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Our Founder Naomi Heaton’s Guide To South Kensington

Art & Culture 20/07/2022

This interview is an extract of a larger conversation with Kari Colmans of Luxury London. 

What first attracted you to South Kensington? 

There are so many things that draws one to South Kensington.  The appeal of its grand Victorian architecture and private garden squares, to the cultural institutions along Exhibition Road and many eclectic galleries, shops and cafes that have given this part of London its undeniable charm and personality for decades.   

Why did you choose South Kensington as the location for The Other House? 

Our intention has always been to open several locations within prime Central London.  When we first saw the 11 Victorian terraced houses on Harrington Gardens that now comprise The Other House South Kensington, it was love at first sight. In many ways it perfectly encapsulates what’s so wonderful about this part of town – convenience, culture, striking architecture and ‘village’ appeal. We also look to acquire heritage buildings that are run down and no longer fit for purpose and restore them to their former glory – whilst making them great places to stay for the modern generation of travellers. This was a perfect fit. 

Do you have any historical or nostalgic ties to the area? 

I have long called W1 home but one of my earliest and most enduring memories is visiting The Natural History Museum and seeing Dippy the enormous 26m long dinosaur – I am sure it has thrilled millions of kids around the world.

What for you is the best: 

Cultural attraction 

As London’s arts and science district, the choices are nearly endless. However, I think I would have to go for the Victoria and Albert Museum which can take you on amazing journeys from Chinese ceramics to Alexander McQueen evening dresses. Having a keen interest in interior design I particularly like walking through the unfolding display of Domestic Interiors since the Renaissance. Or take a look at the wonderful exhibition celebrating the life and work of Beatrix Potter, one of our best loved children’s authors of the 20th century. She also just happens to be one of the many famous residents of South Kensington, we are celebrating at The Other House. Another one is William Gilbert of Gilbert and Sullivan fame who lived in the most magnificent Arts and Crafts house designed by Norman Shaw – just a stone’s throw away from The Other House at 39 Harrington Gardens. Also well worth a look.  

Art gallery 

Cromwell Place is a new hub for the arts with an incredibly exciting roster of exhibitions and events. They housed the 2021 Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize whilst the National Portrait Gallery remains closed for redevelopment work – a testament to the calibre of exhibitions they have on offer.  

Entertainment  

A night out at The Royal Albert Hall, simply cannot be beaten.

Restaurant 

If you’re looking for a spot to meet friends for breakfast, brunch or lunch, The Other Kitchen, is our new street café on Harrington Gardens. With its signature approach to one-pot dishes, designed by London’s youngest Michelin Starred Chef, Asimakis Chaniotis, and our talented Chef Gary White who also leads the kitchen, it’s café culture as South Kensington has never experienced before.  It is seasonal, sustainable, low waste and caters for all dietary requirements. 

Bar 

Our new destination bar, The Owl & Monkey, is set to stir-up the cocktail scene in South Ken. Lead by our very talented Italian Bar Manager, Flavio Russo, the list of classic and signature cocktails – alcoholic and non-alcoholic – is as exciting as the bar is glamorous and flamboyant as its interiors.

Hotel  

Well of course, the only place to stay in South Ken is at The Other House! Combining apartment-style living with hotel services on tap, with beautiful public areas and a Private Club for our residents to enjoy, you can stay for a day or a year. Think pied-à-terre meets private club – it’s your other house for as long as you’re in town.

Shop 

The Conran Shop, on the Fulham Road, located in the stunning Art Deco Michelin House, has been a go-to for years. Their signature mix of design classics and one-off vintage finds, make it a perfect spot for gifts and a quick retail fix.

Beauty parlour  

I can’t claim to have been, but I’ve been told on good authority that Larry King’s flagship salon, located around the corner from The Other House, on Harrington Road, is amongst the very best. With salon clients that include David Gandy, Jamie Redknapp and Pixie Lott, I should imagine I’ve not been given a bad steer.

Tourist activity  

If you’re not au fait with South Kensington, the Royal London Walking Tour will take you across some of the most beautiful attractions in Central London.  In three hours you will see palaces, gardens, parks and memorials – a particular must for fans of the Royal family.  

Park 

Hidden away behind rows of Victorian terraced houses, Prince’s Garden is mostly known only by locals. Originally designed as a private garden square for very grand families, the square is still technically private, being owned by Imperial College, but is open to all to enjoy peacefully as it is still surrounded by residential flats. Although only one row of houses away from Exhibition Road with its many tourists, it’s a remarkably peaceful space.