Allen House Club
Reviews of Allen House Club
As owners, we combined a week from two consecutive years and exchanged into the Allen House in mid-April 2009 for a two-week vacation. Since we stayed in a unit, different from the one described below, I though I would add to my original review since we are unable to add a second, separate review.
We exchanged into Unit 8, second floor (for us US people), front of building. It was a one-bedroom with a full bath, good size living room and a galley style kitchen to one side of the living room. You entered the unit in the center wall of a hallway. To the right were the doors to the bedroom and bath. To the left was the doors to the closet and the living room.
The unit has it good points and bad points. Good: beautiful bay windows overlooking Allen Street; you can sit in the window and watch the traffic out on Kensington High Street. This unit gets the afternoon sun. The windows have semi-sheer curtains in addition to full draperies, so privacy is possible. Bad: this particular unit is over the front door and those same bay windows let in a lot of street/road noise and banging doors as people enter the building; the same unit on a higher floor might not have that problem.
I re-arranged the living room and put the dining table over in the bay window, so we could sit at the table and watch the world go by.
I still haven't figured out the drying component of the combination washer/drier; but I'm working on it. I did discover that if you take your wet clothes out of the washer and hang them on the drier rack (which you can find in the hall closet) and set it in the hall closet, the closet acts as a drying room (the water heater is in the closet and heats the room quite well); within 24 hours, your clothes are dry. When using the washer/drier you need to remember: (1)to use very small loads, (2) the full wash cycle can take over two hours, and (3) you may need to refer to the instruction book in the cupboard.
The kitchen was furnished well with welcome packet of instant coffe, sugar and creamer, the only downside is no dishwasher. The living room had a lot of storage along one wall. The bedroom had a giant armoir as a closet.
The grocery store, WildRose is 5 minutes in one direction and WHOLE FOODS is about 8 minutes in the other direction, just beyond the Kensingston High Street tube station. Starbucks is across the street.
The cyber cafe across Kensington High Street has closed, so the closest public computer access is the Kensington public library. Easy to find...the street across from the Kensington High Street tube station. They charge 1Pound for each 30 minutes..not a bad deal. And you can also print.
Our first night in our unit was discouraging, but by the end of the week we were laughing about it. We checked in about 8:30pm, on a Saturday, after a day trip from Boston. The heat was on when we opened the door to the unit (quite stuffy- but to Londoners it was still a cold Spring) and it took us an hour to figure out how the radiators worked (turn the knobs at both ends) so we had windows wide open for a couple of hours. During the same time frame, on Saturday, when we turned on the bedroom ceiling light, we blew the lightbulb and maintenance wouldn't be in until Monday [12ft ceilings(?)]. We also forgot that the English wall outlets have on and off switches for each half of the outlet and even though something might be plugged into the outlet, the outlet isn't necessarily turned on; we couldn't get anything to work until I remember the on/off switches on the outlets.
And, as usual, Julie was an excellent concierge!
ORIGINAL REVIEW: We are the proud owners of Unit 19A, Week 24...we bought it sight-unseen about a year ago on an auction site.
We used the unit for the first time in June 2006. We loved every minute of it and look forward to using it as often as possible between now and 2014.
The Allen House units have 8 or 9 different floorplans...check their website. Our unit was Floorplan G.
Ours was a 1BR/1Bath, sleeps 4 using a sofa bed. The bed in the MBR was a king-size (two twins together). The MBR was about 15 sq.ft and the LR was about 12x20ft. Bath 10x10. Kitchen 10x12. There was also a huge storage closet where you can stack suitcases. There was an entire wall of closet space in the MBR, along with a beautiful, but non-working fireplace.
The LR had a sofa bed, two easy chairs, dining table with 4 chairs and a tv.
Our unit is on the 2nd floor (3rd floor for those from the US). This unit is on the back side of the building, facing east, and overlooks a lovely courtyard area. We were only 500' from Kensington High Street but could hear no noise at the back of the building and our windows were wide open constantly.
The one downside from my point of view, and the reason for the wide-open windows, is that the Allen House is in an old building and there is no Air Conditioning. Each unit is supplied with a fan. The windows are the old 6' high style, so when fully opened there is a 4' opening (safety issue if traveling with small children).
There is a very small lift which holds one person and two suitcases. We used it only for moving the suitcases.
This is an incredibly convenient location. The building is a 5 minute walk in one direction from the High Street Kensington tube stop and a 5 minute walk in the other direction from the Waitrose grocery store. Banks and stores galore around the corner on Kensington High Street. Internet access cafe across the main street.
Our unit had fresh draperies and covers, etc., but the walls and woodwork needed a new paint job. The Allen House had new management in January 2006 and they are refurbishing the units one by one. The public areas and hallways have already been done. If you go with the idea that you will be 'comfortable' but not necessarily in luxurious surroundings, you should be fine. And if something is wrong or broken, ask for help.
We were provided with bath towels and hand towels for 4. Remember to bring your own face cloths! The bathroom even had a heated towel bar. Maid service was available mid- week at an extra cost. The units don't have a hair dryer and I didn't think to ask for one, since I don't use them.
The fully applianced kitchen has the usual timeshare accessories with the exception of a coffee pot. They only offered one of those "press" coffee pots. But Starbucks is across the street (opens at 8am) and MacDonalds is down by the tube (opens at 6am). They do provide plenty of instant coffee and tea bags and sugar. There is a dishwasher and combination washer/dryer. But they don't provide soap for those machines...only liquid dish soap for hand- washing. There is an additional cafe table with 3 chairs in the kitchen.
