Apex City of London is only a few hundred yards from the Tower of London and not much further from Sir Christopher Wren’s Monument in the other. It’s also right next to one of my favourite City churches - the one Dickens called ‘St Ghastly Grim’ because of the creepy skulls over its gate. Transport is easy, with Tower Hill Underground station only the closest option.
The important facilities are all in place, from plasma screen DVD/TVs and quality sound systems to kettles for a cuppa and an iron and ironing board. But I like the fact that the details go a step beyond the usual: offering free local calls as well as free Wi-Fi, for example, as well as crisps and jelly beans. Bathrooms are a plus across the Apex range and I even like the schtick of providing a rubber duck for your bath - take it home if you want to. Some rooms in the newest wing look down on the St Olave’s church, but I wasn’t shown any really remarkable views.
There’s plenty of space for guests at the reception’s mezzanine level, but it’s a slightly awkward layout. Addendum restaurant is tacked on the front, below the bar, there’s a spacious waiting area skewed to one side of reception, and the routes between the new wing and the original sections can be confusing. The faultless décor is predictably business crisp and sober.
Eating and drinking
I wouldn’t spend time in the Addendum Restaurant & Bar unless I was too tired to venture out. Even though parts of the surrounding area get quiet when the City business people head home in the evening or at weekends, it’s easy to find better options. Try dim sum chain Ping Pong on the St Katharine’s Dock marina just beyond the Tower of London, for example, or walk the 10 minutes into the Spitalfields, Brick Lane and Shoreditch area for a number of lively restaurants and bars.
There’s a basement gym, with treadmills, cycles and a cross trainer.
I was impressed - apart from a bit of a delay checking out, the service was friendly and helpful without feeling forced.
Who stays there
Mostly business custom during the week, leisure at weekends - with families pretty well catered for.
As with most City hotels, there are bargains to be had when the suits have been folded into their suitcases for the weekend. There are also some very well-priced budget rooms in the basement. Numbered in the 50s, they’re a good size for doubles (with nos.50 and 51 the smallest) but why so cheap? They’ve either got no windows at all or the only natural light comes through narrow windows that are at ankle-level for the passers-by on the pavement outside.
- Fitness Centre
- High-Speed Internet
- Room Service
- Business travellers
- Culture vultures
- Families with younger children
Pros & Cons
- Great room amenities
- Fair prices
- Good service
- Confusing layout
- Predictable décor