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Hotel Highlights

  • Edgy location in the heart of London’s East End
  • Creative menus on offer at the Typing Room
  • Striking modern features within an Edwardian town hall

Overview

Town Hall Hotel & Apartments are housed in Bethnal Green’s old council building: modern fixtures such as floor-to-ceiling glass have been added to the grand design of the Edwardian building; the marble floors, high ceilings, stately staircases remain in charge. Fine-dining lovers will thrill at innovative eatery the Typing Room's tasting menu, and you won’t spot a magistrate anywhere.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Town Hall Hotel & Apartments with us:

Macaroons on arrival

Special offers

Exclusive rates, packages and special offers at Town Hall Hotel & Apartments

Stay three nights, save 10%

Facilities

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Town Hall Hotel - London - United Kingdom

Need To Know

Rooms

98, including 88 suites.

Check–out

11am, but flexible for an extra charge. Earliest check-in, 2pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $248.20 (£156), excluding tax at 20 per cent.

More details

Rates exclude breakfast (£15 each for full English).

Also

There’s no spa at the hotel, but a Cowshed one awaits down the road at Shoreditch Rooms. If you're staying solo, Nelson and Nancy (the Town Hall's resident goldfish), can stay in your room for a small fee.

At the hotel

Free WiFi throughout, gym, and a flatscreen TV, CD/DVD player, and free bottled water in rooms. A shuttle service takes guests to Liverpool Street and Bank stations at 7.30am and 8.15am on weekday mornings.

Our favourite rooms

Push the boat out and pick the De Montfort Suite, the former Edwardian council room. The ceilings are triple height, and vast glass room dividers brighten up the airy space even more. The heftily sized arched windows draft in lots of light through their plain and stained glass panels and you can even indulge in some ivory tinkling on the suite's Steinway grand piano. There’s seating for 20 – and the head chef can whip up a tasting menu to be taken in-suite.

Poolside

There’s a slimline, heated pool adjacent to the gym in the basement.

Packing tips

Ray-Bans, vintage tea dresses and your best brogues.

Children

Welcome. Cots for babies are free, and extra beds are £75 a night.

Food & Drink

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Town Hall Hotel - London - United Kingdom

Hotel Restaurant

Lee Westcott's Typing Room restaurant is a sophisticated space with dark-green walls and parquet flooring, where a menu of seasonal British cuisine is served. The tasting menu includes five snacks, starters and mains, with innovative dishes such as mackerel, passion fruit, burnt cucumber and dill; pigeon smoked in pine, salt-baked celeriac, lovage and hazelnut; and green tea, yoghurt and sesame. The Corner Room bistro serves Spanish-inspired brasserie-style food; there's no need to book after 7pm, or to sample its flavourful two- and three-course lunchtime menus.

Hotel Bar

The darkly lit Peg and Patriot bar is perfect for pre-dinner cocktails, picked from a seasonal selection. The menu plays fast and loose with flavours, offering a straight-up Dark and Stormy for less-adventurous imbibers alongside some way-outside-the-box cocktails such as the Marmite Martini (Marmite, vodka and olive), Pho Money Pho Problems (pho spirit, pak choi and lime-leaf syrup and lime) and Groner Sazerac (Beigel Bake salt-beef bagel, cognac, rye and bitters).

Last orders

Breakfast is served between 7am and 10am; lunch is 12pm–2pm; dinner runs from 7pm until 11pm. Peg and Patriot is open from 5pm to midnight on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 5pm to 1am on Fridays and Saturdays and 12 noon to 10pm Sunday.

Room service

Hot and cold snacks are available 24 hours a day. Every evening the Town Hall 'Tea Lady' goes from room to room proffering bespoke, expertly mixed martinis from her trolley of exotic ingredients..

Smith Insider

Dress code

Smart and snappy second-hand chic.

Top table

Next to the finishing kitchen to watch the chef and his team in action. For a private party you can arrange a table in the hotel's unique, art deco Council Chamber.

