Images above: Vestibule, receptionist and ground floor lobby at the room2 Chiswick
A ‘hometel’ not a hotel
Room2 has opened in Windmill Rd. Described as a ‘hometel’ as opposed to a hotel, the suites and rooms have kitchens, there’s a laundry area guests can use and a gym as well as the more standard bar and communal area, the idea being that business travellers staying for an extended period will make it their home from home, more like an air b&b than a conventional hotel. To customise the room for their stay they offer guests a choice of a softer or firmer mattress.
Image above: Ground floor lobby at room2 hotel
It is what I would call a boutique hotel, where the designer has been let loose to create something stylish and original – the antithesis of a corporate hotel. I love what interior design manager Diana Darmina has done with it. She showed me round the day after it opened.
The Lamington Group, based in Hammersmith Grove, has only one two other developments like this – the room2 in Southampton which opened in 2017 (that’s not a typo by the way, it’s trendily written with a lower-case initial letter and without a space, as in all things social media), and the room2 ‘lite’, a smaller version in Hammersmith. They are currently developing the interior of the old Fulham Town Hall, a listed building, and plan to have 5,000 rooms on offer by 2030. Diana’s next project will be in Belfast.
Images above: Bar chairs by Fabrili; textured glass in the bar inspired by a similar design at William Morris’s Red House in Bexleyheath
In all their buildings she tells me, they take inspiration from the local area – in this case the Arts & Craft movement and William Morris, as he lived in Hammersmith. The Arts and Crafts movement promoted original designs by individual craftsmen and women instead of mass production, so Diana has chosen furnishings and furniture by smallish, relatively local makers.
The high chairs at the bar, the arm chairs around the coffee tables in the lobby, some of the the tables and the cushions on the sofa pictured above are by Fabrili, bespoke furniture makers with their workshop in west London.
The marbled tiles on the large table in the lobby and the splashbacks in the bathrooms are by the Granby Workshop in Liverpool. The irregular shaped mirrors with blonde wood surrounds, inspired by coastal forms, are by Kieran Letts, an artist and furniture maker based in south east London.
Images above: Seating in the lobby; Cushions and arm chairs by Fabrili
They are now looking for work by local artists to hang on the walls. Since Chiswick has a thriving artists’ community and is home to perhaps the oldest annual open studios event in existence, Artists At Home, they will be spoiled for choice.
READ ALSO: Visit the William Morris Society’s museum
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Image above: Ground floor lobby at home2 Chiswick
Fully net zero
Other than buying from artist / makers their other claim to fame is that they intend to be a net zero hotel – “the first hotel in the world to fully account for its entire carbon footprint, making it ‘whole life net zero’ “.
By ‘whole life’ they mean both the embodied and the operational carbon have, and will be, rebalanced throughout the building’s entire lifecycle:
‘All emissions associated with the hometel’s production and construction, materials used, operations, maintenance, refurbishment, and including the eventual clearance of the building will equal zero’.
They do this in two ways. They keep their carbon footprint as low as possible by using renewable energy and recycled materials. They reckon room2 Chiswick will operate at 89% less energy than a typical UK hotel. For the unavoidable emissions, they calculate the footprint and offset it by investing in a reforesting partner in Nicaragua.
Robert Godwin, who founded room2 with his brother Stuart, says:
“Responsibility falls on all of us to make strides towards building a more sustainable future and keep the Paris Agreement’s 1.5-degree target within reach. We hope other hotel companies will join us in this urgent fight against climate change.”
Image above: Interior design manager Diana Darmina in her bright pink marble papered lift featuring one of Kieran Letts’ mirrors; bedroom design
Renewable energy is maximised on site with solar and ground source heat pumps, which convert 100% of the energy needed for heating, cooling and hot water. Ultra-low flow pressure showers use less water with aerated water fixtures and ultra-energy efficient lighting and appliances are combined with occupancy sensors across the building.
Diana proudly showed me their touch screen display which goes into more detail of all of the ways in which they are promoting sustainability, which you can read more about here.
As we continued our tour she pointed out the bar, made from recycled elm wood planks and furnishing fabrics from the Yarn collective, who make environmentally friendly textiles woven with recycled cotton from the fashion industry that otherwise would have gone to landfill. The carpets in the corridors are made from recycled plastic fish nets. There’s also a compartmentalised recycling bin in every bedroom.
All very right on, but would I like to stay there? Yes I would. The rooms are fresh and light with exuberant patterns in small doses (though I’m not sure I’d like to get in that lift with a hangover!). Guests are able to choose from two colour schemes. Definitely uplifting, in contrast with the depressingly uniform drab of many business hotels.
They have 86 rooms available in four categories – There are three suites, then ‘lounge’, ‘studio’ or ‘snug’, all twin or double rooms, with a double room starting at £120 a night.
We are delighted to say they have joined The Chiswick Calendar’s Club Card scheme, offering Club Card holders rooms from £59 until 31 January when booking with promo code W4LOCAL.
Images above: Bedrooms at room2 Chiswick
Meeting the neighbours
The Lamington Group has owned the site since 2014 and they are looking to mend some fences with neighbours who have fought the development since its inception on the grounds of potential noise and disruption.
They are holding a series of open house social events for anyone who’d like to come in and have a look round. Some are for specific groups, such as their immediate neighbours in Windmill Rd and other local businesses. Others offer a general invitation to anyone who’d like to see what it’s like.
Consider yourself invited to an evening of drinks, nibbles and live entertainment on Thursday 9 & Friday, 10 December 2021 from 6pm to celebrate the opening of room2 Chiswick.
You can also pop in during the day to buy coffee and pastries in the lobby or in the evening for a drink, though the full food and drink offering will not be available until February 2022.
Image above: room2 hotel, 10 Windmill Rd
room2 hotel is a member of The Chiswick Calendar’s Club Card scheme. See their current offer to Club Card holders here: room2 Chiswick Club Card offer
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