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Best hotels to witness “living art” this summer.

by Rajul on June 1, 2009

Trafalgar Square's magnificient "Fourth Plinth"

Trafalgar Square's magnificient "Fourth Plinth"

From July 6th to October 14th 2009, the so-called “Fourth Plinth” on Trafalgar Square – usually reserved for Kings and Generals – becomes a space for “living art” in artist Antony Gormley’s “One and Other” project.

Gormley is inviting citizens from all over the country – or indeed anyone living in the UK – to come and stand on the plinth for an hour each.

Applications can be made via the project’s official website, where thousands have already applied for the 2,400 available slots.  There will be one person on the plinth for every hour (24/7) for 100 days.

What an individual does on the plinth is entirely their own choice though it has to be a legal activity.  You must go up there on your own for the full hour: a great opportunity to show the world what you’ve got!

Here’s how the artist himself describes the idea:

“Through putting a person onto the plinth, the body becomes a metaphor, a symbol. In the context of Trafalgar Square with its military, valedictory and male historical statues, this elevation of everyday life to the position formerly occupied by monumental art allows us to reflect on the diversity, vulnerability and particularity of the individual in contemporary society.”

This groundbreaking project is bound to offer visitors a dynamic snapshot of the UK’s diversity, eccentricity and beautifully-understated patriotism…make sure you check it out if you’re in London from July 6th onwards!

If you want to stay as near as possible while keeping close watch on the live activity at the Trafalgar Square plinth, then here are some places you might consider staying to suit all budgets:

A highly-rated luxury hotel

If you’re in London with that special someone or want to experience a certain “wow” factor, then we highly recommend One Aldwych.

One Aldwych sets the benchmark among London hotels for modern architecture and warm service

One Aldwych sets the benchmark among London hotels for modern architecture and warm service

This hotel truly defines the standard for contemporary design combined with friendly, unpretentious service.

From the moment you step into its impressive lobby, the hotel literally “caresses” you in its bosom.  Unlike at some other ultra-deluxe hotels, there’s no sense of snootiness – just an easy and natural warmth.

I’ve been fortunate to meet the founder of the hotel, Gordon Campbell Gray, on a couple of occasions.  He told me that his goal is simply to make every guest’s stay “as exquisite as possible”.

Mr Campbell Gray’s motivation was to create a one-off special, a jewel, and most who stay there agree that he has met this goal.

For example, he told me at length how much time and thought went into the small detail of training staff at the lobby bar to work quietly using pieces of cloth to ensure “silent ice”.

That anecdote tells you everything you need to know about One Aldwych’s service philosophy.

Check the best rate for One Aldwych from 30+ hotel booking sites

Contemporary bathroom at One Aldwych

Contemporary bathroom at One Aldwych

A highly-rated value hotel

UPDATE: Since this review was written, the Travelodge Covent Garden has had some relatively ordinary reviews on TripAdvisor, so it may not offer quite such value.  Please do your own thorough research before you book.

If you’re on a tight budget but still want to be in this amazing area, you would do well to consider the Travelodge in Covent Garden.

It’s on Drury Lane which is right beside Covent Garden, close to the heart of Theatreland and about 10 minutes walk to Trafalgar Square.

You’ll feel smug about getting a perfectly decent room in a super location for significantly less than other tourists are paying in the same area!

Check the best rate for Travelodge in London from 30+ hotel booking sites

Guests love the functionality, location and value of Travelodge Covent Garden

Guests love the functionality, location and value of Travelodge Covent Garden

If you stay at either of the above hotels and like modern art, you can also hop and skip across the river to the Tate Modern (as well as the London Eye which is near it).

By staying in this area, you’ll also be just a stone’s throw from all the wonderful street markets and performers of Covent Garden.

But whatever you do in London this summer, make sure you don’t miss the people on the plinth!

Get the best-value London hotel deal from 30+ booking sites in 1 click

Photo credits: One & Other by Antony Gormley, One Aldwych, Travelodge.

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