Tried & Tested

Aparthotel review: Rockwell East

7 Nov 2018 by Mark Caswell
Studio at Rockwell East

What's it like?

Rockwell East is the second property under the Rockwell brand, joining The Rockwell townhouse hotel located on Cromwell Road in Kensington and Chelsea.

This 57-unit aparthotel is housed within a new-build property on Mansell Street, on the border of the City of London and Tower Hamlets.

There are a few budget hotels in the immediate vicinity, including the Travelodge London Central Tower Bridge, and the Premier Inn London City Tower Hill, and opposite Rockwell East is a Wetherspoons pub (Goodman’s Field).

Exterior of Rockwell East (credit: Paul Raeside)

The understated entrance to the property passes straight through to the reception and cafe / bar area, which is open to both guests and the public.

When we arrived mid-afternoon on an October Saturday there was a member of staff on the reception desk, and another employee standing by to take us to our room, where he diligently went through how to work the air conditioning, intercom and kitchen facilities (most of which I immediately forgot).

Artist Fergus Hare was commissioned to create artwork for the hotel’s rooms and public areas, including two sets of nine pieces in large squares behind the reception desk, and on the other side of the room (see below). At first glance the images appeared to be abstract, but on closer inspection they revealed themselves to be criss crosses of wires going into signal boxes.

Reception and bar / cafe at Rockwell East

Where is it?

On the corner of Mansell Street and Prescot Street, around five minutes’ walk from both Tower Hill station (on the District and Circle Underground lines) and Aldgate station (on the Circle and metropolitan lines).

Fenchurch Street rail station is a couple of minutes’ further away, and there is also an entrance to Tower Gateway DLR station (one stop to Bank station) just round the corner from the hotel.

The Tower of London and Tower Bridge are both around ten minutes’ walk.

Apartment at Rockwell East

Rooms

Rockwell East has a total of 57 units, split across 35 studios and 22 one-bedroom apartments – there is also the option to connect two apartments to create a family space, with two bedrooms and two kitchens.

I was staying in a one-bedroom apartment, which featured a long entrance hallway, stretching down past the bathroom, to the bedroom and off right to the separate kitchen / dining / lounge area.

Decor was bright and minimalist, with whites and light greys being the predominant colour scheme, which allowed the several pieces of Fergus Hare artwork to take centre stage.

According to the press release the artwork focuses on “landscape and skies at peculiar times of the day or from curious perspectives, to create intriguing and beguiling imagery”. In my apartment there was a piece depicting a rocket launch in the hallway, and a triptych above the sofa in the lounge showing a sunset scene with a satellite dish in the foreground.

Apartment lounge at Rockwell East

Kitchen facilities and appliances were all good quality, and easily extensive enough for an extended stay – there was a fitted microwave and separate oven, two induction hobs, dishwasher, washing machine / dryer, fridge with small freezer section, kettle, toaster, and Nespresso coffee machine.

There was also plenty of crockery, cutlery, and pots and pans, as well as a knife set on the counter.

Guests receive an Abel and Cole welcome pack, which on my stay consisted of mini packs of granola and muesli, as well as milk, eggs and bacon in the fridge – although on the website it says the welcome pack includes “milk, selection of cereals, bread, fruit, eggs, yoghurt, selection of teas (on request)”.

Kitchen facilities at Rockwell East

Past the kitchen area was a dining / work table – large enough for working at, but a little on the small side if you were looking to entertain more than a couple of guests.

The lounge had a comfortable sofa, coffee table, free standing lamp, and Philips TV with Freeview channels. Guests get free wifi during their stay.

The bedroom had another TV, and fitted wardrobe space with plenty of hangars and draws for storage.

Like the kitchen, I found the bathroom facilities to be excellent, with a large walk-in shower with choice of rainshower or normal shower fitting. Amenities were by White Company, and there were plenty of towels and dressing gowns. My only grumble here is that there was no bath, which some guests might find an issue for extended stays.

Overall I thought the apartment was well thought out, pleasantly decorated and furnished to a high standard.

Bedroom at Rockwell East

Food and drink

The hotel’s cafe and bar are open from 7am until midnight daily, for both guests and the public.

A hot and cold buffet breakfast is available for £8.95, with a good selection of cereals, yoghurts, cold meats, pastries, fruit and hot dishes including sausages, bacon and scrambled eggs. My wife is vegan, and was impressed that both Soya milk and Alpro yoghurts were available – there were also several choices of gluten free cereals.

We also ate in the cafe for dinner, and found it very reasonably priced, with burgers for just £7.50 (again including a vegan option) and pasta dishes from £9. The quality of the food was fine – nothing to write home about, but then at those prices you shouldn’t be expecting gourmet standards.

Bar / cafe at Rockwell East

There is a choice of banquette and standard table seating, as well as seating at the brushed brass bar, and music (a mix of jazz and 1950s, with the odd modern tune) was played at a level that complemented conversation rather than overpowered it.

I did however find it a bit strange that the reception desk was located right next to the cafe and bar area, with no dividing wall – so close that you could hear guests conversations at check-in while dining.

Reception and bar / cafe at Rockwell East

Meetings

No dedicated meeting facilities.

Leisure

No leisure facilities – there are flyers at reception for a nearby UrbanFitness gym, located around five minutes’ walk from the hotel.

Verdict

Excellent kitchen facilities and pleasantly decorated rooms, Rockwell East will appeal to business travellers looking for extended stays towards the east of the City of London.

FACT FILE

  • Best for Extended stays with access to the City of London
  • Don’t miss The artwork, and the good value breakfast.
  • Price From £220 for a one-night midweek stay in a Studio in mid-December (this falls to £195 per night when staying three nights)
  • Contact Rockwell East, 99 Mansell Street, London E1 8AX; +44 (0)20 7014 0240; rockwelleast.com
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