The London List Review: The Landmark London HotelThe London List

Posted in Hotels, London, London List
By Sam Bathe on 23 Mar 2015

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The Landmark London is a unique 5-star hotel, steeped in history and regarded as one of the best classical hotels in London. Show the rest of this post…

Location and building

The Landmark London is a mere stone’s throw from Marylebone Station and first opened as The Great Central Hotel in 1899, one of the last of the great Victorian railway hotels of that era. The imposing Gothic Revival facades steep the hotel in grandeur but it is the remarkable central atrium that wows upon arrival. An extension of the road for guests arriving by horse and cart, the glass-roofed courtyard at the heart of the hotel was converted into a dance floor during the “roaring twenties” and now hosts the hotel’s main restaurant, the Winter Garden.

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The local Marylebone area has undergone an impressive regeneration in recent years. Marylebone High Street is now bustling with clothing, homeware and artisan food stores, plus a fantastic local market every weekend. Chiltern Street is now home to the hip Chiltern Firehouse restaurant too, plus the Monocle cafe and stores. A little further south, Selfridges and Oxford Street are both accessible by foot.

Just a five-minute walk to Baker Street or Edgware Road Tube stations, The Landmark Hotel is very well connected within London while Marylebone Station runs connecting trains to Stratford-upon-Avon, Birmingham and beyond.

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Rooms

We stayed in an extremely spacious Marylebone Studio suite, though the Landmark London is renowned for their space and comfort in all rooms.

Welcomed with some chocolates and an exotic fruit bowl, we couldn’t have felt more at home and immediately sank into the big comfy sofa in the living space. The Landmark London decor is a warm and friendly, classic hotel style. The upholstery and features are reserved yet luxurious, with plush carpet underfoot, a desk should you need to work and big TV in both the living and bedroom spaces.

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The kingsize bed was a dream and you’ll have no trouble getting a superb night’s sleep at the Landmark London, with an armchair for dressing and ample cupboard and drawer space for clothes.

Landmark London suites also feature Nespresso machines, speaker systems and DVD players.

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Bathroom

The bathroom was equally spacious, with luxurious fixtures and fittings and comfy waffle gowns. The bathroom was split into three mini-rooms, the first with big his and hers washbasins leading to the walk-in shower and lavish bathtub, and finally a separate WC at the end of the walkway.

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Amenities

In a recent change, The Landmark London now offer free WiFi throughout the hotel, including every room, plus free access to the pool and health club.

The 15-metre pool is perfect for morning laps or a relaxing afternoon swim, with plenty of floats and foam boards on hand. The health club also boasts a jacuzzi, sauna, steam room and two excellent monsoon showers. The pool has two designated periods for children, while at all other times it is intended for adult use only.

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As part of the health club, the Landmark London also offers a state of the art gym plus spa treatments in adjoining specialist suites.

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Hotel guests can expect the usual range of services from a 5-star hotel, including a laundry services, complimentary newspapers to your room every day, continental power sockets, and extremely plush bathrobes and slippers.

Restaurant and bars

The Winter Garden restaurant is the main restaurant at the Landmark London, situated in the breathtaking central courtyard. Particularly magnificent under spotlights at night, the restaurant serves a modern British menu. The food is excellent and we sampled the Seared Scallops and Cauliflower to start – the scallops cooked to complete perfection – and the excellent Rack of Lamb and Seabass dishes for main. The knowledgable waiting staff and sommelier will help you pick a wine or cocktail to compliment your meal and be sure to have a desert too, the Sticky Toffee Pudding is sumptuous to finish.

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The Winter Garden is also home to the Landmark London’s amazing breakfast buffet, the best we’ve experienced in London. With everything from freshly squeezed juices, pastries, hot dishes, fruit, sourdough breads and more, it’s a glorious feast not to be missed. Every Sunday, the Landmark London offer a famous Champagne Brunch with unlimited champagne and an equally impressive buffet for £90-a-head, while the Winter Garden is known for an excellent afternoon tea too.

Guests can find a more traditional dining experience in the twentytwentytwo restaurant and bar, or intimate cocktails at the Mirror Bar.

