On the fringes of the City, the Zetter fronts on to busy Clerkenwell Road, but the back looks into quiet St John’s Square, with its row of Georgian Houses and the excellent posh café the Modern Pantry. In fact, this area is one of London’s best for foodies - the original gastropub, The Eagle, is just up the road, and you can try the pioneering modern British food at St John only a short walk to the south. Things are pretty quiet at weekends, though, if you're looking for big city bustle.
The rooms are all well appointed, with nice mod cons (Roberts digital radio, espresso machine, free internet, DVD player), but I’d opt for rooms at the back or the side, rather than those facing on to Clerkenwell Road. I appreciated thoughtful touches such as free bottles of water from the hotel’s own borehole, a hot water-bottle and carefully selected paperbacks. The décor is light-hearted, with a sleepy ZZZZZ on the bedcovers, but functional - the rooms are differentiated by a quirkly designed wall panel in each. The two fifth-floor suites have a connecting door should a family choose to take both; each has a balcony looking north over the rooftops, but the one attached to 505 is considerably larger.
The lobby steps up to a handy and nicely furnished little bar that sits right at the bottom of a stunning atrium, running up all five floors to the glass ceiling of this converted warehouse. The entrance area is modern, but not forbiddingly so, with some comfy chairs and newspapers while you wait.
Eating and drinking
The hotel restaurant Bistrot Bruno Loubet is superb. It really buzzes for dinner, but the breakfasts and excellent - I loved my poached egg on a pea pancake with crisp pancetta and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar (£7.50). Just across the square, the Modern Pantry is a terrific grown-up café, relaxed but serving excellent food - in fact, you’re surrounded by many of the best restaurants in London.
None - but the hotel does have suggested walking routes in the area.
Friendly and approachable, but professional - when our TV speakers weren’t working, they came quickly and fixed the problem without fuss.
Who stays there
The usual pattern of more leisure guests at weekends, business types in the week, but all week guests tend to be at the cooler end of the spectrum.
Full English breakfast plus a selection from the very fine buffet table costs £16.50, while continental is £12.50 and just toast or pastries £2. Cheaper rates for the weekend (Fri-Sun), but you'll have to book well ahead.
- High-Speed Internet
- Room Service
- Business travellers
- Design and architecture
Pros & Cons
- Great restaurant
- Well-designed, cheerful, modern rooms
- Not for fans of traditional decor
- Location might be out of the way for some