What: Bringing together the warehouses of New York with East London edge, New Road Hotel is the work of three brothers who built the hotel on the former site of a textile factory where their father once worked. Having been a major part of Whitechapel’s booming textile trade in the sixties, the factory closed in 2000 and was left empty until the brothers took it over in 2011 to turn it its current incarnation, complete with a restaurant from Marco Pierre White. The hotel sits just a few minutes from Whitechapel station, an area that is on the rise (partly due to the opening of the hotel) but hasn’t gone through complete gentrification yet as Shoreditch has. In fact, the hotel looks out onto the derelict old facade of The Royal London Hospital, which in time will no doubt be some chic apartment.
New? Yes, in hotel terms its brand spanking new, it only opened in the spring of this year.
Look: With brick walls, reclaimed furniture and original fixtures the hotel has retained the feeling of a factory and given it a New York vibe. Throughout the hotel there are psychedelic, retro prints, a nod to the textile trade of the sixties, although these luckily aren’t in the rooms as I’m pretty sure staring at them too much would induce a migraine.
Rooms: With exposed brickwork, minimalistic black furniture and large windows the rooms keep the factory feel. There are pops of colour with bright oranges and blues and plenty of natural light which stops the relatively small rooms from feeling dark and poky. Each room has a Hypnos Bed and in the majority of rooms they are designed so that they have three headboards meaning you could sleep in any direction you want. The rooms don’t have baths apart from one which features a jacuzzi but they do have powerful rainfall showers instead although no shampoo. They’ve also done away with mini bars and coffee machines instead having communal coffee facilities on each floor and vending machines if you want snacks. In place of phones they have a number you can Whatsapp, they’re keeping things minimal so that the prices can stay modest too, but this doesn’t mean they’re scrimping on the experience.
We were staying in the Loft, the crème de la crème of the rooms with its own private roof terrace with views over to the Shard and its own hot tub. There’s something rather special about ending the night with a dip in the hot tub before waking up early and having a coffee whilst watching London go by below you. With mirrors at both the head and end of the bed and on the ceiling, this is definitely one you want to book with your SO.
The Restaurant: New Road Hotel is home to Marco Pierre White’s first ever chophouse in London, mixing classic English dishes with French flair. The menu focuses on meat with steaks and burgers taking centre stage and main dishes such as Marco’s lobster macaroni and grilled salmon steak with sauce choron. Vegetarian offerings whilst more than a goats cheese tart do all revolve around mushrooms so herbivores you better like fungi.
There’s an excellent Welsh rarebit with poached egg to start and a simple, but effective dish of fresh white and brown crab meat ready to pile high on crunchy melba toast. Steaks all come with vine roasted tomatoes and thick, fluffy, triple cooked chips. The fillet was beautifully tender and melting and its accompanying peppery sauce had a real punch to it. Puddings are nostalgic, comforting and classic: chocolate mousse, cheesecake and Eton mess. We went for the Cambridge burnt cream aka crème brûée which broke and cracked satisfyingly under our spoons and a dense, rich sticky toffee pudding.
Breakfast was a little bit of a let down, there was no fruit to speak of, we weren’t offered any coffee and whoever had put the creme fraiche on our salmon had been rather slap-dash, squiggling it everywhere so it looked rather like a child’s handiwork. If I was to choose again I think I would have headed to Cereal Grind. The New Road Hotel is the first in the UK to have a trend cereal café where you can get retro cereals, cereal cocktails, pop-tarts, pastries and muffins and not just for breakfast either, you can get a bowl of cereal until 5pm.
To Do: Whilst the hotel might not have gym or spa, there are areas to socialise in, including a small rooftop, courtyard, library/ work space and the games room where you can play pool and take on the retro arcade machine. There is a small exercise area on the fourth floor where you can use kettle bells and gym mats, but if you’re looking to burn off steam whilst visiting, I’d suggest bringing your trainers and heading out for a run.
If you’re visiting for business then the hotel is home to two spaces for hire and unlike other hotel conference and meeting rooms which are bland, boring and hardly likely to induce creativity (or even attention), these rooms couldn’t be more different. Both mix exposed brickwork and an industrial edge with bright colours, retro prints and plenty of light. Smeg fridges are stocked with juices and snacks and there are state of the art E-boards for presentations.
Final Word: There are a few small things I’d change, like adding coffee into the room, traipsing down the corridor to get coffee made with powder milk isn’t really ideal, nor is not having shampoo in your room. That said, the design is great, the staff is friendly and they’ve focused on the key aspect of a hotel room: getting a good night’s sleep.
Where: 103-107 New Road, Whitechapel, E1 1HJ www.newroadhotel.co.uk