Whether you’re visiting East London from afar or a local in need of a luxury staycation after lockdown – we’ve rounded up the best places to stay from Spitalfields to Shoreditch – to London’s Royal Docks
Replete with well-worn cobbles and teetering red brick town houses, it’s little wonder Folgate Street has featured in many BBC period dramas and counts one of London’s best hotels, as voted by Condé Nast. The ground floor public rooms feature nor a bar or restaurant and there is certainly no spa or gym to serve as a distraction. Instead, there’s a sequence of elegant drawing rooms, all lined with shelves of classical literature and old encyclopaedias. The crackling fires, sink-into-it sofa and well-stocked honesty bar in ‘The Tapestry Room’ will lure you in. There’s an air of an old gentleman’s club about it, but without the associated stuffiness. Bedrooms with deep colour scheme, tasteful antiques and bold, tongue-in-cheek flair, feels every part the romantic eccentric. Add to that a sumptuous carved mahogany bed and flatscreen TV (with a media hub and Apple TV) and the whole thing oozes old school luxury with a boutique modern twist.
Double room starts at £229 per night
12 Folgate St, London E1 6BX
The only thing better than discovering a really good pub is discovering you can stay there too. Especially when you’re after a more relaxed overnight date spot. Lucky then that this top-notch pub, housed in a grand 19th-century Victorian public house, has five beautifully designed, very chic bedrooms at the ready. So whether you opt for laid-back pub grub on the ground floor, their more formal ‘Kitchen’ menu on the first floor, or for a botanical drink in their roof garden, be happy in the knowledge that a good night’s sleep is just a few stairs away.
Prices start at £120 per night
40 Commercial St, London E1 6LP
Whether you’re planning your next foray to the local markets, or merely contemplating the approach of cocktail hour, Hart Shoreditch makes a perfect escape from it all. Part of the Hilton group, this boutique offshoot manages to strike a balance of local history with modern luxury and cool. Soft woollen wall-hangings adorn the hallways to the rooms, while the views of East London and its buildings make for a scene out of Hitchcock’s Rear Window. The rooms are comfortable and inviting, all designed to a high standard and split into nine bedroom and suite categories. Sleep soundly under cloud-like duvet and soft pillows with crisp white linen. Luxurious marble showers and roll-top baths with impressive views across Shoreditch. Hart gets all the details right – special touches include a Nespresso® machine, bathrobes and your very own Marshall radio and sound system. And to put your mind at ease, as part of the Hilton CleanStay programme, you’ll enjoy an even cleaner and safer stay. Beyond the comfort of Hart and good food at the hotel’s restaurant Barboun, you’re surrounded by great coffee shops, bars and restaurants. If you’d like to see the sights by bicycle, guests staying at Hilton hotels across London can now take advantage of Lime’s fleet of electric-assist bikes, along with sanitised helmets at reception providing a more socially distanced, sustainable and greener way to get around the capital.
Rooms from £105 per night (including breakfast)
61-67 Great Eastern Street, Shoreditch EC2A 3HU
The Boundary Project
Deep in the heart of Shoreditch, in a land where graffiti walls meet beetroot lattes, local cafes meet trendy bars, and city workers meet media types, you’ll find The Boundary Project. Once a Victorian printing warehouse, the building lives on as this design-led neighbourhood hotel. Suitably placed at the end of Redchurch Street, with its high-end boutiques and within sight of award-winning restaurant Dishoom, a stay here puts you within walking distance of many a cultural happening. True to the hotel’s heritage, each room is individually designed and themed around an iconic designer or movement of the 20th Century – from ‘Young British Designers’ to ‘Bauhaus’ and ‘Le Corbusier’. For the design-literate, it’s a celebration of fine aesthetic history. For everyone else, the rooms are just lovely; spacious and chic with posh Aesop toiletries. Beds are incredibly snuggly and manages to achieve perfect Feng Shui. And, if you’re after even more space (perhaps to do morning yoga, which the hotel also offers), you can upgrade to a duplex suite.
Rooms start at £170 per night
2-4 Boundary St, London E2 7DD
On the scene since 2006, The Hoxton – a member of the Ennismore group, which boasts outposts in many of the world’s coolest neighbourhoods such as Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and Downtown LA – has established itself as a trendy, urban home-from-home for visiting creatives. At its heart is a philosophy that welcomes both guests and locals to a beautifully curated space, replete with books, local art and bespoke interiors. Rooms vary in size — from shoebox to roomy, to a few concept rooms which are designed by local artists. The bedrooms are laid-back, pared-back chic, with thoughtful touches and a distinctly designer feel. There’s a mini bar with fresh milk and water, a daily breakfast bag and super-fast Wi-Fi. The result is a space that feels so much more than a hotel, because it is. It’s a culture in itself – yes, a place to eat, drink and sleep, but also to connect, concentrate and create.
