A luxury stay in London's East End at the brand new Gantry Hotel next to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford | Review
Think London’s East End and what springs to mind? If not the duff, duff, duffs of a rather familiar theme tune – then you will think Olympics.
It's now almost a.decade since the world’s brightest and best athletes made their way to the newly redeveloped Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to go for gold in their chosen sport.
They arrived to a world new and shiny, one of London’s most traditionally run down neighbourhoods was alive with investment, the former industrial hinterlands transformed into a modern urban destination – the eye was always on the longer term not just the Olympics.
Now it’s an industrial and creative heartland with parklands, waterways, innovative workplaces and good quality places to live.
You can wander in the footsteps of champions and visit former Olympic and Paralympic venues – including London Stadium, the London Aquatics Centre, the Copper Box Arena and Lee Valley VeloPark.
And the newest, trendiest, kid on the block is The Gantry hotel, part of Hilton’s ‘upper upscale’ Curio Collection.
Slotting perfectly into the landscape with its curving industrial chic exterior inspired by New York’s famous Flat Iron building, and Stratford’s role in the train building industry, The Gantry opened its doors in November and offers so much more than its 291 elegantly design-led rooms.
From spring next year, The Gantry will welcome the highest rooftop bar in East London on its 18th floor. With floor-to-ceiling windows, the sky bar will form the cocktail epicentre of The Gantry and the much-anticipated venue will offer sunset across the capital when the bar and outdoor terraces come alive with live music and DJs .
Also coming soon– The Gantry hotel sits above The Stratford Grocer & Co’s bustling food market, deli and coffee shop on the ground floor – which is set to open fully by mid-January.
But the hotel itself is very much up and running already. Taking over the first floor, the hotel’s main dining spot is Union Social, incorporating the Coupe ‘sparkling’ bar
After a late arrival, strictly speaking after service had ended, staff worked above and beyond to serve us a late dinner (I highly recommend the chicken schnitzel)and make sure we were happy which was much appreciated after a long journey which involved a delayed long-haul flight.
The restaurant itself is flanked with an elegant cocktail bar and open kitchen and on the other side, with floor-to-ceiling windows and a huge wraparound terrace all designed to take advantage of the exciting city scape stretching out before it.
Of course it was dark when we ate dinner but we ate at the same table for breakfast and this time were able to see the astonishing views across London.
For the foodies, the executive chef at Union Social hails from Sicily, Salvatore Coco, has travelled extensively and his menus reflect this, featuring flavours from all around the world, while elevating local produce from the south east of England.
Small plates include Genovese Focaccia, Bottega’s cured cuts with fresh cheese and prawn croquettes with aioli while larger plates range from tarragon risotto with roasted autumnal vegetables, sesame glazed sea trout with white miso tamari-mirin infused ginger broth and Greek lamb meatballs, tzatziki, pickled red onion with pine nuts.
A menu of healthy salads packed full of grains are light enough for guests looking for a quick lunch or mid-afternoon snack, and ideal for laptop-toting professionals working from the venue.
We were shown to our room – a twin deluxe room with Olympic Park view – beautifully -designed on the industrial modern-chic theme.
The standout design feature is the floor-to-ceiling windows which, even halfway up at floor nine, offered a stunning view right across London. It’s a photographer’s paradise and the perfect comfortable launch pad for exploring the Olympic Park and the entire capital.
The bathrooms in particular are fabulous, featuring a huge shower of the rainfall variety. There is everything you need stored away in colonial style trunks. Everything has been thought of.
Despite the hotel’s charms the views will soon have you itching to try out London and you can head via the beautifully-designed lobby with its Instagram-worthy furnishings straight into the Olympic Park to walk, to sightsee, to enjoy coffee and peruse the multiple businesses and start-ups in the area, with their funky and sustainable themes. For more traditional shopping there is also the large Westfield Stratford City shopping mall down the road with its 250 shops.
Then, with tired feet, back to your home-from-home, the Gantry.
Address: The Gantry, 40 Celebration Avenue, Stratford, London E20 1DB
Web: https://thegantrylondon.com/E-mail: [email protected]Phone: 0204 549 7600
Travel: 2 mins from Stratford International station, 6 minutes from Kings Cross St Pancras
Costs: Entry level room type: starting rates at £189 room & breakfast for low season , £229 room & breakfast high season.