3 July, 2012

On your marks, get set… our top London stays for Olympic spirit

3 July, 2012

All eyes are on London as the Olympics kicks off this month. While we might be cutting it fine to book a Sassy escape, the sussed folk at boutique travel collection Mr & Mrs Smith have piqued our English-capital wanderlust with a trio of East London stays. Ready, set, go!

Best for foodies… Town Hall Hotel & Apartments
London’s East may be the epicentre of the Games, but beyond this sporty fortnight, the up-and-coming area courts the city’s cool set, with hip watering holes, avant-garde exhibitions and cutting-edge clothing boutiques. Just around the corner from gallery-lined Vyner Street, in bohemian Bethnal Green, lies Town Hall Hotel & Apartments. Housed in a grand Edwardian building, which was once the council chambers, this vintage-chic retreat meshes marble floors, high ceilings and stately staircases with modern must-haves.

The hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant, Viajante, woos foodies with superstar chef Nuno Mendes’ epic tasting menus of up to 12 courses, and carefully crafted cocktails in the handsome, moodily lit bar. From now until September, if you book through Smith, you’ll save 15% on room rates and get breakfast thrown in – that fortifying full English will put you in good stead for a day of shopping and show-hopping.

Best for party people… Shoreditch Rooms
From the so-hip-it-hurts team behind London’s iconic Soho House comes Shoreditch Rooms, a members’ club meets boutique hotel just behind Brick Lane. A stay here grants you insider access to Shoreditch House’s covetable accoutrements, including its see-and-be-seen rooftop pool, private-hire bowling alley and swoon-inducing Cowshed spa.

Staying true to its hipster roots, skinny jeans and floral tea dresses are de rigueur, while mobile phones and suits are banned in this haute House. After partying and preening in the fifth-floor Square Bar, slip downstairs to one of the fashionably understated rooms, where white walls and floors are enlivened with the odd splash of navy, coral or pea green. Named Tiny, Small and Small+, these bijou boltholes don’t claim to be of cat-swinging proportions, but they’re more than ample for crashing out after a naughty night on the tiles. Plus, if you book through Smith, you’ll be loaded up with luscious Cowshed loot to take home. We like.

Best for arty types… Rough Luxe
For a cultured crash pad in the crux of King’s Cross, in north-east London, check into Rough Luxe. Located in a blink-and-you’ll miss it Georgian building a stone’s throw from the station, this shabby-chic hotel mixes peeling paintwork and shreds of faded wallpaper with eye-popping artworks and museum-worthy antiques.

Petite rooms are filled to bursting with large-scale paintings in gilt-edge frames and quirky modernist touches, such as TVs from the Sixties. Three of the bedrooms have en-suites, but the other six split one bathroom between two. Don’t worry about midnight wanderings… as the hotel only books paired rooms to friends, you won’t be sharing with strangers! Come breakfast, you’ll have the chance to mingle with fellow guests over fresh-baked pastries, fruit and coffee in the ground-floor dining room. Sociable manager Leo also opens up his liquor cabinet as an honesty bar, and usually serves wine in the evenings. Oh, and if you book now through Smith, Leo will give you a bottle of champagne on the house. We’ll say cheers to that!

For a stylish Smith stay, visit www.mrandmrssmith.com or call the expert Travel Team on 800 905 326. What’s more, BlackSmith membership is now free for life, so book through Smith to receive life-enhancing extras and exclusive offers at more than 900 hotels and holiday houses around the world.

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