A new luxury boutique hotel has been opened in Dalston by the same family that ran the site as a post office for 18 years.
The Avo Hotel on Dalston Lane – Avo meaning ‘welcome’ in Hindi – is run by the Kotecha family who have lived in the area for over 25 years. The hotel contains a penthouse suite, as well as a stand-alone studio apartment that can be used for longer rentals. All Avo’s rooms are en-suite and decorated with a monochrome theme, featuring donated work from local photographers. The double rooms start at £79, the King at £89 and the Suite costs £99 per night.
Fifty-five-year-old Narendra Kotecha and his wife Raxa, 52, began running the building as a post office in 1986. They opted for voluntary closure in 2004 and subsequently ran a newsagent in the property. The family shut the newsagent in 2010, when after three applications to Hackney Council, planning permission was granted to convert the building into a boutique hotel.
Many of the products, from the teas and coffees on the hospitality trays, to the brownies and croissants at breakfast are locally-sourced, organic and/or fair-trade. The furniture is made of Indian wood, chosen by mother Raxa, who also made the pillows on the sofas from locally-sourced recycled material.
Their 24-year-old son Syam works at Barclays Bank but helps out in the hotel in the evenings and weekends. Daughter Sunny, a 30-year-old psychologist who holds a PhD from Oxford University, runs the business side.
Mr Kotecha was born and raised in a hotel in Gujarat, India and it had always been his dream to run a hotel business. With the Olympics coming to East London he saw an opportunity. Mr Kotecha said: “We’ve lived and worked in Dalston for over 20 years so we feel very much part of the community. We are proud to be in a position now to showcase local artists. Italian Vogue has called Dalston ‘the coolest place in Britain’ and we’d like tourists to experience what East London is really like. We’re very glad to be a part of and to support Dalston’s evolving heritage.”
A project is under way with the Hackney Enterprise Network to give local youths the opportunity to do work experience in the hotel. The opening of the hotel mirrors similar developments in the East End and North Lambeth, where luxury hotels have recently opened. A second as- yet unnamed property in Dalston is also on its way to becoming a new hotel in the ‘coolest place in Britian’.
By Koos Couvée; pictures: Ben Day