UK aparthotel operator Native has more than 25 properties across the UK. Previously known as Go Native, it is 70 per cent owned by Ares Management, and plans to operate in excess of 2,000 apartments by the end of 2019, with sites targeted in Brighton, Reading, Manchester, York, Dublin, Paris and Amsterdam.
The brand is known for providing guests with area knowledge and tips in the form of neighbourhood guides and ‘local heroes’, a selection of nearby attractions such as eateries, art galleries and markets. You can read more on our sister site, Buying Business Travel.
This property opened in August 2018. Native looks set to expand with the recent announcement of a partnership between Native and mixed-use developer First Base to develop a portfolio of aparthotel units across the UK. The portfolio will result from an investment of up to £400 million split equally over the remainder of 2018 and 2019. It will comprise aparthotels or mixed-use properties, with a focus on the areas around London, Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol and Edinburgh.
What’s it like?
Very impressive and design-orientated. There is a good-size reception manned 24-hours a day with (at night at least) clever lighting and a large colour photograph of the river Thames at Bankside. Check-in was quickly achieved and I was told about the lounge on the first floor where I could get some initial items such as tea, coffee and some simple snacks if I hadn’t bought some food for the evening or morning. Security is good with the key card necessary to operate the lift as well as accessing the apartments.
Where is it?
In Bear Gardens in an 18th-century tea warehouse, close to Shakespeare’s Globe and a five-minute walk from London Bridge.
The 75 studios, one and two-bedroom apartments have been furnished by Conran Contracts.
The rooms start with the entry level Crash Pad and then move up through Studio, Premium Studio, Open Plan one Bedroom apartment, One Bedroom, Premium One Bedrooms (with an extra bathroom and sofa bed) and two bedroom apartments. I was in a Premium One Bedroom apartment which was made up of two large rooms and I was impressed by the quality of the fixtures and fittings. There was a two-hob electric stove as well as a toaster, oven and microwave, and a good-sized fridge freezer.
As well as attractive glasses and cups, knives, forks and spoons and bowls and plates, there were pans and cooking utensils so you could happily make your own food or bring back take away during your stay. The apartment also has a hairdryer, ironing board and iron, lots of room for hanging clothes and in the living area separate from the bedroom a table next to the kitchen area and a sofa bed.
For my stay, the main problem was the air conditioning, which was impossible to turn off. Without getting into the whole story, in the end the receptionist came up to try and help and was unable to do so, logged the fault, apologised and offered to move me to another room. I’d already unpacked and it was late so I went to bed and took his advice, which was to remove the key card from the power by the door so the air-conditioning was deprived of power.
Otherwise, the bed was comfortable, and the room quiet – I had a good night’s sleep.
Food and drink
There is no restaurant, but there is a kitchen area where you can get some free snacks and a few items to tide you over. There was also some fresh milk in the apartment along with some tea bags and coffee.
The hotel has a small gym on the top floor.
Business and meetings
The hotel doesn’t have meetings facilities, though you could always informally use the café area.
I was very impressed with this aparthotel. It is very central and I could imagine staying here for several days either on business or for leisure and using it as a base for exploring London.
The rates are competitive for what you get in terms of size of room and fixtures and fittings, and location, though note that although the website says there is only a minimum stay of one night, in practice it is a minimum stay of two nights when you try and book dates. Lastly I was impressed with the way the hard working ten-hour shift employee on the desk dealt with the situation with the air-conditioning.
The lead-in price for a Crash pad room (the smallest) is £246 per night (minimum of two nights) in mid-October 2018.