Open since May, this is the eighth outpost for the design-focused aparthotel brand Locke, which has properties in the UK, Ireland and Germany. It is part of the Edyn group, which also includes Saco serviced apartments. The brand debuted its first property in Dublin last month, and is set to open a second Munich hotel in September and a Cambridge property in October.
What's it like?
The new-build draws inspiration from its surroundings and is aimed at younger business travellers. The design, by Red Deer Architects, features industrial-style elements, bold prints and glass walls that let in light and give the sense of a shared environment.
Interiors champion independent producers and artists, right down to the key cards by London-based artist Fredde Lanka, which feature cartoon-like illustrations of locals in the area. The neighbourhood also filters into the in-house activities, with the hotel partnering with neighbouring businesses on collaborations and events. A noticeboard in the lift keeps guests up-to-date on such events.
Sustainability is also a focus, with eco-friendly amenities and plenty of greenery. Guests get a taste of the design as soon as they enter, met by a turquoise-tiled reception which is neatly contained within metal framing, and shelves on the back wall clad with knick-knacks and pot plants. Check-in required a photo ID and credit card, while contactless check-out means you drop off your keys in a box at the desk.
To the left of reception is Shaman coffee bar, followed by a co-working area with communal tables, lounge seating and plenty of plug sockets. This space has its own street entrance and an oval bar. Stairs signposted by a neon ‘what’s down below’ light take you down to Kraft restaurant and microbrewery.
The layout is sometimes confusing, especially on the lower-ground floor where there are various doors with little signage for the restaurant, gym and laundry room. The latter two were behind a door that looked akin to the guestrooms on this floor.
Where is it?
On Kingsland High Street in Dalston, East London, home to a variety of bars, shops and restaurants, including the independent art-deco Rio Cinema opposite. It’s a three-minute walk to Dalston Kingsland London Overground station, or about 15 minutes to Hackney Downs Overground, which is four stops from Liverpool Street station.
The 124 apartments range from compact 19 sqm Loft and City studios to the 37 sqm Kingsland suite, and are spread across seven floors. Each has a king bed, a kitchen, an iron, a safe, Kinsey Apothecary amenities, and a yoga mat. Locke studios and above have dishwashers, and one-bedroom suites have washing machines. There’s no phone but you can contact reception via Whatsapp.
My fourth-floor City Studio felt quite narrow, with the kitchen and bathroom facing each other and the bed and small dining table at the far end. A green velvet sofa continued along the wall to become the headboard, which was a good use of space. Other elements could have been designed better, such as the towel rack being right by the toilet in the bathroom.
The room had an interrnal view, with blackout curtains – the soundproofing was not great, however, and I could hear doors shutting at night. While the concrete walls are meant to give a distressed industrial feel, mine appeared run-down, with some water marks. Still, the wifi was fast and free (each studio has its own unique wifi password), and the smart TV had tips for the area.
The room also included a guidebook to East London, and a clipboard with information about the hotel under the motto “This is your space. Feel free”, encouraging guests to use the room as a home-away-from-home.
The hotel is not currently entering apartments to clean, but guests can request a “no-contact clean” at reception if they want a weekly service, in which they can pick up fresh linen, cleaning products and other essentials.
Food and drink
Shaman is a health-conscious café serving grab-and-go items and speciality coffee. This is its fourth location, with sites at the other London properties. It’s a popular spot, with a hatch open to passers-by in need of a caffeine fix to fuel their travel to work. There was a bit of a wait for my breakfast at 9am but it was worth it, and the barista was friendly.
Kraft restaurant is a brilliant concept that brings together brewery German Kraft, sustainable gin company Jim and Tonic and Middle Eastern and Asian cuisine from Le Bab. The space is airy, with a high glass ceiling and lush foliage.
It looks into the microbrewery, which makes some good craft beers ( I enjoyed the West Coast Pale Ale) which are served fresh from the tank. This avoids unnecessary packaging and transportation, reducing the brewery’s CO2 footprint by 75 per cent in comparison to the average brewery. Brewery tours take place on Thursdays at 6pm and Sundays at 2pm, and can be booked online. Gin is also distilled on site.
QR codes bring up the well-priced menu from Le Bab, which includes mezze-style sharing plates and posh kebabs cooked on a wood and charcoal-filled robata. We enjoyed sides of the chipotle tahini broccoli, and the indulgent ‘Special’ loaded fries which were topped with brisket doner ragu, garlic mayo, chilli sauce, relish and pickled onion.
The highlight was the suitably named ‘Legendary’ paneer kebab, with trimmings of beetroot and coconut puree, pickled cucumber, crispy onions, curry mayo and coriander. Dishes are served on metallic trays – befitting the street-food style experience – and the slider-sized kebabs are filling.
There are no dedicated rooms, but it’s possible to hire the 37 sqm Kingsland Suite.
There’s a gym – you have to book in advance – and Locke also offers a complimentary 30-day access to fitness app Fiit, which offers over 600 on-demand workouts.
Kingsland Locke excels with its locally inspired interiors and collaborative communal areas, which include fantastic dining venues and a stylish co-working lounge that transforms into a buzzy bar by night. I was less impressed with the room, which, despite its newness, relied too much on shabby over chic.
Inventive kebabs and home-brewed beers at Kraft
A day’s work in the comfy co-working lounge followed by a well-earned G&T distilled on-site
Internet rates for a flexible midweek stay in September started from £99 for a City Studio
130 Kingsland High Street; +44 (0)330 174 0642