Qbic Hotel, London’s most revolutionary hotel experience
When it comes to where to stay in London, the choice is almost paralysing. Do you want over-the-top opulence in the heart of the city? Or how about chic minimalism in trendy Hoxton? We found just what we were looking for at Qbic.
From the minute you walk through the door you sense it’s something special. With a check-in desk mounted on a bike, and colourful milk crates doubling as light installations, it’s colourful, quirky and very, very trendy. Staff are decked out in Qbic t-shirts and sweatshirts, dressed down with jeans and trainers, adding to the young, hip vibe. That said, the service is attentive and friendly, and check in quick, efficient and painless. If there’s room available, they’ll even ask you on what side of the hotel you’d like to stay.
The rooms follow the quirky, colourful design seen in the lobby and come in three categories; Smart, Cosy and Fun. Smart Rooms are your entry level category and lack a window, whilst Cosy are of a similar size with a window, and fun are larger with a separate pull out sofa to accommodate more people should you need it. However, is it the Qbi, a pod which combines the bed and bathroom, which makes these rooms so interesting. The Qbi is a single unit, which contains a mounted television, bed, hairdryer, lamp and bathroom. Whilst this might seem difficult to visualise, in reality, due to some clever design, it works very well. Behind the bed you’ll find a sliding door, which reveals the bathroom, attached to the space behind the headboard. This means that within the room is just the one main unit, with supporting furniture and soft furnishings also present. By doing this, Qbic are able to take over buildings such as old office blocks, and transform them into hotels that are modern, trendy and functional. Within the room you’ll also find plenty of simple touches that go towards making the room really work for you. Beside the best on either side you’ll find a plug, a must for charging smartphones in the evening, (making the most of the free Wi-Fi) without having to hang off to bed to reach them. This is also where you’ll find all the light switches, the hairdryer and space to store a glass of water and the remote alongside your phone. The bathroom is spacious, and the shower had plenty of oomph. The only thing I would say is that if you’re travelling with a friend, or new love, using the loo is relatively audible due to the pod design. All the products in the bathroom are chemical free, are there are little notes to remind you to keep it green, as well as the offering of a free drink should you choose not to have your room made up with fresh bedding each day.
Each floor has a tea and coffee station for you to use free of charge, yes it does mean you can’t make hot drinks in your room, but we only used it the once and didn’t see another soul whilst doing so. There’s a restaurant downstairs, which offers great value meals using locally sourced ingredients, and the kitchen is open throughout the day, with a bar also opening at night. I was there for breakfast and once seated, I was talked through the menu and offered a drink whilst I perused. The range was impressive, and the prices were very reasonable, so, after drooling over the waffles and bacon, I went for the far more sensible, smashed avocado, with poached egg on a bagel and must say, enjoyed it immensely. My travelling companion went for the flatbread and was also very impressed. Both came out quickly and steaming hot, and felt wonderfully home cooked and authentic. The restaurant space is a wonderful mishmash of styles, with everything coming together to create a space which feels effortlessly cool whilst remaining true to the laidback vibe of the hotel.
The only downside would be the lack of a gym, however the hotel does own a selection of bicycles which are available for hire, so you can still get a bit of a workout should you wish. They also have plenty of info and some good tour routes to share with you, to ensure you can remain in tip-top condition. Qbic aren’t just interested in keeping you in great condition though, they also take a strong stance on eco-friendly tourism and have achieved the Platinum level in the TripAdvisor Green Leaders Programme. Qbic also cares about the community and hosts #QbicSessions where they partner with local talents to put on shows/events/evenings to showcase them. Recently they ran a fashion event, hosted by Thidarat Kaha of Basement Six, which featured a selection of inspiring talks on sustainable fashion as well as pop-up shops. They have also hosted a poetry evening, a drumming group, and various speakers, singers and other musicians. On their site you’ll also find reviews of a range of things to see and places to go in their QbicRecommends section.
Anyone planning on travelling into or out of London should take a look at Qbic for something a little bit different and a lot of fun. I stayed in Room 303, a Cosy Room, overlooking the park area and thoroughly enjoyed my stay.
Disclaimer: I was a guest of the hotel but views are my own and accurately reflect my stay during May 2016.