The Locke brand is cool. The copy, design, branding, ethos. It all looks the part. Made for monied freelancers, remote workers and urban explorers the aparthotel collection is growing well with spots spanning Munich, Manchester, Dublin and Edinburgh. So when we were invited to check out Kingsland Locke, we were keen to see if the experienced matched up with the image. What we found was bags of character, interior style mastery, an on-site brewery, cracking beds and a buzzy atmosphere.
Bold outfits, Middle Eastern cafés, bookmakers, jewellers, charity shops, M&S and the iconic Rio Cinema all make up the DNA of Kingsland High Street where Kingsland Locke calls home. The area – a lively, multicultural hub – is a solid base for exploring London’s hip East End. London Fields is a twenty-minute walk, as is Hackney and Stoke Newington. In town to visit the sights in central? Don’t fret, Dalston Kingsland’s overground station is under five minutes’ walk away connecting you to the smoke’s top attractions in no time.
Kingsland Locke is an aparthotel made up of 124 studios, each with a kitchenette. All mini apartments come in various sizes, ranging from small no-nonsense spaces and mid-sized one-bedroom apartments to large, lavish lofts.
The décor throughout hotel is a mishmash of industrial grit, modern contemporary and art deco. One-bedroom apartments come with clever room dividers that work wonders at separating the living and kitchen area from the bedroom. The colour palette is earthy and dark: think greens, greys, black and brown without feeling gloomy. And expertly blended textures give a high-priced hotel quality. Floor to ceiling windows in the bathrooms and bedrooms allow for fantastic city views, and ensure light trickles through the compact space. Although it would’ve been nice to make use of the balcony that’s been closed off – perhaps for safety reasons.
We do have some pet peeves though. The TV wasn’t in – or visible from – the bedroom we stayed in, which wouldn’t be an issue if the sofa was big or cosy enough to snuggle down and watch something. Although, to be fair, in other studios, this isn’t the case. And if we’re being extra picky, it would’ve been better to cut down on the size of the workbench (big enough for four) and extra kitchen units to account for a comfier living space. The bathroom door is also made from glass, which does help with natural light, but also means you may end up watching your partner on the loo while you’re cooking.
Niggles aside, the positives do outweigh the faults – especially if you’re only staying a few nights. The bedroom area is on the money. Kitted out with black out curtains and a massive, chunky mattress, making sleeping easy. Plus, the finish – from the geometric white tiles bathroom and polished cement walls to the hard-wearing, sisal carpet and artwork mounted on ply wood – are superb. All the usual amenities are included in rooms (iron, hangers, safe etc.) plus a yoga mat and lovely skin friendly toiletries, which you don’t always get in aparthotels.
The style, staff & other stuff
From the candyfloss hallways, emerald flooring in the basement and smart use of shapes, textures and symmetry – a touch of Wes Anderson – the aesthetics at Kingsland Locke are hard to fault. In Kraft’s colourful, kitsch bar area, you’ll find a mixture of seating, from American diner-like booths to elevated tables and a 360 bar with stools. During the day Kraft acts as a kind of co-working space for creatives, while at night it comes alive with affable Charlie at the helm and her team of expert mixologists. The folk that work at Kingsland Locke have got customer service down to a tee for the clientele – dressed down, charming and easy-going.
Food & drink
The bar and restaurant is hosted by Kraft with the help of Le Bab who run the basement kitchen. The food is a bit of a medley – think hummus, kebabs, padron peppers and beef brisket. Prices are reasonable for this part of town, and although most of the food is fine, it doesn’t blow you away. Though the atmosphere and quality cocktails mean it’s a good spot for a couple of late-night drinks. Plus, if you’re just after some snacking food, it’ll do the trick. Coffee, breakfast (croissants, birchers etc. ) and lunch (sandwiches and wraps) is provided by Sharma next to the reception at additional cost.
Request a city-facing studio up high for views into central London.
Room rates at Kingsland Locke start from £114 per night.
For more information visit lockeliving.com/en/london/kingsland-locke