frequently asked questions
South Kensington is located in the south-western part of central London and is in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Kensington Palace and Kensington Gardens are about 20 minutes walk away. South Kensington is well-known for a number of reasons:
1. It is one of the best residential districts in London.
2. It is commonly known as “Museum-Land”. The Victoria and Albert Museum, the Science Museum, the Geological Museum and the Natural History Museum are all here at our doorstep.
3. It is also fondly known as “Froggy-Land”. Here you find a large French community, the French Institute and the French School “Lycée Français Charles de Gaulle”.
4. The Royal Albert Hall, the Albert Memorial, the Royal College of Music, the Royal College of Art and the Imperial College of Science, Technology & Medicine are all “just up the road”.
The most popular tourist attractions lie in South Kensington, where three of London’s top museums – the Victoria and Albert, Natural History and Science museums – along with the vast Royal Albert Hall, stand on land bought with the proceeds of the 1851 Great Exhibition. Chelsea, to the south, has a slightly more bohemian pedigree. In the 1960s, the King’s Road carved out its reputation as London’s catwalk, while in the late 1970s it was the epicentre of the punk explosion. Nothing so rebellious goes on in Chelsea now, though its residents like to think of themselves as rather more artistic and intellectual than the purely moneyed types of Kensington.
Aster House is about 3 minutes walk away from the South Kensington Underground Station. The station is served by Piccadilly Line, Circle Line and District Line. You can reach majority of London’s famous sights with ease in less than 20 minutes via the tube from the station.
Bed and Breakfast (“B&B”) is a hotel of sort! It is also commonly known as “guesthouse” – mostly family run that provide reasonably priced accommodation with breakfast included in the room rate. In general, B&Bs have less ancillary facilities than a purposed built hotel, e.g. coffee shop, restaurant and fitness centre. According to London Tourist Board – “London has a huge range of B&Bs on offer. They do not usually conform to the general image of a B&B in Britain, i.e. a quaint country farmhouse. A B&B in London could take many forms. It does not imply a particular type of building. It will be a small establishment, providing accommodation and breakfast only, with no other meals. In central London, it may appear similar to a small hotel, guesthouse or be a private home. In general, the further from the centre you stay, the more a B&B will conform to the small, cosy image and the more likely it is that your stay will be in a private home. B&B establishments are categorised as Guest Accommodation and are assessed on a scale of one to five diamonds. The more diamonds, the higher the quality. The assessment takes into account cleanliness, service and hospitality, quality of bedrooms and bathrooms and food served. A B&B could be a simple home with basic amenities or a luxurious property on a small scale.”
Aster House is a luxurious property on a small scale and was awarded a prestigious rating of FIVE DIAMOND with a Silver Award by the English Tourism Council (“ETC”) under their Quality Assurance Scheme in January 2001. The Award was reaffirmed in June 2002, October 2003 and February 2005 following the annual inspection by ETC inspector. Sadly, ETA has long since disbanded due to lack of funding from local government!
Harrods, big name fashion houses, designers’ boutiques and high-end shops in Knightsbridge are all within 15-20 minutes walk from Aster House.
We are an entirely “NO-SMOKING” establishment and smoking is strictly not permitted in the House. Guests are advised of our policy at the time of booking. As a matter of fact, it is against the law to smoke in public places in the UK.
We do not have a restaurant or provide food and drink related room service. Old Brompton Road and Fulham Road are only a stone-throw away from Aster House. Both locations offer a huge range of restaurants, cafés, and pubs. There is also a convenience store open from 06.00 t0 23.00 daily (similar to 7/11 in the US) that is less than two minutes walk away.
Our Buffet-Style Breakfast is complimentary to in-house guests and is served between 08:00 am to 09:30 daily in L’Orangerie, our conservatory.
Breakfast is complimentary and therefore no price-break will be available.
We will be pleased to arrange excursion tours for you on request.
There is a hairdryer in every of our guestroom.
Amenities in all guestrooms include an en-suite bathroom (wc and shower or shower & bathtub), a hairdryer, a remote-controlled colour TV, room safe, direct-dial telephone, tea & coffee making facilities and independently controlled air-conditioning. We also provide 3 different sizes of towels and a small selection of toiletries in the en-suite bathroom.
These two items are in the wardrobe in all our guestrooms.
On request, we will be pleased to loan you power point converters and USB chargers (charging cords are not available). However, we are not permitted to provide voltage converters to our guests under our insurance policy. Please also be advised that based on our experience, NOT all voltage converters work for one reason or another. If you intend to buy a voltage converter for your hair-curler (most likely reason), it may be worth considering buying a curler that has dual voltage (110v ~ 220v).
