Published on Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Cockney cool, with Jack The Ripper cocktails



Dinah Hatch gets has a spot of Lilley and Skinner before catching some Bo-Peep at this super stylish East London hotel with a nod to its cockney roots.


"The pearly king and queen I met in Bethnal Green last week (yes, really) would not believe their little mince pies if they wandered into the Andaz Liverpool Street. Under its luxury boutique brand, Hyatt seems to have absorbed all that is fascinating about this traditionally unappreciated (but now terribly cool) part of London town and lavished cockney love all over this classic building, once the site of the famous Bethlehem Hospital, or Bedlam as it was known.

The result is a stylish, unfussy 21st century hotel whose signature cocktail is named after Jack The Ripper (Jack's Martini is a killer blend of Hendrick's Gin, elderflower cordial, cucumber and lemon), whose king rooms feature one-off wall designs by some of the area's top artists and whose house pub (The George, natch) looks like the Queen Vic from Eastenders if Anouska Hempel were pulling the pints.

There were, I'm glad to report, no jellied eels on offer and not a single person at the deeply hip and low-lit Catch Champagne Bar and Lounge was discussing 'going daan the dogs'. Authenticity is great, but only up to a point.

So, what's the experience like? I didn't actually realise we were checked in until I was halfway to the lift, such was the easy conversational tone of the person who greeted us. The room wasn't ready so my friend and I had a spot of lunch of mini pulled pork burgers, mezze and Caesar salad - all very reasonably priced and all ridiculously delicious.

Fast forward four hours spent in the West End (a hop skip and a jump thanks to the hotel's proximity to the Underground) and we were back to prowl the hotel. I loved the swirling, airy architecture and its nod to the New York Guggenheim but was a bit disappointed not to be able to see the hidden Masonic Temple complete with organ, hand-carved mahogany chairs and bronze candelabras on claw feet that builders only discovered behind a fake wall in 2000 when renovating the hotel.

No matter, we headed off to investigate our room - one of the four Rooms With A View at the Andaz which feature the aforementioned artist walls. Ours was The Pearly Room, featuring a magnificent mural by Chris Price and Delisia Howard, paying homage to the kings and queens of the East End. With a giant comfortable bed, vermillion Eames reclining chair, iphone dock, pleasingly spacious shower and fast-filling bath in the simple, tasteful black and white tiled bathroom, we gave it an immediate thumbs up. And how on earth do they keep out the roar of Bishopsgate outside?

Good service here, too. We called up housekeeping for an ironing board and iron plus a iphone dock adaptor and also asked them to explain why the TV wasn't working. All were sorted within five minutes. Impressive.

Dinner that night was in 1901 - famed for its monthly candlelit dinners. This is a dramatic hall, centred with a fabulous bar quite simply groaning with top-end booze of all descriptions. Such is the layout of 1901 that people watching is as much part of the fun of the evening as eating the drop-dead-awesome tasting menu (six courses, amuse bouches, petit fours and glass of Veuve Cliquot, £60). My oldest friend and I interspersed cooing about the lamb and the bubbles with imagining the lives of our fellow diners as they walked in ("happily divorced, found new life as clothes boutique owner in Knightsbridge" etc etc). Great fun.

Fit to drop, we waddled to bed up the spiral staircase and slept like corpses in silence for 10 hours before waking in time for brunch and a bloody Mary in the funky but friendly American diner type restaurant Eastway where we were medically revived via pancakes and maple syrup and Eggs Benedict.

Goodness knows what Pete Beale would have made of it."


Rates around £220 per night



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