A warm hug. That’s how I’d describe the feeling of stepping into a hotel from the bustling streets of London, or any city for that matter. The doors close, sirens and shouts stop, excitement sets in, and slowly but surely the reception area opens its metaphorical arms and assures you that everything’s going to be ok. Even if just for one night.
No, I’m not drunk – rather I’m pining after my recent stay at Kingsland Locke, the latest venture in aparthotel brand Locke’s growing collection of venues across the UK and Europe.
Open since May, and located in Dalston, one of London’s most eclectic neighbourhoods, Kingsland Locke houses 124 signature studio apartments, as well as an on-site microbrewery, gin distillery, all-day restaurant, complimentary co-working space, workout studio and barista-style coffee shop.
The perfect blend of Instagrammable and genuinely nice interiors is hard to come by, but Locke’s bright, inviting and modern flair is just that. And the end result is a real aesthetic treat. If you’re after an example, the corridor from which our suite went off was a mix of pink shades – not usually my cup of tea but here it worked. It felt elegant, not tasteless – cool, not trying too hard.
Safe to say, that’s very much the vibe of the entire six-floor aparthotel. Designed by east London-based studio Red Deer, who said they took inspiration from Dalston’s vibrant colours and scenes, Kingsland Locke boasts bright colours set against rough raw renders – in what seems to be a nod to the neighbourhood’s blend of old and new.
Now to new food and drink endeavour KRAFT Dalston, which takes up most of the hotel’s lobby and an entire basement level. An exciting partnership between Kraft Brewery, Jim and Tonic Distillery and Le Bab, KRAFT boasts an onsite gin distillery and microbrewery – reducing the outlet’s CO2 footprint by 75 per cent. Décor is as you’d expect: stylish and worthy of the dozens of Instagram stories it appears in every weekend. And the food.
Le Bab, which opened in 2015 at its Kingly Court site, has a vast menu that is bursting at the seams with flavour and boasts affordability. It’s hard to suggest just one thing, so instead I’m going to advise you have exactly what we did: the hummus (£5) – which I’m sure was made by some kind of chickpea king or queen – and Padron peppers (£5) to start, followed by the paneer kebab (£9.95) and aubergine sabich (£9.50) for main. But please, whatever you do, order the chipotle tahini broccoli (£5) as a side because, well, it’s tenderstem broccoli covered in vegan chipotle tahini dressing. Enough said.
Beers and G&Ts come highly recommended because they’re created just a few steps from where you’re sat. There is an abundance of each to choose from, but for the me the Froni (£5.90 a pint) – a West Coast pale ale – was clean, crisp and lighter than air.
If you’re into cocktails, try the Ruby G&T – a mix of rhubarb gin, elderflower tonic, raspberry and basil – at £9.50 a glass or the Up in the Éire, a whiskey concoction that is fruity and well-rounded. The bar area upstairs has a resident DJ every Friday and Saturday too, meaning you don’t have to step a foot outside to enjoy Dalston’s infamous bar and club offerings.
And now for the main event: the apartments. Being that we’re in an aparthotel, all rooms come with a kitchen and living area – size dependent on the type of room you opt to stay in.
Similar to the areas that lead to it, your room will be a haven of relaxed modern interiors – think more greens, black and blues though – plus the right amount of mood lighting to convince you that a serviced apartment is no less fancy than a hotel room.
“Smart people always choose comfort over luxury,” Celso Cukierkorn once said, but when it comes to Kingsland Locke you can have both at the same time.
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Kingsland Locke, 130 Kingsland High St, London E8 2LQ. Rates start at £115 a night.