Slightly muted. It's 8am when I arrive and the welcome at reception is professional but rather cold. Nevertheless, it's staffed 24 hours a day and many people renting a hotel apartment will value the anonymity and discretion given. The person who escorts me to my room is friendlier, and shows me how to use the key and all the appliances and other services. There was a generous and high-quality welcome hamper containing bread, croissants and a selection of tea, coffee, biscuits and jams, and the fridge came with essentials such as milk and butter.
Cheval's Gloucester Park residences are located in a pleasant part of Kensington, behind Gloucester Road Tube station (on the Underground map, Gloucester Road is between South Kensington and Earl's Court). The station is on the Picadilly Line, so it's within very easy reach of Heathrow and Knightsbridge. Cromwell Road is just around the corner and there is a shopping centre with a Waitrose supermarket about a minute away, plus lots of decent cafes and local restaurants. The Natural History Museum, Science Museum and Victoria & Albert Museum are a 10-minute walk and Chelsea is also within a 10- to 15-minute stroll.
Swift and unobtrusive. The apartments are cleaned daily during the week, when people tend to be out, but not at weekends. There is Wi-Fi throughout the building but those without their laptops or internet connections on their phones will have to resort to local internet cafes because there is no business centre. I requested a taxi pick-up from the airport, but the firm the property works with charged £60 (Dh350) for the half-hour journey. When it came to the return trip and I asked for a list of alternative minicab companies, but staff at reception said they didn't have one. I booked a registered minicab from another company on the way back; it charged half the price and the service was just as good. Secure underground parking costs £117 (Dh687) per week including tax.
Cheval Gloucester Park offers one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. One-beds are 74 sqm, two-beds 111 sqm and three-beds 158 sqm. Mine was a three-bed on the first floor. Its views weren't very exciting, and the apartment block isn't standout from the outside, but inside it offers a blissful taste of that ultimate luxury - UAE living in London. That is, plenty of bedrooms, bathrooms and space.
The apartments are elegant, well maintained, thoughtfully furnished and well lit with neutral decor and smart kitchens containing Miele cookers and dishwashers, a toaster, kettle and microwave. There are plenty of utensils and crockery. My living room had a small balcony and very comfortable sofas, a dining table that seated six and a TV in the master bedroom.
All the bedrooms were very quiet (double-glazed windows) and had luxurious beds with high-quality linen. The bathroom was also well-appointed, with a separate bath and powerful shower. The apartments are air-conditioned but I found the instructions a little difficult to follow and having turned it on it seemed to go off in the middle of the night.
The property has no restaurants but guests can cook for themselves, order in, visit local restaurants or go further afield. The Bombay Brasserie, an Indian restaurant, is just behind the block in Courtfield Road and there are lots of attractive cafes, such as Forum on Gloucester Road, in which to have breakfast.
There isn't much of one, which is really the point of having a hotel apartment. You're spared the bustle and stress of a hotel, so this is a pleasant retreat from all of that. The people who stay here are mainly IT or banking workers seconded to London for several months, or long-stay holiday guests from Europe and the Middle East, but people seem to keep to themselves most of the time. There is a minimum stay of 28 days.
The location, sense of peace and quiet and the feeling of coming home to a cosy apartment at the end of a day in London. Waking up and not having to worry about when I'm checking out.
The lack of a business centre, though next time I'll take my laptop. Being charged twice as much as need be for my airport transfer.
A comfortable, convenient and cost-effective base in central London.
The bottom line
The starting price for a one-bedroom apartment is £2,158 (Dh12,695) per week, including taxes. Cheval Gloucester Park, Kensington, London (www.chevalresidences.com; 0044 20 7373 1444).