They say size matters… but when it comes to boutique accommodation in London maybe this isn’t as important now as we are seeing a rise in ‘pod hotels’. And with the new addition Qbic, just launched in the East end, this trend for affordable luxury is on the up.
I was first introduced to the concept of a ‘pod’ hotel when Dutch based company CitizenM opened up in Glasgow and I went to review it (read the review). I subsequently went onto stay in their London and Amsterdam properties and was extremely impressed by their cutting edge solutions; fitting everything you need for a good night sleep and rest into a tiny space without compromising at all on quality and a feeling of space.
What do you get for your money at CitizenM?
Prices for a night in CitizenM are actually very affordable and what you get for your money is actually quite a lot more than you would get in a more expensive hotel in London.
All rooms come with free movies, wifi as standard and a huge bed which is probably bigger than in any standard hotel room. Ok so the rooms are very small, but they have made great use of clever design (like big drawers under the bed to store your luggage) to make sure that you do not compromise on anything you would expect in most hotel rooms.
I love gadgets, I am a fiddler… So I love that everything in the room is controlled from one remote control (mood pad) by your bed. Change the lighting in the room to any colour you want (including in the shower), temperature, TV and blinds from the one remote control. One final thing I like, presented by Citizen M, that many hotels miss out is built in adaptors, so you don’t need to rummage about your bags looking for your adaptor only to realise you have left it at home.
With a reduction in space this does of course mean that everything is that bit closer together, including your bathroom facilities so I would definitely recommend that the overnight companion you bring is someone you are very comfortable with.
The hotel doesn’t have a ‘restaurant’ as such but it does have a rather amazing canteen and lounge area where you pay for what you eat and the food is extremely good quality.
I love this hotel chain and I would recommend it to anyone looking for an exciting hotel experience.
Address: 20 Lavington St, London, United Kingdom SE1 0NZ
Phone: 020 3519 1680
Room Rate: £107 – £139
Qbic is another Dutch owned brand that have just launched in London offering a similar, but at the same time different, product to CitizenM so I thought I had better check it out at the weekend.
Qbic has opened up on Adler street which is on Whitechapel Road, very close to the start of Brick Lane. It’s within east access of both Aldgate and Aldage East underground stations and about ten minutes walk to Whitechapel station. This means that you can be in central London in about 15/20 mins or head out to Shoreditch if you take the over ground from Whitechapel station.
Qbic was formerly an office space that has not been turned into a 171 bedroom hotel. The hotel rooms are based around a pod system too or a ‘cubi’ as they call them, which is a modular bedroom system that comprises of a double bed, lighting and bathroom (no bath).
What do you get for your money?
For your money you get: a room for the night, which is larger than CitizenM, free wifi and TV, you also get a small free breakfast which comprises of fruit, drink and cereal bar, although you can access a larger buffet breakfast for an additional fee of £7.50. You get unlimited free ground coffee and tea, which you can access from the rather cool communal area. You also get what I would say is one of the most comfortable beds I have ever slept in.
I did find a few things that I would describe as negatives, one biggish one being that for whatever reason the cubi system causes quite a lot of noise when someone above you uses the shower or toilet, this is more of an issue late at night when you are trying to sleep and it sounds like water is running down your bedroom wall.
Also (and this may simply be a teething problem) but I encountered radio silence when you email them and tweet them a question is not what you would expect from a hotel chain.
Overall while I have been slightly negative on a few minor points, the hotel is in a great location, it’s an interesting concept and the price offers very good value for money. So on balance I would recommend Qbic.
Address: Adler St, London E1 1EE
Room Rate: £59 – £99