Local Guide

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Town Hall Hotel - London - United Kingdom
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

On Sundays, make sure you wander down to Columbia Road for some bartering with East End traders at the flower market. Shoppers will love Spitalfields, which opens on Thursdays for antiques and vintage, Fridays for fashion and art, and Sundays for everything. Combine a curry with searching for second-hand clothing on a trip to Brick Lane. If you’ve brought children along, take them to Hackney City Farm (www.hackneycityfarm.co.uk) to spy on the array of donkeys, turkeys and pigs.

Local restaurants

Fine steaks are flame-grilled at Hawksmoor (+44 (0)20 7247 7392; www.thehawksmoor.co.uk) on Commerical Street and at Buen Ayre (+44 (0)20 7275 9900; www.buenayre.co.uk) on Broadway Market. The restaurant at The Boundary hotel (+44 (0)20 7729 1051; www.theboundary.co.uk) serves up charcuterie, oysters and rotisserie-cooked fare. It would be hard to find better smoked salmon in London than that served at Forman’s (+44 (0)208 5252 365; www.formans.co.uk) at Stour Road, Fish Island. The views of the Olympic Stadium are also unbeatable, and service is top notch. For dinner-time entertainment provided by lip-synching 'ladies' (of the transvestite variety), head to Bistrotheque (+44 (0)20 8983 7900; www.bistrotheque.com) in Bethnal Green. Sample top-notch Scotch eggs and gargantuan beef Wellington at the Hunter S. (+44(0)20 7249 7191), a fear- and loathing-free boozer in De Beauvoir Town, a short bus/taxi ride away. Expect to share the dining room with a herd of stuffed animals gracing the walls and ceilings.

Local bars

Call in to Callooh Callay (+44 (0)20 7739 4781; www.calloohcallaybar.com) on Rivington Street for some finely mixed cocktails, including punch served in a gramophone. Loungelover is a cocktail bar spilling out from quirky restaurant Les Trois Garcons (www.lestroisgarcons.com); drink in eccentric baroque and art deco surroundings. Other cosy pubs in the area include The Florist (+44 (0)20 8981 1100) and The Camel (+44 (0)20 8983 9888) on Globe Road, and The Lauriston on Victoria Park Road (+44 (0)20 8985 5404).

+ Enlarge
Bohemian Bethnal Green

Town Hall Hotel & Apartments

Patriot Square, London, E2 9NF, United Kingdom

Planes

London City is just under six miles away. From Stansted, the drive should take around 50 minutes.

Trains

London Liverpool Street is a little over a mile from the hotel. From here, trains go all over Essex and to Cambridge. It’s also where the Stansted Express departs from (www.stanstedexpress.com). The closest Tube is Bethnal Green, a three-minute walk down Cambridge Heath Road. It’s on the speedy Central line, which can get you to Oxford Circus in 13 minutes. Every weekday morning, at 7.30am and 8.15am, a shuttle service runs guests to Liverpool Street and Bank stations.

Automobiles

The hotel is just off Cambridge Heath Road. Nearby A roads include A10, A11, A12 and A13. There’s no parking at the hotel.

Reviews

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Town Hall Hotel - London - United Kingdom

Anonymous review

by Pat Nourse , Greedy guts

‘Are you for real?’ Mrs Smith is unenthused about being raised from her afternoon nap by Mr Smith, not least because I’m calling on the house phone from the bar. ‘No, really, you have to get down here,’ I say. ‘There are things going on that defy sense, logic and at least two of Newton’s laws.’ And that’s just the apéritif. ‘You…
Read more

Town Hall Hotel & Apartments

Anonymous review by Pat Nourse, Greedy guts

‘Are you for real?’ Mrs Smith is unenthused about being raised from her afternoon nap by Mr Smith, not least because I’m calling on the house phone from the bar. ‘No, really, you have to get down here,’ I say. ‘There are things going on that defy sense, logic and at least two of Newton’s laws.’ And that’s just the apéritif.

‘You’re familiar with the movie ‘Anchorman’?’ asks the young Australian bartender. Certainly. Who in their right mind isn’t? ‘I think you might like the drink I’ve made, named Ron Burgundy.’ Ron for rum, Burgundy for the pinot, served on a leather-bound book and smelling of rich mahogany with a smoking cinnamon quill garnish – making for the very rare joke drink that’s nonetheless well made enough to give the drinker the last laugh. It’s just one of a series of successively more impressive concoctions, each delivered with more élan than the last.

