included designer sketches and quotes.
And then, there was the decor in part of the exhibit. The wallpaper, while creative and featuring a variety of Diana's outfits, was hardly flattering of the beautiful princess. I suspect she would like the pillows better.
It was in Kensington Palace that Queen Victoria was born and raised, and where she was awakened early one morning, at barely age 18, and informed that she was now the Queen of Great Britain and Ireland, and mistress of all the British dominions beyond the seas.
Fittingly, there are a number of permanent exhibits about Victoria and her Prince Consort, Albert. One item that I found particularly interesting was the reproduction of Prince Albert’s wedding attire.
More specifically, the embroidery on the back pocket flap…
Back to The Milestone: without exaggeration, it was one of the warmest, most welcoming hotels ever. And I would have to give equal weight to its aesthetics, housed, as it is, in a beautiful example of 17th century architecture.
Red Carnation Hotels are known for their attention to detail and interior design, and The Milestone is no exception. Following is a sampling (not exhaustive) of some of the public areas in which to lounge or enjoy a drink or light meal.
The Stables Bar serves drinks all day, and has a light menu from 10:00 am – 11:00 pm.
Adjacent to the Stables Bar is The Conservatory, a light-filled space where guests can relax with a drink, snacks or a leisurely breakfast. Afternoon Tea is also served here.
The Conservatory is where I chose to enjoy my complimentary glass of champagne. Another nice thing about The Milestone is that guests can elect to postpone this “welcome drink” to a time of their choosing during their stay.
My favorite room was a particularly lovely place called the Park Lounge. Isn't this the perfect, quintessentially English spot for afternoon tea? At other times, guests can curl up with a book on one of the window seats and enjoy the glow of the room's fireplace. And, FYI, their Sabrage Master is capable of opening champagne with a sabre!
One special occasion during my stay was having dinner with my friend, Alex Tollman, Red Carnation's Director of Sales. We had such a fun evening together at the Chesterfield Mayfair, which gave me the opportunity to experience one of The Milestone’s sister properties in London. (And the meal was scrumptious!)
Alex insisted that I inform her whenever we book clients in a Red Carnation hotel so she can be sure to take good care of them. And she will, so y’all let me know when you’d like to go!
As a sidebar: other Red Carnation hotels that we’ve stayed at and blogged include The Oyster Box (Durban, South Africa) and the brightest jewel in the crown, Ashford Castle (west coast of Ireland). These posts demonstrate why I’m such a big fan of the brand!
If you would like to experience The Milestone for yourself, ScheckTrek Travel can provide the following complimentary amenities*:
Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
Complimentary full English breakfast daily for up to two in-room guests
$100 USD equivalent Food & Beverage credit to be utilized during stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full).
Suite Bookings 3 or more nights or any apartment bookings of 5 or more nights: a one-way airport transfer to/from London Heathrow to Milestone will be included as additional amenity.
Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
*Current at time of writing and expected to remain.
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