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Verdict

The Landmark London’s relaxed and subtly luxurious atmosphere makes the hotel a wonderfully warm and approachable stay. The unique courtyard space and excellent Winter Garden restaurant are the hotel’s trump card but the spacious rooms and supremely comfortable beds don’t come far behind either. The Landmark London is for people looking for a more classical hotel in the capital, steeped in history with great access to attractions nearby. Long may it continue.

For reservations and more, please visit: www.landmarklondon.co.uk
The Landmark London Hotel, 222 Marylebone Road, London, NW1 6JQ

The London List: Larsson & Jennings open their first London store featuring a bespoke LJX watch barThe London List

By Sam Bathe on 5 Mar 2015

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After a number of in-store pop-ups across London, Anglo-Swedish watchmakers Larsson & Jennings have opened their first brick and mortar store on Monmouth Street, Covent Garden. Stocking the full Larsson & Jennings range plus some in-store exclusives, there is also a Fika coffee counter so you can grab a hot drink while you shop. However, the best thing about the Monmouth Street store is the LJX custom area, helping customers make their perfect bespoke watch from a seemingly endless selection of materials and colours. The minimalistic, Apple-inspired store is beautifully designed too.

Larsson & Jennings, 53 Monmouth Street, London, WC2H 9DG
www.larssonandjennings.com/ljxcustom

The London List Review: Shangri-La Hotel, at The ShardThe London List

Posted in Hotels, London, London List
By Sam Bathe on 23 Nov 2014

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Since opening just last May, the five-star Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard has already become one of the most iconic and sought-after hotels in all of London. Show the rest of this post…

Location

Located in London Bridge, the Shangri-La Hotel is walking distance from Borough Market and the hip Bermondsey Street, and a stone’s throw from the Underground and National Rail stations. Connected to the Northern and Jubilee lines, reaching the rest of London is quick and easy, while if you arrive into London Bridge by train, hotel staff will greet you on the platform to help with any heavy bags.

But really it’s not about where you are in London, it’s how high up.

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The Shard is the highest building in Western Europe, standing at a remarkable 309.6m (1,016ft) tall. Shangri-La occupies the 35th to 52nd floors, but it takes just 26 seconds in the lift from ground level to the lobby. Taking in all of central London, from Whitehall, to St. Paul’s, to Canary Wharf, with glass panelling on every outer wall, the views of the city are something you’ll never get used to, and never get bored of.

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Rooms

We stayed in an Iconic City View room, on the north-west corner of the building. The rooms are sleek and luxurious, with an exceptional quality of finish and touches of Asian flair. It’s a seamless fusion between refined materials like marble and silk and more contemporary surfaces like wood.

After walking through the entry way which houses a huge two-person cupboard, much of the very generously sized room was an open plan sleeping space. With a sofa to settle in on, every guest is welcomed with a complementary exotic fruit bowl, while a desk at the far end provided the best out-of-office workspace you could ever dream of.

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The ginormous bed, however, was the centrepiece of the room, and makes the most of those amazing views. With binoculars on every desk room, guests are invited to take advantage of the floor-to-ceiling windows and enjoy some of London’s most iconic landmarks; you could spend hours enjoying the the 180-degree view.

But it’s the view in the morning that’s the real sight to behold. Worth the money alone, just lie back in bed, press the button that automatically opens the black-out curtains, and let the sunlight spill in. It’s a magnificent wake-up remedy as you sleepily acclimatise to the views over London.

All of the Shangri-La’s beds are fitted with Frette linen (300 thread count in rooms, 600 thread count in suites and 1,000 in the three Signature Suites) and our bed had one of the most comfortable mattresses I’ve ever slept on. The rooms aren’t left lacking for technology either. Guests can enjoy local or international television on the 46″ LED TVs, plus a JBL sound dock to play music and an iPad to browse the internet or read the free digital newspapers.

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As you might expect the minibar was well-stocked with some of the finest champagnes, spirits and snacks, while there’s also a Chinese tea set and Nespresso machine if you need an afternoon pick-me-up or after-dinner coffee.

