The lowdown: The Pilot is like an oasis in the desert. This gorgeous little boutique hotel is housed in a pub built to serve the local coal miners more than 200 years ago, along with a row of eight adjacent cottages (which featured in Blur’s ‘Park Life’ video – cool). However, it is surrounded by ugly industrial site buildings and has a view of the O2 arena (not necessarily ugly, but not exactly the Eiffel Tower).
Please don’t let this put you off, as its positioning is practical: great for an overnight stay after taking in a concert at the O2, it’s close to the cable cars that take you across the Thames, plus it’s only a 10-minute bus ride into the centre of Greenwich, which has a great Saturday market, the stately Cutty Sark, the stunning Greenwich Maritime Museum and university campus, the Royal Observatory and Greenwich Park. Plus, as soon as you step inside The Pilot, its surroundings feel a million miles away.
The wow factor: You know those places that manage to get the most random mix of things, put it all together, and make it look as if it was meant to be together all along? This is one of those places. From industrial piping, leather armchairs and huddles of picture frames in different shapes and sizes, to vintage travel-themed knick-knacks and old advertising posters, The Pilot’s eclectic interior makes every inch a feast for the eyes.
The rooms: While the communal parts of the hotel are a glorious mish-mash of bits and bobs, the rooms are individually themed. The theme of travel continued in our room: vintage box suitcases of various colours stacked atop the wardrobe, framed paintings of exotic birds line a mauve-painted wall and cardboard gazelle heads peer down from the bathroom archway. The bed is out-of-this-world comfy, with a duvet and pillows that make you feel as if you are sleeping in a cloud. Another cool one is the rock-themed room, with Jimi Hendrix posters and the like; or a favourite is the single captain’s cabin, with a cubby-hole bed and porthole window.
Food and drink: If you’re in the area and looking for something to eat, this has to be your choice. Sure there’s the obligatory Nando’s, Pizza Hut et al in the O2 Arena and nearby, but don’t do it to yourself. Dine within The Pilot’s eclectic, cosy interior, or take a seat on its sunny terrace, which is delightfully enclosed by leafy trees and reached via floor-to-ceiling folding glass doors.
The menu offers a great mix of pub classics – chicken burger, fish and chips, beef rump – and dishes with a leaning towards a high-end restaurant’s fare – whole dressed Dorset crab, crispy confit duck and watermelon salad, lamb shoulder moussaka. Well-presented, tasty and filling, what more do you want? Oh, the serving staff are lovely too.
Bill please: Bed and breakfast from £100 per night
The Pilot, 68 River Way, Greenwich, SE10 0BE. pilotgreenwich.co.uk