Ten minutes after I checked into The Egerton House in Knightsbridge, the hotel surprised me with a cappuccino and biscuits in my cozy, café-au-lait-colored bedroom. I don’t think the color-coordinated welcome was intentional, but it wouldn’t surprise me, given the hotel’s well-deserved reputation for personal service.

The Egerton House in Knightsbridge, London, England

The Egerton House in Knightsbridge

Victoria and Albert Suite, The Egerton House in Knightsbridge, London, England

Victoria and Albert Suite

Very few areas of London are as filled with charming boutique hotels as Knightsbridge, legacies of the once-private residences that dot the quiet tree-lined streets. The Egerton House turned two adjoining red brick Victorian townhouses, originally built in 1843, into a 28-room charmer. Each of the rooms and top-floor studio suites are individually furnished, some richly flamboyant, like the royal red Victoria & Albert Suite, or crisply black-and-white, some tranquil, like my own coffee-and-cream room. Most are smallish, but so creatively appointed they feel intimate rather than crowded. All have well-stocked minibars, pre-programmed music and video iPod docking stations, complimentary Wi-Fi, cable TV with movies on demand, and air conditioning.

Public Rooms The Egerton House in Knightsbridge, London, England

The Public Rooms are Havens of Plush Sofas, Leather Chairs and Antique Curios

The public rooms are havens of plush sofas, leather chairs, antique curios, and an interesting collection of original lithographs by such artists as Toulouse-Lautrec, Picasso, and Matisse. A large, well-known Art Nouveau lithograph, “Bieres de la Meuse,” by Alphonse Mucha oversees the small, smart dining room. A wall of lithographs decorate the intimate bar, where head barman, Antonio Pizzuto, defends his reputation for making “the best Martinis in London;” his famous ice cold Martini is mixed in front of each guest.

The hotel offers a 24-hour menu, served in the ground floor dining room or in your room. It is better known for its afternoon teas, a menu of five different offerings, ranging from Devonshire Cream Tea and Little Prince and Princess Tea for children (both £15), to a blowout Perrier Champagne Royal Afternoon Tea (£50).

Afternoon Tea, The Egerton House in Knightsbridge, London, England

Afternoon Tea

As for that solicitous service, which starts well before you check in, in the form of a guest preference form prior to arrival. Would you like an aromatherapy pillow? An Anti Snore/ Posture Perfect /Memory Foam pillow? A Yoga mat? Could they arrange a Mobile phone or laptop (extra charges)? In addition to a host of dining and fitness desires, you’ll find a variety of transportation options, from a Bentley or Range Rover airport transfer to a Barclay’s Cycle; the most surprising, and appreciated, was a prepaid Oyster Card (a British Metro Card) for underground and bus travel.

A small boutique hotel necessarily lacks some of the facilities of larger hotels–no onsite gym or fitness center, pool or hair salon—but The Egerton has met this challenge head on by partnering with neighborhood services. A day pass to the nearby LA Fitness spa and health club includes free use of the swimming pool, sauna, Jacuzzi, steam room, exercise studio, cardio theatre, and fitness room. The hotel’s black book lists neighborhood massage, reflexology, yoga, and Pilates professionals, who will bring their therapies to your room, as well as Paul Edmonds Hair & Beauty, eight times nominated hairdresser of the year.

Dining Room

Dining Room

The well-located Egerton is a few doors off lively Brompton Road. For shoppers, it is steps from Harrods, Harvey Nichols, the shops along Sloane Street, and even King’s Road. Culture? A clutch of London’s superb museums are virtually across the street: the Victoria and Albert, Natural History, and Science Museums. It is midway between the Knightsbridge and South Kensington tube stops on the Piccadilly line that whisks theatre-lovers straight to the heart of Theatre-land.

More than any grand hotel, life at The Egerton House is a taste of Upstairs (not Downstairs) in the privileged precincts of Knightsbridge.

The Egerton House, 17-19 Egerton Terrace, Phone: 011-44-20-7589-2412, www.egertonhousehotel.com. It is a member of the Red Carnation Hotel Collection. Double rooms from £260 (senior rates available).