Global warming – all bad? On one hand, Norfolk is scheduled to be fully submerged by 2020, but surely the fact that we'll be able to cook fried eggs on our decking is a plus? Continuing in this flippant vein, we'll see that's not the only positive. Think back to autumn 1974: you've booked a garden bedroom in a west London hotel. Opening the French doors of your little tranche of tranquillity would involve a ice-pick and a blow torch. No amount of Mateus Rosé could warm the cockles.
Fast forward to our present-day stay in the Rockwell hotel, and you can forgive us for feeling grateful towards the gas-guzzling Americans and the hyper-developers of China. Our garden room at this boutique hotel in SW5 was a relative sun-trap, with temperatures nudging their way up to the early twenties and Mediterranean grasses prospering on the patio. It was enough to inspire me to chop down the neighbour's orchard and buy that Ford Mustang V8 out of last month's AutoTrader. Global warming is the new CND. Honest.
This rather swish Earl's Court bolthole didn't even exist in 1974. In fact, it had only been open for six months when we arrived. But that is long enough for any teething problems to be ironed out. As far as I was concerned, we were onto solids, metaphorically speaking. The independent owners obviously have a competitive edge, given that it's located on the Hotel Alley that is Cromwell Road; the Victorian grandeur stands out thanks to its 'chim-chimeney, chim chim cheroo' cheek. The gleaming stucco frontage is accented with splashes of pistachio, and the giant oak door provides a hearty welcome.
Of course, with no parking at the hotel, guests find themselves at the mercy of the nearby NCP or ultra-vigilant traffic wardens. The former wins my vote every time. At least you won't need to get behind the wheel for the duration of your stay, since all the best bits of London are on your doorstep.
First impressions matter: the Rockwell excels in this department, for it strikes your senses in more ways than one. The first thing to hit you is the smell of the vanilla Diptyque candles wafting gently through reception – an olfactory assault as clever as baking bread and brewing coffee before welcoming prospective home-buyers. Then there's the colour. The decor is a real antidote to the generic hotel palette. No room for aubergine here: in its place are dashes of Seventies geometric prints and flashes of vibrant aquamarine and mustard tones. The staff subscribe, too. No all-in-black, just a smart scarlet tank-top straight out of Abercrombie & Fitch.
Our garden room, smartly named LG1, had it all – bar a bath. Small but perfectly formed plasma TV, White Company products and minibar priced keenly enough to be more hands-on than hands-off. LG2 had a slightly bigger garden area, but we're talking inches rather than acres.
As all weekend-breakers will know, there comes a time when you have to drag yourselves away from the kingsize bed, towelling robes and guilty-pleasure reality TV shows you never watch at home. After being deterred by the queue which snaked around the Carluccio's opposite South Kensington Tube station, we found the next best thing, for half the price. Pierino's is understated but still busy: a good sign for those who like their spaghetti without the 'chef's sauce'. The Rockwell's own restaurant was the choice for Saturday night, although a succession of fabulous cocktails may well have impaired our tastebuds. The list is split into 'Something for the Girls' and 'Something for the Boys'. ("What's wrong with being sexy?', as Sid the Sexist would say if he were a guest.)
Eggs Florentine the next morning helped to clear the head before I dragged Mrs Smith off on the museum run. She wanted to go to Harvey Nichols, but for some reason I can never get enough of the Natural History Museum. Have you seen the size of that blue whale? The Rockwell is a great stop, full stop. The city dwellers will revel in its individuality, while the country cousins will inhale its hospitality. So isn't it time you put your conscience on the back burner and enjoyed a little manmade warmth? After all, you could always recycle the Sundays if you feel guilty.