UK – USA Business Travel
- Richard Moss
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The Stratford Hotel opened it’s doors to the public in the summer of 2019. It is part of the independent group that brought you the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel and Chiltern Firehouse. However, this time, rather than reviving beautiful London buildings, The Stratford Hotel was built from scratch.
Last month I was invited for a tour, lunch and overnight stay. I can honestly say it is one of my favourite stays in recent years and I am especially eager to tell you why.
The Stratford Hotel keep things simple with their room types offered by size. Rooms all offer the same facilities and luxuries, but you may choose the room based on size and budget. ‘Standard’, ‘Medium’, ‘Large’ and ‘Larger’ are the available options. If sharing with friends and family, there is also the option of a ‘Double Double room’ which provides two queen size beds.
Now let’s get into the important details of what you can expect in any of these rooms, regardless of the floor space. It is amazing what is on offer in the rooms. Everything is so carefully considered and the final touches make these rooms a home-from-home. Not to mention, every guest receives slippers and a dressing gown, these are not luxuries available only to guests in a suite. I also noticed a branded hoodie in the wardrobes for guests, which I have never encountered at a hotel before now.
The natural stone bathroom features REN refillable amenities – no single use plastic here! A small trinket box offers cotton wool, cotton buds and to my delight, a nail file. The bath towels are enormous, I’m not exaggerating when I say it was larger than myself standing at 5’3! Not only did it completely absorb me after a shower, but it was incredibly soft. I had no anguish at the thought of trying to dry my long hair with a cheap hairdryer as Babyliss Pro hairdryers feature in each room.
As for the bed itself, it was as all-consuming as the towels and adorned with blankets and throws as well as Egyptian cotton sheets. The beds are queen size and extremely comfortable. It was so welcoming I chose to climb in at 7.30pm to enjoy some TV in bed. I didn’t regret it – it was what I would imagine lounging on a cloud to feel like. It was a great way to wind down from the day.
There is no shortage of technology available in-room. I needn’t have packed a phone charger because a universal wireless charger is provided at the bedside. The TV is a large flat screen and offers sky, Chromecast, selected apps (Spotify/Youtube) and hotel information. A tablet by the bedside offers further apps, an alarm, and instant service options. Here you are able to order room service, extra towels, different pillows, additional amenities and also much more. You can schedule the cleaning, babysitting, turn down service, laundry and luggage pick up. I was also happy to see that you can use the bedside tablet to re-book or request late check out. I used the tablet to catch up on a Netflix series and I thought I’d try the white noise app throughout the night to aid sleep.
A Nespresso coffee machine well stocked with capsules was inviting first thing in the morning. I did not indulge in the minibar but I noted how well stocked it was with soft and alcoholic drinks as well as snacks. Additionally, I noticed some gift tins above the safe, also available to purchase from the minibar. These tins are advertised as handy packages for couples, for morning revival or for travel adaptors and chargers.
Suites at The Stratford Hotel offer all of the above but with additional living space. Larger working areas, seating and dining areas are available with a suite. Bathrooms include ‘his’ and hers’ sinks and a bathtub as well as the walk-in rainfall shower. Suites are ‘The Stratford Studio’ or ‘Manhattan Studio’.
Nothing is too much trouble for the staff at The Stratford Hotel. For one thing, every employee smiled and greeted me. I was personally walked to my room and my luggage was carried for me. Guest relations called me on the telephone in the room to inform me of a fire alarm test in the day and check that everything was as expected with the room. When I realised I had forgotten my toothbrush and toothpaste I used the bedside tablet to request a dental kit. The tablet notified me that the request had been received and minutes later a member of staff had brought it to my door. A further message was received on the tablet to confirm the dental kit had been delivered. In short, service is friendly, fast and effective, it cannot be faulted.
Allegra is the feature bar and restaurant at the hotel. It is run by the former Head Chef of Chiltern Firehouse, Patrick Powell. Modern European cuisine is served with a high-dining experience here on the 7th floor. Outside dining is also available in warmer months and the terrace offers views over the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Note that Allegra is closed on Mondays and Sundays from 4pm.