One word of warning, if you’re in or next to a corner room, there are quite apparent views through your neighbours’ windows. It’s not the fault of the hotel, but it has led to the building being given the nickname, the “Eyeful Tower”. Every room has privacy blinds if you are worried the room over are seeing a little more than they should.

Bathroom

Our magnificent marble-clad bathroom was the epitome of luxury. Featuring heated floors and a big walk-in shower, the excellent level of finish made freshening up before dinner and showering in the morning a dream. With Acqua Di Parma bathroom products you can leave your shampoo at home, while a TV built into the bathroom mirror means you won’t miss a beat if you have to nip to the loo in the middle of a movie.

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The star of the bathroom, however, was the Toto Washlet toilet. With a heated seat and pop-out shower spray, if you’ve never used a washlet before it’s an unusual experience but you’ll quickly find yourself using it every time you have to visit the bathroom.

Some of the “eyeful” views do include bathrooms, so if you have a window bathroom, you might want to lower the privacy blinds before you de-robe.

Amenities

The Shangri-La Hotel makes great use of its unique views across London for its health and leisure facilities. Up on the 52nd floor, the infinity swimming pool might not run right up to the windows – which is probably a good thing – but you can still gaze down upon St. Paul’s, the London Eye and Westminster from the pool’s edge.

The 11m x 4m pool is a tranquil escape for guests, with staff bringing swimmers exotic fruits salads and cocktails to enjoy poolside; for a real workout you need to head next door into the gym.

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Open 24-hours, jogging in front of such a view was an amazing experience. The 52nd floor gym also offers a full range of cardiovascular equipment, resistance training machines and free weights.

For a little pampering, guests can indulge in spa treatments either in the comfort of their room or in one of the spa residences. The Shangri-La also offers free WiFi throughout the hotel, including in your room, photo processing service, house doctor on call and foreign exchange counter. For events, the Shangri-La Hotel offers three big river-facing rooms.

Restaurant and bars

The Shangri-La’s signature restaurant and lounge is situated on the 35th level. The elegant TĪNG dining hall spans half of the floor, with large tables for a dinner with friends or a romantic evening with your partner.

Subtle Asian influences complement Head Chef Emil Minev’s modern European menu. The dishes at TĪNG are very well executed, with attentive and friendly service from the restaurant staff. A special mention must go to Head Sommelier Anne Lomas, too, for a fantastic range of paired wines alongside each dish.

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We had the Chorizo and Langoustine Risotto and Hand Dived Scallops to start, both of which were delicious. The Fillet Steak and sides were exquisite for our mains too, before more delicate desserts rounded off a fantastic meal. For guests looking to try a number of dishes, TĪNG offers a four-course set menu for a very reasonable £49.

TĪNG is also home to breakfast every morning, putting on a lavish breakfast buffet and À La Carte menu. From an English Breakfast to a fantastic selection of breads and croissants, yogurts and fruits, the buffet also includes Oriental and Arabic options. Favourites like French Toast or Waffles can be ordered from the staff.

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GŎNG, the Shangri-La Hotel’s destination bar, is on the 52nd floor. The highest bar in London, GŎNG hosts a number of intimate chambers, including the main Cocktail Bar, Champagne Bar and Swimming Pool. The talented barmen and women will serve up a number of signature cocktails plus your favourite spirits and champagnes.

The last of the Shangri-La Hotel’s offerings is on the ground floor. An artisan deli and cafe, LÁNG offers a selection of Shangri-La’s renowned signature cakes, home-made chocolates and pastries, plus seasonal hampers and sandwiches to eat in or takeaway.

Verdict

The five-star Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard is an opulent experience, mixing meticulous Asian hospitality with the local character of its all-South London staff.

The hotel’s stunning views over London are unique and the Shangri-La makes the most of them at every opportunity. From jogging overlooking Westminster, to a swim over St. Paul’s, the hotel is an unparalleled experience in all of London. Rooms start at £450 a night, but it’s well worth the money to spring for an Iconic City View room (£600) and enjoy the night looking over central London.

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But the Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard is much more than just a view. The hotel is every bit a five-star experience, with wonderfully helpful staff, an exceptional quality of finish in the rooms and a first-rate restaurant. The 52nd floor swimming pool is the icing on the cake.

