With the popularity of Airbnb soaring, it's no secret that people are seeking out cosy and homely spaces to stay when travelling; somewhere they can relax, a place they can temporarily claim as their own and that gives them the opportunity to live like a local. Sure, hotels can be luxurious but while the cleaning is taken care of and the meals are provided for you, there's often a personal touch that's missing, a separation between the inside of a hotel and the community that surrounds it.
So when Cuckooz reached out to offer me a stay in one of their luxury serviced apartments in East London, I was both curious and excited. To me, this felt like the perfect bridge between a hotel stay and a sleepover in a stranger's house. Providing towels, toiletries, personalised robes and bespoke bedlinen, Cuckooz combines the luxury of a hotel stay with the ease and convenience of staying with a friend. Greeted by the founders - Charlie and Fabienne - on arrival and provided with a comprehensive guide to the local area (as well as round-the-clock concierge service), you feel warmly welcomed and well-informed about your neighbourhood instantly.
I have to admit, I was blown away the minute I set foot inside the apartment. And judging by the response from my Snapchat tour, you were just as impressed as I was ...
My lovely photographer Zoe and I stayed in the Two Bed Deluxe, a beautiful and incredibly spacious apartment with a patio balcony overlooking East London. With a bedroom and en-suite each, a study and a huge open-plan living/dining area adjacent to the kitchen, the apartment had everything we needed to make it feel like a home away from home.
And the interiors are beautiful. Fabrics and furnishings have been handpicked by local designers to make the space homely, as if you had decorated it yourself. Books and pretty vases adorn the bookshelf in the living area, pretty plants sit beside quirky mirrors and throws, rugs and cushions make each and every room feel cosy and inviting. And one of my favourite features has to be the gold foil wallpaper, I've never seen anything quite like it!
The decor is beautifully unique, yet also minimal and sophisticated. I fell in love with it.
And something else that stole my heart? The abundance of natural light. With floor-to-ceiling windows lining the living area, sunlight floods the open-plan space - making it the perfect spot for those Instagram shots (if you're that way inclined). It's just beautiful.
Shiny pots and pans, gold cutlery and a marble chopping board ... the kitchen of my dreams.
Fancy a lazy morning in? No problem. Let one of the girls know the night before and you can have breakfast delivered to your apartment from Smaka, a delicious healthy Scandinavian restaurant just around the corner. This basket of freshly-prepared goodies was the perfect fuel for a morning of shooting and ploughing through emails. I didn't even step outside until the afternoon!
Side note: I rarely feature outtakes but I always have so much fun shooting with Zoe. This is just one of the many moments I experienced tears of laughter during our stay. If you saw us shooting on the rooftop over on my Snapchat, this won't be news to you. She's a keeper!
And the view ...
Surprisingly, for somewhere so ideally located in the cultural hub of East London (a stone's throw away from Aldgate East station), it was so peaceful - our own private retreat within the city. It was, to put it simply, absolutely perfect.
Thank you so much Fabienne and Charlie for having us, I thoroughly enjoyed my stay and can't wait to be back.
Or, perhaps I could just move in?