Wombat’s Hostel – outstanding new luxury hostel in London’s East End

    150 150 Daniel Fountain
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    Andrew Mulroy Architects have recently completed Wombat’s – a popular new luxury backpackers’ hostel on the edge of the City of London. Wombat’s is a world away from the stereotypical hostel environment, and offers facilities more akin to a stylish contemporary budget hotel. Hostel prices however mean that Wombat’s offers amazing value for money to visitors right in the heart of London.The building began life in the 19th century as a seaman’s mission, offering hospitality to sailors from around the globe – including author Joseph Conrad – during the heyday of London’s docks. More recently it was used as a shelter for homeless people and had become extremely run down. Andrew Mulroy Architects’ refurbishment continues the tradition of hospitality on the site with a contemporary new identity and facilities.

    The arrival area is a large and welcoming area where guests are encouraged to linger, relax and make new friends. Scattered loose furniture and timber day beds are arranged beneath suspended bookcases, creating a bright and informal space. A key feature of the project is a large luxury vaulted cellar housing a stylish café and bar, where restored and cleaned brick vaults provide a rich textured backdrop. Imaginatively designed lighting, and bespoke and vintage furniture create a warm and contemporary social space alongside a refurbished courtyard.

    The hostel contains 108 bright and spacious bedrooms, with a range of room sizes from 2-bed to 8-bed rooms to suit a wide range of groups, and all offering impressive facilities. All have ensuite bathrooms and separate ensuite toilets, alongside generously sized storage lockers and USB outlets with every bed. Timber floors and a strong decorative scheme are offset with simple yet smart timber furniture – including ‘proper’ beds in the double bedrooms. The ninth floor – which previously only housed a water tank – is now a comfortable lounge with impressive views over London. Although few period features have survived, these have been retained and restored including Victorian plasterwork and mid-century architectural features such as the elegant staircase in the building’s 1950s extension.

    The response from guests has been outstanding, with traveller reviews including the following:

    ‘Without a doubt the nicest hostel I’ve stayed in London and probably in Europe.”

    ‘This place is more like a hotel. It was one of the best hostels we stayed in during our journey through Europe. Our view from the 8th floor tower room is a view of east London that most people would pay hundreds of dollars for.”

    “This is definitely the hostel to be at.”

    (More images on page two…)

    Daniel Fountain / 25.03.2015

    Editor, Hotel Designs


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