Town Hall Hotel & Apartments
Singaporean hotelier Peng Loh made his European debut by transforming an Edwardian town hall into a fine-dining restaurant, 98 rooms and apartments, and public spaces that exhibit work by up-and-coming East End artists. The room rates—which are, on average, $250 less than those at other pedigreed hotels in London—are cause for celebration, too. Furnishings are spare and clean-lined, a mixture of Midcentury reissues and new pieces designed by Rare principal Michel da Costa Gonçalves. Conspicuous luxury isn't the order of the day here; one is meant to appreciate having 18-foot ceilings, Tasmanian oak-paneled walls, and original casement windows (and thanks to Rare's subtle ministrations, one probably will). Locals, meanwhile, are coming to sample Viajante, Town Hall's restaurant, where chef Nuno Mendes is turning out consistently imaginative, delicious, seasonal food (despite London's critics meting out only the thinnest, most begrudging praise, as is their bitchy wont).