Doubles from: $85
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Reviewed by EuroCheapo.com Editors
The quirky Qbic London City opened its doors in November 2013 and is already making an indelible mark on London's budget hotel scene. Its concept is simple yet clever, and is raising the standards and expectations of the city's affordable hotels.
Pros: Often low rates. Trendy design and concept. Packed with amenities.
Cons: "Cubi" rooms not for everyone. Rates fluctuate and are not always a great deal. Cheapest rooms are without window.
First, the aesthetics: It's hard not to immediately be wowed by the hotel's trendy, yet inviting, communal lounge. Here, designer armchairs and mellow lighting welcome you in – a nice spot in which to wind down after a day of sightseeing or a long flight. While it doesn't quite feel like a “home away from home,” the lounge has a luxe ambience that makes it a real treat to chill out there (especially at these rates).
Related: Also see our blog post about the Qbic hotel chain.
Qbic's model is to take an unused space (in this case a disused office block) and quickly turn it into an affordable design hotel. While no expense is spared on comfort, practicality and quality - all guests sleep on Naturalmat mattresses worth £2,000 in totally soundproofed rooms, enjoy rainfall showers and free Wi-Fi - building and renovation costs are kept to a minimum as each room is installed with a “Cubi,” a patented, modular cube-shaped living space incorporating a bed and bathroom in one piece of furniture.
The rooms are all well sized (ranging up to 27m2) and quite neutral, with splashes of color coming from bright rugs on the floor and giant photographs (mostly local landmarks or celebrities) which act as headboards for each king sized bed. The smooth-edged Cubi is the focal point of each room, and is comprised of bed, television (complete with Skype and Freeview TV) and lights. Everything from light switches for different moods to drinks holders are set within the Cubi.
Behind the bed you'll find a spacious bright yellow bathroom with designer fittings, towels and toiletries, and an excellent power shower. The cheapest rooms are completely windowless (there's 45 of these, from £69), mid-range are the courtyard and street view rooms of which there are 110 (from £79), and the top end option is a park view room (there are just 10 of these, from £94). Regardless of which room you choose, you'll get the same sized Cubi and the same facilities in each one. All windows are double glazed and rooms are soundproofed to ensure a good night's sleep.
Located a quick walk to Brick Lane, Qbic's location is ideal for travelers who want to be in the thick of one of the city's most thriving, if slightly gritty, neighborhoods, with East London at your doorstep. The Whitechapel Gallery and markets of Spitalfields and Brick Lane are around the corner, while the unique boutiques, buzzy bars and varied gastro offering of Shoreditch are also within easy reach. Business travelers will find the proximity to the City of London quite convenient, and the property is well connected with underground (Aldgate East), overground (Shoreditch High Street) and bus routes.
Breakfast is not included in the price, but there is free (and delicious) coffee and tea available 24 hours a day in the lounge area and at the drinks machines on each floor. A continental breakfast is available for £7.50 per person, but we'd probably suggest saving your money and going for a cheaper breakfast in one of the cafes nearby.
From April 2014, 100 £1 rooms will be sold each month with all proceeds going to charity. Sign up to Qbic's newsletter or social channels to find out more.
Note: This hotel was visited by a EuroCheapo editor and is recommended based on cleanliness, location, price and overall quality. EuroCheapo did not charge this hotel to be listed.
- Wi-Fi: Free
- Bathroom: Private
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About the Qbic London City neighborhood
The historic center of London, the City is the financial center of London and the UK. The neighborhood is home to St. Paul’s Cathedral, the College of Arms and the Central Criminal Court ("Old Bailey"). Though centrally located, tourists will have to venture outside the area for nightlife and decent food after the suits go home.