Not that long ago this part of London – Aldgate – was a sort of no mans land. Neither Whitchapel nor City nor even Brick Lane it just seemed to be a road system on the edge of the financial district of London and with none of the coming edginess of Whitechapel. Well all that seems to have changed. Not only have they managed to re route the road system but there just seems to be an airiness and openness about Aldgate that affords great views over the City of London and beyond – and nowhere moreso than Dorsett City, the latest addition to the Hong Kong groups growing portfolio of affordably luxurious hotels. In London they have the Dorsett Shepherds Bush down the other end of the Central Line and are soon to start work on the remodelling of the City Hall in Hornsey into a chic, boutique hotel.
The first thing that strikes me is the ‘Asian-ness’ of the hotel and how this is apparent in the cleanliness and efficiency of the room. For £350 (depending on the time of year etc) you can have a junior suite with a comfortable lounge area, sizeable bathroom and yes that great view over the City. A Deluxe Room might be closer to £200 so on that basis it’s already tremendous value when you are only 10 minutes walk from Lloyds of London. I haven’t stayed there so can’t give a full report but the room looks delightful to me. Crisp linens; Nespresso machine; complimentary mini bar; huge floor to ceiling windows which just let that view right in.
We had lunch in the Chinese restaurant, Shikumen, and the food was delicious. The place was busy and the dim sum mouth watering. Imagine going to a hotel for dim sum in London 10 years ago? It just wouldn’t happen. The bistro off the lobby on the ground floor – VQ – was even busier with city types and various local businesses that looked more Whitechapel than City tucking into a lovely looking French menu. In summer the restaurant spills out onto the sheltered pavement outside.
The piece de resistance however is the rooftop bar – Jin Bo Law (Golden Pineapple). Wow. A long bar and terrace looking out over the City and away into the distance. I was there pre lunch but I can imagine how cool its going to be in the run up to Xmas. And you can reserve the far end of the bar which is then cordoned off to give you and your colleagues or friends a little bit more privacy.
The church next door and then the open courtyard in front of the neighbouring primary school again give a sense of open space. Overall it’s just not what I expected at all. A sort of combination of Citizen M, Andaz and a Westin give Dorsett City a really good niche in the market such that it sits between the super cool new wave hotels and the more traditional type of property. A pretty good blend I would say given its proximity to the City and therefore the likelihood that the guests are there more for business than leisure. That said, cometh the weekend this is a great part if London to hang out in. Brick Lane and Shoreditch are a short walk away and you will still have those magnificent views.