Booking accommodation for a group is nowhere near as simple as choosing somewhere for a couple – and even more so if you’re looking for a place to stay in the capital and you’re conscious of your budget.
An apartment may seem an obvious choice, but is not always feasible or available in London, and after some searching, I came across Kip which offered rooms for up to eight people. It’s not an aparthotel nor a youth hostel – simply an interesting little room-only hotel with a quirky design which offers larger rooms alongside more traditional singles, twins and doubles.
Located in Hackney, Kip does have a slightly odd set up. It shares an entrance with a Travelodge and with a hallway leading to two doors – left for Travelodge, right for Kip. Entering the Kip door, you find yourself in a room containing only a lift with no signs telling you where to go. But, hit the first floor button and you find yourself in a cool and contemporary reception area. Check-in is available on a monitor or at the desk which is staffed 24 hours a day. Coffee (using beans, no instant in sight) is available at all times from reception and provided in a take away cup so you can either have it in your room or on the go.
The rooms are on the higher floors. No stairs are available (except in the case of an emergency); the small lift is the only way to travel between floors. It is quite cosy and if you meet someone else, do prepare for some slight awkwardness.
The hotel has a monochrome and minimalist design throughout; it feels Scandinavian in places. Outside the lift, large windows bring in light and the white hallways feel spacious and bright.
We’d selected Kip ForFriends, an en-suite room which featured six full-size bunk beds. The room also included a small seating area with a TV, couch and coffee table and two additional sinks (as well as the one in the bathroom). The room was more spacious than I was expecting and the extra sinks and full-length mirror was much appreciated when you have five people getting ready for a night out! Each bunk also has an individual light along with two plug sockets (and USB plug) behind the pillows to ensure everyone can charge their phone, and free Wifi is provided.
And the sleep? We found earplugs were provided in boxes underneath the TV and did wonder if this would mean it may be noisy as a result of the nearby Overground line. But this was unfounded. A blackout blind kept the room dark and I noticed no noise disturbance. The beds were comfortable with two pillows provided for each (always a disappointment when you’re in a single bed with a single pillow). The only slight downside was that the window did not open very far, so the room was quite stuffy by morning.
It might not suit everyone, in particular the more privacy conscious due to the beds being connected and the sliding door (sans lock) to the bathroom, but for an affordable night in London with friends, it’s a good option and somewhere I wouldn’t hesitate to return to.
Cost: £220 for one night (Saturday). £44 each when split between five people.
Score: 9/10 – comfortable, nice design but would’ve preferred the option to use the stairs and for the windows in the room to open slightly wider.
Kip, 7-19 Amhurst Road, Hackney, London, E8 1JW – www.getsomekip.com.
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