Such high-falutin’ hijinks are of course entirely in keeping with the fact that the bar at the Town Hall, the Bethnal Green beachhead of hotel-cool in East London, falls under the auspices of Nuno Mendes, the talent in the kitchen at the adjoining Viajante restaurant. Mendes was born in Portugal, trained all over the US and interned at El Bulli, and his menus are equally restless. If you’re looking for a quick steak straight off the plane or a bowl of pasta before you head out, this really isn’t the restaurant for you. For one thing, it’s prix fixe or degustation only, and for another, the kitchen prefers not to disclose what you’re going to be eating until it’s actually in front of you. Know this: you can pretty much bet on it being a wild ride, whether it’s smoky yoghurt, milk skin, razor clams and dashi or beef with burnt fennel, ‘chunky’ miso and ramps.

Curiously enough, it could be the bar menu where Mendes’ genius really shines (possibly because he’s not trying quite so hard). The design is no less aggressively funky – what are those rows of fuzzy things dangling like so many knotted strings from the ceiling? – but we graze our way from prawn and leek potstickers to marinated olives, almonds and tiny jamon bocadillos. The olives are fat green gordals, meaty and savoury, the almonds nothing more than the best Valencia has to offer, salted and plated, and the bocadillos are the perfect ham sandwich every bar needs. We’re rusted on regulars for the rest of our stay. And that’s before you factor in the dazzling three-gin martinis, or the lethal mescal margarita.

It’s Mrs Smith’s firm belief that the adventure-playground of art in the Town Hall’s public spaces is something best enjoyed while still under the spell of the mescal margaritas, and not their after-effects. It’s wild stuff, and not for the faint of aesthetic. Claire Morgan’s artwork Too Woo You, freezes an autumnal flurry of leaves above a staircase, replete with an onlooking owl, beautiful and bewildering in all the right ways. Plaques have been installed around the corridors as a part of art project walkwalkwalk, telling stories of the neighbourhood that blur the routine and the fantastical. They are no less bemusing; one reads: ‘Miss World pushes an old man in a wheelchair down Wilmot Street. She has a question mark branded on her right buttock. It bobs up and down as she walks...’

It’s wonderful stuff, in keeping with Bethnal Green’s nascent arty reputation, underscoring the tension between the civic splendour and council-chambers chic of the original building’s Deco lines, its mighty Edwardian frontage and its latter-day purpose. Mercifully, the rooms are not art installations themselves (‘that would be a terrible idea after a couple of three-gin Martinis,’ notes Mrs Smith), but they are simple spaces decorated in a contemporary mode, an effect heightened considerably by the laser-cut steel screens over the (working) windows of the new upper floors.

As with the modern-meets-Deco-meets-Edwardian look, there’s also a slight disconnect here between the apartment side and the boutique hotel side of the operation. Settling into apartment after we’ve pried ourselves from the bar, and giving it a good old snoop, it’s interesting to note that it has an impressively kitted-out kitchen, but there’s nothing in the fridge except milk and water. (There’s wonderfully little hotel collateral adorning the shelves and tables; the idea of taking them up on the offer of having chef Mendes’ team prepare a six-course in-room tasting menu, it must be said, fills Mrs Smith with ‘equal parts dread and fascination’.) There’s plenty of room to swing cats and most other domestic pets of reasonable size here, and someone with an eye for quality has ticked the boxes with the linens, the iPod docks and the free wifi. L’Occitane products (perhaps incongruously rustic in a hotel so urban) feature in the large and rather saucy bathroom, as does a neatly concealed washer/dryer. Perfect, in short, for anyone who likes to mix a little light cleaning with their dirty weekend.

The Town Hall is still the hippest thing on its block, though it’s a title contested only by the Museum of Childhood, a service station, a Nigerian restaurant, and the Family Butcher (has there ever been a more thrillingly ambiguous name for a meat man?). It is, in short, a happening waiting for the rest of the immediate neighbourhood to catch up. The fact that any mention of a hotel at this Patriot Square E2 address gets a ‘Wheeere?’ response from even the most grizzled of veteran black cab-drivers, is telling. If you’re looking for somewhere convenient for Theatreland or in any way handy for the airport, this isn’t it;  if you’re seeking a base for your East End safari, somewhere that’s of the Shoreditch-Hoxton axis of awesome without being uncomfortably in it, this is your new favourite indie pied-à-terre. It's certainly ours.

