Some hotels are more than a place to rest your head — they're a home away from home, and the Avo hotel is one such place. This family-run boutique bolthole in uber-hip Dalston lives up to its name, which means welcome in Hindi, with a relaxed, friendly atmosphere and warm staff. Its six ensuite rooms, close to the overground railway and the buzzing Kingsland Road, are an ideal base to explore arty East London, an area which has blossomed due to the regeneration of the area for the Olympics.
Rooms are compact without feeling cramped, monochrome with hints of purple. Bathrooms are glam: all black tiles, chrome fittings and luxe Elemis toiletries, with mirrors surrounded by LED lights, reminiscent of Hollywood dressing rooms.
Adding to the homely feel is Egyptian cotton bed linen on comfy memory foam mattresses, perfect for snuggling down in front of the 32" flat screen TV to watch a film from the hotel's extensive DVD selection — it has everything from classics to kid's films — thumbing the pages of a bestseller from the communal bookshelves or listening to some songs through the iPod docking station. Breakfast is a simple help yourself affair; expect quality (fresh pastries, good jams, juice and yoghurt) over a heaving buffet.
Good location in an up and coming area.
Stylish rooms at a great price, the top floor suite is particularly lovely.
Great atmosphere with a real family feel.
The not so good:
A little bit of noise from the main road, but nothing that'll stop you sleeping.
The lily on my bedside was pretty, but resulted in a pollen-related disaster when I turned my lamp off.
A hospitable hideaway: offers stylish rooms in a great location minus the extortionate price tag, it's sure to shine in 2012.
Rooms from £79; 82 Dalston Lane, E8 3AH (+44 (0)20 3490 5061 avohotel.com)