London’s offbeat Olympic stays
The large wooden beams in the Arundel Square apartment recall the building’s days as an Anglican church. (OneFineStay)
Traditional London hotels may be booking up quickly in anticipation of this summer’s Olympic Games, but a handful rooms with a decidedly different flavour still have late-July and August availability through home-booking sites like OneFineStay and Airbnb.
Like the city’s hotels, most of these properties are demanding a rather high price tag, but each has an odd architectural past or out-of-the-ordinary furnishings to make for a memorable night’s rest, even after the Olympic torch goes out.
If it was not for the grand ceiling, the Arundel Square apartment inside of St Clements might look like any other modern dwelling. But the large wooden beams in the fourth floor apartment still recall the building’s days as an Anglican church before it was turned into luxury apartments. The two-bedroom space has a wide, open loft and rents for £406 a night during the games.
For people who want to party on after the last medal is awarded, Russell Gardens Mews in the Holland Park neighbourhood should fit the bill. The four-bedroom house features not only a dance floor with an LED display, but a full-blown DJ booth as well (the owner was a former DJ himself). Designed by Hogarth Architects of London, the space also includes a cinema room, a spa bath and a sauna (both with programmable lighting), and rents for £758 a night.
Former water tower
It takes only six flights of stairs to reach these sky-high rooms in North Kensington. An old water tower, seven meters in diameter, now houses three one-bedroom apartments for rent, all of which have spectacular views, each for £134 a night.
A two-storey houseboat that sits between the Westminster and Chelsea bridges has floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Thames. A swimming pool on the pier where the boat docks also has views of the river. One of the double rooms on the upper floor is available for just £102 a night (minimum of three nights), but the whole two-bedroom space and open living area is available on request.
House of curiosities
Described as “a place where art meets artifice”, every cranny within King Street in Covent Garden seems packed with some sort of oddity. Renaissance tapestries, ancient weapons, Greek sculptures and a 19th-century grand piano are just some of the knick-knacks within the one-bedroom living space, which starts at £406 a night.