Andaz Liverpool Street Hotel celebrates East London art and culture with a series of bespoke street art rooms. South Londoner Victoria Purcell heads east for a little city break…
East London’s street art scene is well documented, but one wouldn’t normally equate it with luxury. Until now. The Andaz Liverpool Street Hotel has earned a reputation for loving its location and engaging with local creatives, ensuring guests enjoy the essence of their locale combined with cool, contemporary interiors and flawless service.
After all, there’s nothing worse than rocking up to a hotel, shattered from travelling, and having to take a moment to remember which country you’re in on waking. There’s no danger of that with the Andaz’s current Room With A View undertaking – a project that invited four distinctly diverse British artists, Chris Price, Patrick Vale, ILoveDust and Patrick Morgan, to hand paint a wall in four of the hotel’s Large King guest rooms, depicting their interpretation of East London.
I spent an evening in ILoveDust’s room (sounds untoward, but no, he wasn’t there), admiring his artwork, East My Dust. The piece is a strikingly bold typographic representation of the East, literally – the word EAST, hand painted in a bold British blue, is engulfed in intricately woven aspects of East London culture, painted in a vivid red. Set against the backdrop of the white wall, it’s quite the patriotic representation, combining the colours Union Jack with Cockney dialect, black cabs and pie and mash.
Third in the four-part artwork series, East My Dust follows Patrick Vale and Paul Davis’ One Day Walk, and Chris Price’s Pearly Room. The final Room With A View will be created by Patrick Morgan, debuting on 3 April. The art rooms are all available until July 2015.
Of course, you may at some point wish to leave your room. The hotel itself is gorgeous, so have a roam around. Hang out in the lobby, it smells wonderfully of Darjeeling, and there’s a cubby hole serving refreshments throughout the day and wine and canapés in the evening. Staff glide around silently with an iPad, should you need anything. You can reach the George pub, Catch Champagne bar and lounge and Miyako Japanese restaurant without setting foot outdoors.
The 1901 Wine Bar and Restaurant, just next door, is a must for dinner on Saturday night. The vast, opulent room was once a ballroom, topped off with a spectacular stained-glass dome that sports one tiny piece of red glass, a poignant marker of the Blitz, which damaged just one little part of this awe-inspiring installation. The name of the restaurant refers to the year an extension was added to the original hotel, the Great Eastern Hotel, opened in 1884 in response to the 1874 opening of Liverpool Street Station. The food here is as spectacular as the surrounds, with starters like Devon crab served two ways – dressed, and as a kind of soft-shell tempura, beautifully garnished with cucumber, grapefruit and blackberry jelly. Aberdeenshire beef fillet is served with a potato cake, oxtail spring roll, stilton beignet, carrot and courgette puree. Again, immaculately plated in that fabulously contemporary-British-cuisine way. Begin proceedings with a glass of champagne and do not skip dessert – each combines richness with sharpness and fun additions of texture that will convert those not normally of a sweet tooth (the baked vanilla cheesecake, for example, is served with poached pear, pear sorbet and salted caramel popcorn).
Breakfast and brunch are served at Eastway, where you can indulge in a DIY Bloody Mary and feast on the likes of spicy Merquez sausages teamed with a fried egg and pepper and onion caponata, or go the whole hog with a traditional English breakfast (bacon, potato hash, Cumberland sausages, Portobello mushrooms and fried eggs) served in a 7-inch flour bap. It’s quite an undertaking. Muesli, granola and fruit salad are also options!
If your Room With A View has inspired a desire to discover more of the area’s street art, the hotel can arrange a tour so you can discover how Banksy and other graffiti artists elevated this once underground game of hide-and-tag to a whole new level of artistry.
Andaz Liverpool Street’s Room With A View Large King rooms are available from £378 (inc VAT) on weekdays (Sun-Thurs night) and £252 (inc VAT) on weekends (Fri-Sat) until July 2015. To book call 020 7961 1234 or see andazliverpoolstreet.com
1 Beer & Buns – the new pop-up showcasing the best Japanese beers and wonderful things served in steamed buns.
2 The Barbican – if you’ve never experienced the wonder of the Barbican’s Conservatory, you must (it’s free!). Then grab a beer and relax on the terrace overlooking the lake.
3 Old Spitalfields Market – a wonderful covered market place teeming with some of London’s best designer-makers.
4 The NightJar – a cocktail bar ‘worthy of Heston Blumenthal’, according to the Metro.
5 Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium – affectionately known as ‘the cat cafe’, where you can enjoy cupcakes and the company of cats (book in advance).