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Phil's Travels - Design Hotel, London (Dec 2014)


Phil's Travels - Design Hotel, London (Dec 2014)

One of my Christmas presents this year was a night at a design hotel in London (what an American would call a 'bowtique' hotel, but certainly not a European 'boutique' hotel), and what an interesting experience it was.

The check-in was excellent and even more so when we were informed that we had been upgraded to a larger, superior quality room. Having successfully negotiated the security features in the lift and the dark corridors, we entered our superior room and our immediate first impression was "We've walked into someone's kitchen!"

The first thing you notice is the massive multifunctional unit in the middle of the room. It looks like a kitchen island counter unit, all white with a sink embedded in one end. In fact, this is part bathroom (the sink), part desk, part dining table, part entertainment venue. Good idea, but perhaps too dominant in this particular room.

The remainder of the bathroom was hidden in two parts behind large mirrored doors that matched the wall. Hence, it took a while to find the loo and fortunately neither of us was desperate. Inside the loo 'room', the light is an automated affair that cuts out part way through your efforts - lots of arm waving required to find the loo roll. The final bathroom element, the shower, was large and very comfortable for multiple occupation. However, the bedroom floor outside the shower is prone to getting wet and slippery as a result of it opening directly into the bedroom.

The room was very cold and we played with the controls to no avail. In the end we left the room and told reception that we were heading out to warm up (bear in mind this is just a few days before Xmas and the temperature outside was barely 5ᵒC). On our return from dinner the room was only slightly warmer than before.

In the morning, we hopped around on the cold floor and left as quickly as possible for breakfast in the hotel's restaurant (Benedict score of only 5). The one feature I really did like is that the windows can be opened, bringing in welcome fresh air, but exacerbated the cool atmosphere within the room.

Aside from some of the practical issues in the room, the quality of the fittings was high, except for the window blind. The blind is a necessary feature as there are no curtains and the hotel's façade acts as a set of disco lights which would otherwise illuminate the bedroom in all the colours of the rainbow until dawn. I can image the blinds and the pulls must be a maintenance nightmare.

Imagine - you can't close the blind, you walk out of your shower into the room and all the world is there to see you. Perhaps that's why the lighting in the room is so poor, to prevent guests being back-lit and thus visible from outside. Together with the paltry mirror on the kitchen-bathroom-desk-dining combo unit, the room is perhaps intended for hairy exhibitionists who don't need to shave - which is a profile that doesn't necessarily match yours truly.

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