Being in love with great design means that whenever possible we try and fill our lives with it, whether it’s going to an exhibition, checking out the latest in window shopping or staying in a design hotel. We recently had the pleasure of staying in two design hotels, the first being Hamburgs SIDE hotel which we reviewed here, and the second was London’s Town Hall Hotel & Apartments. Why do we choose design hotels over others? Well besides the fact that we love great design, we particularly love that each design hotel is unique, for instance the SIDE hotel had an ultra modern minimalist look and feel whereas the Town Hall Hotel had a grand stately home presence, completely different from one another but still a design great.

It would be easy to write a post that shows the difference between the two hotels but I think because they each have their own style it wouldn’t be fair but in saying that there was one main difference between the two and that was parking. When we arrived at the SIDE hotel, there was already a valet waiting to move the cars directly to their secure parking area and although outside the hotel was a little hectic, it was all handled in a very organised germanic way. The Town Hall Hotel was a disappointment in the parking area but being a London hotel it was sadly expected that parking could be a problem. Both sides of the narrow road we’re covered with parked cars and with no designated parking garage, we were left to our own devices to search and hunt down a nearby parking spot. Lucky for us, down the end of the long road was one lonely spot ready for our hired Fiat 500 to retire for the night.

Once we had the parking sorted it was time to begin our stay. We had already had a long day so we were eager to get checked in, freshen up and then head out to the numerous restaurants and bars for food and fun.

Our first task was to make it into the building. There happened to be a wedding on and as we arrived the newly married bride and groom we’re outside the entrance having their photos taken. Not a bother to us, it was quite sweet watching the adorable couple having their first moments as husband and wife filmed, it felt like we were apart of someones history. After some snapshots, the entrance was cleared and we made it inside. The concierge was a darling, welcoming us with a wonderfully warm and friendly persona. Check in was a breeze and we were soon sent on our way to our room. This is when the room trouble started.

Let me explain firstly, that wherever we stay we never mention that we’ll be doing a review, we receive no perks or payments which means we can give an exact recollection of our experience. We’d hate to give false information which is why we do things the way we do. Right, with that said it’s back to the review.

We’re pretty laid back people and we understand that mistakes happen so when we were directed to the wrong room we laughed it off and then headed back to reception to get some proper directions. We headed off again, swiped the door card, opened the door and ‘Hello’ there were two people getting changed. Oops! Back down to reception where a sheepish looking concierge helped locate another room for us and for our troubles handed us a voucher for complimentary cocktails in the bar. Lovely. He walks us to the room this time, but unfortunately the card doesn’t work. Although still making light of the situation, we were starting to get a little irritable but at least we had the right room…hopefully. A few minutes later, the concierge was back, card in hand and hooray the door opened.

The concierge graciously showed us around the room which was set up as a studio apartment, and guided us through the coffee machine, tv and the rooms other facilities. Looking a little embarrassed he quickly left us once the room tour was over.

The difference between a design hotel and a standard hotel for me is all in the little things. For instance, instead of your plain old kettle, there’s an Ascaso coffee machine which was great for us seeing as we were missing our Ascaso. The little yellow rubber ducky in the bathroom, okay there’s nothing really fancy about that but I think it’s a sweet little touch that shows you the designer has taken the time to think about the room. Then there’s my favourite little touch, the box of tissues formed to look like a flower. Cute huh?

The room was much bigger than the one we stayed in at the SIDE hotel but this was also a studio apartment room rather than a standard double room. The layout was great considering there were three of us in the room and even with a glass walled bathroom we never felt exposed. Okay, the curtain to pull over the glass wall helped and there were never any awkward moments.

Simple and tasteful decor with a simple palette of whites and browns, even on the ground floor the room felt light and spacious and particularly thanks to the high ceilings and large windows.

One of the coolest features of the room was when you first walked in. To your right was this wonderfully playful brick like patterned wall that when pulled aside revealed a simple but well stocked galley kitchen.

On to the lounge area where a two seat sofa and arm chair are a welcome site after spending the day walking around museums and design galleries.

The only words to describe the huge bed would have to be pure heaven. It looked so wonderfully soft and fluffy that we had to do a run and jump on it. Lucky for us, it was just as cuddly as envisioned so much so it was a struggle to want to get up and go out after a long day of driving.

You’ve heard me discuss my bathroom love here so although this wasn’t my dream bathroom, there was definately something wonderful about it especially once you closed the door and drew the curtain across, it really felt like you were in your own private little world. I do have one critisim though, if you’re vertically challenge like myself (an adorable 5 foot) then you might have the same problem I had when trying to use the bathroom for applying makeup. The basin sat so high and deep that trying to get close enough to not apply scary halloween looking makeup was quite tricky. Fortunately though, they did have another floor standing mirror in the lounge area which was perfect for me.

Is it just us or do you also find it annoying when you turn up to a hotel only to realise they are doing renovations or other sorts of noise inducing activities? We’re not ones to complain, we’ll not all the time, and we generally pack ear plugs wherever we go just in case the night noises get a bit too much but we do think a little common courtesy would go a long way. Would it be too much to ask that the hotels website or reservation system mention that there is a wedding going on and it will have ridiculously loud blaring music playing until well into the wee hours of the morning? Maybe we’re wrong but surely as a prestige hotel the satisfaction of all customers would be a top priority. Yes I know you can’t please everyone but even as loud music lovers, this was crazy loud, even for us.

I guess it’s time for a verdict. Would we stay here again? Yes. Even with the room mess ups and the noise we’d definately make this our first port of call when it comes to London accommodation. Why? Mainly because the other features of the room outweight any issues . You get a fantastic size and gorgeously modern studio apartment which gives you that wonderful flexibility when travelling and a little more home comfort than a standard hotel room provides. We’re big on cooking and if you’re planning a trip somewhere for a couple weeks, it’s nice to have the option to sleep in and have breakfast when you want it rather than when the hotel says you should.

Overall we really enjoyed our stay at the Town Hall Hotel & Apartments and we’d certainly recommend staying there, just remember to bring your ear plugs.

Images 1, 3 & 5 from Town Hall Hotel & Apartments the rest by us.

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