Our pick of places to stay for an Olympic holiday
If you’re heading down to London for the Olympics, our top tip is to stick to the east side of the city when it comes to booking your accommodation.
The bulk of the action takes place at venues in the East End, home to the Olympic Park, Greenwich Park, the ExCel centre, Royal Victoria Docks and Greenwich Arena, and transporting yourself across London is likely to be stressful enough during the Games, so why go further than you have to?
The bonus is that East London boasts neighbourhoods that are easily among the most vibrant in the city, as well as being cheaper and having far less sizeable tourist populations than other areas in which you might have been more traditionally inclined to stay.
We’ve picked six of the best options for all budgets – better get a jump on with booking though, as dates around the Olympics (27 July to 12 August) are filling up fast.
The Town Hall Hotel, a landmark 1910 building at Patriot Square in Bethnal Green, is two stops from Olympic Park, and boasts a 1930s-style pool and a Michelin-starred restaurant, Viajante.
Rooms are individually-themed and decorated with antiques and vintage pieces, whether they are Edwardian, Art Deco or modern loft spaces, and Keira Knightley, Elijah Wood, Patrick Stewart and Emma Thompson have all filmed movies there.
Prices range from £465 for a double room to £950 for a two-bed apartment.
Shoreditch Rooms, part of private member’s club (and for that read; media and celebrity haven) Shoreditch House, is a renovated warehouse with 26 bedrooms, situated on Ebor Street in Shoreditch, where the entire concept of hip East London began.
Surprisingly Amish in style, the white, airy rooms (some with private balconies) are stocked with vintage books, games and dressing up kit for guests to borrow, while bathrooms boast Cowshed products and rainforest showers.
Rooms start from £239.
The Rose & Crown in Stoke Newington (north east London) is a boutique guest house, planted amongst scores of boho bars, shops and cafés. If you exhaust those possibilities, it also has its own bar, serving top notch gastropub fare, downstairs, and a heated roof terrace with views across the city for guests.
The six rooms are individually designed and are stylish without being self-conscious, and comfortable without compromising on that “hotel” feeling.
Rooms start at £80 for a single to £165 for the suite.
Russell’s of Clapton B&B, a Victorian property in Hackney, is what we wish our house looked like, so be warned that you may well never want to leave, especially if you find yourself bonding with the house pet whippet Reggie.
Think exposed brickwork, wooden floors, plants, reclaimed vintage Chesterfields, Philippe Starck design classics and piles of art books abound, and there’s even a garden for guests.
Clapton is a vibrant and friendly community, close to all the trappings of hipster Hackney, as well as being a short walk along the canal away from the Olympic site.
Rooms start from £85, but Olympic rates may apply.
St Christopher’s Greenwich Hostel, housed in a Victorian building festooned with hanging baskets that is the very picture of a picturesque London pub, is on Greenwich High Road, near the Royal Observatory, site of the Greenwich Meridian.
The hostel is cheap and cheerful, with its own Belushi’s bar downstairs, and has no curfew or lockout. What it does have includes internet access, laundry facilities, a coffee shop, a common room and a games room, making it the perfect basic base.
Beds start from £39, with linens and breakfast included.
The Dictionary is an independent hostel on Kingsland Road, in cooler-than-thou Dalston. Housed in a converted warehouse with an industrial feel (but of course), the décor is all exposed brick and pop art murals, which ensure plenty of character; this is the very antithesis of the soulless, functional hostel.
There’s a bar and a café (and several hundred others just across the threshold), free wi-fi, and the doors are open 24 hours.
Beds from £34 were available during the Olympics at time of publication.
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