Stay at the exclusive Shoreditch Rooms

With the London 2012 Olympics just months away, it’s high time ticket holders secured a bed close to the action. From designer city stays in London and Manchester to country park camping with the family, Ruth-Ellen Davis picks out winning Olympic lodgings, whatever the budget.


Hip East London is at the fore of London’s Olympic mission thanks to the contemporary multi-venue Olympic Park that's breathed new life into a 2.5sq km stretch (1.5 sq mile) of barren wasteland. Its shiny modern venues are hosting many popular events, and efficient new transport links have made the site easily accessible to visitors.

40 winks 25040 Winks provides an intimate East London base
40 Winks

A couple of tube stops from the Olympic Park along the Central Line (the red one) is Bethnal Green – a bustling cultural melting pot with strong Bangladeshi, Caribbean and African influences that merge with the vintage shops and round-the-clock nightlife of chic Shoreditch.

Much of the accommodation here is high end and intensely style conscious; none more so than the exclusive Shoreditch Rooms, a renovated warehouse kitted out with retro furnishings. This trendy establishment also offers guests privileged access to the glossy pool and bar facilities of its famous private members club, Shoreditch House.

Sitting pretty inside a fine Edwardian building, Bethnal Green’s Town Hall Hotel and Apartments houses a selection of dazzling contemporary suites for those with sufficient budget. While a moment’s walk from Stepney Green tube station is boutique bed and breakfast 40 Winks, which exhibits shabby chic at its most fabulous and intimate, with two beautifully styled rooms.


Town hall and apartments 250Modern luxury meets Edwardian elegance at Town Hall and Apartments
Town Hall Hotel and Apartments

London’s preened Docklands area is also anticipating its fair share of Olympic attention, with ExCel London and the North Greenwich Arena (more commonly known as The O2 Arena) both holding events – plus up the road, the Royal Artillery Barracks is home to the shooting.

The area is certainly not short of businessman-luring chain hotels, but why not skip generic lodgings and try Number 16 bed and breakfast in Greenwich? This cosy bolthole offers three comfortable rooms – two doubles and one single – a scrumptious English breakfast and notably welcoming owners.

For a real taste of Southeast London hospitality, a stay in a pub should do the trick. The Mitre Hotel, a Grade II-listed coaching inn, provides a clean and shiny base in Greenwich. Traditional British dishes dominate the menu in the on-site bar, and its twin beer gardens offer plenty of space in which to enjoy some traditional British ale in the sunshine.


Haymarket Hotel 250Funky furnishings abound at the Haymarket Hotel
Firmdale Hotels

Over in West London – where ceremonial Horse Guards Parade is hosting the beach volleyball and The Mall is set to serve as the track for cyclists, walkers and marathon runners – there is timeless high-end accommodation a plenty.

On a refreshingly quiet street, the Haymarket Hotel offers a stately stay with light and airy furnishings adorning the 50 suites and bedrooms, and a cracking afternoon tea. And amid the luxurious dwellings on prestigious Park Lane, Metropolitan London is a wonderfully contemporary escape, its reputation bolstered further by its Michelin-starred Japanese-Peruvian restaurant Nobu – the lobster ceviche is a particular highlight.

Sports fans in busy Earls Court can scurry for luxurious respite at The Rockwell – a classic townhouse with no nonsense elegance – or, moving further toward Shepherd’s Bush, there’s K West Hotel & Spa: a funky and modern city hotel with a fabulous spa and popular eatery. Try the fish and chips with minted peas for a delightful version of the iconic British dish.


North London’s world-renowned Lord’s Cricket Ground is swapping bats for bows as it welcomes Olympic archery competitors. Danubius Hotel Regent’s Park, a 4-star establishment a stone’s throw from Lord’s, with its mod cons, light rooms and efficient service, is a good option here.

K West 250Relax after sampling hearty British fare at K West Hotel & Spa
K West

A pleasant alternative to hotels in Wembley for those with tickets for rhythmic gymnastics and badminton (at Wembley Arena), or football (at Wembley Stadium), is to stay a few stops along the Bakerloo tube line in pretty Maida Vale. An attractive self-catering choice here is Europa House, while The Colonnade is a charming boutique base in Little Venice.


Leafy Wimbledon is hardly a stranger to global sporting events. For the Olympics it is, of course, hosting the tennis. Oriental, classical and contemporary furnishings fill the Wimbledon Hotel, a pleasant base near all the tennis action and a 15-minute stroll to the station, which has great links into Central London.


If it’s a real London home from home you’re after, there are several agencies that organise homestays with Londoners looking to share their city pads during the Olympics. These include The London Bed & Breakfast Agency and Happy Homes.


Jesmond Dene 250Secure a room at Newcastle's stately Jesmond Dene House
Jesmond Dene

Spectators cheering on the water sports events at Eton Dorney in Berkshire have a bevy of countryside treats to hand, such as 4-star Burnham Beeches Hotel, complete with tennis courts and grassy grounds.

Mountain bike aficionados heading to Hadleigh Farm in Essex can pick from plenty of bed and breakfast options throughout the area, while luxury retreats are easy to come by too – such as the Stoke by Nayland Hotel, Golf and Spa.

If you’re heading to the sailing events at Weymouth and Portland, two reliable options include the nearby The Heights Hotel and Hotel Aqua.

A great alternative near the Lee Valley White Water Centre, home to the canoe slalom, is to opt for fun and affordable camping. The crashing white water is just three miles from Lee Valley Park campsite’s woodland cabins, two-person huts, tent fields and caravan and motorhome service points. The site is also less than 40 minutes from central London.

Hotel Indigo 250Football fans can stay at Glasgow's stylish Hotel Indigo
Hotel Indigo

Olympic football is scattered far and wide across the United Kingdom. Up near Glasgow’s Hampden Park in Scotland, take a break from the boisterous crowds with the stylish opulence of Hotel Indigo. In Wales, within easy reach of the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, is city centre haunt, the Royal Hotel Cardiff.

Back in England, catching the action at Manchester United’s Old Trafford is a great excuse for trying out the plush luxuries of Velvet, while in Coventry, the De Vere @ The Ricoh Arena provides exceptionally easy access to the stadium. And, if you’re heading to St James’ Park in Newcastle, a splendidly civilised stay awaits at Jesmond Dene House.

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