We love to travel, and a stay at a good hotel is always a treat but it’s hard to find that home-from-home feeling. We long for the flexibility of our own kitchen and a sense that we have our own front door. There is a solution for this dilemma, in the UK at least. You can have your very own apartment which still has the amenity of a hotel but with choices.
Apple Apartments has six properties across the UK and is continuing to grow nationally as well as internationally. They have staff who recognise the needs of their international clients and so they speak languages including Spanish, French, Italian, German, Mandarin Chinese, Bulgarian, Hungarian, and Romanian. They have recently been awarded a 5-star rating for Apple Apartments Aberdeen by the Scottish Tourism Board, the only serviced apartments provider in the area to receive such an accolade.
One of Apple’s London apartment complexes is on the Strand in the centre of the city and that neighbourhood has a long history. The name Strand was first recorded in 1002 as Strondway. It is the Old English word meaning shore. It referred to the bank of the once much wider River Thames, before the construction of the Victoria Embankment which runs parallel to the road.
The Strand was the very centre of Victorian theatreland and nocturnal entertainment of every kind. But redevelopment of the East Strand and the construction of the Aldwych and Kingsway roads in the 1890s and early years of the 20th century finished many theatres.
The Strand was rebuilt and it became a sought-after location, with many writers and philosophers taking up residence. Charles Dickens and William Makepeace Thackeray were just two of them. These days the Strand is peppered with High Commissions and HQs. Australia House, Coutts – the bankers to nobility, the Royal Courts of Justice and Zimbabwe House are all here, along with Simpson’s-in-the-Strand which has been around since 1828 and Twinings’ tea room which goes even further back to 1706.
Not short on technology
The Apple apartments are in the famous Marconi House, previously home to the original BBC radio studios. It’s from here that the BBC made its first radio broadcast in November 1922, using a transmitter actually built by Marconi.
The façade of the original building remains but gone are the dusty offices. The reception area is a vision of dark marble. The corridors are wide and each door has bespoke illumination. Crisp and smart design and contemporary.
These apartments offer open-plan living with everything for a short or long stay. The kitchen is small but is equipped with high-end appliances and a dishwasher. You might not want to cook your Christmas dinner here but it’s more than adequate for simple pasta and rice dishes and there is a dining area to tempt one into staying home for the evening. There are bookshelves for those who might be here for a while, inviting the guest to customize the accommodation with their own possessions.
This apartment is not short on technology for work and play. The living room has a plasma television of a size appropriate for a small cinema. There is a touch pad control system with integrated Airplay, mood lighting and climate control. There is an iPod dock, Nexus Tablet device with browsing and integrated touch pad control system, and WiFi. This is perhaps better than a home from home.
Immersion in London city life
The bathroom has an AquaVision shower television for morning stock market news and there is a 24-hour concierge. Round-the-clock room service is provided by ME Hotel for those who want to forego the pleasures of self-catering, and daily apartment servicing is included. Complimentary apples are a whimsical and healthy addition. The accommodation that we reviewed was a single-bedroom apartment. The soft furnishings are neutral and there is ample closet and drawer space and a washing machine discreetly tucked away. One unpacks with pleasure and the expectation of immersion in London city life flowing just outside the front door, with an Apple apartment as a handy bolt-hole.
The Apple apartments at the Strand are bijou and comfortable. The location is superb, being so near bus routes and Underground stations and a non-ending stream of black cabs. Nearby attractions include Covent Garden with its numerous restaurants, The Royal Opera House, Fleet Street, Trafalgar Square, St. Paul’s Cathedral, The National Gallery, The National Portrait Gallery and the River Thames. This is an ideal business and tourist nest.
Apple Apartments – The Strand
Hotel review by Chrissie Walker © 2018