Like everyone else, I dream of winning the lottery. I grew up watching the television show “Lifestyles of the Rick & Famous” and while I thought the mansions might be a bit too big, I loved the idea of being able to afford to live wherever I wanted in a million dollar home. Over the years of travelling to London and mulling the idea of moving there permanently (anyone want to sponsor my Tier2 visa?), I’ve always wondered what it was like inside the large stately homes in the posh neighborhoods like Kensington, Chelsea and Knightsbridge as well as the hidden Mews streets that I’d stumble upon during my explorations. In particular, I wanted to live in the a Mews Home in London and my booking with OneFineStay London let me live out that dream recently.
The London Mews House
A Mews House is generally a former stable/barn (now garage area for coveted parking) with living area above. They would be located behind the big fancy homes or close by. Today, the Mews home is generally smaller than other homes but the uniqueness, location and privacy can’t be overlooked in a busy city like London. Over the years, these centrally located charming homes have become the place to live and with that command price tags over one million pounds which in U.S. dollars can range from $1.4 – $2.0 million and above. So how would I get inside? I don’t know anyone rich in London that lives in a Mews House or friends of friends but I did know about OneFineStay. So I was going to pretend I hit the lottery and live like a (wealthy) London local. Our home was on a cobblestoned street off of Kensington High Street mixed with residents, businesses and other renters.
OneFineStay, OFS, is the luxury, curated equivalent of Airbnb which started in London and has expanded to luxury cities like Paris, New York and Los Angeles – cities with million dollar homes, locations and views. Unlike Airbnb, every property is centrally managed by OneFineStay and each property is individually vetted before it can join the program. Real people live in these homes, some only occasionally, and rent out their spaces when they are away. You’ll never meet the owners as you might with Airbnb. A representative greeter of OneFineStay London met us to go over the house rules and hand over the keys. OneFineStay handles the bookings, (usually done via a travel agent), cleaning of the property, supplying linens, towels and toiletries as well as all additional needs that arise during your stay. What additional needs might that be? Well, of course, every millionaire homeowner needs a private chef to cook for their dinner party or needs an in home massage to get rid of the daily stresses of life.
Maybe you want your bags picked up and taken to the airport without having to lift a finger – there’s a service that does that – Airportr (offered in London only). It’s all seamless and stress free. No stress, no worries (until the credit card bill arrives once you get home of course) that’s what living a rich life seems to suggest – there’s someone to take care of all the little things so you can enjoy living life and in London this means you can enjoy your travels that much more. OneFineStay London provided us an iPhone to use during our stay – it was loaded with home information, helpful local apps and a quick button to contact OFS front desk for any questions or issues.
Staying in Kensington (London)
On my last visit to London, I loved discovering South Kensington when I stayed at the posh Airbnb property – the small cafes, the residential feel and the absurdity of the wealth evidenced by the high-end car dealers and the many expensive cars parked on the street as if they were Hondas. So I looked for a property that Mom and I could enjoy – a two bedroom, two bath that was on par with what I would have paid a hotel for two rooms. The area was close to the tube with many restaurants, shops and markets so we didn’t need to wander far.
At the time, there was a sale ongoing on some properties so the cost of the flat was slightly higher than a hotel but the perks more than made up for the extra. The perks included a large living room to relax after out long days of touring the Tower of London, Stonehenge and Buckingham Palace. We also had a fully stocked kitchen (pots, pans, dishes, cooking utensils and spices) and a large refrigerator we could stock with goods from M&S and Whole Foods, each a short walk from the flat. OFS supplied a welcome basket with milk, cookies, tea and water. Mom would enjoy her own bedroom on the ground floor, while I had the second floor bedroom – we would meet in the middle each morning to enjoy breakfast.
So while I work on my review of OneFineStay London service and the Drayton Mews House in High Kensington, enjoy the sneak peek of living in a million dollar luxury flat in London. I’m not rich, nor famous but with OneFineStay we felt like we hit the lottery, even if it was only temporary.
***Warning, their website is a rabbit hole of luxury homes so once you start looking, you’ll not realize that hours have gone by as you dream of staying here, there and everywhere***