We accept Amex, VISA and MasterCard.
We will be delighted to accept cash or travellers cheques in any major currencies.
Please feel free to make calls from your room with your calling or phone cards, there is no charge for the call provide the access number is toll-free (in the UK is 0800, not 1 800). Full instructions can be found in the Directory in our guestrooms.
Yes, we can add a “roll-away bed” (in the UK, a cot is for newly born infant!) for a child/teen travelling with two other persons but only into Room No. 1 and the Poster Suite.
We do not have triple/quad/family rooms. Three persons is the maximum number we can accommodate in Room No. 1 and the Poster Suite where a roll-away bed can be added.
We do not have connecting rooms but where possible, we always allocate rooms that are next to or opposite one another to families with teen/young children.
VAT paid for services “consumed” in the UK is NOT reclaimable. Unfortunately, your accommodation bills and restaurant bills fall into this category!
We do not have parking facilities at Aster House. There are several underground garages that are about 10 minutes walk away. The cost is approximately GBP50.00 per day! Car parking is an extremely expensive affair in central London. If you can avoid having a car during your stay with us, you can save yourself some serious money!
There are no cats, dogs, rabbits and etc. with the exception of human, the two legged kind! However, we do have a small flock of Mandarin ducks in our back garden.
There is daylight in all our guestrooms. There are two superior rooms on our lower ground floor:
Poster Suite – A junior suite with two large windows and a four-poster bed.
Garden Room – The room faces our back garden and it has a patio door leading to a small patio area.
Aster House is situated in a residential street off the Old Brompton Road. There is a very small amount of traffic during the day and generally quieten down in the evening/late hours. Unless you are a very light sleeper, you will find that all our rooms are quiet, especially bearing in mind you are in the middle of town.
YES! After two long years of planning, we have finally completed the installation of a FULLY independently controlled air-conditioning system at the end of March 2000. You select the temperature best suits your preference and it can be hot or cold irrespective of the weather outdoor. We are very proud to have completed this project – there are not many “B&B” in London or in the UK for that matter could boast this feature!
There is an ice-machine on our 2nd floor.
Your reserved room will be available anytime after 2:00 pm on the day of arrival. You are very welcome to arrive at Aster House as soon as you are in town and leave your luggage with us and return to check-in at a later time.
Checking in before 2:00 pm is possible but is subject to a number of factors generally outside our control. If you would like to have you room available as soon as you arrived, say after a red-eye flight, we would suggest you book the room from the night before. By doing so, you have the certainty that your reserved room will ready and waiting for you!
Latest checkout time is 11:00 am on the day of departure. We will be pleased to hold your luggage until you are ready for your onward journey.
Our guestrooms are located over five floors in a Victorian building. No one room is similar in size or shape to another, the largest room has a four-poster bed and fully marble bathroom with a bathtub.
We will always do our best to meet your requirements and therefore please kindly inform us of your requirements at the time when the reservation is made.
There are four sizes depending on the room you reserved:
1. Up to two Standard Single Bed (3’x6’3″);
2. One Standard Double Bed (4’6″x6’3″);
3. One Queen Double Bed (5’x6’6″);
4. One King Double Bed (6’x6’3″)
Our bathrooms are generally smaller when compared to a purposed built hotel. There were no more than three bathrooms in the building in its original state. When a bathroom is installed into the guestroom, we have tried to allocate more space to the room itself and as a result, most of the bathrooms are relatively smaller in size than we would have liked. However, we believe it is adequate for its intended purposes. If you prefer a larger bathroom, please ask for a superior room – the en-suite bathroom also has a bathtub and is completely marble finished!
We will be delighted to make the arrangement on your behalf. The cost of a private transfer service from Heathrow Airport to Aster House for two persons and a reasonable amount of luggage is fixed, presently from GBP62.50 (depending on the number of passengers, the type of vehicle needed and which terminal) for the journey and that fare includes 45 minutes of “free waiting time” from the time your plane landed. If you are delayed by customs and/or immigration, there is a scale charge of GBP20.00 per hour pro-rata for additional waiting time. If you are arriving at an airport other than Heathrow, e.g. Gatwick, Stansted or Luton, it will be quicker and cheaper to get into central London by train first, followed by a London taxi.
There is NO elevator (known as “lift” in England) in Aster House. If your room is on a higher floor, help is always available to take your luggage to and from your room. If you have issue with stairs, please do inform us at the time the reservation enquiry is made. For our part, we will always make sure our guests are informed that their room is on level 4 (our top floor) prior the reservation being finalised.