Paddington station. The beginning, middle and end of many a long journey in London. If only there was a perennially calm, comfortable pit stop right there, where travellers could rest their weary heads, or grab a boujie bite to eat.
A haven of super soft beds, power showers, and world-class cocktails to help shake off the day’s stresses. Manned by a team of staff who know exactly what you need, right when you need it. And if it didn’t cost the earth, that’d be great too…
Enter: The Pilgrm. Such a place exists, and it’s about to become you go-to. Disembark the train, turn out of the station and look for a wall of Lapis lazuli tiles (which could be mistaken for a fancy coffee shop). Within lies the pit stop of dreams – a beautifully decorated boutique hotel that strips back the parts you don’t need, and keeps the parts you do. In doing so, prices stay low (two person bunk bed rooms start at £69!) but the quality remains high throughout.
I spent two heavenly nights here to break up a month of endless work travel, and emerged feeling restored, ready to fight another day (and delayed flight). Arriving is a breeze, since payments are taken beforehand. Guests grab a coffee and admire the painstakingly restored Victorian staircase – 300 hour’s work, no less – while their key is produced, before heading up to their digs.
Great effort has been put into upcycling and restoring fixtures and furnishings, creating character and whimsy at every turn. Custom steel-worked fittings complement brass lamps salvaged from a hospital, while the parquet flooring was taken from a boxing gym.
Our room was a Large (starting at an incredible £99), with views onto bustling Paddington streets. Cute, but ask for a back room above leafy Norfolk Square if you’re a light sleeper (we were fine with our trusty ear plugs).
We loved the Victorian-style bathroom features (but modern plumbing!), huge Samsung flat screen TV, Marshall speaker, giant fan and sumptuously soft bed.
There aren’t any robes – which is a pity, since the room is nice enough to want to hang out in – but that’s one of the only reminders of the hotel’s surprisingly cheap prices.
On every floor, there’s a Pantry, stocked with free snacks, teas and coffees. But if you’re peckish during civilised hours, head straight up to the bar, where you’ll find a banging brunch menu served ’til 3pm.
Highlights include The Pilgrm Bacon Butty (brioche bun, runny egg, delicious) and Seared Broccolini (think Polenta soldiers and turmeric cashew cream). We also loved that the tables each featured a plug socket. Here, freelancers can pull up a pew.
For the evening, there’s a short menu of excellent snacks (the ham, cheese and caramalised onion toastie busts any hangover) and a selection of cocktails to rival the best bars in London. The hotel’s owner is ex-Zetter Townhouse, renowned for excellent drinks, and that same passion is clear here.
Looking for things to do nearby? Big readers can’t miss Monocle’s Kioskafe, bursting with global titles covering everything from popular weeklies to specialist independent publications. Curl up with the latest copy of The New Yorker, an iced matcha latte and a cinnamon bun.
A brisk walk will take you to Kensington Gardens, where you’ll find The Italian Gardens Cafe (get the banana bread), overlooking The Italian Gardens built by Prince Albert to impress Queen Vic. Stretch your legs, admiring some of London’s finest flora and fauna.
We loved this stay so much, we’re actually looking forward to our next long haul trip. Bring on the jet lag… we’d make a pilgrimage here, any day.
Book your stay at The Pilgrm, now!