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BANG FOR THE BUCK: NUMBER SIXTEEN

Number Sixteen,16 Sumner Place, London SW7 3EG

Sixteenexterior1

WHY IT’S A CONTENDER: It’s a Victorian terrace house that was refurbished a couple of years ago by the stylish folks from Firmdale Hotels. This is their "affordable chic" property. Think contemporary British art, designer fabrics and wallpapers, and cool colors. There are two drawing rooms, a conservatory and a garden. And in a city where virtually nothing is "affordable" for American visitors, it offers a chance to sample high style for a reasonable cost. It feels a bit like you’re staying in a friend’s townhouse on a smart London street, not in a hotel.

THE BACK STORY: The husband-and-wife team of Tim and Kit Kemp are the powers behind Firmdale, a small group of high-design London boutique hotels that include Charlotte Street Hotel, The Pelham Hotel and the Covent Garden Hotel. Kit is the design director and responsible for the singular and much-lauded look.

THE ROOMS: The 42 bedrooms are individually designed in what Firmdale calls "a fresh, modern English style." Beds have Frette linens and the rooms overlook the private gardens or Sumner Place.

Rooms have a mini bar, safe, high speed internet access and VCR.

Sixteenroom204

WHAT’S THE DEAL: Rates at Number Sixteen begin at £100 a night, including breakfast. That’s about $184 a night at the current exchange rate, which in today’s London, amount to good value. These rates are good from July 21, 2006 to September 10, 2006.

INSIDER TIP: London’s best boutique hotels run $450 and up a night. In most of London, £100 per night gets you a room with a lumpy mattress and questionable plumbing in bed & breakfasts in Bloomsbury or Earls Court.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION: You’re in the heart of South Kensington and it’s a few minutes walk to South Kensington underground station. You’re also a short walk from the Victoria & Albert and Natural History Museums as well as Harrods, Knightsbridge shopping and Hyde Park. 16map1

CAVEAT: Rooms are small, and there is no restaurant on the premises,

though there are plenty of cafes and restaurants nearby.

AND YOU SHOULD KNOW: Rates have also been eased at the other Firmdale Properties this summer. Rates at the Knightsbridge Hotel start at £130, at The Pelham Hotel from £150, at Charlotte Street Hotel from £175, at Covent Garden Hotel from £200 and at The Soho Hotel from £220. All rates include breakfast. These rates are good from July 21, 2006 to September 10, 2006.

THE DETAILS: Tel: 011 44 20 7589 5232 ; http://www.firmdalehotels.com

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