A night with Unite
Dan reflects on his stay at Unite Stratford One, one of our recommended student accommodation options.
From the moment I arrived at Stratford International station, I could see why Unite Stratford One was a popular choice for student accommodation in London. I used the Javelin high speed train to get to the station from St Pancras International, which is just a 6 minute journey. The Unite Stratford One accommodation is visible as soon as you leave the station, which makes finding the accommodation easy from the moment you arrive.
Upon arrival, I was greeted by the reception team just through the main entrance. The reception team quickly issued my key and showed me to my room. The staff were engaging and knowledgeable about local amenities, supermarkets and bars, and gave me a few directional tips from one of their open air terraces. This was a big help when it came to getting my bearings of the student accommodation, having pointed out the Loughborough University London campus, local supermarket locations and other nearby places of interest.
I was assigned a studio flat on the 16th floor, with views right across London. Many iconic landmarks were visible in the distance, including the London Eye, the Gherkin, the Shard and the O2 Arena to name but a few.
The room was well equipped featuring a kitchenette (oven/fridge/sink/microwave), en suite, bathroom, a desk and a double bed plus wardrobes, book shelves and a generous amount of storage space.
I stayed in a studio apartment, suitable for singles and couples. The smaller student accommodation at Unite Stratford One is similar in design, but utilises a communal kitchen rather than a personal kitchenette.
I unpacked and decided to head out in search of local provisions. Westfield Stratford Shopping and Entertainment Centre has two main grocery outlets. Waitrose is right across the road from Unite Stratford One and Marks and Spencer is located next to Stratford Tube station. Further afield you can find larger supermarkets, including Sainsbury’s, Morrison’s, an oriental supermarket and a post office.
I took a walk through Westfield, which was surprisingly well populated for 5pm on a Tuesday. Westfield itself has a variety of stores from high end to high street fashion, boutiques, bars and restaurants, and an eclectic take away food court for those on the go. The curved linear design of the mall makes it very easy to navigate (supermarkets at either end, food court in the middle and shops lining the concourse end to end).
There are also a couple of open air pedestrian spaces on the Olympic park side which feature restaurants and bars to suit all tastes. Once I had completed my tour of Westfield, I returned to base for food and decided that further investigation would follow.
After a walk through the Olympic Park, I decided to take refuge in one of the selection of bars located on the outskirts of the shopping centre. This included The Cow: a bar/restaurant located in the ‘street’ open air side of Westfield, Tanzibar (part of the Asper’s casino) and Tap East.
As a fan of real ale, I opted to visit Tap East, a bar featuring an onsite microbrewery sitting on the courtyard facing Stratford International station. They offered a good selection of beers brewed on the premises, supplemented by a long list of international beers, fine wines and other beverages from around the world. I found that Tap East had a relaxed atmosphere, with a mix of locals, students and travelling business types all happy to share some downtime after a long day.
I returned to the student accommodation and decided to have a good look around their facilities.
A staircase up from the reception area is a spacious recreational area, featuring two TV viewing areas, a games room (pool/ping pong/old school games machines are all available) and a large decked garden with unbelievable views across the Olympic Park. There’s also a number of dedicated study areas, a computer lab and designated meeting areas.
The decked garden is the main access point to each of the 4 accommodation blocks, which make up Stratford One. The block layout of the complex makes it very easy to navigate, despite boasting over 1000 rooms. All rooms are clearly signposted, both at reception and at the entrances to the individual blocks. Each floor also features smaller communal areas for group study, meetings and social events.
I had made the conscious decision upon arrival to wait until dark to visit Stratford One’s Sky Room, which is a viewing gallery on the top floor, offering the best views of the Olympic Park and other notable places of interest. The view was stunning. Once the sun has retired for the day, London is lit up like a fairground, and having the opportunity to view this from a purpose built gallery on the 24th floor is something I would gladly encourage anyone to do should they get the chance.
Having taken in the sights and sounds, it was time to rest. Although July is probably not the busiest time of year for student accommodations across the UK, the building was quiet and restful. The bed was comfortable and I soon fell soundly asleep. I was protected from the sounds of early morning local transport systems by ample soundproofed double glazing (I was at this point more grateful for the window arrangements than upon arrival). I awoke fresh and well rested and ready for the day ahead.
All in all I enjoyed my visit to Unite Stratford One, having found this a well laid out, relaxing place to base yourself for anyone undertaking post graduate study with Loughborough University London, right in the heart of an exciting and growing International community on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
For information relating to acommodation with Loughborough University London, click here.
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