Rooms start from £99 a night
81 Great Eastern Street, London EC2A 3HU
The first thing you notice when you walk into this vast 19th-century warehouse building on Curtain Road, is that there’s a confident chatter about the place. Specifically when you go into the Green Room on the ground floor. There’s a distinctive laid-back hustle that sits alongside people sitting sipping coffee and cocktails. There’s a feeling of creativity and productivity, but also leisure and lounging. It’s an impressive mix, and one that draws you in. With five-star facilities on offer – from the subterranean spa and 24-hour state-of-the-art gym, to the rooftop pool and restaurant LIDO; from the various co-working spaces to the disco ‘party’ room which hosts late-night live music seven days a week. If you check in to a ‘city room’, you’ll be greeted by a compact, but perfectly put-together space – think New York apartment meets bachelor pad with a hint of old-school glamour. There are little familiar touches everywhere, like the selection of magazines to dip into, or a cafétiere with really good coffee for your morning brew. Little luxuries sit alongside big ones and the result is a feeling of calm that is, oddly, conducive to creativity and productivity. Perhaps that’s why it’s the member’s club of choice for so many.
Prices from £200 per night
45 Curtain Rd, London EC2A 3PT
Point A Hotel London
Everything you need, and nothing that you don’t. And that just about sums it up – that and ‘reasonably-priced no-frills uber comfort’. Rooms are small-but-perfectly-formed, and each boast super snuggly beds, a power shower, quick WIFI and great TV. It has an off-the-moment feel to it, which is hard to put your finger on, but is seen in the neat designs, sleek interiors and multi-coloured LED room lighting. A great night’s sleep, followed by a low-key but tasty buffet breakfast in their Ikea-esque open-plan café area. With natural light flooding in from above and a steaming cup of hot fresh coffee in hand, a lovely way to start the day and make ready for some hardcore ‘weekending’ around London. It may seem a stretch to say Point A are revolutionising the market place for low-cost, convenient accommodation, but there’s a lot to be said for a smart, cool hotel which sits confidently in the space between soulless Holiday Inns, extravagant boutiques and high-end luxury.
Double room from £69 per night, with breakfast £9
8-10 Paul St, London EC2A 4JH
The Zetter Townhouse
Located just a few minutes from Farringdon station, this majestic 13-room Georgian house is one of East London’s smartest boutique hotels. It owes its sumptuous yet eccentric interiors to award-winning design studio Russell Sage, who have captured British kookiness at its best. Expect luxurious, quirky bedrooms (there are also two suites), complete with fluffy dressing gowns. But it’s not all about lounging and sleeping; there’s also a fully-equipped games room, and free bike rental so you can head off on a romantic ride around the village-esque streets of Clerkenwell. Even if you choose not to stay, their cocktail bar is equal parts cosy and fabulous – well worth a trip for their ‘Priory Sour’ cocktail alone (trust us on that one).
Prices start at £258 per night
49-50 St John’s Square, London EC1V 4JJ
This Georgian hotel is nestled away so discreetly down a lane near Smithfield’s meat market, oozing history, character and charm. As soon as you enter this 18th-century abode, you’ll feel your shoulders drop. It’s the sort of place that envelopes you immediately in that warm, fuzzy, home-from-home feeling – except the ‘home’ is something far posher than you probably live in. The interiors are period charm with a touch of mischief, with stern-looking oil paintings hanging on the wall, lavishly patterned soft furnishings, expensive antique furniture and an honesty bar stocked to the brim. It’s warmly lit and welcoming, yet with an exclusive air about it. The communal areas feel more private home than hotel, with a library room and garden room. The hotel has 33 suites and rooms, the Henry Bennet Smith, named after an imminent local surgeon has two big windows, heavily draped, looking out over the urban bustle below, and a bathroom stocked with REN bath products.
Rooms from £161 per night
12 Peter’s Lane, London EC1M 6DS
An address that happens to be one of the most sought-after and photographed in London, with many a famous name having crossed the threshold – including none other than HM Queen Elizabeth II herself (and her corgi!). That it only boasts one double and one single guest room, makes it all the more exclusive – and hard to book into. Guests come from far and wide, and for special occasions too. 40 Winks is a sultry bubble of serenity. The dark, decadent main living room is reminiscent of a high-end 19th century opium den. On the floor above is a more eccentric room still, complete with a pompom chandelier under a trompe l’oeil sky ceiling, a glittery sofa with an artfully placed red ukulele on it and a portrait of Lady Gaga. The house itself is over 300 years old and still retains a sense of Baroque opulence about it – with tall rooms and generous windows, whilst still managing to ooze an a la mode glamour. It’s a beautifully-curated experience – one of both luxury and simplicity.
