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Inner City Getaway: The Church St Hotel

Inner City Getaway: The Church St Hotel

Catch a bus through South London and it’s likely to go through Camberwell Green, where, amongst the dreary facades of kebab shops and rundown convenience stores, you’ll find Church St Hotel with ease…

A gloriously brazen shrine to Spanish Americana, this is a chink of pure sunshine in the dull London drizzle. Inspired by the warmth and sensuality of Latino culture, the hotel purports itself to be an oasis in the heart of Downtown South London. And it truly is – a short hop across the river to this unusual spot and I felt as far removed from the smog of the city as if I was in Spain itself.

Stepping into the reception covered in busy tiling, I feel as if I’ve been transported to a Mexican casita. Upstairs, the tradition continues –  walls awash with garish primary colours, a black wrought iron bed, cool wooden floor and authentic tiled bathroom complete the theme. There will be no plush silken pillowcases, fluffy carpets or breakfast in bed at this establishment, but that’s the way it should be.

Not quite a hotel of 5* luxury, to iron out the kinks in this eclectic hideyhole would be to rob the hotel of its charm. Shrug off your coat and bask in the cheery warmth of su casa for the evening, breathing in the homely smell of tapas wafting from the adjoining restaurant, Angels and Gypsies. Well worth a visit, the restaurant uses only the best of local British ingredients, while importing Spanish Iberico Jamons and cured charcuterie directly from Salamanca in Spain. We ate Poussin with Nduja red pepper sausage & watercress, house imported Iberico chorizo in Basque hard cider & pickled peppers and a selection of Ibérico jamón, chorizo, salchichón & lom. We were offered a glass of authentic sherry to go with the meal – another thoughtful gesture I hadn’t expected. The standard of the food was excellent, the attention to detail fantastic. I wouldn’t hesitate to go back – check out the tapas menu!

Honorary chicanos and cubanos will observe more clever extras throughout the hotel – empty Havana bottles used as vases, Green & Blacks chocolate and jar of hot sauce courtesy of la casa placed kindly in each room, along with an abundance of pretty toiletries. An open bar operates on an honesty policy in the second floor living room, a place where guests can come together to socialise or choose DVDs from a large library to enjoy in the comfort of their rooms. This is also where breakfast takes place – a cheerful, continental affair with good coffee and even better bread, croissants and pastries from the French patisserie across the street.

My stay at Church St reminded me a little of my time travelling – a much-needed, welcome escape from reality that I thoroughly enjoyed – but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was craving the comfort of thick carpet and a fluffy duvet by the end of it. Whilst all your creature comforts are painstakingly taken care of at this establishment, it might not be to everyone’s tastes (though it definitely was mine!) Sometimes there really is no place like home.

Amy @ Fashionbite xx

Amy Everett is FashionBite's food and travel editor, she also writes for national newspapers and magazines including the Guardian Travel, Stylist, Shortlist, Red, Cosmopolitan and more.

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