London Drum

Ibis London City Shoreditch – Review of the 3-star hotel by Aldgate East station

Ibis Hotel, London CityPhoto: Craig Cross
Star rating: ★★★ Address: Ibis Hotel London City, 5 Commercial Street, Whitechapel Contact: Tel: 0207 422 8400 Web: Facilities: Restaurant, bar, tea & coffee, Wi-Fi, TV, telephone, hairdryer, ensuite bathroom Parking: Car parks near Whitechapel Buses: 15, 25, 40, 42, 78, 100, 115, 135, 205 Bus fares Trains: The closest station is Aldgate East District Ham&City Other nearby stations: Aldgate, Liverpool Street, Monument, Shoreditch High Street, Tower Gateway, Tower Hill and Whitechapel Train fares

Craig’s review… The lobby of the Ibis City Hotel looked liked a train station when I arrived because they’ve situated the cafe and bar area right next to reception so everybody was sitting around eating and drinking amongst the pyramid piles of bags and suitcases all over the place. But I don’t mind that – I like a bit of busy in a hotel. I like a bit of life downstairs, and they gave me free Wi-Fi as well so I’m happy.

Inside a room at the Ibis Hotel

Room inside the Ibis London City ShoreditchPhoto: Craig Cross
Room inside the Ibis London City Shoreditch

The room is a bit so-so for a 3-star hotel, but I’ve been staying at a lot of 4s and 5s recently, doing these reviews, so I’ve been totally spoiled. You get a shower (no bath), Freeview TV channels, a kettle and teabags, a hairdryer… what else… that’s about it. There’s no personal safe. No iron. No minibar. No concierge. No butler. No limo service. (I told you I’ve been spoiled.)

I’m not sure that I trust the lock on the door either, because I’m paranoid about my stuff getting stolen. I want a proper chain and a padlock, preferably with 10,000 volts attached, but all they’ve got is a flimsy little double-latch. So I might have to resort to that old ‘chair wedged up against the handle’ routine.

Ensuite bathroom at the Ibis City ShoreditchPhoto: Craig Cross
Ensuite bathroom at the Ibis City Shoreditch

Let’s deal with the teabag situation… I always like to count the number of teabags and milk cartons in my room because that’s a great way of gauging the quality of a hotel, and this place has done okay. They give you two teabags, four coffees and four milks. But they only give you a tiny little plastic spoon which is a bit annoying, because have you ever tried to eat a Pot Noodle with a spoon that’s smaller than a toothpick? Pot Noodle and Cup A Soup is my standard diet in a hotel, so now I’m going to starve.

They’ve given me a room in the middle of the hotel so my window looks out into a little concrete courtyard of air vents, ventilation pipes and other peoples’ bedrooms. I’m on the eighth floor so there are probably about sixty different rooms to peer into. They’ve all got net curtains of course, so there’s nothing much to see, except a little square of sky if I crane my neck to the heavens.

Bar and restaurant at the Ibis hotel

After yesterday’s madhouse at check-in I thought breakfast would be heaving with hundreds of people so I went down nice and early but it was just the cook, the waitress and me, plus another couple chatting about their grandkids. The breakfast room doubles up as the restaurant and has an eclectic collection of bar stools, sofa seats, office chairs and patio garden furniture – it’s as if they couldn’t make up their mind which chair to buy and just plumped for one of each.

You get all the usual stuff for breakfast: bacon and eggs, beans and sausages, ham and cheese, cereals, yoghurts, etc. It’s funny how we accept fruit salad and vanilla yoghurt as being a breakfast at a hotel. On any other day of the week it’s a pudding. Beans, sausage and scrambled eggs is called dinner at my house. We only have them for breakfast on Christmas Day.

One of the things that I like most about hotel living is after a few days in the same place you start to recognise who’s checked-in and who’s checked-out. People tend to be creatures of habit and always occupy the same seats at breakfast, so when Mrs Red Handbag is suddenly sitting in Mr Blue Suit’s seat you can say to yourself: “A-ha, it looks like he’s packed his bags and left.”

The hotel’s location isn’t too bad. The surrounding area is a bit ugly but it’s only a ten-minute walk to the Tower of London and Tower Bridge so I’d happily stay here again.

Worth a stay? Value for money? Nice rooms? Good location?

London Squire bookThe owns and has spent the last decade reviewing the capital’s landmarks, attractions and hotels. His guidebook is available from Amazon

Your comments and questions

lena Is there free parking at the hotel

Craig Hi Lena. No, the hotel doesn't have a car park

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