The perfect hotel for a special weekend with your partner or a week’s getaway in London, Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard is every bit the memorable experience you expect.

For reservations and more, please visit: www.shangri-la.com/london
Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard, 31 St Thomas Street, London, SE1 9QU

The London List: Blind Pig transports guests back to a 1920s speakeasy to launch its ciders inspired by the eraThe London List

Posted in Food, London, London List
By Sam Bathe on 17 Nov 2014

Stepping through the creaky doors of an unassuming London townhouse on Saturday night, guests were transported back to a boisterous 1920s speakeasy to celebrate the launch of Blind Pig. Show the rest of this post…

With a key in hand – one like you’ve never seen before, a pig’s face was cut out of the lock head – and a clue about the location, this was going to be one party we didn’t want to miss.

With the venue packed head-to-toe with 1920s imagery, the lucky attendees were quickly transported back to the Roaring Twenties. As the band took to the stage and effervescent dancers tore up the space in front, upstairs a mock casino room set guests hearts racing, while downstairs they could explore the apple store and relax in the vintage film room.

Inspired by the time, the Blind Pig cider range is blended with fruit and spirit flavours for three unique-tasting ciders including Bourbon & Blueberry, Rum & Poached Pear, and Whiskey, Honey & Apple. The ciders have an extra punch of flavour, something more complex than what’s available at the moment with each variety perfectly complementing the sweet yet sharp tones of the apple.

To launch the new cider, six young British talents have come together to form the Blind Pig Collective, producing a collection of original work inspired by the 1920s and the renowned speakeasies of the time (below). The Collective includes artists Laura Carlin, Shonagh Rae, Adam Simpson, filmmakers Joe Morris and Mark Donne, better known as Brass Moustache, and photographer Rebecca Scheinberg.

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Given the mission statement of expressing the intrigue, excitement and character of the time, Adam Simpson was inspired by the romanticised idea of the 1920s speakeasies. “I liked the idea that behind a seemingly anonymous building, there was a place that brought people from all walks of life, who collectively forgot their worries,” said Adam. “I wanted to create an intriguing scene with hidden layers.”

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Laura Carlin’s piece focuses on the sense of society and good times the speakeasies brought. “It was in fact a place where all parts of society could mingle and integrate with few problems between them. I wanted to portray the crazy, heightened atmosphere with the blurry assortment of different characters and eccentrics,” she said.

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Shonagh Rae’s clever blend of photography, stencil printing and illustration is just as striking. “I referenced daguerreotypes as I was interested in having a strong portrait or figurative element, however I was also keen to treat this with shadows, thinking of the subdued lighting of the 1920s era,” Shonagh explains. “When I was doing some research based on the brief I was interested in portraying some sense of the subversive spirit of the time and the idea of political heroes. Bearing in mind that the artwork was to be reproduced at a large scale, I wanted to create a poster artwork with strong graphic elements representative of the artistic movements of the time, such as Constructivism and Bauhaus design. I also included one of the coordinates that appears on one of the bottles, to Chicago Navy Pier which was a well-known port and area of entertainment venues in the early 1920s.”

It was only right that at the end of the night a faux police raid brought it all to a close. With guests spilling out onto the street and back to modern times. It was a fantastic night that really transported guests back to the spirit of the 1920s and the excitement of speakeasies of the era.

Transport yourself and try a Blind Pig Cider at one of the select bars across the UK. To discover more, follow BLINDPIGCIDER on Instagram: www.instagram.com/blindpigcider

The London List: Alex Chinneck’s life-size wax house in Bankside will gradually melt away to nothingThe London List

Posted in Art, London, London List
By Sam Bathe on 30 Oct 2014

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His second London installation in barely a month, Alex Chinneck’s “A Pound Of Flesh For 50p”, or The Melting House, is a two-storey building made almost entirely out of wax. Formed of 8,000 wax bricks, the house is part of Merge Festival and will gradually melt over it’s 30-day lifespan. Celebrating the history of an old candle making factory which was based in Bankside a couple of centuries ago, the Melting House is part of the annual Merge Festival and will be on display until November 18th.

