Ever stayed in an aparthotel? Me either, until I arrived at the new Wilde Aparthotel on London’s Strand a few weeks ago. The clue is in the name when it comes to these apartment-hotel hybrids, which are better known as serviced apartments and popular with business travelers. But the Wilde promised something a little different – from intelligent in-room tech to Oscar Wilde-inspired interiors – so we popped in to have a look around.
The aparthotel concept: local living with peace of mind
The thinking behind the property, which is developed by Dublin-based company, Staycity, and the first of several Wilde properties they’re due to open in the UK and Europe, is to bridge the gap between an Airbnb (they’re great) and a luxury hotel (I like those too, a lot). It’s a taste of local living for people who want that residential feel – like you’ve got your very own London bolthole – but with an added dose of luxury. And without, you know, having to actually stay in someone else’s house. Traditional elements of a hotel have been stripped back in favour of a more streamlined approach, so there’s no restaurant or bar (because: London).
Take the check-in process, for example. Arriving through the building’s big black doors on Adam Street, which is about 20 seconds off The Strand, we found two touch-screens to check ourselves in. There’s a member of staff on-hand 24 hours, so you get hotel-style security, but it’s all very informal. There’s no bellboy or sharp-suited concierge in sight, just a friendly lady who helped us check in via a staff computer hidden in the wall and chatted to us about where to eat that night.
Bedrooms at the Wilde Aparthotel London – The Strand
The building has 106 rentable rooms, and we made our way up to ours on the second floor via the lift. The corridors are all gloomy black walls and carpets – a huge contrast to the apartments, which are as bright and airy as it gets. That could well be down to the fact our room was a Wilde Superior Studio, which means a huge portion of it is taken up by floor-to-ceiling windows, including one that curves around the side of the building, right in front of the bed.
We pulled back the blinds to reveal a dream view of London’s red buses and black cabs zipping up and down The Strand, and watched a thunder storm light up the sky above the Adelphi Theatre that night.
There are windowless rooms available, too, which someone clever at Staycity has dubbed ‘sleep zone rooms’ and pitched to ‘those who appreciate a deep sleep’. They are cheaper than the Studio and Superior Studio, granted, but for one night only our view over the city was priceless.
Design-led interiors with added quirks
Décor-wise, this place manages to hit a balance between sharp styling and comfort. The phrase ‘design-led’ comes up a lot on the Wilde Aparthotel’s site, and while it’s true, you don’t get the feeling you’re in someone else’s idea of interior-design heaven. White and slate walls, light oak kitchenettes and grey-green soft furnishings create a smart, muted palette that’s not trying too hard.
The design-led bit comes in the form of intelligent in-room technology – AKA sleek touch-panel controls for the lights and air-con – plus a smartphone with free local and international calls (say what?) and a smattering of Smeg appliances in the kitchenette.
Speaking of which, the kitchenette is one of the best I’ve seen. While you’re probably not going to be rustling up a Sunday roast, there’s enough to cook a fry-up or a simple dinner – especially if you’re staying for longer than a night. And quirky nods to Oscar Wilde’s writing crop up everywhere from the scripts on the bedside tables to the wry quotes on the mugs, but because they’re delivered like a subtle wink rather than a shouty monologue, nothing about it feels themed.
London on your doorstep
As for location, London accommodation doesn’t come much more central if you want to be in the heart of theatreland. Covent Garden, Soho, Trafalgar Square, Embankment and Charing Cross are all within a couple of minutes’ walk, so you’ve got pubs, shops, restaurants and theatres on your doorstep. And if you fancy carrying on the Oscar Wilde theme, The Vaudeville Theatre is just over the road and currently showing its Oscar Wilde season until October 2018.
As for us, we spent the afternoon wandering around London in the sunshine until we eventually settled on somewhere for dinner. The next morning, we tucked in to an epic cooked breakfast at Smith & Wollensky in the Adelphi building over the road (love Art Deco styling? Please go) then walked over the bridge to the South Bank before heading home.
If all aparthotels are like this one, I think I’ve found my new favourite way to travel. But I’m pretty sure this place has something extra-special, and I’ll be seeking out the Wilde name specifically next time I book.
The Wilde Aparthotel – The Strand is at 11 Adam Street, London WC2N 6AA. Rooms start from around £170 for a double room (no kitchenette) or sleep zone room with kitchenette. To book, visit www.staycity.com/london/wilde-the-strand/ or call 0203 744 7525. Thanks to Wilde and Staycity for hosting us in return for this review.