In the last five years, a lot of small boroughs just north of
London’s infamous West End have become hot spots for nightlife.
Mega-clubs, like Fabric, sprouted up in the darkened lanes
surrounding Old Street, Clerkenwell and Shoreditch. And now, bars
like the Spit in Spittlefields Market and new restaurants in Hoxton
Square are bustling with hipsters. Old Street is full of clubs like
Plastic People, Mother Bar and 333, and many young travelers hip to
London’s nightlife may be more interested in staying in these
upbeat neighborhoods than stuffy Kensington or eclectic Notting
On a recent visit to London, my fiance and I stayed in the area
for just this reason. We wanted to stay in a nice hotel in London,
but after visiting several times, we wanted to stay farther from
tourist attractions in order to experience a more authentic side of
At the Zetter in the heart of Clerkenwell, we found what was
once a five-story Victorian warehouse now transformed into a
59-room boutique hotel between the touristy West End and the busy
The hotel, opened in March of 2004, features a dramatic
five-story atrium, a modern Italian restaurant, seven rooftop
studios and two meeting rooms.
Located on St. Johns square, the fashionable property is steps
from popular clubs and pubs. So, for younger clients who desire to
see more than Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey, the Zetter
is a perfect alternative. London’s convention center and the
Islington Business Centre are a short taxi ride away.
Rooms are fashionably appointed. We stayed in a studio decorated
with a combination of vintage 1970s. Our room had a shag rug and
modern design, and the bathroom was outfitted with a rain-shower
head and heated panels to keep towels warm.
The restaurant and bar with sophisticated decor, giant sash
windows and natural lighting was designed to appeal to both locals
and visitors. Friendly bartenders aptly make creative cocktails and
the cuisine is modern Italian fare.
Unfortunately, with flights from the West Coast averaging 10-11
hours and a time difference of eight hours, jet lag can be a bit of
a drag. Since we stayed at the Zetter on our first night in the
city, we were tired and decided to try their in-room dining,
instead of the restaurant. Room-service menus are found on an
interactive TV, and in addition to their regular menu, there is an
all-night menu serving beans on toast and peanut butter and banana
sandwiches, as well as a selection of teas perfect for putting
weary travelers to sleep.
There is also 24-hour wireless Internet access and cable TV,
handy for jet-lagged travelers awake and looking for something to
do at 4 a.m. Other amenities, like a one-of-a-kind sleep system
with separate temperature controls for each side of the bed are
practical in London’s cold climate. Our studio also had a sitting
area, workspace and a balcony with a view of the city.
Unfortunately, we had to leave the next morning, but it was nice
to find a place to come back to that offers all the comforts of
86-88 Clerkenwell Rd.
London EC1 8SL
Rates start at $190 on weekends to $230 weekdays.
Commission: 10 percent