You may not have considered staying in one of the increasingly popular, serviced apartments appearing in cities like London: too soulless and not suitable for a short stay, you might have assumed. But think again.
Because Cheval Residences’ luxury collection of apartments is upping the ante with its design-led properties available to rent from one night to three months or more.
As a Londoner, it might seem odd that I like nothing better than spending a night away in my hometown. But I do. I still get a thrill about packing a bag and travelling a few miles to rediscover another corner of my city.
Rapidly becoming an alternative to the swishest five-star hotels, the Cheval group has outposts in some of the city’s most desirable spots, including Chelsea, Hyde Park Gate and Gloucester Park. The most recent opening is Cheval Knightsbridge — where you can choose to stay in a mews house, modern apartment or an urban cottage.
But with its enviable position on the North Bank of the Thames, looking out over Tower Bridge and the Tower of London, Cheval Three Quays is, quite aptly, the jewel in the company’s crown, and for the wow factor, you can’t beat its two-bedroom Tower Penthouse.
The interiors are show-stopping — there’s a beautifully curated living space, a cutting edge-kitchen and swoon-worthy bedrooms — but you might not even notice them at first. Instead you’ll be drawn to the views.
Seen through the floor-to-ceiling windows and the wrap-around terrace is the river in all its majesty. It’s nothing short of spectacular: the impressive sight of the turrets of the Tower of London and the stately views of Tower Bridge up close.
When coming up with the interior concept, architectural designers Forme Design took inspiration from the historic riverside location, as well giving a nod to the area’s futuristic vibe.
The property’s name refers to the docks here in the 17th century — the entry point for the exotic goods, such as tobacco, rum and sugar, coming into the UK from the West Indies.
The marriage of old and new is a theme that runs throughout. From the outside, it looks like any other glass-fronted, upmarket block. But step into the lobby and the feel is softened with artist’s Barnaby Gorton’s whimsically illustrated murals, which depict the working life of the river in medieval times.
Meanwhile, elegant columns reference the area’s Roman heritage and a cascading water feature adds a touch of zen.
As well as a bespoke modern chandelier, custom-made rugs and huge photographic prints, the lobby is also presided over by an oversized leather and granite service desk, where you can access the around-the-clock concierge, from laundry services to theatre tickets and travel arrangements.
In the light-drenched penthouse, dramatic chandeliers, velvet sofas and thick bespoke rugs notch up the luxury factor and it’s all tied together with layers of accessories.
Petrol-blue glass vases, burnt-orange chenille cushions, and pretty Middle-Eastern-style trellis screens elevate it from a ‘one-size-fits-all’ design to a personality-filled pied-a-terre.
Luxury bathrooms have rows of Hermes toiletries, large bedrooms are equally cosseting with huge beds.In the white gloss kitchen, you can’t move for avant-garde Gaggenau appliances.
But if a ‘home away from home’ experience means downing tools, you can request daily apartment servicing and a chef to cater to your every whim.
Forget a nondescript experience, this has enough character to keep you wanting more.