One inconvenience I noted was that even though check-in is on Saturday, the office is only open until noon on Saturday and they don't open again until Monday morning. So you check in with a night porter who is of no help whatsover if you have questions, etc. Otherwise, the ladies in the office were helpful with directions, tickets, etc.
The Allen House does assess an electric charge based on the size of the unit and time of year. Our rate was 38 pounds for the week, payable when you check out.
Taxi rides to/from The Allen House are (1) 38 Pounds for two to Heathrow (2) 17 Pounds for two from Kings Cross Station. Allen House will make the arrangements for you, if you ask.
There is a nice pub in the next block on Allen Street which was recently renovated and has great food.
Speaking of which...food in England is incredibly expensive...whatever you spend in the States, plan to spend twice as much in England.
One more tip....we hate those overnight flights to Europe, so we flew during the day this time. Much better and no jet lag. We arrived about 7pm from Boston.
I have stayed at allen house unit 7 which is a 3 bedroom unit on the second floor. The unit has a full kitchen with seating for four at least at the kitchen table and a large size refrigerator. Further, there is a washer and dryer as well as dishwasher in the unit. It has a large master bedroom with a full bath off the bedroom. Second bedroom has two twin beds and is a good size. There is a second full size bathroom off the foyer when you enter the unit. The living room has a queen size pull out and a large dining table with seating for 6 and is a good size combination living and dining room with a door to close off the room from the hallway for privacy. The third bedroom is very small with bunk beds good for kids though with a closet in the room for clothes. The is a foyer and long narrow hallway. Allen house location is super and there is great shopping and restaurants all within easy walking distance. On the corner is a starbucks and the other corner has a bookstore. Kensington gardens is down the road and within walking distance. The location can not be beat since the restaurants are reasonable (for london) and there are many choices. The staff at allen house is also extremely helpful. A great place to stay in a wonderful location.
I find the front desk staff very knowledgeable, friendly and helpful. And, this location is super for just about anything, being on Kensington High Street--close to the tube, buses, an internet cafe, Starbucks, a bookstore, Kensington Palace, several huge grocery stores---and, the place has recently been refurbished, as well!
I owned 2 timeshares here for a number of years and loved them. I live and work in Scotland and for me to travel to London for a week and stay would cost many thousand of pounds to live in the area where Allen house is situated! And I love it there as I dont like the tube its possible to walk almost everywhere. And as for shops, you are spoiled for choice. I loved my 2 bedroomed unit, it very old English wish is what I like rather than the platice modern rubbish, the staff are fab and all in all miss it very much. I would not hesitate to rent a week here next time I visit.
I own and use a time share week in Allen House in the last week of November. It is the perfect location for visiting London where the public transport facilities are second to none. Allen house a veritable haven a few feet from the famous Kensington high street. Harrods is about ten mintes on the bus.
However Allen House is not the Ritz. Contrary to information on this web site is has no repeat no restaurant,no pool in or out ,no laundry --in fact apart from peace and tranquility in the centre of London - it has very little.
Edited on 8/29/04: Please review any negative reports with caution. The AH is not a glitzy or activities-planned resort. Rather, it is a lovely and sometimes dated urban resort set in a great location with basic ammenties. Please don't expect matching towels, personal care products or the like. This is not the European way.
The Allen House is exceptionally located in the Royal Borough of Kensington. Located just half a block from High Street Kensington, the Allen House is an oasis of peace & quiet from the friendly, fast pace of London. The staff is absolutely outstanding, some of the nicest people I've ever met. Very accommodating, sincere, polite and professional. The rooms are spacious with high ceilings, ample rooms and great marble bathrooms with big soaking tubs. The decor is decidely "English Country" and is constantly being upgraded on a rolling basis.It is within walking distance to the London "Tube" Underground, shops, restaurants, buses, taxis, supermarket (Safeway), pubs; everything is just a minute or two walk (subway is about 8 mins.). Kensington Palace & Gardens are about 6-7 blocks away and worth seeing. All units have a full kitchen which is a large cost- saver. There's a "Coffee Repbulic" shop about a hundred feet diagonally across from the A.H. where you can pick up a great cup of coffee and the latest London tabloid newspaper ! There's a living room-dining room combo, great for relaxing. There are sleeper sofas which allow for additional guests with a degree of privacy. You will love this place. It embodies everything I hold dear about London.
We rented a one bedroom unit from a current owner in 11/03. As owners of three weeks, for over 10 years at Sloane Gardens Club, also in the city of London, we were shocked with the condition of the unit at check in. We were unable to check into the unit until after 4:30pm.The mangement stated that the previous occupants checked out late? We were assigned to unit 38. It was a large one bedroom , however the bed was 3/4 of a full (double US) size. It was on a wooden board rather than a box spring. The furniture in the unit was mismatched and dirty. The carpet, a light tan was filthy, brown dirt with cigarette burns. There were two small white thin towels for each of us for the entire week. We had requested a telephone answering machine months in advance. They did give us one, however it did not work. Needless to say we were very disappointed, the management did change our unit after three days to #10. This one bedroom had a queen size bed, however it too was on a wooden board. With a thin matress ,this proved to be very uncomfortable. As in unit 38 the carpet and furniture were worn and in disrepair. The bed side table on the right fell apart when I tried to open the door. The unit faced a brick wall..and on street level there was a pub...each night, the customers would stand out side talking loud and a few times screaming...we called the police one night..We felt someone might be in danger. Although we called the mangement concerning our displeasure , they were very rude. There is no cleaning or change of towels..not even a box of tissues..yes, although this is a european TS i am aware that standards are different..this was unacceptable. Beware of buying(it is a time limited ownership)..maintenance costs have tripled and renting is not worth it even at $775, a very reasonable price...we would have been better off at a three star hotel!