Single room from £115 per night; double room for £185 with a double deluxe package at £280 per night.
109 Mile End Rd, E1 4UJ
Town Hall Hotel and Apartments
When old meets new it can be a beautiful thing. As is the way with Bethnal Green’s historic Town Hall, which seems to be enjoying its second life as one of the area’s most stylish hotel offerings. Its restoration is of the best kind; with original marble floors and Art Deco interiors sitting alongside elegant modern fittings – such as floor-to-ceiling glass partitions. Its rooms and apartments range from grand Edwardian chic to cool ‘loft-like’ spaces – all decorated in exceedingly good taste. It’s the little touches that make all the difference though: from well-curated vintage furniture and sheepskin rugs, to barista-quality coffee and luxury toiletries. It’s also home to a buzzy brasserie and well-stocked wine bar, so you can be from bar to bedroom in no time.
Prices start at £130 per night.
8 Patriot Square, E2 9NF
Contemporary and bold, The Whitechapel stands on the original grounds of a former textile factory. As a homage to that, an industrial aesthetic runs throughout the building to great effect. The rooms are bright and modern, and we loved the solid-oak flooring and huge, factory-like windows, where an Eames-style chair was positioned to soak up the incredible city views. With just 27 rooms, The Whitechapel manages to feel intimate yet buzzy. Many ethnic eateries of Brick Lane are just a hop, skip and a jump away, as is the Whitechapel Gallery, should you want to indulge in some excellent art.
A room for two starts from £64 a night.
49-53 New Road, E1 1HH
A stay at Mama Shelter is, true to its name, rather like coming home to your mum – especially if Mum is a collector of all things kitsch and your home a flamboyant ode to the 1970s. In fact, maximalism abounds the moment you walk through its doors – think open fires, sumptuous sofas and trinkets galore, patterned plates and hanging plants. Founded in Paris 10 years ago, this boutique hotel chain has grown exponentially, with Mama Shelters popping up across the world – all offering a similar feel-good energy and playful design, but with the personality of each unique location very much apparent. The bedrooms feel familiar, with echoes of childhood woven effortlessly into the decor – with mirrors with lipstick-style messages scribbled on them and a pine seating area. The beds boast comfy, five-star bedding and the bathrooms a full-on power shower that’s a real treat when making the most of Mama’s own organic skin range. Downstairs is where you’ll probably want to spend most of your time though, in the bustling, cushy, cluttered-but-chic living and dining room. Eighties cartoons play silently on TV screens and the room glows with fabulous, fringed lampshades. As for the food, think top-notch and home-cooked, with starters ranging from salt-baked autumn vegetables with cumin spiced hummus and crispy chickpeas, to burrata with beetroot tartare and roasted hazelnut dressing. All are served artistically in the ambient, lively cosiness of Mama’s living and dining room.
Rooms from £79 a night.
419-437 Hackney Road, London E2 8PP
When you arrive at this discrete hotel, tucked quietly in the heart of Hackney Central, you could be forgiven for thinking you’ve accidentally booked yourself into a surreptitiously-named Travel Lodge. Fear not though, you’ve arrived at a far more stylish affair – they just happen to share the same street entrance. Potted plants and monochrome interiors characterise this new, thrifty hotel – far from their corporate-chain of a neighbour. Kip’s philosophy is simple: that a good kip in a comfy bed shouldn’t cost the earth. And here it doesn’t. With a range of rooms to suit a range of budgets – from bunk-bedded dorms to apartment suites – there’s something for everyone, whether you’re a style-seeking traveller, digi-nomad or just after a cool city break. Located just around the corner from many a Hackney hot spot – from the live music of Oslo to the pink walls and vegan cakes of Palm Vaults – you couldn’t be more perfectly located to enjoy the best of the borough. Suites are simple and spacious, every bit the ‘no frills’ urban sanctuary, but with added aesthetic value. Think palm-tree wallpaper, print magazines and big windows. Equipped with a sleek kitchenette, a cushy bed, sofa, a desk and a great shower. What more do you need? Well, how about unlimited coffee (good coffee!) in exchange for a mere social media like, and homemade local pastries that arrive freshly baked each morning? It’s these thoughtful little touches that separate Kip from the crowd, and prove that they’re ahead of the game in offering style, comfort and cool-factor – at a good price.
