Room2 (dreadful name) claims to be the world’s first carbon-neutral hotel. There’s a plaque in the lobby that emphasises the point, saying ‘whole life, carbon zero hometel’, which means nothing before I reach my room, whereupon the ‘hometel’ is explained by the kitchenette with electric hob, sink and jars of tea and coffee.
Indeed, you could spend your ‘whole life’ here if you wished — just off Chiswick High Road, in West London, a mere 20-minute Tube ride to the centre of town.
So far so on-message, but I’m guilty of polluting the atmosphere with all kinds of toxicity, because on arrival the man sitting on a stool near the entrance, who’s in charge of checking in guests, is trying to sort out a protracted muddle about plastic keys.
I hover for a full ten minutes, during which I ask two young things behind the bar if I can see the food menu.
‘We normally serve food, but not tonight,’ says one of them.
‘Not sure — we think the chef is ill.’
‘Shouldn’t you email guests and tell them the restaurant is closed before they turn up?’
‘Sorry about that.’
Then I storm out to look for a cheap place to eat nearby (‘cheap’ is hard to come by in this leafy part of town) returning at 9.30pm, full of apologies for my earlier strop, which are returned in kind by the man on the stool.
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He even presses the lift button for me.
My first-floor room has something of a 1970s retro vibe to it. Bright and cheerful; wood floor; round bedside tables (far too small), window seat.
Pinned to a noticeboard is a ‘Vegan Parmesan & Garlic Pasta’ recipe and the room has its own recycling unit, with slots for paper and plastic, food waste and general waste.
Room2 occupies a new-build ‘inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement that originated in the Chiswick area’, says a note from the manager. The downstairs bar and restaurant is industrial chic, with exposed pipes and concrete ceiling.
This is where Boca Chiswick runs the bar and restaurant (when there’s a chef), though there’s no cooked breakfast.
Instead, the pay-as-you-go coffee bar offers various pastries and juices.
Just as I leave, Anthea Turner (or an Anthea Turner look-a-like) pops in for a coffee, carrying a pilates mat.
‘This all looks great,’ she says. And it does. Room2 is a brave and welcome new addition to London hospitality.
Room2, 10 Windmill Road, London W4 1SD.
Doubles are priced from £90. For more information call 020 3988 0220 or visit room2.com.