By Katie Wilson
Look for the diamond-shaped building off Old Street’s busy roundabout and you’ll arrive at Montcalm East.
Formerly known as M by Montcalm, this five-star hotel was given a revamp in 2021 and couldn’t get more east London cool if it tried.
Its unique architecture is based on the optical illusions of Tate Modern artist Bridget Riley. In fact, every inch of the hotel is inspired by art.
The bar is somewhere you immediately want to sit in. The light tunnel which leads you to reception is an Instagrammer’s dream. And did we mention they have a subterranean spa?
We checked into one of Montcalm East’s Sky High rooms for a view over London we’ve never seen before.
When we arrived at Montcalm East it was tipping down with rain, so anywhere to step out of the blustery weather was most welcome.
Within seconds we had forgotten all about it as we were too busy ordering a gin and tonic from the hotel’s chic bar, Moor & Mead, which immediately greets you as you walk in.
Set on City Road between Shoreditch and King’s Cross, the design-led hotel is an unexpected sanctuary from the hustle and bustle outside.
It felt like we had stumbled across a secret place no one else knew about, and before we even saw our room we were making mental notes to come back for drinks.
STYLE AND INTERIORS
Everything about Montcalm East is Shoreditch cool, and there is a big focus on art and photography here.
Describing itself as part hotel, part creative hub, the decor is an ode to the east London neighbourhood it calls home. Expect colour pops juxtaposed against black and white, geometric shapes, and art adorning every wall.
Upstairs in the mezzanine there are photos of rock ‘n’ roll stars, such as John Lennon and Yoko Ono, David Bowie, Blondie and Amy Winehouse.
But by far our favourite design feature has to be the fairy-lit light tunnel you walk through on the way to the reception.
They also have a Photo Lab upstairs where guests can get polaroid pictures printed from their phones, which is a cool souvenir to take home.
Montcalm East has 288 rooms, most of which boast floor-to-ceiling windows offering skyline views over the city.
All come with rainfall showers, underfloor heating, Nespresso machines, free still and sparkling water – if you run out, fill up from the water taps in the hallway – and a minibar stocked with East End treats.
We liked the in-room slippers which said ‘imperfectly perfect’ on, and if you make the mistake of forgetting your toothbrush there is a bamboo dental kit in the bathroom.
Guests can choose from Anything-But-Standard or Feeling Superior rooms, but if you want the best in the house book a Sky High which are on the 16th and 17th floors.
Photos can’t capture the epic views over the city at night. We could spot the illuminated London Eye from our room.
It’s fun to just look down and watch the world go by. In the morning, stay in bed a bit longer and watch the city vistas as you sip coffee, as check out is not until 12pm.
FOOD AND DRINK
After admiring the sky high views from our room, it was back down to the hotel’s bar and restaurant, Moor & Mead, for dinner.
We started off the night with cocktails in the upstairs bar area, which we were pleasantly surprised to find were only £10 (cheap for London). We tried the Buena Vista and an Amaretto Sour, both of which were spot on.
Then it was through to the main restaurant for dinner, a mix of banquette seating on one side and chic tables on the other.
For starters we devoured the Truffled Hummus with Flatbread and Burrata with Dried Tomatoes and Olive Crumb. This was followed by the Whipped Goats Cheese Gnocchi and Goats Cheese Pizza.
Food here is good, but it’s meant to be casual. It’s also great value for the capital with sourdough pizzas starting from just £5, going up to £24.50 for a Rib Eye Steak and £28 for a Whole Herb Roast Chicken. Both include the price of fries.
Breakfast is served in the same setting and is part self-serve. The waiters take your coffee order while you help yourself to the delicious pastries, fruit, cereals and juice. Cooked breakfasts are also on offer, just tell the chef how you like your eggs.
We were already impressed with the hotel, but downstairs you’ll find a subterranean paradise.
Not only does the award-winning Bokeh Spa smell amazing, it has a swimming pool (very important in what we class as a spa), jacuzzi, sauna and steam room. Everything looks shiny and new and there are plenty of places around the pool or in the Chill Room to relax, have a nap or read a book.
Signature treatments include the Soul Retreat (from £120 for 50 minutes). This is a foot ritual followed by a massage targeting the back, neck, shoulders and scalp.
CBD massages are also on offer here. We were impressed when we tried the OTO Amplified Signature Experience, a CBD oil full body massage which uses a handcrafted bamboo roller designed to revitalise and awaken the body and mind.
If you can’t decide what to go for there is an option to choose your treatment on the day, which is rare for a spa.
Gel manis and pedis, mud treatments and LED and champagne & truffle facials are also available. Non-guests are welcome to book a treatment and get complimentary use of the spa when they visit.
Anyone wanting to work from the hotel can do so for just £30 a day. Their Eat, Play, Work package includes breakfast, a one-course lunch, unlimited still and sparkling water and unlimited tea and coffee. There is also access to meeting rooms if you book ahead.
We haven’t stopped telling people about the hotel or the wow factor spa since we left. Montcalm East is the urban sanctuary we didn’t know we needed.
Rooms start from £199 a night, including breakfast
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