The THH is a great value. A fix star hotel with 3 star prices. The main reason why this is such a great value is because Bethnal Green has yet to experience the level of gentrification that the Shoreditch area has experienced. If THH were located a few miles west near Liverpool Street Station, room prices would double.
But signs of gentrification were there when we visited: New condos/flat under construction nearby; a popular Italian restaurant opened earlier this year across the street; Foodie Broadway Market experiencing great success 15 minutes walk away, etc). The Google Maps view of Cambridge Heath Road (from when they took those images 1-2 years ago) and when we stayed in Sept was very different. And I anticipate the area to really take off by 2015 (though no guarantees).
Even if the area remains the same, THH has lots to offer for those who want to avoid the tourist hoards: 1) The local institution E. Pellicci (with rave reviews from pretty much everyone) is just a short bus ride away and 8 minutes walk from the tube station 2) Hipster Brick Lane, Shoreditch, Truman Brewery, Broadway Market and Hackney in the East End are all nearby 3) V&A Children's Museum is next door 4) Tube Station is 5 minutes walk -- not a touristy walk but we never felt unsafe 5) Buses to Tower of London, Liverpool Street Station stops pretty much in front of the side entrance of the hotel 6) Michelin Star Viajante and amazing Corner Room restaurant are located within the hotel. 7) Regular corporate and wedding events held in the meeting rooms means that this has become a "happening" place.
We loved the fresh milk and macaroons we got every day. Also loved the interesting design touches throughout the hotel and the history of the place as a former town hall. Having a washer/dryer (not available in all rooms) meant traveling light and avoiding having to check-in luggage at the airport. Out of the way location meant no traffic noise at night and fighting crowds during the day. The free weekday shuttle to Liverpool Street Station or Bank Street was very convenient if we wanted to avoid rush hour traffic on the Tube.
I got the sense that the staff was still a little green and inexperienced. They were earnest -- eager to help. They were not like the polished folks who have worked for years at the Ritz or Four Seasons. So if you're used to traditional polished 5 star service, this hotel will probably not fit the bill. And that could explain some of the feedback here where the service was less than polished. But we experienced a staff with their heart in the right place.
There were still some rough edges:
1) There were no doorman at the entrance to help guests with their luggage up the stairs to the hotel. Perhaps building a ramp would help the perplexed guests we saw looking around, wondering if they were in the right place and struggling to carry up their bags up the stairs.
2) The US socket in our room didn't seem to work. But we easily got a converter from the front desk.
3) The hangers were the "US budget motel variety" that only worked in the closet and not anywhere else. Surely no "five star" hotel would have those types of hangers but they did. Are they really worried about theft of hangers? It seemed out of place given that we had nice fluffy robes, slippers and upscale amenities like ipod docking station and extra high ceilings.
4) The sound carried in the hotel and we heard the music from the events. But both weekend events are the hotel stopped before 11pm - which seemed reasonable.
5) There was a little misunderstanding with our room booking but the staff was great in resolving it and making things right when we checked in.
All in all, if you're interested in exploring East London -- THH is a great option. We had a great stay -- enhanced by the wonderful staff
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- TOWN HALL HOTEL is a boutique, design, hotel in the heart of London's East End. Offering luxury accommodations, event space and fine dining in an iconic Edwardian building. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Town Hall Hotel And Apartments
- Town Hall Hotel London, England