Words by Georgina Rodgers
After a day wandering down the rich, historic corridors of Hampton Court in the footsteps of Henry VIII and reimagining the life of the Tudors, there could be no better place to stop for the night than the King’s Arms Hotel. Bordering the court’s glorious maze on one side, and the vast Bushy Park on the other, the location is incredible.
Five minutes after checking into our room and looking out of our hotel window, we caught a glimpse of a grand male reindeer meandering along the edge of the park, which was met with cries of “Is Father Christmas coming too?” by my four-year-old daughter.
The Grade II-listed hotel has been welcoming guests since 1709 (and possibly longer) and there was a brewery on-site since 1648, when two widowed sisters acquired the grant of land from the palace estate and brewed beer to sell to staff, palace gardeners and soldiers.
The boutique hotel has recently undergone an extensive renovation and now houses The Six Restaurant, designed by Michelin-starred chef Mark Kempson. The property itself bears no resemblance to many older hotels and inside, it is very contemporary and modern, with a home-away-from-home vibe. There are three subtle colour schemes designed to utilise the natural hues surrounding the hotel, including warming and soft pinks, plush bottle greens and a subtle grey-blue.
The welcome was excellent and personal, and the setting feels perfectly tranquil, with an open-plan lounge and reception, in soft tones of pale grey and pink. Dotted inside are antique marble tables and period seating offering the perfect spot to have a drink after a busy day.
All 14 bedrooms have been renovated and are of excellent proportions, with large and comfortable beds and clever use of space. There is keen attention to detail in design, with handmade mosaic tiles used in the rain showers and splashbacks in the bathrooms, and botanical-printed curtains framing the views. Despite the hotel’s location on the main road, the clever glazing means that all outside noise is completed muted, for a restful night’s sleep, which was welcomed by us all.
As part of the renovation, locally-sourced and British materials were central to the vision. The romantic and rich fabrics and upholstery come from burgeoning designers Angel & Boho, whilst all skincare in the bathrooms is created by local skincare company Jenny Betts.
Our deluxe room was lovely, though would be more suited to a family of two or three (we were four). However, there were many small hits with everyone; my husband enjoyed the handmade fudge on arrival and my seven-year-old loved curling up in the super-soft pristine white dressing gown. The compact bathroom was first-rate, with a large bath and power shower to freshen up.
Outside is a stunning private terrace designed by Christine Wilford from Green Arden, making an excellent spot to enjoy the food and drink on offer, whilst enjoying the impressive and lush green surroundings.
The restaurant and food offerings are another big draw. The menu, which offers a modern twist on traditional British cuisine, is designed by Kempson and headed up by Head Chef Jack Scoines. With a focus of locally-grown produce, you can even dine on salad grown in the palace gardens and other local delights.
A highlight was the Six Burger, with smoked inions and spicy tomato relish, served with hand-cut chips or the Squash & Tunworth cheese pie, served with nettle pesto, salt baked celeriac and girolles. Do not miss out on dessert; we tried the Prune and Armanac Bakewell tart, which was served alongside clotted cream ice cream and toasted almonds. It was simple, yet delicious. The restaurant itself has a warm and calming atmosphere with deep navy banquettes and antique glass deco lights.
Breakfast was also understated, yet excellent, with a series of continental breakfast items and other hot food, including whisky and honey porridge or a full English breakfast. The service was also impeccable, and they serve three meals a day, seven days a week, so this is a wonderful place to stop during a busy day at the palace or discovering the other local sites of Hampton.
Rooms start from £140 including breakfast.
Address: Kings Arms Hotel, 2 Lion Gate, Hampton Court Road, Molesey, KT8 9DD
Phone: 020 8016 6630