Fish-eyed Views of London from a West End apartment
Last November I popped down to London from the North, to attend WTM 2013 at the ExCeL. With lots of work to do before and during the trade show, and evening events filling up the rest of the time, I was in no mood for a shared dorm in a hostel. I teamed up with a few friends and bloggers to share a City Marque apartment in central London and managed to capture a few London landscape photos with my new fish-eye lens.
As a traveller first and a photographer second, there is nothing I love more than a great panorama. Their Oxford House flats in the West End did not disappoint. Check out the view.
This photograph of the London skyline down to its streets is from the wrap-around balcony of the Penthouse apartment. It’s the tallest building in the neighbourhood apart from the nearby BT Tower, with very little others as high. So our views from the eighth and ninth floors gave us a great sense of space.
Glued to the screen. Who doesn’t love a view…
The cityscape was so wonderfully distracting, I completely forgot to take better internal shots, but they have plenty on the site. Instead, I took some cracking shots of my co-habitants, and more pictures around Goodge Street, both street level and from that gorgeous balcony…
I shared with this lovely lot! My flatmates for the weekend in the living room and kitchen of a ‘Standard’ apartment.
Our balcony of dreams around the Penthouse.
About the apartment
Location: We made our arrangements so last-minute that we actually stayed in three apartments at one of City Marque’s locations over the course of four nights. And the first thing I have to say is wow, what a location! If you like having food options on your doorstep, you are very much spoilt for choice here, with great cafes right next to the building, and the rich picking’s on Charlotte Street only a 5-minute walk away.
The BT Tower above and London spreading in all directions on a clear November evening.
It’s a minute’s walk from Goodge Street tube stop on the Northern line, and you can also see how close it is to Charlotte street (highlighted in blue) on the map. City Marque actually recommend taking a bus northwards (also from Goodge Street) to get great views of North London. They have their own guide to the West End and other areas, which are full of London sightseeing tips too.
Facilities: Having stayed in a Standard, Executive and Penthouse apartment, I can say the flats are all very similar spec and well turned out. The Executive apartment had one of two bedrooms en suite, the Penthouse has both rooms ensuite and is the only type with a balcony (in this building anyway). All the apartments are listed as sleeping five people, across two double rooms and a sofa bed.
This is what part of my Saturday night looked like before WTM-week kicked off; foregoing a party to enjoy a quiet night working in the penthouse, and eating a delicious pizza from Icco (guess what street again) on the sofa before unfolding it into my bed later.
I’m unsure why the 2-bed flats aren’t listed as sleeping six, because the sofabeds are bigger than the doubles! Maybe it is an assumption that couples won’t want to sleep in the shared living space, but most people wouldn’t mind. If you were a big group of mates who were quite happy to cuddle, I reckon you’d have no problem sleeping nine people here for the weekend.
Sophie was less keen to invite another four people over to stay…
Pricing: The cost of the flats vary between dates, location and type of apartment. Generally speaking, 2-bed apartments are between £180 and £250 per night, so in a similar price range to a mid-range hotel for two with the added bonus of a kitchen, or for four people upwards it’s much more budget friendly. Midweek prices can be cheaper than the weekends so if your travel dates are flexible then it will work in your favour. However our midweek Standard apartment cost £240pn and the Penthouse on Saturday night was £229pn. Go figure. They are also showing around 11% discounts to the total price when you book more than 3 nights.
You can’t visit London without taking in some street art by Banksy, like this one spotted between the apartment and Charlotte Street, with intriguing Unicef artwork next to it.
What Else? The apartments have free wifi which was perfect for doing some work. The building is unmanned (other than cleaning and maintenance staff) so you use a simple code system to enter and retrieve your keys. They have a 24-hr helpline if you need any assistance. I neglected to take more photos but the bathrooms were nice (very nice in the Exec and Penthouse) and the kitchens included some basics for cooking and making tea/coffee. The electric radiators are fiddly but the flats were warm. I would definitely pay to stay again – and I’d usually explore other locations first but I’ve fallen a bit in love with this area already!
If you’re in the area, remember to try a pizza from Icco. Extremely well-priced and like the sign says; Solo Per Conoscenti – ‘only for those in the know’. I must be very knowledgeable because I went three times that week. I did eat at a variety of other places that will appear on the blog in future too.
I leave you with the four fine faces of my fabulously faceted friends, and links to their reviews if you want to read more about our weekend digs.
Terrill, who’s not a blogger but is now known throughout London as ‘the lady with Google Glass’. She might not forgive me for posting this picture, but I like it.
Cherie, best friend and dragger-round-the-world of Terrill, is a travel blogger over at Flight of the Deaf Travel Bee.
Completing this ‘Glass’ act, it’s me, sporting the most talked about wearable technology to date. It might be the smallest computer-like device on the market, but can they find a way to stop it pushing my ears out?
If you have your own favourite places to stay in London when you visit the capital, leave a comment with details below so I can consider including it in my London accommodation round-up to be published next month. Thanks!
Room for one last photo? Oh, go on then! Another great shot of Cherie while we were drinking-in the view.
City Marque sponsored our stay in their apartments in exchange for a review of the accommodation. As one of the fundamental rules of blogging, I keep the freedom to say what I like about them and anybody else I work with (as explained in my No-Bias Guarantee). All photographs are copyright Peter Parkorr 2014 and shouldn’t be used without permission.