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel with us, we'll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Town Hall Hotel & Apartments's Guestbook below.

 

SilverSmith

Stayed on

We loved

We were upgraded from an executive suite to a one-bedroom suite. The room sizes were generous compared to other Smith hotels in London I have used before. There are cooking and washing facilities in the room if you're staying for a longer period (we were only there the one night, so didn't make use of these). The pool is a welcome bonus, but only has space for two swimmers side by side.

Don’t expect

I don't think the location is as good for exploring London as other Smith hotels that I've used before; there aren't a lot of activities in the immediate vicinity.

Rating: 6/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

We were upgraded to a beautiful feature suite with a sunken bath tub!

Rating: 10/10 stars

GoldSmith

Stayed on

We loved

This is a very well renovated, decorated hotel; it's very tastefully done and has a very interesting design concept with tastefully and carefully selected art throughout (there's a list of the pieces as well details of the history of the hotel and the area in the room). I was very nicely upgraded to a studio, which was a nice experience (even though the layout was weird, with my bed right at the entrace). I liked the nice and welcoming team, as well as the cool bar with a nice atmosphere (and cool decor). 

Don’t expect

The downside? It was super noisy: there were wooden floors in the hallway and my bedhead was close to the door), which could be a real turn off. It's definitely not a place for peace and quiet. It was also very hot; I managed to turn the temperature down but it remained warm; something needs to be adjusted. 

Rating: 8/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I have stayed here before on business and also privately when we had a surprise birthday weekend away for my wife. On every occasion I have been thoroughly delighted with all aspects of the stay. The staff are polite and cheerful, yet not obtrusive. The rooms (especially the bathrooms) are wonderful. We had a two-bedroom apartment for us and our two teeenaged daughters. There's free WiFi – why can't other hotels do this? It's just a great place to stay. The Corner Room is good for dinner, but no bookings taken – it's a turn-up-and-wait sort of place.

Don’t expect

Breakfasts are best taken elsewhere as they are a bit pricey and can be a bit unconventional. I had a great fresh bagel at Bagel Beike on Brick Lane. Having said that, on a previous occasion the scrambled egg was the best I've ever eaten.

Rating: 10/10 stars

GoldSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Lovely spacious room (I had an executive studio) with very clever fixtures and fittings. I had a complete kitchen hidden behind folding doors and ample seating space. Very friendly reception staff who bent over backwards to make my stay welcoming and comfortable. Minutes from Bethnal Green tube which is on the Central Line.

Don’t expect

Hotel wise, nothing. Location: I wouldn't really stay here if I was going to spend most of time in Central or West London, in spite of the proximity to the Central Line. Travel options, if the tube isn't running (which was the case during my stay,) are very limited and if you need to get somewhere quickly it can result in hefty taxi fares. However, if your business is in the City or East London then the hotel is really well situated.

Rating: 6/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Lovely quirky hotel with so much space! I couldn't believe how big our room was! The decor and finish are superb! And the staff are so nice; couldn't be more friendly and helpful!

Don’t expect

Swimming pool could be a bit warmer!

Rating: 9/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The staff at the hotel were incredibly friendly and extremely helpful. Although we did not eat in the restaurant, we have had the food in the past at the Corner Room restaurant. The food there is excellent and innovative; flavours that tingle your taste buds. The cocktail bar is excellent and the staff go out of their way to cater for your tastes. Give them an ingredient and they will create your very own cocktail. The room was fabulous. We stayed in an apartment that catered to all our needs. Although the view is not the greatest - very industrial - they have cleverly provided lace work to screen that out. The heating is very efficient and the bed was extremely comfortable, both hard and soft pillows to cater for anyone's taste. The attention to detail in the design of the room and in the hotel itself is excellent. We were the only ones in the pool that morning and it was lovely swimming below the blue skies. You hardly knew you were in the centre of London. I would not hesitate to recommend this hotel to friends and in fact, I am booking it again for our next overnight stay in London.

Rating: 10/10 stars