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Buckle Street Studios by Locke: a London hotel interior review

A little while back I booked an overnight trip at apartment hotel brand Locke's latest London opening, Buckle Street Studios. I stayed in one of the aptly named Micro Studios - a compact version of their standard Locke hotel studio apartments, including a king size bed, en-suite and kitchenette.

Being an interior designer who deems a space successful not just on its aesthetics but also design functionality, I thought I'd turn my own experience staying at Buckle Street Studios into a blog post! You're welcome.

Overview of Buckle Street Studios hotel interior

You can check out this article by Dezeen which gives a great introduction to Locke hotel's latest London addition. There's also a project case study put together by the architects and interior designers of Buckle Street Studios, Grzywinski+Pons, if you're keen to find out more info on the interior design concept and process... or just to have a look at lots of beautiful photos of the hotel, I wouldn't blame you.

The design-led hotel is located in Aldgate, East London and is quite literally a stone's throw away from the original Locke hotel, Leman Locke, which Buckle Street Studio guests also have access to it's social/communal areas. From the hotel's location it was super easy to explore nearby Spitalfields and Shoreditch.

Okay intro aside, let's start discussing the hotel's interior design.

The tiled reception desk and floral feature suspended in the double-height entrance is a beautiful visual greeting when first stepping into Buckle Street Studios. You're also greeted with the hotel's signature fragrance, creating a lovely multi-sensory welcome which made a great first impression to the hotel and also elevated the space to be more than just a 'pretty' interior.

The cosy scent complimented the hotel's soft colour palette of sage greens, grey blues and dusky pale pinks. I won't lie, I took plenty of photos of the hotel lobby and mezzanine - there was just so much interior design inspiration I didn't want to forget about! It was really interesting to see how all the soft colours were combined with some industrial inspired materials and lovely textures in the hotel's finishes and contemporary style furniture.

Speaking of furniture, there is an impressive amount of seating styles for guests to use throughout the communal areas. There's plenty of tables for co-working on the mezzanine, with co-working feeling a big design consideration for the hotel, as well as sofas to enjoy on the ground floor if you're wanting a more relaxed work setup. There's also upholstered stools and compact armchairs in the hotel lobby if you're wanting to pause a minute before venturing outside to explore East London and beyond. Considering it's a relatively compact space, albeit with a visually striking double height design, you're not limited on choice with sitting and relaxing in the communal area.

Interior design pros of our Micro Studio

The colours and textures used throughout the hotel room interior were grounding, calming and made you feel like you weren't staying in a hotel at all - which may be a pro or con for some people.

I personally like when a hotel room doesn't feel like a generic or basic design but more like a home away from home. The Micro Studio interior definitely felt homely with all the cosy tones and textures like natural clay plaster, warm timber, and velvet and crinkled linen-cotton.

The kitchenette had all the essentials you could ask for: a microwave oven, small hob and kettle, as well as cooking utensils, pans, even seasoning and cooking oil so you'd be well equipped for any cooked meals if you were staying for more than a night and/or wanting a more budget friendly London trip. The appliances were all Smeg, so you could tell that Locke wanted to make sure despite the compact design of the kitchenette, quality wasn't compromised.

If I'm being honest, we hardly used the kitchenette during our overnight stay, instead choosing to make the most of eating out in London... Although as true Brits we made full use of the complimentary tea and coffee in the kitchenette, of course.

The en-suite had plenty of towels for two people (I've stayed in plenty of hotels were it's a bit of a fight for the big towel) and lovely smelling toiletries. The basin was a large size which was great, as there's nothing worse than feeling like you're trying to get ready in the morning or for bed over a tiny hand basin and splashing water everywhere. The soft grey blue en-suite is a lovely visual contrast against the rest of the hotel room's warm, natural colour palette and has a minimalist spa-like feel to it.

Interior design cons of our Micro Studio

In terms of overall look and feel, and quality of the materials used, the hotel room interior rated highly for me. Unfortunately the major downfall during our stay was the general layout of our room, being located in one of the curved corners of the building.

Yes, we had booked a Micro Studio at Buckle Street Studios and knew the space would be compact, but I felt that some spaces were not best utilised in our particular room, and other aspects of a typical guest's experience in the hotel room completely overlooked.

For example, the bedroom/sleeping area. The bed was wedged between a wall and a bespoke curved corner sofa, which meant there was no space to get to any of the sides of the bed. Instead you had to shuffle awkwardly along a narrow patch of floor and wall to the front of the bed, and then essentially jump onto it in order to get into it or use the sofa. The sofa was comfy, finished in a lovely velvet, and handy to watch the TV on the opposite wall, but in all honesty the bedroom area would have been better without it if it meant you could then walk around the bed instead of throwing yourself onto it.

Because of this lack of open floor space, another interior design aspect of the bedroom area got overlooked - no bedside tables! Okay this isn't a major issue, but when you want to start your morning relaxing in bed with a hot drink there was nowhere to place it whilst it. It wasn't until leaving the hotel that I guessed a large chunky wooden tray thing hanging on one of the walls was not a decorative items but potentially a tray to put drinks on to carry into bed... at least that's still my guess! Either way I would have preferred just one small floating shelf near the bed to act as a simple bedside table.

So, would I recommend staying at Buckle Street Studios by Locke?

Taking everything into consideration I would recommend staying at Buckle Street Studios, but with a caveat of booking one of the larger size studios if having a kitchenette would be important for your short stay in London, or book the standard hotel room (sans kitchenette) in the hopes that the interior layout is much more successful than our curved corner Micro Studio.

Despite some of the interior design cons to the Micro Studio, my overnight stay was comfortable and relaxing. I really enjoyed my first experience of a Locke hotel and brand as a whole, enough to want to stay in another one! I've got my eye on Turing Locke in Cambridge which looks like a very interesting hotel interior to visit, or maybe Locke at Broken Wharf for another London weekend stay.


If you want to find out more about my services and how we can work together on your commercial project check out my hospitality interior design service and one-to-one consulting sessions.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored blog post. I paid in full to stay at Buckle Street Studios by Locke, and wanted to write up my own experience and thoughts staying at a Locke hotel for the very first time from an interior designer's point of view.


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