Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red is the Tower of London’s evolving installation marking the start of the First World War. Since the first poppies were planted in early August, a tide of crimson has been steadily creeping across the moat. By September 11, 888,246 ceramic flowers – each one representing a British fatality during the war – will encircle the castle. I’ve visited twice in recent weeks, and standing on the public walkway overlooking the moat, I’ve thought about the 1,600 City workers who enlisted on this very spot. Only 50 of them survived the war.
Mindful of the sacrifice these men made, one of the Tower’s neighbours has pledged to do its bit, too. Until November 11, Cheval Three Quays will be donating the profits from one of its luxury serviced apartments (apartment 7P, to be precise) to the service charities benefiting from the poppies installation. For guests it’s a win-win situation: stay at one of the capital’s finest riverside developments, and support a worthy cause at the same time.
Admittedly, I’ve never noticed Cheval Three Quays before I visited earlier this week, though it really is just steps from the Tower, right next to the Tower Millennium Pier. Turns out it only opened in March – an opening that was delayed when archaeologists discovered a Roman wall and a dry dock beneath the building. Given the property’s historic location, it was always going to be a difficult build – its exterior walls, for example, had to match exactly the stone on the Tower’s reveals. But it was worth the wait: these contemporary studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments and penthouses have some of the best views in London. From the penthouse apartments you can see virtually every iconic building in London, from the Shard and the Walkie-Talkie building to the London Eye and St Paul’s Cathedral.
And 7P? It’s a lovely one-bedroom apartment with wall-to-ceiling windows and a modest balcony overlooking the Tower of London and the river (binoculars are provided – not that you’ll need them). There’s a welcome basket packed with British products, including shortbread and jam from the Tower of London Gift Shop, and Arran Aromatics products from Scotland in the bathroom. Oh and the bed has a bespoke mattress, exclusive to Cheval, so you will sleep rather better than the Tower’s ‘guests’ ever did. Like all of the apartments at Cheval Three Quays, 7P has a well-equipped kitchen and though there are no restaurants or coffee shops on site (yet), there are plenty within a stone’s throw. Not that you will want to spend much time away from 7P…
When the Tower of London holds its centenary ceremony on September 11, the exterior of Cheval Three Quays will be bathed in red light as a mark of respect. I plan to be back to see it.
7P costs from £291 per night. Further information, www.chevalresidences.com.