Much of the old Hammersmith Village was demolished in the 1930s, but in its place sprouted grand shopping malls, scenic riverside pubs and restaurants dishing up cuisine from around the world. Oh, and a crop of excellent hotels, covering everything from a converted 19th-century schoolhouse to a cutting-edge “boutique urban base”.
St Paul’s Hotel
St Paul’s Hotel is on the site where Winston Churchill and Dwight D Eisenhower planned the D-Day landings | Courtesy of St Paul’s Hotel / Hotels.com
This red-brick Neo-Gothic property began life as a schoolhouse – the largest in England when it was built. Designed in 1884 by Alfred Waterhouse – the same architect behind the Natural History Museum down the road in South Kensington – St Paul’s Hotel housed Dwight D Eisenhower and Winston Churchill as they planned the D-Day landings, before relaunching as a courtly boutique hotel. The Grade II-listed building retains plenty of original features, such as its grand archways and in-room fireplaces. It’s also home to The Melody restaurant, named after the British cult classic that was filmed here in 1971.
The room2 brand has coined the term “hometel” – apartment hotel rooms that do away with stuffy lobbies and identikit furniture in favour of door-code anytime check-in and spacious suites packed full of character. The chain’s first London location sits halfway between Hammersmith and Goldhawk Road tube stations in a property room2 has dubbed its “research and development lab”. Featuring only 15 rooms, it’s not quite a full-size hometel – but it’s still an exciting experiment in “human-centred design”, with thoughtful inclusions such as fully equipped kitchenettes and a bits-and-bobs box full of things you occasionally need like sellotape, batteries and a sewing kit.
Inspired by the mammoth Osram light-bulb factory that once dominated Hammersmith, this cutting-edge hotel aims to be as revolutionary now as that Victorian-era powerhouse was back in the 1880s. In fact, the owners of this property don’t even use the label ‘hotel’ – they prefer to describe it as a “boutique urban base”, which underlines their commitment to doing things differently, from anytime breakfast to a bend-over-backwards concierge service. A steampunk-inspired reception desk welcomes you to the 89-room concept hotel, Luma, just a short walk from Hammersmith station, and the light bulb motif is apparent until the very moment you rest your head on the pillow, which bears a map of London as if illuminated by electricity.
Occupying what used to be the BBC Kensington House Recording Studios, K West has music ingrained in its DNA. David Bowie, Bob Marley and Amy Winehouse all played here, and their records, books and paintings decorate the K West’s common areas and 219 rooms. The rock’n’roll vibe extends to the laid-back Studio Kitchen – try the New Retro Afternoon Tea, including a Jack Daniel’s-spiked prawn cocktail, mini sliders, yuzu lollipops and bubblegum macarons – but the K Spa is far more tranquil, with a sauna, sanarium, steam room, foot baths, hydrotherapy pool, plus London’s first ice-cold relaxation cabin, Snow Paradise.
Originally a coach house, this ornate terracotta building has served as a pub since 1886, with huge windows overlooking the park that lends its name to the property. Wind your way through the friendly gastropub – a classically British establishment that has a huge oak bar and a large selection of cask ales and craft beer on tap – to access the range of single, twin and double shares upstairs. The 17 boutique rooms benefit from high ceilings, sunny windows and quirky design elements, including zigzag carpet and statement wallpaper.
The words ‘warm and cosy’ don’t begin to describe the rooms in this pint-size boutique hotel, whose dim lamps, fluffy pillows and homely furniture feel like pages torn straight out of a catalogue for some high-end homewares store. Sitting on top of another gastropub that prides itself on craft beer and home-cooked meals – this one only metres from Ravenscourt Park tube station – Rook’s Nest (formerly Flynn’s Town House) is only made up of 11 rooms, each named after a bridge over the Thames (Putney, Kew, Hampton Court, you get the picture).
Spanning four lily-white Victorian townhouses that were given a glamorous refurbishment in December 2014, W14 boasts some of the best budget beds in West London. Tucked away on a quiet residential street between the West Kensington and Barons Court tube stations, the 39 cosy, dark and moody rooms feel a lot more expensive than their price tag suggests. W14 offers some of the best value in this corner of the capital – certainly more affordable than many of its neighbours in nearby Fulham and Kensington.
Don’t let the name fool you – this isn’t your average chain hotel. Each of the Seraphine’s 62 chic rooms has been individually decorated, with bright pops of colour splashed throughout the range of spacious singles and doubles that are offered at reasonable rates. The central location is another big tick, situated close to the Hammersmith Apollo, the shops and restaurants of King Street, and both the Olympia and Earls Court Exhibition Centres.