East London offers the perfect blend of edginess and elegance, serving as the unofficial stomping ground for the city's cool creative types. Its bold character, rich history and world-renowned food and drink scene make it the perfect base for a few days in the capital. For somewhere stylish to rest your head while you're in town, here are three of the best design-led hotels in east London.
Situated a short stroll from the frenetic bustle of east London's Old Street, the recently-opened Montcalm East is a veritable haven of style and comfort, made for creatives.
The iconic diamond-shaped building that it's housed in is the work of architects Squire & Partners and is the first clue to its design-led essence. Step inside and the clues continue. The interior design draws inspiration from the creative energy of its surroundings, its aesthetic direction informed by iconic artists like Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin and Gillian Wearing, whose studios populated Shoreditch in the '80s and '90s.
Art deco-inspired lighting, a curation of contemporary artworks and a rich colour palette of jewel tones create a sense of sophistication. There's even an illuminated walkway offering Instagram-worthy photo ops. The chic rooms are elegantly understated and fitted with marble bathrooms, 37-inch flat-screens and Nespresso machines. For breathtaking city views, the 16th and 17th-floor Sky-High rooms can't be beaten.
The Montcalm East's innovative spirit extends throughout every facet — from the PhotoLab, where you can develop and print your own pictures, to the restaurant Moor & Mead, which serves creative takes on beloved classics: think lamb chops with tahini yogurt and green harissa, black bean burgers, and posh fish and chips, alongside zingy cocktails, organic wines, and an extensive selection of spirits (whisky lovers will be in heaven). Opt for a window seat for a spot of people watching and a view of the impressive Moorfields Eye Hospital building. City living doesn't get much better.
The former Bethnal Green Town Hall has been transformed into a sanctum of style that is at once resplendent and warm. Fusing Edwardian and Art Deco detailing with contemporary design elements, the Town Hall Hotel offers a taste of old-world charm in a hip, buzzy part of east London.
Original details like ornate moulded ceilings, wooden doors and high arch windows exist alongside modern additions like glass partitions, bespoke furniture and contemporary art. Choose from 96 spacious and airy rooms, studios, suites and apartments, all of which are kitted out with luxury toiletries from Grown Alchemist, unlimited mineral water and a Musetti coffee-maker. The De Montfort Suite is particularly stunning, with its vintage piano, triple-height ceilings, stained glass window panels and a dining table for up to 20. It's the perfect place to party in style with your nearest and dearest.
When it comes time to dine, you're spoilt for choice with some of London's best restaurants at your doorstep, but be sure to set aside a night to experience the culinary delights of the hotel's Michelin-starred restaurant Da Terra. Headed by renowned chef Rafael Cagali, it serves South American-inspired dishes with an Italian twist, alongside a wide selection of wines from across the world. For a more casual dining experience, take a seat in the plant-filled Corner Room, where you can order from a rotating menu of seasonal dishes. The Assembly Room is ideal for light refreshments, whether it's a morning coffee or a cocktail after dinner.
East Asia meets east London in Shoreditch's super sleek Nobu Hotel, the first of the luxury lifestyle group's hotels in London. The distinctly minimalist interior design scheme marries elements of Japonisme with industrial chic — patchworks, tea sets, and elaborate oriental patterns feature against a backdrop of polished concrete, steel and dark stone. A soothing palette of grey, navy and gold creates a sense of refined luxury, leading one to forget that the heaving streets of London's playground are just beyond the walls.
In keeping with the minimalist theme, bedrooms ooze understated elegance. Soft textiles, earthy hues and clean, considered lines offer a relaxed feel, while floor-to-ceiling windows let the light in and create a sense of space. Futuristic white bathrooms feature statement brass ceramic basins for an added touch of glamour.
No stay at the Nobu is complete without sampling the world-renowned cuisine by Nobu Matsuhisa. Wander downstairs to the cavernous restaurant, which serves all the Nobu classics, like Yellowtail with Jalapeño or Black Cod Miso, as well as a series of unique plates inspired by the vibrancy of the eclectic surroundings. Finish the night with cocktails at the neighbouring NAMI Bar, where Kabuki DJs — a collective of mysterious, masked DJs — play live in-house every Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
For something a bit further afield, discover the laid-back luxury of The Rooster, Antiparos.
We'll keep you up to date.