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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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