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A dream fulfilled.
The Kimpton London Fitzroy is currently ranked 57 out of over a 1000 hotels on Tripadvisor, but it’s long been the #1 hotel I’ve wanted to enjoy in London. I’m going to take you back, way back to spring of 2002 when I was studying abroad in London and living off Russell Square. The Kimpton London Fitzroy, or at that time, the Russell Square Hotel, was something I’d awe at as I’d pass it on my way to the tube before heading to my work study. It’s grand, towering, and one of those hotels you one day aspire to say at dinner, “I’ll charge it to the room.”
Flash forward to the 2018.
IHG strikes a deal with Principal Hotels to expand their footprint in the UK. As luck would have it, Principal’s flagship property, one they’d been investing millions into renovating, was soon to be the Kimpton London Fitzroy. 17 years in the waiting…I could use points to stay at my aspirational London hotel. You can imagine I was excited to finally review the Kimpton London Fitzroy
- When: January 2019
- Where: London
- Loyalty: IHG
- Status: Platinum Ambassador
- Category: Double Bed, Urban room
- Upgrade: No, but extra welcome drink with password
- Rate: 70k point per night ( 10% refunded with IHG Select )
The Hotel’s location is fantastic
As I mentioned it’s on Russell Square which is a 10 minute walk to St. Pancras train station, and the Russell Square tube stop is literally across the street. British Museum is a stone throw’s away and Soho is probably within 15 minutes walking. There’s also a Starbuck’s nearby, grocery store, and Holborn train station is 5 mins walking.
Credit cards you should use to get max value.
Since we were staying on points we put the incidentals on a Chase Ink Business Preferred so we could earn 3x points on our bill at check out. The Chase Sapphire Reserve would also get your 3x if you’re not a business card user. However…if you didn’t care about earning IHG status, you could earn 10x points booking through hotels.com and paying with your Capital One Venture card.
An IHG loyalist looking to stay with points?
I’d say the IHG Premier from Chase offers an incredible opportunity to get a 4th night free when using points. That means your total 4 night stay would cost 210k points vs 280k if you didn’t hold the card. Perks like this make it a long term hold even if you don’t have that many points to begin with. Why? You can often buy points for nearly 1/2 cent.
Say the magic words at Check-in – “Chilled to Perfection”
The hotel is absolutely stunning, and aesthetically speaking, far superior to IHG’s Park Lane Flagship Intercontinental. The exterior is Edwardian, and the interior has been tastefully restored to accent the beauty of the era, but modernize concurrently.
If you’re unfamiliar with Kimpton and their check-in trick, if you say the magic word, you’ll receive some sort of goodie. Ours, was an extra welcome drink each – worth 15 or 20 pounds depending on what you’d ultimately order.
I’ve had mixed experiences with upgrades on point reservations done via IHG. This one…no upgrade given and the room was quite small. You may think, well this is London, so all rooms are small. Not exactly the case. I’ve stayed in my fair share of hotels in London ( Grosvenor House, Marriott Park Lane, Intercontinental Park Lane, London Edition, Xenia Hotel, Conrad London, St Ermin’s, Waldorf London, Radisson Blu Edwardian, and now the Kimpton).
The room we were assigned was 100% on the smaller end of all these properties and, via the website, measure 16-18sqm. For those like me who typically measure in sqft, that’s in the 200 sqft range. Small. This is my pet peeve, but I don’t like communal size bath products which the cynic in me believes hotels do for cost cutting rather than the environmental sales pitch they so heavily advertise. Regardless…it wouldn’t stop me from coming back, but as a practice I’m biased against it. To me…a hotel is a a vacation away from my normal life, and I love to bring home a stash of bottles to remember my stay. Plus…those little bottles are great to give out to the homeless at Christmas time.
This is a brand wide perk, not just at the Fitzroy, and was quite nice. The location rotates from night to night depending on the expected guest count and obligations of the hotel for its various facilities. Ours was done upstairs from the main lobby on the landing area. It was estimated that Kimpton poured 300k bottles of wine last year. That’s 1.5million glasses, but I’d say based off the healthy pours we received…more like 1 million. For getting some great free stuff…they didn’t skimp on keeping our glasses to the brim 🙂
Where to eat
My middle name is Burr…serendipitous that this hotel I’ve wanted to stay at for nearly 2 decades names their coffee house Burr? You decide…
Fitz’s is a very cool bar…and where we enjoyed our welcome champagne.
Fancy a workout – the Fitzroy has a good sized, modern workout facility.
One of the downsides to older hotels is the gym. Often these are ill-placed, converted rooms or dungeony like quarters. The Fitzroy’s gym is the exact opposite. Yes, it’s in the basement, but it feels bright, new, and one whole wall look up at the hustle and bustle of London.
This is a great hotel with rates that often fall in the high 100s to mid 200s a night. For London, and this quality of hotel, that’s a great deal. My gf stayed at the hotel later in the month on a paid rate and was upgraded to a huge room with a great view. I’d suspect elites are upgraded quite well on paid stays or when there’s less occupancy. The night we stayed the hotel seemed quite busy.
Is this the best hotel I’ve stayed at in London? No, but its normal rates are 1/2 or 1 /3 of what the Marriott Park Lane or London Edition would charge. Heck, they’re even 30 to 40% less than what the Intercontinental Park Lane, its sister property, charges for cash rates.
Would I pay 70k to stay here again? It’d really come down to the cash rates available, and whether it was a one off, or I was staying for a few nights. Cards like the IHG Premier, which offers a 4th night free on point bookings, make this hotel even more attractive.
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