Elle Hammond's Reviews
Icona Point is one of many shiny residential developments that pierce the Stratford skyline. The 2012 Olympics well and truly put this pocket of East London on the map, and now it’s a buzzing district for fashion, dining, live music – and everything in between. Thanks to its soaring popularity, there’s more choice than ever before when it comes to living here.
Icona Point is up there with the postcode’s most desirable developments. It’s got a first-class setting in Stratford’s heart, edged by the Waterworks River and overlooking the sprawling green acres of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Telford Homes, the Icona Point developer, instructed esteemed architect, Stockwool, to create a landmark building in keeping with a blossoming, on-the-pulse neighbourhood. The end result is an elliptical 18-storey tower and two lower sister blocks, connected by immaculate courtyards and flaunting rainbow-hued façades. The tower’s main entrance is actually reminiscent of a Rubik’s Cube, so the design of the place really sets it apart.
There are 249 apartments here, all bright, airy and spacious, with floor-to-ceiling windows, neutral colour schemes and balconies that offer a bird’s-eye view of the action below. Kitchens are fully fitted with highly-rated Smeg mod-cons, and bedrooms come with handy fitted wardrobes. Apartment interiors aside, nice-to-have factors for Icona Point residents include a round-the-clock concierge service, a gym and secure parking.
Close by, you’ve got the colossal Westfield Stratford City, a miniature town in its own right, packed with stores, restaurants and a cinema. Icona Point is just over a 15-minute walk from Stratford International, and closer still to Stratford Underground, meaning big business and entertainment hubs such as King’s Cross, Canary Wharf and the West End are quick and simple to reach.
The big draw in these parts, though, is just how much residents have on the doorstep. You can spend your free time dipping in and out of quality restaurants (lots of which are independent), enjoying boozy brunches in the authentic pubs and quirky cafés, and exploring the generous green space and riverside walks. If all that sounds too sedate, opt for a ride on the world’s tallest tunnel slide, courtesy of the Olympic Park’s ArcelorMittal Orbit structure.
With a name like ‘The Vibe’, it’ll come as no surprise that this is a development geared up for young, fun twenty and thirty-somethings. And it certainly ticked the boxes for the target audience, who snapped up every single one of its units in no time upon launch. Oozing style and with a central location in district-of-the-moment Dalston, it’s easy to understand The Vibe’s big draws.
Crisp. Clean. Modern. Three words to describe homes at The Vibe. The one, two and three-bed apartments here are airy and open-plan, with walls coated in smooth white emulsion, and woodstrip laminate flooring in kitchens, living rooms and hallways. Bathrooms feature contemporary ceramic tiling, while bedrooms are carpeted in a soft neutral shade. Each apartment comes with integrated Smeg appliances, underfloor heating and a video entry phone system, not to mention a balcony that looks out over Hackney or The City.
Elsewhere in the development, there’s a 24-hour concierge, a swanky residents’ gym, and space set aside for bicycles. Head up to the roof, and you’ll find a terrace just made for after-work beers. It’s neatly furnished, with faux grass and a smattering of plants, and its 360-degree view takes in landmarks like The Shard and the Gherkin.
In terms of transport links, The Vibe comes up trumps. It’s a three-minute walk from the development to Dalston Junction, which gets you to Shoreditch High Street (for The City) in just four stops, and to Highbury & Islington (for the West End) in two. Dalston Kingsland, meanwhile, is an eight-minute walk away, and has trains to Stratford and Hampstead Heath.
With so much going on nearby, you might want to stick around. Now one of East London’s most sought-after postcodes, Dalston is an eclectic, technicolour delight. The place is splashed with street art (graffiti king-pin Banksy is known to stop by), and home to some of the capital’s best vintage stores (don’t miss Oxfam on Kingsland Road). As for the after-dark scene, there’s proper East London pubs mixed in with quirky cocktail bars (daiquiri in a teapot anyone?), plus countless restaurants selling cuisines from the world-over.
If you’re looking for a home with a little more character than average, you’ve struck gold with the Tower Loft Apartments. These one, two, and three-bedroom homes reside in Tower House, a striking, art deco building that’s stood proudly on Lewisham High Street since the 1930s. The development has a dedicated concierge service and space for bicycle storage.
The Tower Loft Apartments are reminiscent of the airy loft spaces on Manhattan’s sought-after Upper East Side. They’re done out in understated earthy shades, with open-plan lounge and dining areas that provide plenty of room for relaxing and entertaining, plus floor-to-ceiling windows for optimum natural light. There’s a host of luxe features here, too, such as a video entry phone system, underfloor heating, Neff kitchen appliances, and plush carpets and LED lighting in the bedrooms.