Doubles start from £50 and singles from £32
2 Aspland Grove, London E8 1FJ
London, particularly the East End, is replete with pubs, but rarer still are gourmet pubs with rooms and a rooftop area. Enter The Buxton, named after Sir Thomas Buxton – MP, abolitionist, social reformer, local brewer and one-time owner of the Truman Brewery. Sitting on the corner of Old Montague Street and Osborn Street, just a shimmy from Brick Lane, this Victorian ‘public house’, previously the home to the watering hole The Archers, has been lovingly restored into a chic new neighbourhood spot. Understated but very cool, very slick interiors – marble slab bar, brass beer towers, trendy stools and an abundance of plants. There’s a friendly buzz of the place, helped by the fact the kitchen is open and you can interact with the chefs. They stock a great selection of beers and a cracking cocktail menu. Whatever draws you through its doors, you’ll want to stay. Ideally overnight, in one of their 15 bedrooms – especially when there’s a breakfast of freshly-baked pastries, locally roasted Exmouth coffee and a cooked menu included.
Prices from £125 per night, including a welcome drink, continental breakfast and sweet treat on arrival.
42 Osborn St, London E1 6TD
Inside it manages to capture an old-world glamour – the sort that echoes the legendary long-stay hotels of 1950s’ New York. But this isn’t a relic of a bygone era, it’s an ode to modernity. The public spaces are vast and bustling, the light-drenched lobby itself boasting a triple-heighted ceiling and the mezzanine bar an interior balcony. Hard lines and soft shapes sit together with bespoke touches. There’s undoubtedly a Scandi feel to the place – not surprising considering interiors were designed by the world-renowned Space Copenhagen. All of this creates a seamless sense of unity and community. Hotel guests mix with restaurant-goers, with residents, with locals popping in for a cocktail (if you’re going to do that, be sure to try the Campari cocktail with fresh tangerine juice). Bedrooms are spacious and stylish, with a boutique finish. The vibe is ‘Man meets Mother Nature’: clean lines and design sat alongside stone bathrooms, crisp organic linen and natural wood furnishings. There’s also a lively urban view to match (looking over Statford’s railway station). But the real view is when you go further up. Hotel guests can enjoy views across London’s sprawling metropolis from the seventh-floor Sky Garden, part of their new destination restaurant Allegra.
Room start from £199 per night.
20 International Way, London E20 1FD
The Red Lion
There are certain things a good pub must have to make it, well, good. There should be a sturdy selection of beers on tap, including the artisan and local. There should be a menu of hearty, wholesome, soul-feeding fare on offer. There should be tables for gathering friends, and comfy seats for snuggling one-on-one. It should be cosy and unpretentious, and the air should be filled with chatter and good music. The Red Lion on Leytonstone High Road has all these things. In fact, it has now surpassed all good pub expectations with its 10 newly-opened boutique hotel rooms. Mismatched flower prints line one wall, warm light glows from tassel-fringed lampshades, there’s vintage furniture and bare brick walls, artfully caked in old plaster. It shouldn’t work, but it does. It feels tasteful and homely, and stylish too. The King George room feels every part the posh bolthole, featuring heavy velvet curtains to keep out the city sounds, soft plump mattresses and a divine walk-in rainforest shower. The Red Lion have done a fabulous job of respecting the history of the pub, while also weaving in modern touches such as LED televisions and whip-quick wifi.
Rooms start at £98 for a standard, Superiors at £120 and the family suite at £143
640 High Road, London E11 3AA
The Good Hotel
‘Sleep good, do good’ is the ever so simple, yet quietly powerful mantra of this aptly-named hotel. Or should we say ‘floatel’, because it’s on the water that you’ll the historical Royal Victoria Docks, on the River Thames to be precise. The Good Hotel, part of the globally-growing and not-for-profit Good Group, was sailed across from the Netherlands in November 2016. Since then, it has been providing stylish, premium-quality hotel accommodation in a great location, with all its profits going to good causes in the process. The hotel itself boasts 148 rooms and four suites, many with panoramic views over the docks. Its design is carefully conceived with an eye for trends of the moment, such as plants, monochrome colours, natural light and a communal spirit. Its main ‘living room’ area offers shared working space, cracking views and comfy seating with magazines (such as BEAST) scattered around generously. There’s also a rooftop bar for those balmy summer evenings, a restaurant and a café. The vibe, as it were, is very cool. The decor, industrial chic. And the atmosphere? Friendly, with a distinct creative buzz in the air. The utilitarian corridors have, unsurprisingly, the feeling of a compact ship. The rooms are certainly on the ‘bijoux’ side, with a real cabin feel to them, but the fixtures and fittings are of the highest quality, the beds are super comfy and there’s a great tea tray for your before-bed or morning brew.
Rooms from £89 per night
Royal Victoria Dock, London E16 1FA
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