New Hotel Opens in London's East End


A Studio at the Town Hall Hotel
A Studio at the Town Hall Hotel

London's hotel scene just keeps getting more interesting: The Town Hall Hotel & Apartments, a 98-room boutique hotel set to open this month in the "gritty" neighborhood of Bethnal Green, is being hailed by the New York Times as further proof that the city’s east end is firmly on the road to chicness.

The original Edwardian building (the Times calls it "imposing") was built a century ago, and has been reimagined by Loh Lik Peng, a hotelier with history of developing cool design hotels in Singapore. Much of the interior has been kept, with gorgeous features like oak paneling and marble floors, a soaring glazed dome and mahogany-walled suites.

Cool local touch: Artists from the neighborhood ("which is rich with artists") were commissioned for one-off installations. Nuno Mendes, an up-and-coming Portuguese chef, will be in charge of the in-house Viajante restaurant.

Hotels watchers might consider the hotel, with rack rates starting at $435 for a short-term stay (cheaper rates available on the website), to be awkwardly situated. But two of London’s most charming markets—Columbia Road Flower Market and Broadway Market—are within walking distance. Hoxton Square is a quick cab ride.  And when the 2012 Olympics roll in town, about two miles away, Town Hall will be in the heart in the action.