Montcalm East has to be one of the slickest buildings in the capital. It’s as if a spaceship mistook the London Inner Ring Road for a landing strip – and the silicon roundabout for a homing beacon.

It’s the kind of hyper-contemporary design that keeps traditionalists up at night. And we love it.

Inside, the futuristic feel is continued via a contemporary walkway shaped from a series of illuminated archways. It’s like entering a time machine with a one-way ticket to the future.

Even the hallways to the bedrooms are something out of Tron, giant beams of light embedded in the walls at dramatic angles.

In a sector proliferated with art deco artifice, it’s nice to stay somewhere that feels more in keeping with our time.

Montcalm East

The vibe

Situated on the City fringe, Montcalm East will undoubtedly appeal to financial types, and it’s certainly lux enough for this crowd. But it also has a real creative appeal that sets it apart from the drier offerings further east in Canary Wharf.

The interior decor takes inspiration from the artistic heritage of the area with a particular focus on photography. The lights for the bathroom mirrors are giant ring-flash bulbs; a photo montage on our bedroom wall overlays closeups of camera lenses on top of negative film; and there’s a brass sculpture of an antique bellows camera in the lobby.

When it was refurbished in 2021, the hotel hired art consultant Anne Trouillet Rogers at Culture A to create an art experience that celebrates London-made artworks throughout the hotel and its bedrooms. There are QR code art labels dotted about the place, so you can learn more about individual artworks transforming the hotel’s reading room and mezzanine lounge into an exhibition space for both permanent and rotating collections.

The creativity doesn’t end there, either, as Montcalm East has its own state-of-the-art photo studio. In a unique collaboration with Ravensbourne University, the hotel hosts a photographer in residence programme; and emerging artists can make full use of the permanent studio space to develop their portfolio and showcase their work while hotel guests are encouraged to drop by for expert advice and create content of their own with on-site smartphone printers.

The rooms

There are 288 guest rooms in total, all bathed in natural light, thanks to the building’s distinctive diagonal windows.

Our room was all rich, brooding woods offset by contemporary grey neutrals and warm copper accents. The flatscreen was so big you’ll consider upgrading your TV back at home. Same goes for the bed. Bathrooms are appropriately plush – heated floors, rainfall showers, and Soapsmith toiletries.

One neat touch are the filtered water fountains on each floor so you can fill up on fresh water to your heart’s (and liver’s) content. The minibar is stocked with an East End edit of drinks and treats, with Flying Horse coffee pods ready for service in your in-room Nespresso machine.

Treat yourself to a ‘Sky-High’ room complete with floor-to-ceiling windows to enjoy the best views. Ask for a corner suite if you really want to impress.

Montcalm East bedroom

Food & Drink

Marlowe opened in Autumn last year, promising a dining and drinking experience inspired by the legendary playwright, Christopher Marlowe.

Apparently, Marlowe loved a drink – his bills from university indicate an impressive consumption of booze, and he was arrested on at least three occasions for fights that started in taverns.

Of course, nothing so vulgar would happen at the modern Marlowe – the vibe is much more sophisticated cocktails and light bites.

It’s made up of a cafe, bar and mezzanine restaurant. All have a cool lounge vibe. Casino de Capri by The Bahama Soul Club is playing on the Boze ceiling speakers. Cheese plants and rubber trees dotted about the place reflect the framed wallpaper decorated with rainforest canopy. It feels a long way from the concrete jungle outside.

Inside track

In keeping with the hotel’s photographic theme, the Bokeh spa takes its name from the term that refers to the soft focus of an image – it’s a particularly apt analogy for this relaxing oasis.

There’s a pool, hot tub, treatment rooms and a programme of fitness and wellness classes. There’s even a brand partnership with CBD brand OTO for when you really need to unwind.

For more traditional approaches, try a body detox which includes scalp massage and mud treatment. Like the hotel itself, it’s glorious.

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