In megacities like London, traditional hotels are facing stiff competition from alternative travel accommodation options. Aparthotels have positioned themselves as extended stay hotels. We went to Roomzzz Stratford to experience one for ourselves. This was a sponsored stay. However, all views expressed in this article remain ours.

 

What is an Aparthotel?

Every now and then, a new word enters our travel lexicon. ‘Aparthotel’ was not a term we were familiar with until recently when we had an opportunity to visit Roomzzz Stratford, East London as our introduction to this growing category of travel accommodation.

Relax Zone at Roomzzz Stratford, East London | Aparthotel

It is fairly easy to deduce that an ‘aparthotel’ refers to accommodation which combines the independence and flexibility of a private apartment with the benefits of hotel services e.g., 24-hour concierge.

Aparthotel room configurations may feature separate living, sleeping and dining areas. Others may also include in-room kitchen/self-catering facilities, purpose-built co-working spaces and ancillary services. Properties in this genre are targeted at business and leisure travellers seeking something more than just a hotel bed.

Following successful launches in other UK cities including Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle and Nottingham, the Roomzzz group ventured south to open their London Stratford boutique aparthotel in July 2017.

 

East London: still riding the spirit of the Olympics!

Although one of London’s most culturally diverse areas, over time, much of East London fell behind other parts of the city in terms of modernisation. The 2012 Olympics was a much-needed opportunity to accelerate the regeneration of this part of the city.

View from Dezign Suite in Roomzzz Stratford East London

Early movers included the Westfield Group who opened their sprawling retail estate in September 2011 as part of the longer-term development of Stratford City. Meanwhile, construction work for the Olympics converted surrounding contaminated wasteland and industrial buildings into sports facilities in preparation for the epic event.

Street art near Roomzzz Stratford | East London

We came across this Dan Kitchener mural depicting futuristic Tokyo while exploring the neighbourhood. Wish the cars weren’t in the way!!

Seeking to ensure that the Olympics left a lasting legacy in London, as the flames and fervour of the games died down across the UK, the redevelopment of Stratford entered its next phase.

Stratford City emerged from that legacy, bringing a buzz to this slice of East London which can be felt as soon as you step off the Jubilee Line which connects Stratford to London Bridge within twenty-five minutes.

 

Our Roomzzz Stratford staycation experience

We are big fans of staycations! Although London is our home, staycations provide a chance to discover new properties and also explore parts of the city we hardly ever visit.

Making our way to Roomzzz Stratford on a weekend in late summer, the Jubilee Line seemed more packed than we last remembered it; the swell no doubt due to the growth in footfall to this part of London.

Escaping the Westfield throng, we exited the station, hopping on the quicker 262 bus to Barnby Street/Stratford Park. A 10 to 15 walk cutting through the old Stratford Shopping Centre would have achieved the same objective of getting us to the property.

Although within walking distance, it is important to note that the Roomzzz aparthotel is located just outside the shiny new Stratford City development. Perfect for avoiding the Westfield crowds, the area around Roomzzz Stratford comes with the regular tapestry of a monochromatic and gritty but vibrant East London neighbourhood.

The interior design of the common area contrasted sharply with the basic red brick, cuboid exterior. A quick scan of the Roomzzz ground floor lobby identified the reception, a coffee shop/deli and a breakfast/bookable workspace area.

Lunch at Roomzzz Stratford, East London | Aparthotel

Dark wood, grey tones and clean lines combined to create a warming and contemporary feel. The gentle hum of the bean-to-cup coffee machine by the reception was music to the ears for us digital nomads.

Next to the coffee shop was a ‘grab-and-go’ mini-grocery store. Although clear in its intent – tired professional fancies a cooked meal but can’t be bothered to go shopping – the store only stocked a limited set of artisanal items, but is open 24hrs. The onsite deli closes at 7pm.

Designed with an excellent view!

We picked up the key card to the top-floor ‘Dezign Suite’ [sic], a studio apartment shaped in the form of a large triangle.

Dezign Suite in Roomzzz Stratford East London | Aparthotel

The sliding glass doors covering two walls made an instant impression, bathing the entire room with natural light. More importantly, the doors opened to reveal a wide, wrap-around rooftop balcony with excellent views of the surrounding neighbourhood, the Olympic Park and London’s ever-changing skyline.

A brisk late summer breeze tugged at our clothing as we stepped outside to take in the view. The steel ArcelorMittal Orbit in the distance, shaped like a giant musical treble-clef, merged with the sunset as the sky transformed into playful notes of red, yellow and orange.

Sunset view from Dezign Suite in Roomzzz Stratford East London | Aparthotel

Sounds from the neighbourhood below drifted upwards – kids outside playing a game of jump rope, a lady laden with groceries scolding her son as they walked home, and singing coming from a nearby church. The evening was alive with the vibe of East London.

The breeze turned chilly, forcing us to retreat inside to appreciate the room’s urban-chic design. Separated by a large floor-to-ceiling wood partition, both the living and sleeping areas featured two giant flat-screen TVs.

The sleek black, red and white tones of the fully equipped kitchenette blended with the overall muted colour palette of the entire space. We wished we had more time to cook up a storm with the smart mod cons available.

Designed with the modern traveller in mind, the aparthotel room included a comfortable king-size bed and enough bedside electric outlets to satisfy even the most gadget-hungry guest. Ample storage space made it easy to stuff things away and keep the room uncluttered.

 

Aparthotels – One more travel accommodation choice!

Sunset view from Dezign Suite in Roomzzz Stratford East London

With the range of options available in a megacity like London, booking travel accommodation can be a daunting task for some. Cost, comfort and proximity to local attractions are among factors to consider.

Personally, we enjoy the flexibility which a multipurpose space provides. We find that the chance to recreate home comforts can greatly enhance our travel experience.

This is why we opt for private rentals whenever we have to stay more than three nights in a particular location.

Aparthotels like Roomzzz are a viable alternative to the risks and restrictions of private accommodation options like Airbnb.

Additionally, we are big foodies and although we prefer to spend our time exploring the local food culture of a destination, longer stays can be hard on the wallet. Therefore we love to cook when we can. We appreciate having the option to try local ingredients in the comfort of our own space and a chance to save on meals.

Sunset view from Dezign Suite in Roomzzz Stratford East London | Aparthotel

Our choice of evening entertainment included wandering around Westfield and finishing up with an uninspiring meal at one of Stratford City’s many restaurant outlets. We concluded that a home-cooked meal and a nice bottle of wine (enjoyed on our Roomzzz rooftop balcony of course) would have provided a much better experience.

As the post-Olympic spirit of renewal continues to expand into other areas around Stratford City, we expect Roomzzz to keep attracting discerning travellers who appreciate a more culturally diverse London vibe.

Stepping out on the balcony the next day to soak in the early morning sunshine, we considered aparthotels to be a refreshing entry into our list of alternative travel accommodation options.

 

Roomzzz Stratford – The details

Relax Zone at Roomzzz Stratford, East London | Aparthotel

Roomzzz Stratford ‘Dezign Suite’ room rates start from £139 per night for Spring 2019. Guests have access to an on-site gym, free high-speed WiFi and a complimentary ‘grab-and-go’ breakfast. On-site parking is also available (fee applies). For bookings visit their website.

Disclaimer – Special thanks to the management and staff of Roomzzz Stratford for their hospitality. Our stay was provided complimentary. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this article are however ours.

 

Pin This!

Co-Founders & Curators at HDYTI

Eulanda & Omo Osagiede are London-based freelance writers and award-winning social influencers who run the popular travel, food, and lifestyle blog HDYTI (Hey! Dip your toes in).