We are sitting at London City airport on our way to Zurich after a short (2-night) stay in our favorite city. We fly British Airways from Seattle and like to break the journey on one direction or the other with a stopover. While we usually choose a place near Paddington for such a short stay, this time I chose something close to the Thames in the area near the City of London. We have spent a lot of time south of the river, in Southwark, but this time chose a modern Aparthotel on the north side of the river.
It turned out to be just about ideal. We loved the location, the river views from our studio apartment, and the walking options from there. And at the end of the stay it was a very easy transfer to reach the London City Airport—a 10-minute walk to Bank Station, and a 20-minute ride on the Docklands Light Rail right into the airport, for £3.70.
I had read about Locke at Broken Wharf in someone’s blog about new Aparthotels in London. I liked the chance to be right on the river, with access to the Thames Path. I chose to pay extra for a River View Suite and we’re not sorry—the rather linear studio suite had a series of 5 large windows looking out to the river, with Millennium Bridge in the foreground (partially obscured by the roof below) and a longer view of the river, Blackfriars Bridge, a couple of modern skyscrapers, and the London Eye in the distance. The sunset and night views are particularly nice.
The suite itself is a compact studio apartment with a small modern kitchen area with a 2-burner induction cooktop, small fridge, dishwasher and a clothes washer, small oven (probably a combination convection oven and microwave, but I never attempted to use it), a kettle, 2 cooking pots, and dishes, glasses, and flatware for 2 people. I would not want to try cooking a real dinner there, but it was fine for our little breakfast and to chill our evening Prosecco. My husband got his morning cappuccino at the coffee barn downstairs each day, and pronounced it very good.
The hotel has a nice reception area, a nice bright lobby with workspace for the long-stay residents, a fitness room, laundry area, and restaurant (Solstice) that serves small plates and light meals, plus an array of wines and cocktails. The outside tables are a nice place to sit at sunset, and we enjoyed a light dinner there the evening of our arrival from the US.
The pedestrian-only Millennium Bridge is a few steps away, and one can cross that to the Tate Modern, Globe Theatre, and a wide variety of pubs and restaurants along the South Bank Thames path. Or one can go up the steps leading away from the bridge to reach St.Paul’s just 2 blocks away. The Gower of London is a 10-minute walk to the east along the path. Or one can take one of the frequent buses running past St. Paul’s between the Tower and Trafalgar Square. We used the #15 to head to Covent Garden for our dinner the second night of our stay (Masala Zone for good Indian food).
The bedroom/sitting area is quite compact, but with all those windows it still feels bright and spacious. The toilet and shower are in separate compartments (handy for two people) and there is a closet area for hanging clothes. The shower itself is a nice big rainshower, just what we like. The bed (nearly new) was as comfortable as we could ask. And I will note that there is zero traffic noise, due to the siting at the end of a little curl-de-sac—- no traffic can pass by.
While we would not choose this place for a long stay (2 weeks or more) due to the limited cooking facilities, we will definitely return for a short stay. And I highly recommend it to visitors who like being right on the river, with more space than a standard hotel room.