Supercity is a small chain of aparthotels, the first of which opened in Earl’s Court in 2009. It has since opened three more London properties, one in Manchester, and a Brighton opening is set for later this year. CEO Alexis Burton recently told Business Traveller the group is looking to expand to Cambridge and Glasgow.
Where is it?
The nearest station is Chancery Lane, handy if you need the Central line. It is also walking distance from Blackfriars and Farringdon.
The building is near to but tucked away from busy Holborn Road, surrounded by glass-fronted office blocks. It also houses all-day restaurant 26 Furnival Street, though the spaces feel very separate and I can’t imagine there being a problem with noise.
What’s it like?
There is a 24-hour receptionist to give you your key on arrival, though the vibe is more apartment concierge than hotel reception.
For those unfamiliar with the term, ‘aparthotel’ is increasingly used in lieu of ‘serviced apartment’, generally to denote that the property has a 24-hour manned reception (CEO Alexis Burton told us the company quickly realised this was a must these days) and additional facilities like communal areas or a gym.
The Chronicle’s corridors feature pictures of politicians such as Donald Trump and Jeremy Corbyn photoshopped into prison mug shots. It made me smile, though I was glad that they were confined to outside of the room (no one wants to be watched over by Vladimir Putin as they unwind after a day in the office.)
I stayed in a one-bedroom Executive Suite. It wasn’t huge, but the clean design, open-plan kitchen and relatively small sofa and dining table made it feel like there was enough room for two people to potter about.
A corridor connects the living room and bedroom, with the space used to fit in a full-length mirror and a large wardrobe with plenty of storage space and an iron, hairdryer and clothes rack.
The bedroom only has room for the bed, which was comfy, two bedside tables, and a wall-mounted TV. There are floor-to-ceiling glass windows which can be covered by electric black-out blinds if you don’t fancy waving over to the office workers opposite.
The bathroom comes off the bedroom and is a clean and functional space, with good-sized complementary Gilchrist and Soames toiletries. However the lid of my toilet was broken so it kept falling down and hitting me in the back. I also struggled to get hot water out of the shower in the evening, though it was fine in the morning.
As a fairly impractical person, I’m always looking for hotels with intuitive room controls that don’t leave you flipping random lights on and off or scrambling to turn down the air conditioning. Decent marks for the Chronicle; it took me a while to figure out the microwave oven, and it’s possible my lack of hot shower was my own doing, but there were easy-to-use panels on the wall to set each room’s temperature and lighting as well as a single button to send the room into darkness.
A nice touch was the free Handy smart phone, which provides unlimited data in and out of the property. You can also use it to contact reception and the home screen offers information about the surrounding area and tips for places to eat and things to do. It will ask you for your date of departure when you start using it and erase your data when you leave.
The desk is big enough to work on and the kitchen was very well stocked with utensils, pots and pans.
Rooms are cleaned once a week unless you pay an additional charge. Every room has a washer-dryer tucked away in a kitchen cupboard, and there is a dry cleaning service.
Food and drink
You’ll have to fend for yourself or head elsewhere – next door’s 26 Furnival Street would be a good place to start. I thought a couple of snacks in the room on arrival, whether complementary or at extra cost, would have been welcome. However I later found out you can book a welcome hamper containing fruit, or a wider range of food if you book seven nights in an executive room.
Having not booked anything, I had a pint of milk in the fridge, two teabags and a range of coffee pods. There are a few options if you want to do a shop; an M&S food store a couple of minutes’ walk away, Sainsburys or Tesco about ten. The aparthotel also offers discounts at some local restaurants, so enquire in advance or at reception.
There are two floors of co-working space.
There is a gym, though it wasn’t yet open when I stayed so I didn’t get a look.
A good location, comfortable rooms with a simple, clean design, and a well-equipped kitchen. Feels more on the apartment side of an aparthotel.
The central location if you’re working nearby.
Local recommendations on the homepage of the free smart phone.