A monochrome greyhound pads down the grand central staircase towards reception. She’s meant to be there: Dizzy is the hotel dog, and her casual confidence is a good fit for the Town Hall Hotel, which is every bit as cool as it is handsome. The classy cocktail bar, the flawless service, the beautiful furniture and the DAB radios on the bedside tables (set to BBC 6 Music, natch) all point to the fact that this is a grown-up hotel intended for bright young things.
The grand building is quite the anomaly on Cambridge Heath Road. Its neighbours are mainly chicken shops, taxi offices and pubs of varying quality, but a generous dose of gentrification has ensured that the discerning consumer can still feel at home. Hidden behind the local petrol station, for instance, you’ll find a cobbled strip of railway arches that’s home to excellent restaurants Sager + Wilde and Paradise Garage and craft beer emporium (and bar) Mother Kelly’s. But you don’t really need to leave the hotel – The Typing Room restaurant serves a fairly spectacular tasting menu of modern British creations; the gorgeous Corner Room serves a more affordable but still inventive à la carte at both lunch and dinner. A well-crafted nightcap can be found at the sultry Peg + Patriot cocktail bar.
I didn’t see a piece of furniture I didn’t covet while staying there. Midcentury teal sideboards and upholstered chairs sit appealingly alongside modern conveniences such as espresso machines and swift wi-fi. The bed, though marvellously comfortable, was on the small side; I’d have swapped the massive bath for a king-size mattress. The buffet section of the breakfast set-up (generous, but less delicious than expected) was served next to the impressive art deco council chamber: a section of the hotel that has appeared in ‘Atonement’ and, er, ‘Snatch’. The whole experience is very ‘film set’, really; my stay felt beautiful, expensive and unsustainable, and I would totally star in it again. Hell, there’s even a celebrity. Tell Dizzy the dog I say ‘hey’.
Time Out tip
The red neon sign at nearby cocktail bar Satan's Whiskers may give it a dodgy demeanour, but it's all class within. Ask to try the 'Silver Pineapple': it's a pimped pina colada of their own invention.