Intimate luxury hotel in Kensington and Chelsea, Central London
More than a hotel, the Cranley Hotel is an ideal London city-centre haven appealing equally to the discerning business or leisure traveller wanting a tranquil residence. Cranley Hotel has an intimate charm and history that is hard to better in London. The building has a rich history and the legacy is continued in the rooms today.
If you had come to this square over 150 years ago, you would have found only fruit orchards, market gardening and horticulture. The area which is now one of London’s smartest residential areas, was originally bought in the 1790’s by a Yorkshire landowner called James Gunter. It was his son Robert who founded the celebrated Messrs. Gunter in Berkeley Square, the Mayfair confectioners famous throughout the 19th century for their confectionery which was as well known as Harrods is nowadays and counted Queen Victoria among its rich and famous clientele.
The sixty acres around Bina Gardens were used to provide the ingredients necessary for the business until the 1860’s, when London began to change and the Gunter Family became property developers, building over 670 houses on their land. Whilst many of the streets were named after places on the family’s Yorkshire estates, Bina Gardens was named after one of Robert Gunter’s sisters who died in infancy. Cranley Hotel occupies three houses, numbers 8, 10 and 12, all built in 1869. As you would expect from houses built nearly 150 years ago, all manner of people has lived here over that time, the good and the bad, the eccentric and the downright suspicious, until the houses were combined into an hotel.
The most notable perhaps, Robert Moggridge, ran a small perfumery business in Notting Hill Gate. He eventually sold his business to the Cornish perfumer, William Penhaligon, who had established his shop in Jermyn Street and had a thriving business supplying perfumes, toilet waters and pomades to his well heeled clientele.
Penhaligon secured his reputation by creating scents for the nobility and currently holds two Royal warrants, one from HRH the Duke of Edinburgh and the other from HRH the Prince of Wales. Hence, could we have seriously considered putting any other toiletries but Penhaligons in the Hotel today? Our own choice, Blenheim Bouquet, recalls the name of the home of the Dukes of Marlborough and was to become a particular favourite of a distinguished scion of that family, Sir Winston Churchill.
There was a collection of well to do residents in the houses, amongst them generals, barristers, stockbrokers and spinsters until the Second World War when one of the houses even served as a church hall and temporary shelter for the locals who had lost everything in the Blitz. After the war, one of the houses was converted into flats and another continued to be used for local community meetings and amateur dramatics which brings us neatly to Cranley, born out of three separate houses and linked to create one charming hotel, full of history.