Frasers Hospitality took over the building in 2001 but it wasn’t until 2014 that it was redeveloped into its current offering of 108 fully furnished serviced apartments, with 45 studio, 48 one-bedroom and 14 two-bedroom apartments, plus a three bedroom penthouse.
Where is it?
On the edge of east London’s burgeoning high-rise financial district of Canary Wharf, which is connected to the rest of London via the DLR (Docklands Light Rail) and the underground Jubilee Line. The recent addition of the new Elizabeth Line makes connectivity even better, especially to and from Heathrow airport. There’s also a Thames River ferry stop at Canary Wharf that will transport you upriver through the centre of the city. The sprawling train station is a ten-minute walk away.
What's it like?
The building is unprepossessing compared to the modern skyscrapers of Canary Wharf’s banking behemoths, but it’s set slightly away from them and looks down on one of the area’s water-filled docks. The entrance is across a small bridge and down some steps in a concrete amphitheatre surrounded by the apartment building.
The reception area is small and no-nonsense, with some glass-walled offices to the side, and a small café area behind it next to the lifts. The public areas may not impress, but they’re functional and clean, and don’t give much indication of the quality inside the apartments themselves, which are all very well furnished – even the studio apartments have cooking hobs, microwaves and fridges. It’s clear the focus is on making long-stay guests as comfortable and independent as possible.
There are Waitrose and Tesco Express supermarkets in Canary Wharf, plus plenty of bars and restaurants within easy walking distance, and there’s free access to online newspapers and magazines during your stay via a QR code.
There are three studio apartment types (Deluxe, Executive and Premier), one-and two-bedroom apartments (Deluxe and Premier), plus two-bedroom Premier apartments and a three-bedroom penthouse.
The penthouse is spread over two floors connected by an interior spiral staircase. The fixtures and fittings throughout the penthouse are of a high level – the corridors are tiled in wood laminate whilst the rooms are carpeted in grey – and very attractive artwork throughout the complex, including large photos, abstract paintings and interesting table and sideboard ornaments. (The penthouse was renovated and redecorated only a year ago.)
Downstairs are the three bedrooms (two en suite with large TVs) plus a shower room with toilet. The décor features light greys and light-coloured wood, giving a light, spacious feeling that is enhanced particularly by the floor-to ceiling windows in the main bedroom and main living room upstairs. The huge main bedroom has access to two balconies – the other two bedrooms share access to one of these, which looks across to the O2 stadium and down on the houseboats on Poplar Dock.
The main bedroom’s bathroom has twin sinks, a bath and separate walk-in rainforest shower, and L’Occitane products are used throughout. My only two small complaints during my stay were that both sinks here were slightly stained, and the bathroom’s extractor fan was quite noisy, and kept going for ten minutes after the light was turned out.
Upstairs are the kitchen, two lounges both with TVs and access to a breakfast balcony with table and chairs, a small toilet and a beautiful dining room with glass outer walls and roof, conservatory style. There is access from here onto a large rooftop patio with loungers and great city views.
The main living room has a very high ceiling, and glass outer walls with expansive views over Canary Wharf, Billingsgate Market and east London. Two huge L-shaped sofas face a massive flatscreen TV, whose remote control provides easy access to streaming channels such as Netflix, Prime and Disney (if you can remember your sign-in details for your accounts).
The curving kitchen is fully equipped with high-end fixtures built in to the cabinets, including a Siemens fridge-freezer, washing machine/dryer and dishwasher, a Bosch microwave and a great cooker/oven, which I used to make myself a meal on one of my two evenings. There was a full complement of utensils – but no salt or pepper, which would have been a useful addition…
The dining room was a particularly attractive space, with its wonderful river view, nice wooden table and chairs (seating for eight), and attractive lighting and artwork. Sadly the weather was poor during my visit so I couldn’t make use of the roof, but I did my best with the rest and can easily imagine either a family or small corporate group enjoying a great stay in such a spacious, practical and attractive setting.
Food and drink
Since almost all apartments boast extensive cooking facilities, and Canary Wharf has a multitude of eating and drinking locations (as well as supermarkets) only minutes away, there is only a small café area on the ground floor behind reception, which has a Nespresso machine providing free coffee and Taylor’s tea options too.
I noticed that residents frequently used this, popping down from their apartments or when arriving back from outside – it had a convivial communal atmosphere. Continental breakfast packs are available (at an extra fee) in the mornings – these can be picked up from reception on your way out, or delivered to your apartment.
There are none, unsurprising given that there is so much competition for meeting and event space in the Canary Wharf area, and corporate clients generally have their own facilities.
On the first floor is a small gym, located in a repurposed studio apartment space. This has a Life Fitness multigym, a running machine, bike machine and free weights with a bench, as well as yoga balls and a useful set of exercise sheets to follow. I visited it twice and was the only occupant – which I was happy about as even four people would have felt crowded. However, it serves its purpose.
Comfortable, well-appointed serviced apartments in a great location for Canary Wharf. The penthouse is a step up from the already high-quality smaller apartment offerings – it’s classy and a highly impressive long-stay option. Jeremy Tredinnick
- Best for Making use of the penthouse’s attractive spaces and views
- Don’t miss Watching the sun rise from behind the O2 stadium with coffee in hand on one of the penthouse’s balconies or roof patio
- Price Internet rates for a flexible midweek stay in March start from £264 for a studio Deluxe apartment. The penthouse can be booked by the week for £635 per night (minimum of seven days) or by the month for £479 per night (minimum of 28 days)
- Contact 80 Boardwalk Place, London E14 5SF; +44 (0)20 7068 7000; frasershospitality.com