An Instagrammable aparthotel where location counts
It may not be in Mayfair, but this new aparthotel makes up for its less than W1 location with design flair and a handy location near three underground stations – Aldgate, Aldgate East and Tower Hill.
On the corner of a modern block, there are 57 serviced, one-bedroom, studio and family apartments, as well as a ground floor area with an all-day dining café and small reception, serviced by friendly staff in a uniform of burgundy v-necks.
The interior was a project for architects and interior designers Waldo Works, which has given each apartment a slickly Instagrammable look, with white walls, a palette of colours that were inspired by the sky, and intriguing prints, as well as covetable BoConcept-style furniture and lighting. It definitely hits that sweet spot between cool and homely.
Budget or boutique?
Both. Studio apartments start from £150 – super cheap by London standards. However, it definitely has that boutique vibe – Egyptian cotton sheets, Nespresso machine, room service – that might be lacking in your average Travelodge.
I’m in one of the studio apartments, with a view out to the train tracks. I’m travelling solo and feel that the huge space is slightly wasted on me. You could practically run a yoga class, or do laps for some HIIT.
There are loads of ergonomic trimmings, like a comfortable desk/table and plenty of hanging space. In the glossy white kitchen, you’ll find a washing machine and dryer, dish washer, stove, microwave and fridge, plus all the pots, pans and cutlery (even a garlic press and a baking tray) that you could need. I feel ashamed about my takeaway option.
You can imagine moving in for months, and people do, according to the hotel.
The only thing it doesn’t have is a bath, but there is a modern rain shower, with a fluffy dressing gown and jasmine-scented products from The White Company.
Wining and dining
The eatery, simply called Café and Bar, is open from 7am until midnight and is situated next to the hotel reception.
It’s low-lit and comfortable, with blonde wood slats on the walls and velvet banquettes, for a Scandi ambience. The food is, like the rooms, affordable, with no main that breaches the £17 mark. Choose from classics including pasta carbonara, steak, croque monsieur, or go for, as I did, a huge portion of wiener schnitzel with a spring salad and potatoes. Finish with a chocolate brownie or fruit crumble.
The buffet breakfast is served here too, for an additional £8.95pp for residents. It’s decent and varied, with meat, cheese, cereals, yoghurt, fruit and pastries, as well as hot stuff – bacon, eggs, sausage etc.
There are also daily newspapers, which is great for the self-conscious who might be eating on their own, like me (and, in fact, everyone else in the room on my visit).
Worth getting out of bed for
This place is on the periphery of the City, and though there are plenty of restaurants and bars, there’s not much of tourist note in the immediate vicinity. However, it’s an easy walk to top locations, like the Tower of London (five minutes), The Whitechapel Gallery (10 minutes), and Old Spitalfields Market and Brick Lane (13 minutes). Since it was just 12 minutes away, I paid my first visit to SkyGarden (20 Fenchurch Street, skygarden.london), a public space on the umpteenth floor, where you can take in panoramic views of the city among its sculptural gardens, perhaps while enjoying a cocktail or a meal at the Darwin Brasserie. (Make sure to book online in advance, though it’s free).
I loved the extremely generous and totally gratis Abel & Cole breakfast pack, which contained a malthouse loaf, Roam & Relish organic bacon, organic milk, yoghurt and eggs. There was also Rude Health granola, plus lots of tea and instant coffee.
Guest book comments
An excellent hotel for the price, nice and clean rooms, and very conveniently located, with friendly staff who made me feel welcome. One of those hotels that you wish you could stay in longer.
Prices start at £150 for a studio apartment. Rockwell East, 99 Mansell Street, London E1 8AX (020 7014 0240, www.rockwelleast.com)