the chelsea townhouse

The Chelsea Townhouse: Inside Cadogan Gardens’ luxurious home-from-home

15 Mar 2024 | |By Annie Lewis

Two is always better than one, right? Step inside 11 Cadogan Gardens’ stylish younger sister which opened its doors to the public last autumn

Despite London being the largest city in the UK, to those that live here it can sometimes seem alarmingly small. Everyone knows everyone, people run in the same circles and families often intertwine. And the latter is also true for the capital’s hotel scene. Unless you’re in the know you’d probably never realise it, but there are a number of sister properties sprawled across the capital: The Dorchester has 45 Park Lane, Kit Kemp’s boutique Ham Yard Hotel has four London-based siblings and even those further afield, such as Surrey Hills’ Beaverbrook estate, has its very own townhouse in Chelsea

So, naturally, 11 Cadogan Gardens followed suit. Having opened in 2021 and quickly established itself as one of the most opulent boltholes in Chelsea, it only seemed fitting to adopt a younger sister when the former Draycott Hotel, situated a stone’s throw away on the corner of Cadogan Gardens, came up for grabs. Dating back to the 1890s and once the city residence of the Astor family – the American millionaires who once owned Cliveden House (which also happens to be The Chelsea Townhouse’s cousin, more on that later) – the property exudes a quintessentially English atmosphere appealing to both its American clientele and Londoners looking to indulge in the city’s world-famous hospitality. Don’t miss the large portrait of Nancy Astor, transferred from Cliveden to Chelsea, on the mezzanine wall above the reception desk. 

It’s part of the Iconic Luxury Hotels portfolio, which is responsible for operating some of the country’s most luxe hotels, including Chewton Glen in Hampshire’s New Forest, the aforementioned Cliveden House in Berkshire, and The Lygon Arms in the Cotswolds. The launch of The Chelsea Townhouse in September 2023 marked the brand’s third hotel in London, quite literally sitting next door to two other Cadogan-based properties: The Apartments at 20 Cadogan Gardens and 11 Cadogan Gardens, collectively known as (and imaginatively named) The Cadogan Gardens Collection. 

Pre-launch, an extensive renovation of the property was undertaken, encompassing three characterful Queen Anne-style, Victorian red-brick townhouses, each connected by staircases and hidden corridors. Meticulous, elegant design was the brief, carried out by esteemed architect Gary Kellett who injected new life into the property while respecting its eclectic heritage and original architecture, which remains largely unchanged. An exclusive doorbell entrance gives way to a monochrome patchwork tiled floor and sweeping staircases, as well as a tiny Victorian-style lift big enough to fit two people (at a squeeze). It’s charming, but claustrophobes should definitely take the stairs. 

Upon my arrival at the townhouse on a blustery Friday evening, I discover there’s none of the pomp and pageantry often associated with five-star hotels in London – you’ll find no doorman donning a bowler hat and no grand facade graced by a continuous flow of black cabs. The approach to the hotel is unassuming, and I only knew I was in the right place thanks to the Union Jack flag hanging above the entrance (because surely no Chelsea resident would put this on their front door, although I wouldn’t put it past them…). 

Once inside, the welcome is friendly and relaxed. The ethos here is for guests to treat the hotel like a home away from home, and they are encouraged to come and go as they please. It’s less like checking into a hotel and more like visiting a well-heeled friend with a green thumb and an art collector’s eye. Featuring 36 bedrooms fitted with heritage fixtures, such as marble fireplaces, ornate architraves, antique artwork and ‘Objects of Curiosity’ – one-of-a-kind trinkets and treasures from around the world – the property retains a sense of grandeur and history, married with restored furniture from the original Draycott Hotel. 

Rooms are bright, airy and refreshingly simple in their white colour palette. My king suite is fitted with a cosy lounge – and a complimentary homemade Chelsea bun – as well as a wood-panelled en suite and three huge windows overlooking the private Cadogan Gardens below (you can book your morning personal training session there, should you wish). Come spring, guests are encouraged to take advantage of the lush greenery and towering mulberry trees of the gardens – perfect for a picnic that can be happily arranged at the front desk. 

A horticultural theme also runs throughout the hotel, with some suites named after the renowned botanists who once roamed the streets of Chelsea, from 18th-century garden designer Humphry Repton to William Salisbury, whose garden was erected in Cadogan Place in 1807 to offer botany classes and the use of a botanical library to local residents. Others commemorate the very first nurseries and gardens to grace the neighbourhood back in the 18th and 19th centuries, including Ashburnham Pavilion and Ranelagh Pleasure Gardens. 

the chelsea townhouse

Another rather quirky aspect of The Chelsea Townhouse is that there’s no restaurant. Yes, you read that correctly. While guests are encouraged to dine at 11 Cadogan Gardens’ flagship restaurant, Hans Bar and Grill (where you’ll find a mean ribeye steak with triple-cooked chips, alongside a varied menu of English classics), the townhouse instead features a small albeit chic dining salon designed to make guests feel as if they’re having breakfast, lunch, or tea in their own home. The breakfast buffet table is a highlight, laden with homemade nutty granola, artisan yoghurts, seasonal berries and stewed compotes, as well as an a la carte menu offering eggs of any style and fresh porridge. 

If one townhouse wasn’t enough, guests can also access a whole host of additional amenities at 11 Cadogan Gardens. Start your morning at the well-equipped 24-hour gym, while away the day sipping Laurent-Perrier champagne and indulging in afternoon tea before exploring the best the area has to offer (the Saatchi Gallery, Cadogan Hall, and King’s Road are all within walking distance) and enjoying a nightcap at The Chelsea Bar – all before strolling back to The Chelsea Townhouse. Now that’s what we call the best of both worlds. 

From £249 per night, visit

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