A Pound Of Flesh For 50p (The Melting House), 40 Southwark Street, SE1 9HP
www.mergefestival.co.uk

The London List Review: Weekend getaway at Homewood Park Hotel & Spa, BathThe London List

Posted in Hotels, London, London List
By Sam Bathe on 18 Aug 2014

Set within 10 acres of gorgeous parkland and gardens, Homewood Park Hotel & Spa is the perfect, peaceful escape from the city. Show the rest of this post…

Location

Situated six miles outside of the historic city of Bath, Homewood Park is a short drive away from the centre of town. By train, Bath Spa is just an hour and a half from London, plus a quick taxi ride to the hotel or a connecting train to nearby Freshford.

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Bath

Homewood Park is set against the beautiful Limpley Stoke valley but the real draw of the area is of course, Bath. A world-famous spa town, Bath has heritage and history around every corner. From the Royal Crescent and Bath Stone buildings to the museums, theatres and great restaurants, Bath is a hugely romantic city and perfect for both couples and families.

Rooms

Homewood Park has the character of a country farmhouse. Big, homely antique furniture and wood-burning fires in the drawing room make you feel right at home and the charm continues into the rooms.

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The hotel offers 21 individually-designed bedrooms, all with views out onto across the gardens. Our bed was supremely plush and we were out in seconds for a fantastic night’s sleep.

At the end of the bed was a daybed, perfect for getting ready or relaxing in the room, while there was also a large flatscreen TV and desk in case you need to catch up on emails.

Bathroom

Our bathroom was recently renovated with modern fittings and a great shower/bath. The long countertop either side of a big basin was perfect for two people getting ready and a plentiful supply of bathroom products was a real plus too.

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Spa

The spa is undoubtedly the hotel’s jewel in the crown. Free to access for all guests, the spa boasts an outdoor heated swimming pool and indoor hydrotherapy pool, plus sauna and steam room. After a few minutes with a book or relaxing in the pool, all your worries will be gone.

Though the spa doesn’t offer a couples room, two solo treatment rooms and an extensive list of massage treatments, facials, wraps, manicures and pedicures are all available.

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Restaurant

Homewood Park’s restaurant, The Tides, occupies one of the larger rooms on the ground floor. Tables and booths are spread comfortably to allow privacy to dining guests, treated to Head Chef Wojciech Nowalka’s Modern English menu. To start we had the Pan Seared Langoustine, Pork Belly And Apricot Terrine and Caraway and the Sauté Scallop, Creamed leek, Samphire and Béchamel, both of which were excellent. The 6oz Beef Fillet, Mushroom Duxelles, Truffle Pomme Purée and Spinach was more than impressive for main course too, plus some great thick cut chips on the side.

However, the real star of the show was our sensational desert. The Banana Mousse, Roasted White Chocolate, Salted Caramel and Caramelised Banana was unique, clever and utterly delicious, with the thick mousse cut to hold its shape like segments of real banana. The roasted white chocolate was the icing on the cake, cutting through the tart mouse with a moorish, sweet flavour.

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Venue

Homewood Park Hotel & Spa holds a civil marriage or partnership ceremony license and can be booked exclusively for weddings and events. The property boasts three function rooms and can cater for weddings of up to 150 guests, spilling out on to the terrace and private grounds.

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Verdict

Homewood Park Hotel & Spa is the perfect destination for a weekend getaway within the UK. Nearby Bath is a romantic and interesting compact city, with much to do and explore within a relatively small town centre, although you’ll want at least a day to relax and crash out at the spa too.

The homely rooms and shared space were effortlessly welcoming, while fantastic food at the restaurant rounded off a fantastic experience. This is a place to be pampered and get away from the stresses and strains of life in the city.

