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Inside London's Zetter Hotel

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: St Johnís Square 86-88 Clerkenwell Road, London, United Kingdom, EC1M 5RJ
June 24, 2009 at 3:27 PM | by | ()

Check In @ the Zetter Hotel
London is a slog. Getting from LHR to anywhere in London is arduous. Hiring a cab was the poison we chose, and almost an hour and a half after leaving Heathrow we arrived in the tiny, classic Euro Zetter lobby — oh, and it was only 9 AM local time. At this point, we were practically begging for a room at any point before the designated 2PM check-in. The Zet staff, sensing jet lag grogginess grabbed our bags, pointed us to a coffee shop and suggested returning in an hour's time to see about room availability. Sure enough, and hour later we were caffeinated and checked into room 309, which overlooked St. John's Square in the back of the hotel.

Room Reaction
We were expecting "Manhattan Box" and thus were pleasantly surprised that the room was just a touch bigger than a box. Enough room to comfortably sit at the desk, read the paper in one of two chairs, and walk around the bed with plenty of room to spare. While the bathroom was small, the shower had a rain-forest showerhead and the fixtures were shiny, so that helped. As for the bed, it was comfortable enough, but don't expect full-on cloud mattresses — seems the bed wars may not have hit London quite yet.

In-Room Entertainment
WiFi was free, fast and easy. You log on, write down a code, call the front desk and they turn on your wireless access. If you have more than one device you need to connect, you're in luck because the front desk is happy to connect multiple devices for you.

The television apparently came with some sort of satellite programming and, more interestingly, the ability to pipe in music from radio stations around the world — sort of Sonos-like.

Clerkenwell Road is just a couple blocks from Farringdon Road. Farringdon will take you to the Farringdon Underground stop, to Fabric on Charterhouse St. (and the other pubs and clubs there) and even all the way across the Thames if you follow the road for a bit. While the location is not right on top of Big Ben, you are within spitting distance of St. Paul's Cathedral, the Angel district, and plenty of cool places in Clerkenwell itself.

The windows looked out onto St. John's Square, a small cobblestone square with a couple restaurants — kind of cool view actually.

But room 309 did back right into St. John's Square, which got quite noisy at night, especially around 1 AM when the kitchen workers from the Zetter restaurant used the square to try out their car stereos.

£200/night. London is expensive, and most hotels this side of Hoxton worth checking out are well over £100.

Bottom Line
Is it too early to call the Zetter a "classic throwback boutique hotel"? While Schrager's minimalist box hotels never aged well in NY and elsewhere, the Zetter is aging quite gracefully. Granted it is not a particularly old hotel (it opened in March 2004), but cities like London and New York have experienced such a hotel boom over the last five years that '04 feels oldish. Point is: Zetter is not a flash in the pan; it's a great hotel in an excellent district.

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