When it comes to architecture, design and fashion, London is home to many ‘firsts’. Answering to any allegation of ‘greenwashing’ with conscious hotel design and hosptiality, Lamington Group unveiled the world’s first net-zero hometel – and it has the stats to back up that claim, as Nadia Walford discovers when she checks in to room2 Chiswick…
Net-zero is no longer just a concept in hotel design. Built on the site of a former wallpaper factory – with architecture from Project Orange – room2 Chiswick is the world’s first fully net-zero ‘hometel’. In short, this means it’s the first hotel in the world to fully account for its entire carbon footprint, using 89 per cent less energy compared to other hotels by rolling out various sustainable initiatives.
Since launching in December 2021 in the leafy west London suburb of Chiswick, ‘London’s first hometel’ from room2 combines the best elements from Airbnb, serviced apartments and boutique hotels, with a 24-hour check-out policy. With four categories of accommodation styles to choose from – Snug, Studio, Lounge and Suite – all rooms come with well-stocked kitchenettes (favoured by long staying guests), refillable amenities by Doers of London, and little touches like dried flowers and handmade bits and bobs boxes.
Under an exposed concrete ceiling and on top of wooden floorboards, Pinstripe headboards, rattan chairs, cork benches and banquettes are set against a palette of warm pastel colours. Fabrics and materials have been mindfully chosen to promote reuse, such as soft bedroom throws from Slow Down Studio, which are made from 80 per cent recycled cotton, and carpets constructed using recycled fishing nets which line the corridors. Look out for bespoke handmade mosaic signs on each bedroom door manufactured by local designer Janita O’Toole during lockdown.
Notable eco-friendly features at this game-changing property include solar panels and beehives on the roof, a zero-waste policy, and three-in-one in-room recycling bins (a first for the hospitality industry) designed and manufactured by room2 to ensure 100 per cent of waste is recycled or converted into energy off-site. Ultra-energy efficient lighting, occupancy sensors across the building, and ground source heat pumps are other noteworthy features that add to this hometel’s list of impressive green credentials. They’ve even invested in a blue roof drainage system which can hold up to 50,000 litres of rainwater to reduce localised flooding and a green roof with soil and wildflowers to increase biodiversity and absorb CO2.
Inspired by the spirit of Chiswick’s 19th century arts and crafts heritage, each of the 86 rooms have been carefully crafted in collaboration with local artisans. Colourful, psychedelic marbled print wallpaper from Rachel Maiden of Maiden Marbling can be found all over the hotel, while handcrafted Dali-esque mirrors from London-based artist Kieran Letts feature in the lifts and bathrooms. Through procurement agency Dodd & Shute, each piece of furniture has been carefully selected to ensure its integrity, and all loose bespoke furniture has been manufactured within 10 miles of the property using Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) timber. Fun fact: a total of 4,462 trees were planted to offset the carbon of all the furniture used.
According to House of Dre, the hometel’s interior design studio, “exposed concrete slabs, bricks and blocks bring an unfussy informality which is key to the room2 brand.” Reclaimed terracotta tiles and locally sourced plants inspired by nearby Kew Gardens greenhouses line the lobby. Walk further inside and you’ll notice warm lighting, wall-hung textiles and hanging plants adorn the restaurant and lounge area, and an antique Elm bar front inspired by the ancient Japanese yakisugi process taking up much of the space. Additional facilities at the hometel include a laundry room, a gym with Peloton equipment, and yoga mats made from cork.
The bathrooms, too, have been consciously designed in a scheme that feels aptly earthy. With a mutual focus on the environment, Kaldewei was, for many reasons, the perfect partner for the room2 bathroom design – all products are manufactured from 100 per cent recyclable steel enamel, and last year the company took another step towards becoming a carbon neutral business; when it started manufacturing with bluemint Steel, a balance-oriented CO2-reduced steel which will lessen emissions by 70 per cent.
While the F&B offering at room2 Chiswick isn’t the main event, neither has it been overlooked. An independently run café serves breakfast and locally sourced organic coffee during the day before turning into a cocktail bar at night specialising in organic wine.
Proving sustainability doesn’t mean compromising on style or comfort, room2 Chiswick raises the bar of environmental responsibility in the hospitality industry, and sets a new green standard for hotel design.
Real estate investor and developer Lamington Group has announced plans to open a new room2 hometel in Belfast in Spring 2023. room2 currently has three operational locations, in Southampton, Hammersmith and room2 Chiswick, which opened in December 2021 marking the world’s first fully whole life net zero hotel. room2 Belfast will offer 175 rooms spread across nine floors, a café/restaurant, coffee roastery, meeting and work spaces, gym, bar and lounge. Proving that net-zero hospitality is achievable on a scale larger than boutique, Lamington Group recently announced that it will open three new net zero room2 hometels in York, Glasgow and Manchester in 2024, 2025 and 2026 respectively.
Main image credit: Lamington Group