For reservations and more, please visit: www.homewoodpark.co.uk
Homewood Park Hotel & Spa, Abbey Lane, Freshford, Bath, Somerset, BA2 7TB

The London List: Esters is the coffee shop Stoke Newington has been crying out forThe London List

Posted in Food, London, London List
By Sam Bathe on 8 Aug 2014

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Leafy Stoke Newington has it all. Quiet residential areas, gorgeous Edwardian housing, great homeware and clothes shops on Church Street, plus local restaurants, good bars and Clissold Park, but it has never had a great cafe. Esters opened without too much fanfare last year, taking the cafe’s lease off some friends and largely keeping the previous set-up when it was Fred & Fran’s name on the door. But ever since it’s been getting better and better. Show the rest of this post…

The atmosphere is relaxed, and while it isn’t the largest coffee shop, you’re welcome to sit in there with a book or a laptop and while away the morning. The baristas know what they’re doing and are careful not to burn the milk, a big problem for a number of the cafes close by. The coffees are full of flavour, without the gritty taste you can get from expresso.

Ester’s real standout though is the food. With a selection of tempting cakes and treats on the counter, the doughnuts from St. John are the best in London, filled with a range of homemade jams and creams. Their hot food is just as good too. With an ever-changing menu, every day they serve a signature sandwich plus breakfast options like a delicious Cardamom French Toast and savoury dishes inspired by Turkish cuisine.

At last, stylish Stoke Newington has a coffee shop to match.

Esters, 55 Kynaston Road, London, N16 0EB
www.estersn16.com

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The London List Review: The Town Hall HotelThe London List

Posted in Hotels, London, London List
By Sam Bathe on 5 Aug 2014

Within the original – and magnificent – Bethnal Green Town Hall building, lies the latest of hotelier Peng Loh’s fine establishments. Opening its doors in 2010, exactly 100 years on from the property’s first days as a council office, the Town Hall Hotel is a modern, luxury hotel, with all the history and grandeur of old. Show the rest of this post…

Location

An imposing yet reserved structure, the Town Hall Hotel oozes class. Its rectangular building sits perpendicular to the busy Cambridge Heath Road and spanning almost the full length of Patriot Square.

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It is, to be honest, something of an odd location for a luxury hotel. Bethnal Green is an area still a little rough around the edges and the immediate high street fare is dominated by kebab shops and garages. However, you don’t have to go much further for some of the real delights of East London.

Walking distance from Borough Market and London Fields to the north, the plush suburbia of Victoria Park Village and Victoria Park to the east, and Shoreditch and Columbia Road Flower Market (every Sunday) to the west, there plenty to do in the local area. Plus, two of our favourite London restaurants, Hurwundeki (Korean) and Bistrotechque (Modern European), are barely a stone’s throw from the hotel’s front door.

Just a couple of minutes south, Bethnal Green Underground station connects with Liverpool Street, central London and beyond.

Rooms

We stayed in a Studio room and were hugely impressed by the generous floor area and layout of the room. With living space on one side and the bed and bathroom on the other, a hideaway kitchen splits the room into too, acting as a partition.

The living space boasted a mid-century sofa, arm chair, coffee and full dining table, while sliding back the covers on the kitchen structure revealed a full hob, oven, microwave, sink and countertop. For guests enjoying an extended stay or travelling with family, having a kitchen in the room could be of huge benefit, while being able to hide it away is a very smart execution.

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The bed on the other side was just as impressive. A hugely comfy mattress, luxurious pillows and crisp sheets paved the way for a wonderful night’s sleep, and the powerful air-con keeping the room cool despite a surprisingly tropical night in London.

A desk sat at the end of the bed in case you need to set up an office away from the office, though it proved just as handy for turning a laptop the other way around and watching a late night movie under the covers.

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Bathroom

Part of an surprising trend in more modern hotels, the bedroom and bathrooms were only separated by a glass wall, and some rooms don’t have a divider at all. While visually connecting the shower bath with the bedroom might be alluring for a couple, partners would have to be very comfortable with each other to use the toilet in plain sight too.

Luckily there was a curtain which can be pulled across (on the bedroom side) for bathroom privacy.

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Inside the bathroom, the fixtures and fitting were superb. The attention to detail on the finish was hugely impressive while the bath/shower was perfectly suited to both a relaxing soak and a quick morning refresh; the ceiling mounted shower head felt hugely luxurious.

Amenities

Tucked away in the basement, a suave gym and pool are the Town Hall Hotel’s jewel in the crown. Warmly lit by a full length skylight, the pool might not be the biggest but its long and thin shape is still perfect for a few morning lengths or just relaxing in the shallow end. The onlooking gym is perfect if you don’t have your trunks, boasting everything from a treadmill and cross-trainer to a rowing machine and weights.

