Places & Spaces: A Room (With a View) for London

The aftermath of a very high tide, or a superbly-located artistic installation for rent?

A Room for London is a wooden riverboat balanced on top of a building in the middle of London. This is a boat with a bird’s eye view, sitting as it does atop the Queen Elizabeth Hall on the south bank of the River Thames. The vista includes the London Eye, the giant ferris wheel just up the river (whose passengers can also see the boat), and beyond, to the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben.

In the other direction sits Olympic Village in east London.

The one-bedroom Le Roi des Belges is an artistic installation named after the riverboat captained by Joseph Conrad in the Congo in the 19th century. This journey won’t be quite as (melo)dramatic as Heart of Darkness, though the views are – especially from the boat’s viewing deck.

The Roi is lined with painted wood and has abundant natural light. On board is a bedroom (the bed slides on rails enabling passengers/guests to choose their view), bathroom, kitchen, and an upstairs library and viewing platform – as well as a crow’s nest, to keep watch  for marauding pirates. There’s a logbook on the upper deck for guests to record what they notice during their one-night stay be it wind speed, cloud formations, other vessels, and strange behavior by passing pedestrians.

Those who don’t have a head for heights or a taste for the unusual won’t enjoy this. It’s 82 feet above the ground. Those who do can watch life floating by on one of the most famous waterways in the world.

This project is by Living Architecture, which commissions architects to design properties for short-term rentals around the UK. It will be perched atop London for this year only and the first six months of bookings filled up in 12 minutes. Staying in this temporary landmark would surely be the height of the London 2012 Olympics experience.

Rates from $186 (stays are limited to one night), including tax and 360-degree London views.

Photos: Charles Hosea


Places & Spaces is a travel guide that will inspire you to carve out a vacation on your calendar. All of the gorgeous locations and accommodations in our guide share our concern for the environment. From tent glamping to lavish built environments, fair warning, you’ll feel compelled to pack your suitcase.


Fiona Flores Watson

Fiona Flores Watson covers Places & Spaces for EcoSalon and currently resides in Seville, Spain.