The little Chelsea hotel with big aspirations

A grand hotel on boutique scale, the 15-room San Domenico House, just off Sloane Square, is a little bit of Chelsea posh newly acquired by a flamboyant Italian family hotelier. The fact that place was converted from two redbrick Victorian houses to the original Sloane Hotel by a chic French designer only adds to its opulence. This has been duly noted by the AA which has just awarded it Best London B&B for 2008/09.

The view from the sunny, teeny roof terrace, of buses bustling up King's Road and Battersea Power Station as a backdrop, belies the tranquil, almost villagey feel of the leafy, cobbled streets below. It's enough to make you believe you're the lord of the manor, despite being in a London terrace.

The bedroom

Decked out like a quirky private home, all rooms are completely different. Some are arranged over deeply split levels (the gallery suites), some with small adjoining rooms (junior suites), balconies and cushion-stuffed four-poster beds; all are generously proportioned with plush modern bathrooms.

The decor remains much as it was during the hotel's incarnation as The Sloane. Our favourites included a junior suite with walls done out in powder blue with deep red and gold furnishings, a double room with delicate printed wallpaper, elegant original built-in closets and antique Louis Vuitton luggage at the foot of the bed.

We stayed in gallery suite 104, where the theme seemed to be, simply, brown: biscuit brown furry throws, dotted with chocolate cushions, heavy brocade curtains. Perhaps if the walls had been white this might have worked. It all conspired to make you feel like going to sleep for a very long time. Good thing the king-size four-poster bed was extremely comfortable.

Bathroom freebies included lovely olive oil soaps and creams from the Masseria San Domenico (sister hotel in southern Italy) plus Molton Brown "invigorating" shower gel, shampoo and soap.

The food and drink

San Domenico doesn't have a restaurant and offers a modest room service menu (including breakfast). Refrigerated minibars are stocked for teetotalers only but you can order booze from the room service menu.

The extras

Fitness and massage rooms, conference room, concierge and chauffeur services.

The access

Children are welcome. In fact, there are two double suites on the top floor that can be connected for large families, plus babysitting services on request, a children's menu and games. Tight corridors and only partial lift access make it unsuitable for those with limited mobility.

The bill

Doubles from £276 a night.

The address

San Domenico House, 29-31 Draycott Place, London SW3 2SH (020-7581 5757;