Floating by the Royal Victoria Dock in London’s business district, Docklands, is the four star Good Hotel. It’s hard to miss it’s name in huge neon lights, especially at night as it shimmers against the dark construction and the dark sky.
Resembling a shipping container, with small windows and what looks like astroturf on the roof, you reach it by crossing a short bridge over the river. Inside it has a surprisingly calming industrial-chic design.
Dark ceilings with large pipes and dimmed lighting peeping out in between brightening up dark blue walls and light hued flooring make up the open plan “Living Room” on the ground floor. This expansive space has the reception, a library, a bar and a lounge area with both separate and communal tables for those that fancy company.
Yet the most attractive quality of this unusual hotel is the reason it exists at all. This hotel, which first popped up in Amsterdam before being floated to London, is a unique example of philanthropic endeavour that offers employment and free training to the long-term unemployed in the community. It’s an opportunity to make a fresh start in the hospitality industry.
After concluding a custom-made Good Training, participants are offered a three-month contract at Good Hotel, followed by professional mediation in the local hospitality market, Partners include Sunborn hotel located 5 minutes away.
Some like Christina, bag a job at the hotel. She had been on benefits which ended when she approached the hotel. She underwent 4 weeks training from dealing with awkward clients, running the reception and even holding a drinks tray. She is now the cocktail queen.
“There are regulars that as soon as they walk through the door, we have their drink ready”, said Christina.
The entire process provides the participants with a real opportunity to find a permanent job and re-integrate into the economy. To quote the hotel’s own mission statement, this is “Premium hospitality with a cause”.
All profits are invested into the endeavour rather than going to the shareholders. But get there soon as the hotel is destined to leave in around 4 years.
The hotel’s location is filled with millenials attending shows at the Excel exhibition centre or 02 centre.
The Good Hotel London has 148 rooms that were once the cells of a detention centre. The Dutch design retains a minimalist look. Some look out to the water and others over the street. They come in four different categories: standard, standard waterfront, deluxe waterfront and corner waterfront rooms. The waterfront rooms overlook the River Thames, city of London and Canary Wharf skyline.
Rooms sizes range between a very cosy 13 square metres and a very roomy 30 square metres. There’s no TV (you can watch one in the Living Room) but there is a DAB radio.
Food and drink
The Living Room is an open plan space with wall-to-wall windows which means you can gaze over the water while enjoying the delights of the coffee shop and bar. It’s a chilled vibe that wants to encourage community and conversation. Hang around with just an espresso or order a locally inspired dish, some designed for sharing and sourced locally. Food is served all day every day.
When the sun is out the rooftop terrace, garden and bar make for great daytime hanging and night time partying, thanks to their stunning view over the Thames.
There’s no room service but the reception is open 24 hours.
Is Wi-Fi available?
Yes, and its free throughout.
Value for money
Remembering that this is a London hotel, the rates start from £80 (plus VAT) per night in the Standard Room. That’s pretty good value.
It’s a couple of minutes walk from the Emirates cable car that transports you over the Thames to the O2 centre – itself an enjoyable experience with great views.
DLR train station is close as is Excel exhibition centre.