DoubleTree by Hilton London Kingston Upon Thames – Hotel Review
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, London Kingston Upon Thames
by Richard Jones
Around a century ago, Harry Hawker was among the most famous men in the world. One of the early 20th century’s pioneering aviators, Hawker set an endurance record of eight hours and 20 minutes in 1913, before posting a new height record of 11,700 feet and an air speed record of 92mph. As well as being a fearless and daring pilot, his company designed the famous Hawker Hurricane and was ultimately responsible for the Harrier Jump Jet.
Hawker was also a formidable racing driver and drove the first car to reach 100mph. He took everything to the limit, but paid the ultimate price when the aircraft he was due to fly in the Aerial Derby crashed at Hendon Aerodrome on July 12, 1921. Although Hawker was a proud Australian, he spent much of his adult life in Surrey, and was regarded as an honourable Brit.
On his death, King George V wrote that “the nation has lost one of its most distinguished airmen, who by his skill and daring, has contributed so much to the success of British aviation”.
Hawkers Bar & Brasserie, the on-site restaurant at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel London Kingston Upon Thames, fittingly takes its name from the aviation pioneer who was Sopwith Aviation Company’s chief test pilot.
The Art Deco-inspired restaurant with its open-plan kitchen pays homage to the area’s extensive contribution to the history of aviation, and with its lively atmosphere, modern design, trend-setting menu and local craft beers, it is well worth reserving a table during a visit to Kingston Upon Thames.
My wife Rachel and I arrive at the hotel on a Saturday afternoon, and after parking across the road at the Seven Kings multi-storey car park, we make the short stroll across the street to the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel London Kingston Upon Thames.
Opened in December, the hotel’s interior décor is mostly greys and blues, with muted wood veneers and natural marble. This complements the maps and other artwork on the ground floor, while the colourful 1920s-style furniture and features such as filament lamps and brushed copper panels give the place a marvellous sense of character.
On the whole, the hotel is modern, stylish, very relaxing, and even smells brand-new – just the job for those visiting for pleasure as well as business.
We are given a tasty, warm signature cookie on arrival, before heading to our spotless guest room which is smart and spacious with complimentary Wi-Fi, an espresso coffee machine, a 43-inch smart TV and a king-sized bed.
The bathroom features a shiny collection of black marble, chrome and stone tiles with a large walk-in wet-room shower, non-steam mirrors and luxurious Crabtree & Evelyn toiletries.
Despite being in the middle of a bustling urban hub, the room is surprisingly quiet this particular Saturday night, with the thick wall-to-ceiling windows keeping the noise at bay.
The hotel’s upgraded rooms offer even more space and a private balcony, and, if you really feel like pushing the boat out, you can treat yourself to breakfast in bed by using the round-the-clock room service. There is also a hi-tech 24-hour fitness centre and a ballroom big enough to accommodate 260 people during weddings and other events and functions.
However, regardless of its impressive amenities, the hotel’s key selling point is its location.
Minutes from the hustle and bustle of downtown London, the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel London Kingston Upon Thames is perfect base for a getaway with the River Thames, Kingston Train Station, the riverside pubs and Bushy Park all within walking distance.
If you feel like exploring further, the hotel is close to Bentall Shopping Centre, the Kingston food market, the famous Rose Theatre, the historic Hampton Court Palace and Kingston University London. Indeed, sightseeing is effortless.
It is easy to travel to other popular local areas including Richmond, Twickenham and Wimbledon, while the train journey to London Waterloo Station takes just 28 minutes.
After a Saturday afternoon wander into town, Rachel and I head back to the room to freshen up before our reservation at the aforementioned Hawkers Bar & Brasserie located just off the entrance lobby.
We start the night off with one of their signature cocktails. I go for the suitably named Aviator – a twist on gin and tonic with citrus and mint, while Rachel has the Leroy – a refreshing blend of prosecco, strawberry puree, vanilla and vodka.
The brasserie-style food menu certainly sounded appetising upon reading, offering ‘sophisticated comfort food’ with something for everyone – but each dish has its own twist.
I opt for the pan fried scallops with Spanish chorizzo followed by the rib eye steak with portobello mushrooms and sherry vinegar infused tomato, while Rachel goes for the chicken liver parfait and chutney as a starter and the paprika marinated and grilled chicken breast entrée.
Influenced by the local character of Kingston, the chefs strive to find the best local produce throughout their menu.
“Base to explore”
And the next morning, breakfast follows a similar theme with local sausages, bacon and eggs, complemented by a large and varied self-serve selection of continental items, including American-style pancakes.
Afterwards, we spend the morning strolling along the Thames, admiring the stunning riverside houses and watching the rowers and stand-up paddlers basking in the warm sunshine reflecting off the water.
Kingston is perfect for a short break in Surrey, as a base to explore London, or as Rachel I do, a lovely day out and overnight stay to break up the car journey down from Yorkshire to Heathrow or Gatwick airport.
Although aviation and travel has come a long way since Harry Hawker’s day, the Doubletree at Hilton bridges the gap between the past and future perfectly.
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel London Kingston-upon-Thames, 1 Skerne Rd, Kingston upon Thames KT2 5FJ
Hawker’s Bar & Brasserie Opening Hours:
Monday – Friday: 6.30am – 10.00pm
Saturday – Sunday: 7am – 10pm
020 3146 4144