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Guests can also enjoy free WiFi throughout the hotel, including in their rooms, and free milk and daily newspapers from the lobby. The fantastic original function rooms are available for hire for weddings and meetings too.

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Restaurants and bars

We ate at the Corner Room, the more casual of the Town Hall Hotel’s two restaurants. A cosy, stylish space, the Corner Room seats around 10 parties, maintaining a healthy atmosphere without overpowering your dinner conversation.

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We started the meal with two tasty cocktails, each served in a trendy jam jar, plus some delicious home-baked bread. The menu changes depending on the season and available from local meat, fish and vegetable markets, but we had the John Dory with Cornish Crab and would thoroughly recommended it. But our desert was even better.

Though you might be tempted to share, get one of the Griottines with Honeycomb Ice Cream each; it is magnificent.

If you are looking for a more relaxed dining experience, the Corner Room really fits the bill. The restaurant was not pretentious, and while it suits the style of the hotel perfectly, it is approachable for people who are not guests too. The Corner Room is also home to the breakfast service, including a particularly delicious Vanilla Porridge.

The Typing Room on the ground floor offers a finer dining experience. Starter will set you back £10-£15, while mains are around £20-£25. A seven-course tasting menu is also available.

Finally on the ground floor is the hotel’s cocktail bar, Peg + Patriot. Boasting a smart and inventive cocktail menu, many of the weird and wonderful ingredients and cocktail base alcohols – including tasty nasturtium vodka – are made in-house. The Rice Rice Baby was our favourite of the bunch.

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Verdict

Walking into the lobby, you immediately get a sense of the grandeur and history of the Town Hall Hotel; combining architectural and Art Deco splendour with cutting-edge design. The hotel makes a wonderful first impression and after winning the prestigious RICS London award for Building Conservation, the owner really deserves great credit for maintaining so much of the original ambience and character. But the hotel is so much more than just a wonderful building.

The staff are well-trained, friendly, and forthcoming, while the rooms balance a feeling of luxury and attention to detail with the welcome amenities of home.

Supremely comfortable beds, a fantastic pool in the basement and the lavish breakfast spread really make the Town Hall Hotel the standout hotel in this part of town. It’s the ideal reason to push your comfort zone and see an areas of London visitors might not have previously considered. If you are coming to London for a day or a month, the Town Hall Hotel could be the place for you.

For reservations and more, please visit: www.townhallhotel.com
Town Hall Hotel, Patriot Square, Bethnal Green, London, E2 9NF

The London List: Field Day returns to Victoria Park in June with another stellar line-upThe London List

Posted in London, London List, Music
By Sam Bathe on 18 May 2014

For a while now, Field Day has been heads and shoulders the best music festival in London. Though the Victoria Park festival struggles with sound quality from time to time, the line-up has never been anything but stellar. Show the rest of this post…

This year running over the weekend of June 7th/8th, Metronomy headline on the Saturday, with Blood Orange, Danny Brown, Daniel Avergy, Erol Alkan, Jamie XX, Jon Hopkins, Pawws, Sky Ferreira, Sohn, Todd Terje and Warpaint amongst those dotted around the various stages and tents across the park. On the Sunday The Pixies headline with Childhood, Mickey Lightfoot, Temples, The Horrors, Shy Nature and The Wytches also on the bill. Sunday also plays host to Future Islands, for whom if you don’t have tickets to their already sold out Shepherd’s Bush Empire show, it might be your only chance to catch the biggest band of 2014.

Weekend tickets for Field Day 2014 will set you back £78 for the weekend, £49.50 for the Saturday and £38 for the Sunday. Head over to the Field Day site for more: www.fielddayfestivals.com

The London List Review: Ace Hotel LondonThe London List

Posted in Hotels, London, London List
By Sam Bathe on 5 May 2014

Opening its doors shortly before the fall, hipster hotel chain Ace Hotel made its long awaited debut in London last September. Arriving with a stellar reputation thanks to already iconic residences in Portland and New York, Ace are known for their trendsetting style and even trendier clientele. Show the rest of this post…

Location

Situated on Shoreditch High Street, Ace Hotel London is at the heart of East London’s Shoreditch. Known as a nightlife hotspot with some of the best restaurants, bars and clubs London has to offer, Shoreditch is also home to great shopping streets and walking distance to tourist spot, Brick Lane.

