Hotel review: The Gantry, London

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The Gantry, a Curio Collection by Hilton hotel, in Stratford, London, recently celebrated its first birthday. We at Vada were invited to the celebrations and used it as an excuse to stay a night. The hotel provided the accommodation.

The Gantry

The Gantry brands itself as an urban resort hotel. It’s located right across the street from Stratford International station (train and DLR), so is perfectly location for those looking for a shopping weekend in Stratford or to more easily explore east London. Additionally, there is a regular fast train that takes 7 minutes into St. Pancras station, so is within reach of the city centre.

As a ‘curio collection’ hotel, this means The Gantry is actually part of the Hilton hotel group, where the ‘curio’ offers remarkable hotels with one-of-a-kind stories to share. What this means in reality is fewer brand standards (i.e. more individuality) but overall a strong 4-star hotel with a much more independent feel that that of a chain.

To celebrate its first birthday party, The Gantry organised a party, hence our visit, which meant the entire mezzanine level (both inside and out) was taken over to eat, drink and be merry. With hundreds of guests, pop-up food stands, a gin bar and DJ Fat Tony. More on all of that later.

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Accommodation

We arrived about 5pm to check-in and get some work done before heading down to the party. On arrival our Hilton Honors Diamond (top tier) status was recognised, which includes a room upgrade, availability-dependent. We got upgraded room 1510, a Deluxe Twin room (from an entry level Gantry room) on the fifteenth floor.

Being a new hotel, the room felt very fresh, with little-to-no wear and tear. The interior brings a touch of industrial heritage from what the Stratford area used to be like, combined with chic lighting and finishes. We love the floor-to-ceiling windows, with a south-facing view. The mattress and bedding was very comfortable, and there are plenty of power sockets by the bed (both plug and USB) and more scattered around the room.

A cut-out nook between bedroom and bathroom is the space for the mini bar area, with an increasingly essential Nespresso machine. In the set of drawers below this, the bottom one offers a pull-out fridge, and the middle one houses the in-room safe. This pull out design means guests can easily see into it and check nothing is missing; whereas usually the safe is found in the back of a wardrobe where this isn’t much lighting and one is (well we are) left groping around to make sure none of our important items are left behind.

The design theme continues into the bathroom with a strong shower and push on-off buttons for both an overhead and handheld shower head . The shower height was more than enough for any our 6’1” and there was floor space for at least two – we checked 🙂

We have two minor observations about the accommodation. One being the small freestanding wardrobe in one corner of the room, it just looked like an afterthought – a better solution would be a built-in unit. The other was the lack of ability to change water pressure in the shower. Sometimes there’s a need to have a lower pressure on the handheld shower, but there are only off or full pressure options.

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Food and drink

During this stay, our main exposure to food and drink was at the hotel’s birthday party, which whilst not representative of a typical stay, did showcase several things:

Union Social – the main dining space found on the mezzanine level – this is where guests will normally eat all meals at the hotel. There is plenty of space and both indoor and outdoor dining, along with a fire pit on the terrace.

The in-house chef – not ignored during a party, The Gantry’s in-house chef cooked up some delicious risotto turned in a parmesan wheel before being served up. This fun and playful presentation of food is what we expect diners will also enjoy when they visit.

The collaborations – whilst the various pop-ups were only there one night, this is the not the first time that The Gantry has collaborated since opening. Earlier this year they launched a gin-collaboration with Inverroche (read our earlier review) – so we expect more to exciting food and drink events appearing soon at Union Social.

Because of the party, which went on until the early hours, breakfast was moved from Union Social to the ground floor the next morning. This did impact the offering, which was a slightly paired down buffet entirely self-service. There were both hot and cold options, and a coffee station, where guests could pick up a pot of coffee. But there were no à la carte options (which we understand there usually are when in the usual Union Social location), no table service, and overall no wow factor.

Service

During the party, bar staff were friendly and helpful, ensuring our glasses of bubbles were topped up, and behind the bar they worked efficiently to make sure guests drinks orders were turned around as quickly as possible.
At check-in and check-out reception staff were friendly, welcoming and very efficient. As we previously mentioned, our Hilton loyalty status was recognised.

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There is also a 24-hour gym, though we didn’t have time to use this.

Overall thoughts

Overall we really enjoyed our stay at The Gantry. The hotel has a strong hard product with well designed rooms (only a couple of minor foibles), and a fun vibe – even reflected in the artwork on corridors. This fun atmosphere extends into the public spaces, which are set up to facilitate social gatherings. The service was friendly, welcoming and efficient.

The only downside on our visit was the breakfast service, though we hope that was out of character, as not served in its usual location. We’ve found prices from £156 for advance purchase rates for Hilton Honors members (the Hilton loyalty scheme, which is free to sign up to). For a weekend stay, The Gantry offers a strong value option for such a well-connected solid 4-star hotel.

The Gantry is located at 40 Celebration Avenue, Stratford, London, E20 1DB

For more information on the hotel, or to book a room or table at Union Social restaurant, visit the Hilton website or app, or thegantrylondon.com.

About Tim Firmager

Tim divides his time being a Digital Consultant in The City and as a food and travel writer across the globe. When he's not working as one of the Lifestyle Editors here at Vada, he's planning his next trip, or on the lookout for the latest food crazes or unusual foods in London's markets.

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