Green Rooms Wood Green London Budget Hotel

With every inch of Hackney now flooded with craft beers and beard oil, the tide of gentrification is ebbing north through Haringey and into Wood Green, a process hastened by the recent arrival of all-night tubes on the Piccadilly line. And now that Dalston has a Premier Inn – unforgivably lamestream – it falls to Wood Green to offer up a new model for a hipster hotel.

A minute’s walk from the handsome curved facade of the tube station is a big block of 1930s art deco, originally built as a showroom for newfangled electronic goods. It’s now been renovated into Green Rooms, a hotel featuring 22 doubles, two studio apartments and two dormitories.

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‘The bed is pleasingly firm’
Pitched at “artists, creatives and style enthusiasts”, it acknowledges the straitened times for much of the creative industries by starting prices at £18 a night for dorm beds, with doubles from £54; “artists”, be they anything from erotic acrobats to minimal-wave DJs, get these preferential rates, with us philistines paying a bit more. It’s the brainchild of Nick Hartwright, who also set up The Mill Co Project, which provides affordable studio space at various sites in London. Advising on the hospitality side of things is hotelier Kurt Bredenbeck, the man behind the Hoxton Hotel.

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Dorm accommodation for the less well-heeled creative.
The front desk is happily located at the opposite end of the bar, which serves us a pre-dinner Beavertown ale (from up the road in Tottenham) and a magnificently savoury tamarind-laced G&T. Concrete floors and windows looking onto a fairly unlovely strip of Wood Green don’t make it particularly cosy; music bounces coldly off these flat surfaces. But the Scandi furniture, metal shelving and bare bulbs are all (just) on-trend, and it has charm. This space is also used as a gallery, and, on the night we stay, has just hosted an unofficial London Fashion Week show.

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This kind of casual lobby space can easily feel transitory, but the restaurant, in the same large room, elevates it into a destination in its own right. Green Rooms is running six-month residencies where chefs are given guidance from Johnny Smith, of Shoreditch’s Michelin-starred Clove Club. First up it’s Esteban Arboleda, a local resident by way of Medellín in Colombia, known for his itinerant Colombian Street Kitchen. What’s enjoyable sat outside on a pallet can seem lacking when served indoors on a plate, but Arboleda’s dishes all make the jump to restaurant quality. Sweetcorn fritters are light and ungreasy, while prawn ceviche has a clear piscine note running through its tiger’s milk; only an over-seasoned pot of frijoles disappoints. The desserts are seriously good too, the winner being a chocolate pot of almost caffeinated intensity accompanied by shards of Colombian pastry. It’s good value, including the wines, which all sit between £18 and £21. Breakfast features croissants, coffee and granola – but with the hotel being full of artists, all of it remains untouched by 8am.

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The 1930s building housing the Green Rooms
Bedrooms are reached via a lift or a tiled staircase, as if scampering around an old boarding school. We have one of four en suite rooms; the others share communal bathrooms, whose shower cubicles offer total privacy. In fact, it might be preferable to go for the shared option, given our bathroom – in every other way lovely – has a fairly noisy fan and even noisier water pump that whirrs proudly into action even if you’re sneaking for a 3am glass of water. The high-ceilinged room itself is decked out in more vintage furniture (some rooms have lights, rocking chairs and throws designed by clothing brand Folk). There’s no TV or phone, and they’re not vastly spacious, but the bed is pleasingly firm, and there are neat touches like USB ports in the plugs.

At the top of the building is a large studio space, perfect for talks or rehearsals, OK for music performances, and less so for art exhibitions, thanks to its wood panelling.

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The Green Rooms is running six-month residencies to chefs, under the guidance of Johnny Smith from Michellin-starred Clove Club
The hotel is full when we visit, with guests including artists from the Lift theatre festival. This is a well-connected simulacrum of trendy east London at a fraction of the price. It’s perfect for artists and hipster tourists priced out of Hackney – a microcosm, perhaps, of Wood Green at large.

• Accommodation was provided by Green Rooms (020-8888 5317, greenrooms.london). Dorm beds: artist rate £18, normal rate £24; doubles (room-only): artist rate £72, normal rate £84

Ask a local
Tim West and Simon Key, Big Green Bookshop

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‘Ally Pally’ … AKA Alexandra Palace Photograph: Dinendra Haria/Rex
• Eat
Tucked away behind the shopping mall on Coburg Rd, The Karamel is the hangout and venue for Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, and also hosts events run by Haringey Literature Live. And you can eat there, too: it serves up some of the best vegan food London has to offer – the vegan Sunday roast is a particular treat.

• Walk
Take a walk up to the imposing Victoriana of Alexandra Palace and take in views that stretch over the whole of London.

• Shop
At the back of Wood Green Shopping City – aka The Mall – is The Market Hall, a hub of independent shops, from West Indian and Asian supermarkets to halal butchers, ironmongers and fabric shops. Oh, and a couple of nice cafes, too.

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