Jet Zet

Stepping inside one of London’s new urban inns

By: Janeen Christoff

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 Hill.

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 London.

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 city.

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 home.


The Zetter
86-88 Clerkenwell Rd.
London EC1 8SL


Rates start at $190 on weekends to $230 weekdays.

Commission: 10 percent