I have been meaning to post some images of one of the most memorable night away I have had in my life. For my birthday last year I was treated to a night's stay in a rather special location, this was beyond a luxury hotel or a weekend away, it was truly something!
Whilst walking along London's Southbank you may paused to look up at the building and noticed a rather curious sight, a tug boat balancing precariously on top of the Royal Festival Hall, can that be right? How did it get there? It must have been washed up in the last high tide! well it is real, and yes if you are lucky enough you can stay the night.
The company behind the project is a social enterprise called Living Architecture, they are dedicated to the promotion and enjoyment of modern architecture and commissioned the cream of the architectural crop to design houses around the UK which are available for rent. Rois des Belges is the name of the boat, named after the boat Joseph Conrad commanded in the Congo during his African travels and was used as inspiration in his novel the Heart of Darkness. The interior of the boat has some wonderful artworks of the Congo river and the king of Belgium, the log book completed the well thought out nautical theme. The project was designed by David Kohn Architects and is finished to a wonderfully high standard for what was to be a temporary structure - I believe due to popular demand the boat will be staying this year - I urge you to try your luck.
A room for London was available through a ballot, I owe a debt of gratitude to my beautiful wife who managed to bag us a night on my birthday, talk about planning. So with an Ottelenghi take-out of fine salad and cakes and armed with a fine cab sav we bolted down the hatches and prepared for an awesome night overlooking the river. The first thing that struck us was how isolated we felt, there we were on top of a major cultural destination with throngs of people taking in the sights and events of the Southbank and yet we seemed invisible, it was wonderful. With views of the London Eye from one window and St Paul's from the other I cannot think of another location in our capital that offers such a feeling of being right in the centre of main sights whilst still managing to have a sound nights sleep, it was quite surreal.