Unlike Allegra, The Stratford Brasserie is open seven days a week (including bank holidays) from early until late. It was here that I enjoyed lunch from the ‘All Day’ menu. After much deliberation I went for the Butternut squash tortellini. I love that the majority of dishes are on offer in either a small or large portion. I opted for a lighter lunch and chose small, yet wished I’d opted for large! It was delicious. If your room includes breakfast, this is where you will head in the morning. Breakfast is made to order (no buffet). Considering The Stratford Hotel’s focus on local, fresh produce I opted for fresh juice and a fruit bowl which was beautifully presented and arrived with some mini pastries.
The Mezzanine is a lounge and bar by day, calm and relaxing – a great space to work. In the evening it transforms into a glamorous, late night cocktail lounge with DJs. There is also a lounge adjacent to The Brasserie which provides an all day calming spot to enjoy coffee or work from.
Overall, ten spaces are available, covering small meetings for ten right up to awards, galas or other celebrations for 150. Meeting rooms at The Stratford are located on the mezzanine floor. Each is filled with natural light and fully equipped with superior technology, including 5G Wi-Fi, flat screen TV’s, digital projectors, multi-zone audio and projection screens. For larger conferences, meeting rooms can be combined. If you are after a more casual or informal space, perhaps for entertaining partners, then the Mezzanine is a spectacular area. Alternatively, you could host a private dinner in an exclusive room at Allegra.
The Stratford Gym is larger than many other hotel gyms. There is a great mixture of cardio and resistance machines as well as benches and weights. The machines connect to Wi-Fi and offer entertainment. Large open areas are available for classes. The gym is accessible to guests 24/7 on the 7th floor, just past the Mezzanine. You will need your keycard to tap in.
Sustainability is a hot topic, and rightly so. Each of us need to make more considered decisions to protect the future of our planet. The Stratford have several initiatives in place to positively effect the future of London’s E20 postcode, local lives and the world at large. I have previously mentioned bamboo toothbrushes and refillable amenities. There are also solar panels and clean fuel systems. Gym classes are available from ex-convicts who have been trained in personal training for a fresh start. Apprenticeships, training and mentoring are a large part of the hotels ethos and as a result provide opportunities to the local community.
My favourite sustainability programme at The Stratford Hotel is undeniably the ‘Grow’ project. The aim is for zero food waste by partnering with Full Circle Farm. The farm is only 40 minutes outside of London and provides the hotel with fruit and vegetables in one hour. All the produce is entirely fresh and local. It also grows in 100% organic soil, free from pesticides and using food waste compost. Food waste is one of the largest contributors to landfills, but not here. The Stratford use a zero-to-landfill refuse collection service. This service sends food waste from the hotel back to Full Circle farm for composting. Furthermore, the service sends anything they are unable to recycle to an energy converting incinerator. This is one of the best and truly ‘full circle’ sustainability commitments I have seen in the hospitality industry.
The Stratford Hotel is conveniently placed outside of the busy central London districts. However, it is only minutes from anywhere you need to be in the city. London City Airport is a 20 minute taxi away for international flights, and the Eurostar trains from St Pancras are only 6 minutes away via the high speed rail line adjacent to the hotel. The central line tube station of Stratford is also a short walk away. From here you could be in the centre of the city within 10 minutes.
The largest shopping mall in the UK is right on the doorstep of The Stratford Hotel. With over 250 shops, 70 places to dine, a 17 screen Vue Cinema, All Star Lanes bowling and also a 65,000ft Aspers Casino, you will not be short of anything to do at Westfield Stratford City! The Stratford Hotel might just be the perfect base to rest after an exhaustive Christmas shop.
For me, The Stratford Hotel is in a league of it’s own. So much thought has gone into the accommodations and I enjoyed every moment of my stay. The little things such as cotton wool to remove my make up at the end of the day or access to Netflix to sign in to my account and catch up on my usual shows made me feel right at home. Spending a night in the city for business needn’t be a chore if you chose The Stratford Hotel. If that isn’t reason enough, you can rest assured that this hotel is one of the greenest options to consider when trying to travel more responsibly.
I have just one tip. I stayed in a South facing room. The view from my floor-to-ceiling windows was the high-speed rail line below and Westfield’s delivery bays opposite. There is some minimal noise from the trains so light sleepers will want to avoid the South facing rooms. Request a North-Easterly room to be away from the train lines and hopefully, catch a view over the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to the West.
If your staff are on the move for business and require a convenient London base that is away from the hustle and bustle, get in touch with us today for fantastic exclusive rates at The Stratford Hotel.
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