The Good Hotel brings a new message to hospitality while keeping their eye on the essentials, offering a modern street style with a calm night’s sleep, good food and helpful staff. Depending on when you book it can be a real bargain and with a reasonably priced car park around the corner and a train station even nearer it’s a wise choice in an expensive London.
Do you fancy stepping into an über cool floating hotel moments from London’s nightlife with a large river view suite? I thought you would. You need look no further than London’s very own Good Hotel. If the concept of refitting a prison ship and converting it into a hotel was not novel enough then floating it over from Holland surely is. Moored in the Victoria Dock in between the London Excel Centre and the Emirates Cable Car might also sound like fiction it is actually fact.
The Good Hotel is good in many ways. It has a very sure way about itself, it seems to have been ‘afloat’ for years but it’s actually only a few months. They also help long term unemployed locals to re-integrate into the economy by offering a hospitality training programme that provides full-time work involving on the job training and valuable experience in the workplace. They source their restaurant ingredients and workforce locally and only deal with companies that offer a healthy work environment and fair salaries.
Make no mistake about this place, it is very stylish, every handle, towel rail and light fitting is bang on trend. The corner room (or suite as they call it) is vast. Made more so by the absence of anything unnecessary. For example, none of the rooms have a TV just a small writing desk and bookcase the usual wardrobe is replaced by some coat hangers artistically placed on one wall. The bathroom in our suite was also very generous in size and had two sinks, loo and large shower. Tones are neutral and the overall effect is calming. They would make a great place to write and lose one’s self in thought. There is a ‘communal’ TV, on the ground floor that anybody is welcome to watch when they like.
Food here is communal too. The restaurant offers a ‘small plates’ tapas approach with the same menu running all day (after breakfast, which is epic) up until 9pm. You find somewhere to sit and a server will take your order. There are some small tables for two or four but it’s mainly long benches so you can be sociable if you like.
The meal was straightforward, for example potatoes and egg was just that, small new potatoes and a fried egg. Smoothies and other soft drinks are all tip top as was the small but perfectly formed wine list. We both went for burgers which tasted good and had all the prerequisites I look for; cheese, bacon and good chunky chips. It also came with smashed avocado on the side, which also made an appearance at breakfast. It seems this is a nod to another one of their interests, a charity in Guatemala. Every time you book a room £5 goes to helping children via their NGO partner Niños de Guatemala.
So this is a hotel like no other in London that I’ve tried. It floats, has a very buzzy vibe with many creatives making it their choice to spend a night or two. With polished concrete floors modernist furniture and very helpful staff it’s no wonder it’s making a stir. A cool place to hang for sure but you might just get yourself a really good night’s sleep too in the restful embrace of this worthy cause. One final point, the rooms don’t feel like cells (although they do have metal doors) and in the summer there is a roof terrace with views across the water to the large dormant grey cranes that distinguish the landscape of The Docklands.
Good Hotel, Western Gateway, Royal Victoria Dock, London, E16 1FA, UK
Tel: +44 (0)203 637 7401
The hotel is moored in the Royal Victoria Dock in between the London Excel Centre and the Emirates Cable Car with the closest Station being DLR’s Royal Victoria station or North Greenwich on the Jubilee line. It is also very close to London City Airport. You can park for a flat rate of £15 per 24 hours at ExCel if driving. The Restaurant is open until 9:00pm and the Bar until midnight.
Type of Hotel: Floating Hotel, Bar & Restaurant in London’s Docklands
Number Rooms: 148 rooms and 8 suites
Get a suite if you can, plenty of room and you’re on a corner of the boat. Ask for a water view.
Price Band: Medium
Reviewer’s Rating: 7/10
Neil Hennessy-Vass is a widely-published globetrotting food and travel writer and photographer and one of our regular writers and contributing editor.
Photographs by Neil Hennessy-Vass