Cheap Hotels in London: Our Expert Picks of the Nicest Affordable Stays in London

Best for: An arts hub in an unexpected locale

What’s the story?

Driving an early wave of regeneration through the undeniably tatty North London area of ​​Wood Green, Green Rooms is something of a creative force. It was Nick Hartwright—founder of The Mill Co Project, a company that works with local councils to transform old buildings into arty social enterprises—who first saw the potential in this striking 1930s building, before proceeding to refurb and relaunch it as a hotel in 2016. Fortunately, its original features had been hidden and therefore protected during its long tenure as council offices, following its former incarnation as an upscale electric showroom. Now the dainty ceiling flowers, mosaic tiling, and other period details are all back on display, showcased against the backdrop of a clean, modernist makeover.

The bedrooms

It’s no surprise to discover that Kurt Bredenbeck, the man behind the first Hoxton hotel in Shoreditch, advised extremely closely on the design, right down to picking every piece of furniture. The look for each room is simple: varnished floorboards, sleek gray walls, clothes rail and wooden dresser. There are no TVs or minibars here, instead you’ll find statement pieces of art—the team is gradually building its own collection as each of the rising artists exhibited downstairs gifts them a few works.

On the menu

Gallery, hotel, community center… its other guises include DJ bar and restaurant, where the in-house chef alternates every few months, offered a profit-share set-up, industry advice (initially from Johnny Smith, of the Michelin- starred Clove Club in Shoreditch) and a taster of what it’s really like to run a kitchen business. On our 2019 visit, fantastic Japanese food was being served by Oita, a pop-up run by Fan Yi—an acupuncturist by day, now chef and restaurateur by night—while previous cooking had included Nigerian and Caribbean.

What we love

Despite its name, your experience is never going to be one-tone. On a Friday-night visit we witnessed nervous actors pacing outside audition rooms on the lower-ground floor, staying in the affordable dorm rooms; a soul and Balearic house DJ in the community garden out back, gearing up to do a set in the lounge/lobby; a tattooed bride in a blue prom dress giving it some on the dance floor in the high-ceilinged top-floor space; and locals getting merry in the restaurant during a work leaving do, beside an artist who’d popped over from Wales for the hanging of her first ever exhibition.

It’s an artist and creative hub first, hotel second—discount rates are offered to those in the arts, and the Turner Margate has been over on a recce too, looking for inspiration for its own rumored hotel venture. —Becky Lucas

Address: Green Rooms, 13-27 Station Road, Wood Green, London, N22
Doubles from: $68 for those in the arts industry

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