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In between a number of Underground and Overground stations, getting around from the Ace Hotel London couldn’t be easier. Barely a 10 minute walk to either Old Street or Liverpool Street Tube stops and the equally well connected Shoreditch High Street Overground, when you want to venture out of E1, you’ll be able to get where you want to go in no time.

Rooms

The hip and modern design of the rooms will feel at home for anyone who has stayed at an Ace before. With a huge, comfy bed in the middle the rooms, the minimal style keeps the rooms feeling spacious and airy. The inviting blue patchwork APC bedspreads are an exclusive for Ace Hotel London and make you want to tear back the covers and jump right in.

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A feature at Ace Hotels worldwide, alongside room service and mini bar menus is a price list for all the items in the room, and if you fancy the waffle robes, aforementioned bedspread or even the record player, just pack them up when you leave and charge the fee to your room. It’s a little strange at first, but when you think about it, it’s actually quite a clever idea. I couldn’t count on one hand the number of times I’ve wished I was able to take something from a plush hotel room back with me.

Elsewhere in the rooms, comfy sofas mean you can crash in front of the TV without having to get into bed, while swish tables are perfect for your own mini office or eating breakfast in your room.

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Bathroom

There’s no doubt Ace Hotel London spent a lot of money refurbishing the bathrooms, and it shows. With the floors in a sleek black tile, all en suites feature a bath and copious amounts of Ace-branded products from a bottle on the wall.

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The bathrooms feel pleasantly serious and complement the style of the rooms and rest of the hotel perfectly.

Amenities

The hotel offers free WiFi throughout the hotel, including in your room, and though it isn’t spectacularly fast, it’s enough for browsing the internet and catching up on emails. There’s a wonderfully long work bar in the lobby too, if you want to plug in your laptop or whip out a newspaper.

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The common space throughout the hotel is a dream. Expansive and relaxing, the lobby in particular is perfect if you’re meeting a friend or need a space for a meeting. If you want to kick things up a notch, the hotel offers a 24-hour gym in the basement. Boasting a rowing machine, two treadmills, two cycling machines and a sauna, it might not be the biggest space but it is certainly well equipped. There is also a florist on the ground floor.

Restaurants and bars

Hotel restaurant, Hoi Polloi, is the brainchild of the team behind Bistroteque and located on the lower ground floor. Serving a fashionably British menu with some modern American additions, Hoi Polloi has something of a party atmosphere with large groups all around sharing plates and having fun. The dishes have touches of experimental fine dining but are, on the whole, homely and rich with flavour. We’d recommend the deserts too, with dishes like Poached Rhubarb and Rum and Raison Rice Pudding proving too tempting to ignore.

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Hoi Polloi also offer a fantastic midnight supper menu, open until 1am from Thursdays through Saturdays, and 24-hour room service for hotel guests. Return for breakfast for the sweet or savoury ricotta pancakes and their energising juices.

On the ground floor of the hotel is a cafe and bar, making great use of the communal and gallery spaces, while the (thoroughly sound-proofed) basement bar is a bit more lively with DJs until late.

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Verdict

There’s no doubt Ace Hotel London hangs it hat on its style, but the hotel is also extremely comfortable and welcoming, with helpful concierge staff, an excellent restaurant and happening bars. There’s no doubt the hotel caters for a more cosmopolitan crowd, but that’s Ace through and through, and in the heart of Shoredtich, they shouldn’t do it any other way.

For reservations and more, please visit: www.acehotel.com/london
Ace Hotel London, 100 Shoreditch High Street, London, E1 6JQ

FAN THE FIRE is a digital magazine about lifestyle and creative culture. Launching back in 2005 as a digital publication about Sony’s PSP handheld games console, we’ve grown and evolved now covering the arts and lifestyle, architecture, design and travel.

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