BACKGROUND Select Apartments is an international agent, which after 13 years of operation, specialises in booking extended-stay accommodation. Although you cannot make resevations directly through its website, the company promises to deliver a proposal detailing a range of properties to suit your requirements either over the phone or internet within 60 minutes of you contacting them. Once you have chosen the one you like Select will then make the booking.
WHAT’S IT LIKE? Evangelist House is one of 194 central London buildings Select is associated with, and in February reopened after a complete refurbishment – the property is actually operated by Deep Blue Apartments (deepblue-apartments.com). The building is rather non-descript from the outside and is set off from the main street, just a stone’s throw from St Paul’s cathedral.
There is no reception so you simply let yourself in with an entry code and take the lift up to the appropriate floor before letting yourself into you apartment. This kind of set up means you have a lot of privacy and independence but very little of the support you would get from a hotel – with the exception of cleaning (albeit weekly), and a helpline for any problems.
The interior of my two-bedroom apartment was clean, fresh and modern with neutral décor, parquet floors, abstract canvases on the walls, plenty of space, floor-to-ceiling windows running the length of the living room (although no views to speak of), and a peaceful atmosphere.
WHERE IS IT? On Blackfriars Lane in the City of London, a five-minute walk from St Paul’s tube station, and City Thameslink and Blackfriars rail stations.
APARTMENT FACILITIES The two bedrooms in my apartment came with baskets of fresh towels and comfy beds. One en suite bathroom came with a walk-in shower, while the other had a combined bath and shower, and each was stocked with mini White Company toiletries. Not everything was perfect, however, as the blinds in the bedrooms were transparent so let in a lot of street light at night when trying to sleep – in fact this was such a nuisance that I ended up moving a wardrobe so as to block it out.
A full-length mirror, hairdryer, welcome information pack and bin bags would have been handy, and although there was a CD player I couldn’t help thinking that in the 21st-century, an iPod dock would have been more useful. The TV went wrong and the hot water stopped working one evening but I called the helpline and my query was solved quickly and with ease over the phone.
The spacious living room came with a large dining table, freestanding lamps, a coffee table, plenty of floor space, two leather sofas and a flatscreen TV with Sky, and a DVD player. The kitchen was also well set up with plenty of crockery, cutlery (not all of it clean), saucepans, a cooker/oven, fridge, freezer, dishwasher and washer/dryer. I had everything I needed to prepare a meal for two in the evening of Mediterranean roasted vegetables with cous cous-stuffed peppers and mixed salad, and the fresh coffee that was already provided was welcome in the morning. There are plenty of restaurants and supermarkets nearby and takeaways can be ordered if so required. Free wired and wifi internet is provided.
BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILTIES None on-site although the apartments are big and smart enough to bring back acquaintances for informal chats if you so require.
LEISURE FACILTIES None on-site but a Fitness First (fitnessfirst.co.uk) gym is a five-minute walk away.
VERDICT A good option of business travellers based in the City for four nights or more. Apartments in Evangelist House are big and, although are a little on the bland side and lacking in a few key fittings (ie blackout blinds), are fitted with pretty much everything you need to feel at home. Select endeavour to find something to best suit your needs – important if you are going to be based somewhere for longer periods.
HOW MANY APARTMENTS? There are 14 two- and three-bed apartments.
APARTMENT HIGHLIGHTS Huge amount of space, fresh, contemporary décor, comfortable living area with a big dining table, sofa, TV and DVD player, well-equipped kitchen and two bathrooms with power showers.
PRICE Minimum stay is four nights. Internet rates start from £180-£234 per night for a two-bedroom Band E apartment (based on a stay of seven to 29 consecutive nights).
CONTACT 33 Blackfriars Lane, Blackfriars, London; tel +44 (0)845 055 6352; selectapartments.co.uk