Misty Hackney Marshes — Photo courtesy of sludgegulperIf you want to stay in style pretty near to the city of London and just a hop skip and a jump away from the Olympic park, then Hackney is the place to be. Its hotels have not come first on lists of London places to stay, mostly because until a few years ago, the borough was largely off the tourist map, and its hotels tended to be the ones used by local authorities for their housing clients rather than international visitor destinations. Perhaps it was the notorious singer Pete Doherty, who reportedly liked travelling on the 38 bus–one of the most popular bus routes to run from Victoria station right through the heart of Hackney to Clapton Pond–who put the borough on the map; or Alexander McQueen, the late great fashion designer, who had his studios in the heart of Hoxton and was from the area too. But whatever, the cool cache jumped up a notch in the nineties and has been rolling ever since. If you want that Hoxton vibe, then check out the appropriately named 'Hoxton Hotel' it's stylish and just down the road from Old Street Tube, and numerous bars, pubs, clubs and some great little niche shops in the old Spitalfields market and Brick Lane area. You're walking distance here from Clerkenwell and Liverpool Street Station and not far from some delicious Vietnamese food places on the Kingsland Road and further into Hackney too. Also in this area is the Shoreditch House hotel and the Re London Shoreditch.
Just down the Kingsland road in Dalston you'll find one of Hackney's newest boutique hotels, the Avo boutique hotel This hotel was conjured from the bones of an old post office and is run by the same family who ran the post office years ago. Just down the road from the Avo Boutique hotel — Photo courtesy of Ewan-M They've got some good reviews so far, and what they promise on their website sounds good. It's also perfect for exploring the area from Broadway market to Clissold and Victoria Parks. They even have special chocolate themed events, and say Avo means welcome in many languages. Which is what they'd like to do for you.
[PHOTO_192745] If you want an even more personal touch, perhaps try a bed and breakfast. Russell's promises to be one of a kind in the heart of Clapton. With antique furniture, luxury beds and linen, a plant filled living room for guests only and a pet whippet called Reggie. You get the full experience of a Victorian London family house, with free wifi and interesting fellow guests to boot. It's run by a former journalist and band manager and the website has that suitably cool laid back hackney vibe. And it's just around the corner from Sutton Place in Hackney, an historic tudor house and beautiful grounds. They do warn that rates over the Olympic period will be higher, but at just over £100 for their most expensive room, and with free wifi for all, they don't compare too badly at all to the pricier hotels further west. [PHOTO_192740]
If it's old school grandeur you're after, then check out the Town Hall Hotel in Bethnal Green, they've even got their own tea lady with a tea trolley who brings round martinis; a pool and 30's decor for you to luxuriate in before heading out to meet the world, and London at large.