Review: room2 Chiswick

by: Felicity Cousins | July 3, 2024

About: In December 2021 London saw the opening of the net zero “hometel” by the Lamington Group with room2 Chiswick. The idea from brothers and owners, Robert and Stuart Godwin, was to create a home from home, having spent years on the road travelling to sports events as British Olympic Development Sailing team members, they never quite felt any of the properties they stayed in hit the mark. And so the “hometel” was born – an aparthotel concept which offers guests kitchenettes in their apartments, as well as the option to take breakfast in the cafe, work and go to the on-site gym. There is even a laundry room for those staying longer than a few days. At the time there was little around in London on the sustainability front and room2 aimed to fight the climate crisis without compromising on style and comfort. The property has a Green Tourism Gold certification and is B Corp certified.

Arrival: I arrived by tube. From Turnham Green station turn left and walk under the bridge and then across the park to Windmill street. Room2 is half way down the quiet residential street just off Chiswick high street. The new building is red brick and the doors open to a leafy lobby with staff welcoming guests at two check-in tables. The reception is open plan with the bar and cafe / co working area to the left and lifts to the rooms straight ahead.

How many rooms? 86 apartments over three floors. 

The room: I had a ground floor room but I was pleased to see the window overlooked a sunken leafy courtyard outside so it didn’t feel as if I was on the ground floor. Inspired by the spirit of Chiswick’s 19th century arts and crafts heritage, each of the rooms have been created in collaboration with local artisans. From bespoke marbled print wallpaper to handcrafted mirrors, all loose furniture was manufactured within 10 miles of the property and made with Forest Stewardship Council timber. Fabrics and materials were selected to promote reuse and a circular economy beyond the current useful life.

These bins are in every apartment

My apartment had an open wardrobe rail as I entered with a laptop-sized safe and some stylish reusable shopping bags hanging on the wall, which guests can use during their stay. The kitchenette was modern, compact and well equipped with a microwave and grill, small hob, fridge, useful basics, tea and coffee, and a toaster. room2 Chiswick promotes zero waste, and introduced food waste into its in-room recycling bins. The Godwins struggled to find anything which fully aligned with their sustainability values, so they designed and manufactured their own bespoke bin (shown above) to include waste, recycling and food waste, ensuring that 100 per cent of waste is recycled or converted into energy off-site. 

There was a comfortable corner sofa area under the large window with plenty of cushions, and a small round table and chairs. The bathroom was a generous size with ultra-low flow pressure showers with aerated water fixtures. There were refillable bottles of shower gel, shampoo and conditioner.

The carpets throughout the aparthotel are made of 80 per cent fishnet and plastic, but look like traditional carpets. Apartment lights work on movement sensors here rather than key cards.

Breakfast: Breakfast is served in the large open plan cafe bar area, pictured below, which is also used for co-working. As well as the usual tables and chairs there is a section with large comfortable sofas surrounded by plants. It’s a light and airy space with plants or dried flowers on every table. The windows were open on a sunny morning as I tucked into my eggs. The staff were cheerful and friendly and explained the kitchen will be expanding its menu to offer lunch in the coming months. There’s a meal deal for breakfast, £14.99, which includes a pastry, a glass of juice and a hot drink as well as eggs. 

Working: My room was filled with natural light from the window, and there was plenty of space around me to work from the round table. It felt more homely than a desk somehow. Wifi was easy to log onto and free. Guests are also encouraged to work in the cafe area which has a calm and relaxed vibe.

Events: The aparthotel hosts a number of events and local community gatherings in the room2 Chiswick cafe, as well as live music events. An example of a community event is Mindful Calligraphy run by local calligraphy artist Laura Edralin who will “guide you through the essentials to create beautiful modern brush script. From seeded paper bookmarks, postcards and coasters you’ll finish each session with your own calligraphed items to take home.” The next one is the evening of July 17th.

Sustainable practices: The building uses 100 per cent renewable energy. A “normal” average hotel room uses 590 kw/sqm but room2 is operating on 118 kw/sqm. How does it achieve this? On my tour of the property I was shown the heating system. Using some of the most advanced hardware and software technologies around, the aparthotel uses both solar and ground source heat pumps, which convert 100 per cent of the energy needed for heating, cooling and hot water. This system works by extracting heat energy from the earth, through 200m deep loops, and drawing it into the heating system. The low hot water system with the heavily insulated pipes, heats the water to 45 degrees, as opposed to the traditional systems that heat water to 70 degrees, reducing energy consumption by a predicted 9 per cent.

The property also has two ‘lab rooms’, to constantly measure the impact on the environment, which room2 shares with guests and visitors. The lab rooms collect accurate data on the hometel’s water and energy use, as well as the air quality, so the team can constantly refine and improve the systems.

On my tour I was also shown the bio composter so that no food waste goes in the bin. Local people have also been invited to add their organic waste and are welcome to take compost when they need it. The composter is rotated twice a day and after around six weeks produces fresh compost. 

The roof of the property is a “blue roof” as well as a green roof. A blue roof collects and retains up to 80 per cent of rain water so if there is a heavy downpour the roof gradually releases the water which can be used by the hotel. The blue roof discharges up to 50,000 litres of rainwater into the drainage system in order to reduce localised flooding and sits underneath the green roof, which is made up of 200 tonnes of soil and greenery to promote biodiversity, as well as acting as an insulator, meaning less energy is required to heat the building.

There are two bee hives on the roof of room2, which produce approximately 120kg of honey a year, which has been used to make honey for the breakfasts but also to make a honey gin in an exclusive partnership with Sipsmith gin. room2 Chiswick said, “we are passionate about collaborating with other brands that share the same sustainable ethos as us, so there will be more partnerships to come in future.” The London Bee Company checks on the bees regularly.

Gym? There’s a small gym available to guests with a rowing machine, bike and free weights.

Anything else? A laundry room with the wash set to 30 degrees and clothes horses are lent out to guests to encourage air drying. 

Catching the zzzs: I found this apartment to be really well thought out. The bed was far from the door and the heavy black out curtains creating a cocoon-like feeling during the evenings. The temperature was comfortable and I slept well. 

Future: We asked Lamington Group about future projects, which include a property in York and Manchester. “room2 hometels have exciting expansion plans as part of Lamington Group in the coming years, including the opening of room2 York, the brand’s first opening in the north of England, which will be Net Zero and is set to launch in 2026.”

room2 York will be fully electric. Other elements include solar panels on the roof, air source heat pumps, Co2 sensor-controlled ventilation, highly insulated fabrics, PIR controlled heating, cooling and lighting to rooms and waste water heat recovery in the showers.

Located within the city’s castle walls room2 York will offer 116 rooms, as well as one meeting room, one laundry room, an on-site gym and a bar and restaurant designed with inspiration from York’s history and architectural heritage. “Guest rooms will be bold, playful and artistic, and room2 York will work with local artists and markers to bring its design aspirations to life whilst celebrating the local community.”

“The next development for Lamington Group will be an innovative new sustainable tower hotel opening in Manchester, which will be the first of its kind. Lamington Group will reveal further details in due course.”

Felicity Cousins stayed at room2 Chiswick in mid June 2024

Images supplied