Stow-Away Luxury Container Hotel in the Heart of London
The Stow-Away hotel in Waterloo, London, caters to regular long-term guests and those seeking the odd night alike. Composed of 26, 30ft shipping containers, it reflects its components’ past yet caters to its guests with comfort and luxury.
Catering to long-stay and short stay guests
The hotel rooms in the five-storey building have their own kitchenettes, allowing visitors to stay close to the City and take advantage of London’s eateries yet cook meals if they don’t want to eat out.
London, like Brisbane and Sydney, is very expensive to live in. A small apartment in Waterloo can set you back hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy, and rentals can be obscene. Many people have small one room apartments and keep their families away in rural England, commuting home at the weekends.
This is why, at an average of £150 (AU$284) a night, the Stow Away could appeal to many people who aren’t in the City all week. Those who travel as part of their business – perhaps in international sales – tend to live from their suitcases who don’t always want to eat out.
Another group are the weekenders who want access to Central London’s nightlife and fill the hotel up at weekends while enjoying a gig and dinner with friends and loved ones.
The location is perfect for tourists and workers alike. A five minute walk puts you on the Tube and the financial district London City is just a short ride away. Tourists can enjoy the famous South Bank to the rear of the hotel and with the Tube, can be in Soho or Leicester Square with just a short hop.
Stow-Away’s modern container decor
From the outside there is no ignoring the fact that the Stow-Away is built of shipping containers. The frontage shows part of the containers, with metal sunshades that show off the building’s background. At 30 feet per container, these aren’t the 1TEU or 2TEU units that have travelled the world on containerships but are used more on railways, perhaps on the Europe-China runs that have become so popular in recent years.
Inside the building it is quite different. The Wined Down restaurant and lobby have had the containers partially cut through to allow for space and light throughout, though some of the container walls remain in the restaurant to allow for privacy as people eat.
Upstairs, the rooms are connected from the outside. The decor itself is described by the architects as, “The refined interior shells of the containers are clad with self-finished surfaces such as stone and stained and natural plywood, optimising high-performance materials to maximise internal dimensions, durability and longevity.”
The kitchenettes in the 20 rooms have all you need including a cooker, dishwasher and sink so feeding yourself cheaply and privately is a decent alternative to the reasonably priced restaurant downstairs.
Living in a box with one window can be difficult for some. The architects again: “DSK has also employed a muted colour palette that subtly shifts from light to dark to evoke a greater sense of space, and to further ensure guest comfort by preventing a ‘tunnel effect’ sensation.”
Engineering is part of the design – the back faces the inner London railway network, so each container sits on special rubber footings to absorb the vibration and sound of the trains.
The Wined Down restaurant
Those who feel sociable or just want someone else to cook have the choice of the reasonably priced restaurant. At typically AU$32 a main meal, this is what one expects to pay for a reasonably pub lunch anywhere in the UK. The food on offer is what you’d expect in London too – adventurous yet satisfying.
After a hard day’s work, or perhaps getting ready for a long night on the tiles, the Wined Down also has a wide variety of wines for those to relax or imbibe as they choose!
Container hotel fits in well with London’s architecture
Many towns and city planners in the UK can be quite fussy as to what goes up in their environs. Shipping container complexes are often medium-term projects designed to be torn down and moved on when the landowner finds the right developer for the site.
The Stow-Away doesn’t appear to be there for the medium term but the long. It sits well in a row of buildings of similar height and doesn’t argue with the vernacular of the locale. Adding to the vibrance of the area, which has a lot of hotels that do well from travellers passing through, overall the hotel is likely to be there for many years and become a permanent structure.
London isn’t afraid of new architecture, especially that which adds to the vibe of the city. You just need to see the nearby Gherkin, Lloyds of London building or the Shard that dominate the skyline to see that adventurous architecture really does have its place in the area. The semi-discreet nature of the container building as such sits well in a part of London that has a liking for modernity.
Could you replicate the Stow-Away in Brisbane?
Browsing through the Gateway Gazette you’ll see that the Stow-Away is by no means the first mid-range hotel to be built of shipping containers. We have looked at such hotels over here in Australia for example!
Could you do the same? If you look at local planning regulations (that can be quite tough at times) you can still have a shipping container based hotel on a permanent basis in most of the country’s cosmopolitan centres with a little work!
Shipping container construction is low cost by comparison to bricks and mortar or wooden buildings. It can be put together and fitted out in a factory and stacked, semi-complete on site with far fewer overheads than outdoor construction.
If the answer to the question at the beginning of this section is yes, then give us a shout at Gateway Container Sales today to discuss your needs!