Looking for places to stay in London? Want a quirky, affordable hotel near Paddington Station? Read our hotel review and check out more places to eat in Paddington here…
The Pilgrm in a nutshell
A quirky, design-led, 73-bedroom hotel with lounge-bar and cafe that’s brought a fine Victorian building in London’s Paddington back to life.
Ingeniously styled to respect both the building’s Victorian roots and the needs of the modern traveller, the warren-like Pilgrm turns conventional hoteliery on its head. Reception desk? Nope. Bathrobes and mini-bars? Neither. Such fripperies are stripped out to leave space for the things that matter: marshmallow-soft beds and utilitarian-chic black and white bathrooms; design features including the building’s original mahogany spiral staircase, upcycled radiators and parquet floors; and an art-hung drawing-room-style lounge serving simple mainly-vegetarian food. It’s so relaxed and un-corporate, it feels more like a luxurious home than a London hotel, and is priced accordingly. It’s also brilliantly located for anyone coming into, or out of, London via Paddington railway station, being just two minutes walk away.
Which room should I book at The Pilgrim?
Rooms are small so book the largest you can afford, and if you’re a light sleeper, ask for one away from the road. There are tiny (but very comfortable) bunk rooms, if you’re on a budget, or on a one-parent, one-child getaway. Decor is pared back and stylish, with slate-coloured walls contrasting with white sash windows and Egyptian linen-clad beds, and floors of reclaimed 200-year-old parquet giving a warm homely feel. Dinky bathrooms, with black-grouted white tiles and Victorian-style cisterns and flushes, are a design triumph, as are the enchanting Alape enamel basins and the no-waste soaps-on-a-rope.
The food and drink
Breakfast is the thing here, kicking off at 7am and continuing until 3pm in the vintage-chic first-floor lounge. It’s a pleasingly well-travelled menu, and if it resembles the offerings of Bruno Loubet’s (now closed) Grain Store at King’s Cross, it may be because head chef Sara Lewis used to work there. There’s full-cooked Pilgrm (with house-baked beans) or a vegan version of smashed avocado, butternut squash hummus and a knock-out beetroot falafel. But the top seller is smashed avocado on toast with crumbled feta, which comes with the unexpected addition of a tomato and olive salsa. We also tried, and loved, the Pilgrm’s chorizo-dotted version of shakshuka. There’s sweet stuff too, including granola with fruit and yoghurt (Greek-style or coconut) and American-style pancakes as large as saucers. You eat at small round marble tables, seated on dainty reclaimed cocktail chairs that the hotel’s design team, 93ft (93ft.com), have re-upholstered in green, pink and grey velvets. Or eat while you work on your laptop on booth-like seats in the adjoining corridor.
For grab and go, there’s a small coffee bar downstairs, by the entrance, that’s run by Workshop Coffee, selling their own blends of coffee, teas and homemade cakes.
Between 3 and 10pm, the lounge serves snacks, juices (including Square Root London’s small-batch sodas) and cocktails. We enjoyed a pairing of padrino peppers and a fig-leaf collins (one of eight cocktails exclusively ‘loaned’ to The Pilgrm from bars across the world) but were also tempted by the anchovies and toast. The hotel is soon opening a terrace too, where guests will be able to enjoy alfresco tapas using ingredients from companies like Brindisa and Belazu.
What else can foodies do?
Being in the heart of London, you’ve plenty of dinner choices nearby – from the cheap-and-cheerful Paramount Lebanese Kitchen, next door, to the newly revamped Cleveland Arms around the corner, and Basque-styled Lurra and Donostia a short walk away (read our guide to Paddington restaurants here). If you fancy splashing out, Clare Smyth’s Core and Brett Graham’s Ledbury are a short cab-ride away, while vegans may want to head to (the more affordable) Farmacy. For an edgier, more street-food, vibe, jump on the tube or bus to Kings Cross to explore the newly opened Coal Drops Yard.
Is it family friendly?
Yes. Cots can be provided for large rooms on request and kids and younger teenagers will love the bunk rooms (though, sadly, these only sleep two, not four or more). Food-wise there are no separate children’s menus but kids (and their food preferences) tend to be happily accommodated.
We loved the Pantries around the building, each one equipped with Zig Zag tea bags, CRU Kafe and fresh milk so you can make yourself a cuppa. There’s a tiny library of books to borrow too.
Words and pictures by Clare Hargreaves