Last weekend, I was in London for my friend Lindsey's hen party. The plan was simple - West End show, nice dinner, drinks. An integral part of the plan, however, was finding somewhere great for 10 people to sleep. This, it turns out, is harder than I thought (but I do have a post coming with my tips for finding accommodation for groups).
I love staying in an apartment rather than a hotel when I'm away. There's something about being able to cook, or plonk down on a sofa, that really appeals to me. The only problem is that you often can't use them as you would a hotel. There are minimum nights, cleaning deposits, and all the hassle that comes with a self catering rental.
So I was over the moon to find Hotel Megaro. And I was even higher over the moon when we arrived, and I realised that it was properly lovely. I have a bit of a paranoia when finding accommodation for other people - I once found what I thought was a great apartment in Paris for a family, but the floor sloped so severely that their beds rolled along the floor. Oops.
But I was able to breathe a sigh of relief when we entered. We were in apartment 8, which was right at the top floor. When we opened the room door, there were more stairs to climb, and also a little cubby, if we wanted to create a Harry Potter style situation.
Upstairs, the apartment was filled with light, sparkling clean and plush. Little touches like jazzy cushions and bedspreads, unique and designy furniture (though the stools were really form over function). The kitchen was fully stocked up with everything we needed, including a fantastic espresso machine.
When we came in, there was a flurry of activity to get the place ready for Lins, with pictures to be mounted, banners to be lifted, and mars bar cake to be sliced. So I'm afraid I wasn't as on the ball with pictures as I should have been.
So I shall paint you a word picture!
The master bedroom, below, was actually linked into the main room. Technically, I suppose, the whole apartment is open plan. There is no door to the bedroom, and you need to walk into it to access the bathroom. Fine for a group of friends, but perhaps two couples might think differently?
I can't believe I forgot to take a picture of the bathroom. It was the kind of place which looked amazing, very stylish and cool. But when you came to use the sink, you had to spend a good few minutes ducking down to find the taps, which created a waterfall when turned on. All well and good, but mightily fussy.
And the toilet. The toilet was square. "Hey cool, a square toilet!" you might think. But no. Have you ever sat on a square toilet? There's nowhere for you to go. You're kind of half perched on the edges of the bowl, while your unsupported middle sags down into nothingness. The only person who this would work for, I decided, was a hugely obese person who would need the extra support. Or a person with a square ass. But I personally don't know such a person.
It did give us a good few laughs, though. As did the shower. The shower had three mysterious knobs on the wall. When one of them was turned one way, the main shower came on. When it was turned the other way, the miniature shower head came on. When the miniature shower head came on, it sprayed you with such force and precision that you were momentarily thrust against the wall.
Lindsey was the first to discover this, much to our amusement.
I was the second. After being unable to figure out how to adjust the temperature, I called her in to help. With steely determination, she turned the knob. Boom! The jet of water hit her, me and our friend Fern, with power matched only by Niagara Falls. We were soaked, as was the bathroom floor. I had to drop my towel and dive in, turning knobs any which way, before we were saved.
But when I did get into the shower, it was amazing. Super strong, which is nice when directed at your head, not your dry torso. Also, toiletries come in huge bottles rather than little fiddly disastrous ones, which I love.
There was a little sitting area, and then the main lounge was converted into the second bedroom of sorts (see top picture). Considering the two beds were technically sofa beds, they were amazingly comfortable. Better than many a hotel mattress I've slept on, with lovely linen and more cushions. To come in find sofa beds made up is a big plus too - so often you're left to figure it all out and make the beds yourself.
Location wise, you're mere seconds away from King's Cross. Some of the windows give you a view of this magnificent building...
You're in town in a flash, and if you're heading away to Paris on the Eurostar it's the perfect location - you're about a 3 minute walk from the entrance.
King's Cross has regenerated itself over the last few years, too. There are excellent restaurants and bars, pretty areas to walk, and a great midweek market with some of the best street food in London.
For us, it was the perfect choice. And a bit of a bargain too - we paid £280 for each apartment, working out as £56 per person. This was for a Saturday night, so midweek, or a longer stay, would probably work out cheaper.
0207 843 2222
5 Restaurants and bars to try
Caravan - Open early for a great breakfast, open til midnight on the weekend.
Grain Store - From the minds behind the Zetter Townhouse. An eclectic and modern menu, with excellent cocktails.
GNH Bar - Part of the newly refurbished Great Northern Hotel, this glamorous cocktail bar also offers light bites.
Shrimpy's - In a disused petrol station, hipsters flock in to sample their infamous soft shell crab burgers. You'd want to hurry too - the site is being redeveloped in 2014.
Kerb Street Food Market - You'll find them Tuesdays - Fridays, at the top of King's Boulevard. Vendor's change daily, but expect the likes of Bleecker St Burger, Kimchinary and Miss P's BBQ.