Just like Time Out and The Telegraph promised the Qbic London Hotel, in Whitechapel, promises a different kind of budget hotel – ‘the kind that rips up the rule book’. It’s also only an hour and thirty-five minute journey on the train from Banbury station to the Qbic’s nearest tube station – Aldgate East; it made for a good base for my Blogtacular weekend.
Tom’s never had the joy of staying in a youth hostel (“Why would I stay in a student prison?” – his words!), but there is that distinct vibe at the Qbic with its international staff and expansive multi-use, common room-esque area used as bar lounge, breakfast area and occasional gig venue. Don’t get me wrong though, it’s definitely far superior to your average youth hostel and is probably the closest Tom’s going to get to the experience.
The Cubi is the Qbic’s most innovative aspect (apart from the collection of avant-garde furniture that adorns the lobby and corridors). The Cubi is an adjustable unit that includes a prefabricated bathroom that can be constructed and disassembled in just one day and allows for buildings to be converted into the popup hotels almost overnight. The team behind Qbic, originally of dutch nature, have also dispensed with some of the more old-hat items like overpriced mini bars and flat pack MDF furniture favoured by the trusty Travelodge types. In its place are driftwood sculptures that stand in for a desk, vanity unit and clothes rack.
The mini kettle and tea set (a stalwart of UK hotels) have been replaced by the professional coffee machine placed at the end of the hall offering early risers and late night partiers their caffeine fix – without the need to try and fill a mini kettle in the tiny bathroom sink. The main focal point for each room are the hip murals that stand above the bed, ours was the face of a giant Mastiff wearing a rather fetching pair of specs.
‘Qmanity’ is Qbic’s environmental ethos. They’re proud to be a Tripadvisor greenleader and their green efforts don’t just stop at the organic toiletries adorned with eco-positive messages, ‘Stop The Water While Using Me’. Their showers use an eco-friendly pressure system giving you that rainfall experience without wasting water. The hotel’s electricity is supplemented with solar panels and lights across the hotel are motion sensor. Each mattress is made by Naturalmat – handcrafted, organic mattresses made from sustainable materials. There’s also an ample supply of car charging points and bikes to borrow. Plus, the water in the rooms is filtered, not bottled.
I’ll be honest the Qbic London’s immediate area isn’t the swankiest, but wandering just a few streets you are in the heart of the city of London. For dinner was had booked a table at a local street food Indian place, but we both felt more turned on by the lively Brazilian joint, Balaio Grill, just around the corner from the Qbic. With two bottles of Brahama, we soaked up the Latin American vibes with spiced chicken wings and chorizo flamed with Cachaca. For our mains, Tom devoured a Brazilian traditional black bean pork stew and I had the rump cap sliced with caramelized onions and soft cheese sauce – the best bits were the deep fried cassava.
It was a shame that as we were a little late eating that the kitchen closed before we had time to enjoy the dessert – next time. We both enjoyed the vibe and came away pondering how we could incorporate aspects of the décor into our own home – I’m definitely getting some of those tropical table runners!
The following morning, after our continental breakfast, filled with European cheese, a DIY muesli bar, and fresh yoghurt, I set off for an action-packed day at Blogtacular.
You can check out Qbic hotel here and we enjoyed our stay courtesy of the Qbic team – as always, all opinions my own (and Tom’s!).