Famous for its textile factories, Victorian history and East End grit, Whitechapel is a place of many faces. The London borough rubs shoulders with one of the world’s foremost financial districts, but weave between the stalls of Whitechapel Street Market or Brick Lane street food and you’d never know it. Now handsome red-brick factories have been transformed into loft apartments and hip hotels, offering a London stay with a dash of East End edge. Here are the best hotels in Whitechapel – bookable on Culture Trip.
Once a textile factory at the heart of Whitechapel’s garment trade, New Road Hotel in Whitechapel has bales of East End heritage. The exposed brick walls and factory windows are unmistakably industrial, paired with contemporary interiors that echo Whitechapel’s evolution. In the restaurant, star chef Marco Pierre White has taken on London’s traditional chophouses, serving prime cuts cooked to perfection.
A few minutes walk from Aldgate East Tube station, Qbic London City has taken the paint-by-numbers approach to hotel design and turned it on its head. Scandi furniture rubs its shapely shoulders with houseplants, bold sculpture and paint-splashed canvasses, ensuring the interiors will brighten even the greyest of London days. Legendary curry house Tayyabs is nearby, where the star dish is the fragrant karahi lamb chops, which arrive sizzling on a hot stone.
You could say that this Brick Lane pub-with-rooms is woven into the fabric of Whitechapel. In the suites, you’ll find colourful blankets and artwork that nod to the area’s once-booming textile trade. Downstairs, a classic East End boozer has been enlivened with a little continental flair, including a polished wooden bar, sleek stools and marble-topped tables. And you couldn’t be closer to Brick Lane’s food stalls, record shops, vintage markets and Bengali curry houses.
Skirting the eastern edge of London’s Financial District, Dorsett City puts you within reach of all the Square Mile has to offer. Sure, the City is synonymous with graft and gains, but it’s also home to some of London’s oldest streets, churches and guildhalls. One of its many treasures is Leadenhall Market, a cobbled Victorian relic with an arched roof and painted columns. Sink a sundowner or two at the Dorsett’s 14th-floor roof terrace, which overlooks the Gherkin, Tower Bridge and the Shard.
Just east of Whitechapel in Aldgate, Leman Locke toes the line between serviced apartments and boutique hotels. This is London at its most modern, and New York-based designers Grzywinski+Pons have dressed the rooms accordingly, using concrete, pale wood and pastels. The sleek Smeg kitchens set you up for self-sufficiency but the light-flooded restaurant, coffee shop and fitness studio make Leman Locke much more than a simple crash pad. Spitalfields, home to handsome Huguenot townhouses and an upscale covered market, is just a short walk north.
In the 17th-century, a certain Batty Langley published a guidebook on how to furnish a house in the “grandest taste”. Centuries later, her spirit lives on in the form of Batty Langley’s Hotel, where old world eccentricity is the order of the day. Tudor beds, plush floral drapes and gilt-framed portraits are de rigueur here. If you want to go seriously batty, swing by Columbia Road Flower Market and buy the most brightly coloured blooms you can find. They’ll fit right in.
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