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If we were the sort of people who still had posters on our bedroom walls, we’d have some old (Donna Summer, Madonna), some new (Olly, Jessie Ware) and one of a Locke. Because we are fans. Bermonds Locke in Bermondsey, Eden Locke in Edinburgh, Whitworth Locke in Manchester’s Gay Village, even Schwan Locke in Munich. And now, maybe cleverest of all, Kingsland Locke in east London’s cooler-than-your-average-cucumber Dalston.

What are these Lockes, you ask, you who have probably read what we’ve said about them before but have forgotten due to the effect of the over-use of alcopops on your brain? They are the future of hotels. And they might just sound the death-knell of the Airbnb. That’s all.

The difference between a Locke and a hotel is that you don’t just get a room, you get like a mini-apartment with kitchen area, washing machine, the works. It means you could live there. Some people do. Maybe they’ve been stationed somewhere else for a few months and can’t be arsed getting a flat, so they move in. Maybe someone is waiting for their house to be redecorated or for lawyers to complete a sale, so they move in. Or maybe you’re just on your holidays, don’t want to spend every meal in a restaurant and want to be able to do a whites wash. So move in!

The difference between a Locke and an Airbnb is that you’re not moving into someone else’s house, which can be a bit icky. Know what we mean? And you don’t know what you’re getting till you get there and it’s too late. And you have to do your own washing up.

The other clever thing about the Lockes is that they choose a real neighbourhood, in this case Kingsland Road in Dalston, Hackney. Just around the corner from the very real Ridley Road Market (if you need to buy the insides of some animals, this is your spot) and with all the queer clubs of Dalston a mere stumble away. You are part of this. They even leave the big windows in the bar wide open so people can chat to you as they wait for a bus. It happens. It’s fun. In fact, the whole thing seems to be based on fun.

Upstairs is your ‘room’ or ‘apartment’. Some are huge, some more dinky but they’re all pretty much fitted out so you could stay as long as you liked with sofas and sit-down-and-eat tables. Downstairs is now one of Dalston’s coolest bars with its own micro-brewery and all the greenery and swimming-pool tiling and steel and concrete and wood that you’d expect to find somewhere this on-trend. Oh and a little area with a cafe for breakfast or co-working or whatever.

Downstairs again, ignore the workout studio, for the time being anyway, and you’ll find a restaurant where the tunes are bang on and if you look up through the greenery you can see the sky. The food is a sort of sharing concept drawn from various cultures with cocktails that seriously aren’t messing around and an atmosphere that’s make-new-friends buzzy.

So if a hotel seems too stuffy or too expensive (these prices are beyond competitive!) and you don’t want to roll the dice on an Airbnb, this is most definitely your spot. Oh and that thing in the cupboard? It’s an ironing board. No, we’d not seen one for a long time either.

130 Kingsland High Street, Dalston, London E8,


[Photo credit: Ed Dabney]