Smack bang in the heart of one of South East London’s most connected areas, the Tower Loft Apartments are just a five-minute walk from both Lewisham Station and Lewisham DLR Station. The former provides a direct link via Southeastern services into London Victoria and Charing Cross, while the latter whisks residents to professional hubs like Canary Wharf, Bank and Stratford.
Closer to home, you’re never stuck for things to do. There’s a generous helping of cafés, bars and traditional Victorian pubs on the doortstep. And if you’re a foodie, don’t miss Model Market, a night-time street food extravaganza just down the road from the Tower Loft Apartments. It’s also really easy to reach the renowned Greenwich Park from here. Wander the flower and herb gardens, stop for tea and cake at the Pavilion Café, and soak up the scenery from one of London’s best viewpoints.
West Plaza is an attractive, gated development in the heart of Ashford, overlooking the open water of the Staines Reservoirs and the greenery that envelopes them. Despite its peaceful countryside credentials, the area is extremely well connected, so it’s easy to see why so many big businesses have set up camp here – Apple, Canon and Toshiba all have local HQs.
West Plaza residents are just one kilometre from Ashford Station, which is less than a 40-minute journey from London’s busy Waterloo, and just a 23-minute ride from creative hub Putney. Heathrow Airport is also really close by, and the road links are just as impressive, with the M25, M4 and M3 motorways all easily accessible from West Plaza.
The development’s name offers some clues to its layout. During construction, Inland Homes paid careful attention to the outdoor space, in order to encourage a welcoming, community feel. As such, buildings are scattered among two central courtyards, which are tidily landscaped and decked out with pathways and seating areas. All apartments come with secure underground parking and an audio entry system.
Apartments have one, two or three bedrooms. Inside they’re roomy, with open-plan lounge and kitchen areas, integrated appliances and a decent amount of storage space. The designers went for smart and modern, via neutral-coloured walls, wood-effect flooring and biscuit-coloured carpet in bedrooms.
When you want to explore the local area, lively Staines-Upon-Thames has plenty on offer, and is the closest proper town. It’s got a huge shopping mall, plus a good selection of restaurants, bars and coffee shops. Nature enthusiasts can enjoy nearby Bedfont Lakes Country Park, while culture buffs will love wandering Windsor Castle and Hampton Court Palace – both of these historic landmarks are just over a 20-minute drive away from the development.
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Few residential developments feature woodland walks, a lakeside location and a view of London’s iconic skyline. But then Woodberry Down isn’t like most residential developments. This 64-acre site in Finsbury Park has already won a string of awards, including ‘Best Large Development’ from The Evening Standard, and The Sunday Times’ ‘Outstanding Placemaking’ accolade. When it’s complete, it’ll boast more than five thousand homes, all of which will neighbour acres of open water, gardens and parkland, and benefit from easy access to central London and the City.
One, two and three-bedroom homes are on offer here, in aptly-named areas such as ‘The Nature Collection’, which sits next to the idyllic Woodberry Wetlands nature reserve, and ‘Hartingtons’, a phase fronted by a vast, glittering lake. Those that don’t face either, need fret not – all the buildings are peppered among peaceful courtyards and gardens.
Interiors are top-of-the-range, with a mix of muted tones and bolder statement hues, quality flooring (think plush carpets and engineered wood with underfloor heating), and slick appliances (such as the Bosch touch-control hob and built-in microwave oven). Kitchen, living and dining areas are open-plan and spacious, and each home benefits from floor-to-ceiling windows that let in lots of light. All come with at least one balcony or terrace, too, so residents can make the most of the outdoor surroundings.
When it comes to amenities, Woodberry Down has it all. In fact, think of it as a purpose-built village. Among the long list of establishments on-site, there’s a supermarket, a grocery store, a beautician, a Mediterranean café and an authentic Italian restaurant. There’s also a helpful 24-hour concierge service, a swimming pool and a fitness centre. Close by, you’ll find the West Reservoir Water Sports Centre, which offers activities like kayaking and canoeing. Speaking of activities, there’s plenty laid on for residents, such as summer festivals and weekly outdoor yoga.
While it may be tempting to stay put in the serene, green Woodberry bubble, Manor House tube is less than a five-minute walk away, and has great links to some of London’s commuter hotspots. From here, you’ll reach Kings Cross is less than 10 minutes, Oxford Circus in 12, and Canary Wharf in under 40.
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