Historically, Stratford hasn’t always been a destination spot in London. It was always just that bit too far from the bright lights of central – until The Gantry London appeared.
And since the Olympics in 2012, the area has seen a billion-pound regeneration effort with the East Village and the canals that snake through Hackney, in particular, becoming edgy, vibrant and dare we say it…gentrified.
And now with the long-awaited Queen Elizabeth Line shooting through Stratford (you can whizz into King’s Cross in seven minutes) E14 is a-buzz.
The Gantry is a Curio Collection Hotel by Hilton that has absolutely nothing franchise about it. Oozing urban chic, this 291-bedroom property is one of a handful of towers in the area that can only be described as architecturally daring. It looks like a cool piece of corrugated cardboard.
New York vibes
The Gantry brings to mind hipsterish New York coffee houses with lots of vintage halogen lighting and sharp corners. It also describes itself as a “multi-faceted urban resort” and works with local designers, artists and food and drink experts to maintain important links to the area and its residents.
The rooms range from a standard King to suites, varying in size and certain amenities like robes and Nespresso machines but all are spotless, stylish and unfussy with stellar views.
On the ground floor is Victor and Santiago Gamboa, a coffee and pastry shop that’s perfect for a quick snack. But for something more substantial, The Gantry’s Union Social restaurant and terrace is a lovely, bustling space with a phenomenally stocked bar.
Dynamic menu and fabulous views
For a late lunch we recommend the ghobi chana bound salad with halloumi or the mushroom and black truffle stroganoff, paired with a spicy Bloody Mary and glass of champagne.
For something a bit fancier, there’s the STK Rooftop on the 18th floor, mixing fine dining with chilled club vibes, topped off with fantastic views across east London, especially as the sun is setting.
One of the most exemplary aspects of The Gantry is the staff. We travelled with our one-year-old son and despite it being a sophisticated, adult-leaning place at no point were we made to feel a nuisance.
The restaurant staff could not have been more welcoming and patient with him, even though mealtimes with a baby are chaotic and messy. We ate early though to avoid the rest of the guests hating us too much.
A clean and spacious travel cot greeted us in our room and everyone we encountered was very friendly. So while The Gantry might not be a traditional family hotel, we were so welcomed.
For those travelling by car, parking in London is always stressful and you would expect to pay a fortune for two nights. The Gantry has an arrangement with Westfield though where you only pay £6 a day in its carpark, located about a five-minute walk away.
Fitness fans will enjoy the cool basement gym and a few other welcome extras include slick work spaces, art work curated by a renowned Shoreditch gallery and binoculars in some of the rooms.
Rooms start at around £141 per night for a mid-week King Room including breakfast – great value for a designer hotel in a truly up-and-coming part of the capital.
The Gantry is our new go-to London stopover: cool and calm with lashings of urban glam.
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All images courtesy of The Gantry London.