A boat hotel has been added to the capital's skyline to celebrate London 2012. Reporter NINA MASSEY finds out why spending the night in it was an opportunity one Greenwich resident could not resist.
A MEMBER of the Greenwich Yacht Club has become one of the first people to stay in a boat perched on top of the Southbank Centre.
Nicola White of Shooters Hill first read about A Room for London in August last year and was instantly fascinated by the idea.
Having grown up in Cornwall she had spent a lot of time around boats and water and the thought of spending a night above the Thames was something that had an instant appeal.
The 43-year-old told News Shopper: “I was captivated by the idea of spending a night marooned in a boat perched on the top of the theatre - looking out over the River Thames and observing the hustle and bustle of a busy London from within a secluded and isolated boat.
“Both my boyfriend and I spend a lot of time walking along the Thames during the weekend and love being near the water.”
Describing their stay on the night of January 16, she said: “The opportunity of spending an afternoon and night observing the busy River Thames, with its constant activity of boats and sea birds, the tides, and the changing colour of reflections of the sunset to inky black at night, was a wonderful experience.
“We checked in at 3pm, and so were there for the sunset, which was beautiful, and the sunrise the next morning was equally stunning.
“During our stay, we spent most of our time on the upper deck where there is a desk with river wide views - equipped with binoculars."
She added: "It was amazing seeing how busy the Southbank was, with joggers, walkers and commuters in the evening. Then all was quiet during the night, until London woke up again early in the morning.
"In the evening, we had some champagne out on deck and waved to passers by, feeling very lucky indeed. We wanted to make the most of being in the room and so we took food to heat in the microwave for dinner.
“We had to check out reluctantly at 11am the next day but we made the most of every minute, and felt very sad when we had to leave.”
ABOUT THE ROOM
A Room for London is a boat-shaped, one-bedroom installation perched on top of the Queen Elizabeth hall.
It was built by Living Architecture and designed by David Kohn Architects in collaboration with artist Fiona Banner, inspired by the Roi des Belges, the boat Joseph Conrad used to navigate up the River Congo in the late nineteenth century.
There are upper and lower decks providing panoramic views of the capital, a crow’s nest, and an octagonal library with twin desks looking out across the river.
Bookings for the room which is rented out from £120 a night for up to two people, sold out within 12 minutes of going on sale.