Church Street Hotel and Waterloo

My wife’s cousin and her friend have paid us a surprise visit, arriving from Portugal on Saturday morning. This, unfortunately, coincided with an overnight stay from my Mum, who was in town to watch a Rod Stewart concert. Our flat isn’t quite big enough to comfortably accommodate four extra people, so we arranged for cousin and friend to stay at the Church Street Hotel.

I was quite looking forward to seeing it inside, so we arranged to meet them in their room before going out for a drink afterwards. I have to say, it’s very impressive inside. Painted throughout in strong Mediterranean blues and reds, the Spanish theme is continued with lots of religious iconography. There are candles and icons and similar decorative touches throughout the hotel.

Their twin room was small but very pretty; they were enchanted by the complimentary chocolates and hot sauce (caution: we ate some last night and it’s extremely hot) and soaps, shower gels, etc. The bathroom was shared but so nicely decorated that they took a series of photos of it. Cousin and friend said it was the best hotel they’d stayed in on their two-week trip around Europe.

It wasn’t cheap — £89.99 for a twin room with shared bathroom — but they loved the decor, the ambience, and the breakfast and services, and declared themselves more than satisified with the whole experience. I have to admit, I fancy a stay there myself now. Can’t wait for the bar and restaurant to open.

We went for a drink at the Dark Horse, which was reasonably busy. I had Addlestone’s while we persuaded our guests to try different beers. We wanted to eat some bar food while we drank, but the kitchen had closed while we vacillated so we had to make do with some wasabi peanuts and a charcuterie (which in my day used to be called a cold meat platter).

The wife and guests then went for a drink in The Castle while I went to Waterloo to meet my mum from the train; we waited an hour and 20 minutes for a taxi while making polite small talk with some drunken Finnish businessmen.

Author: Peter

Long-time resident of Camberwell, author of this blog since July 2004.

45 thoughts on “Church Street Hotel and Waterloo”

  1. Likewise looking forward to the bar and restaurant at Angels and Gypsies to get going…

    Meantime The Sun and Doves has an elementally enforced closure this evening (this Tuesday night is not film night) following the spectacular hail inundation that flooded a roof well one storey up, overflowing all the storm flashings and creating a waterfall over the bar, through the ceiling. Part of the bar ceiling fell in, the stereo and one of the tills, many of the lights and bottles, a couple of fridges and the cellar all got drenched.

    Happy days. Someone said it’s to do with a blue moon. Another said climate change. Whatever. It’s a pain.

    The builders are in at 8am to do repairs. We hope to be open business as usual tomorrow lunchtime.

    Photographs to follow.

  2. Mark — Jeez, you needed that like a hole in the head. Good luck with the clean-up.

    Cycling home this evening was eventful to say the least. Notwithstanding the flash flooding, there were cloud formations the likes of which I’ve never seen before. Literal climate change. Spooky.

    As for Angels & Gypsies, I have plans similar to Peter’s to put-up some visiting friends there shortly. I dropped into the reception last week and cheekily enquired if there were any discounts for locals, to which I was politely informed, “No”! Thought I heard somewhere that East Dulwich forum members were being offered discounts…?

  3. Really sorry to hear about the flood in Sun And Doves. What a stunning (but devestating) storm.
    On the subject of climate change, has anyone seen An Inconvenient Truth?
    I saw it last week and will see it again and really think everyone should see it to become more aware of what needs to be done to reduce our destruction of the Environment.
    Sorry for the rant — i’m local and a camberwellonline / se5 forum lurker and i really think it matters.
    The Prince Charles cinema — one of the best cinemas ever (i’m a member but not in any other way linked to it or Al Gore i assure you) have made a pact to show it once a week throughout 2007. Go and see it! it only costs £4).
    And see
    to see what you can do to push the government to set bigger goals to cut carbon emissions.
    It’s not just a matter of recycling a few plastic bottles to assuage any other personal responsibility. it’s a matter of not creating so much rubbish in the first place. Although i am glad that Southwark have finaly provided my area of Camberwell with some plastic recycling facilities.

  4. yeah why are the mini cab services here so shite? it is still quicker to take a bus when you are in a hurry than to wait ( a long time) for a cab

  5. @Jozza: I have a copy of An Inconvenient Truth and loaned it to everyone at work; everyone agreed that it was very interesting and thought-provoking. Fingers crossed they’ll do more than think about it.

  6. I wondered what the stuff that looked like the remnants of a snow covering was in Ruskin park last night. And I agree about packaging; Marks and Spencer, for example, might do nice food, but how much packaging does a potato really need? I know they produce a lot of biodegradable packaging, which is commendable, but still.
    Sorry to hear about the storm damage Mark.

  7. Who got buried today?

    …4pm on Denmark Hill, horse-drawn hearse and 7 black limos plus an Aston! Full-on South London gangster-chic.

    Sun & Doves back up and running (nice bit of plastering above the bar!) Even the wireless internet was working again by half three — a boon for those of us who run our mobile offices from there.

  8. @bonbohue

    Camberwell Cars seem to be improving now they’ve invested in improved IT. But as for the drivers…

    I heard someone once remark, “you may think you’ve experienced fear but until you’ve been in the back of Peckham minicab on a Saturday night you don’t know the meaning of the word”.

  9. Hi chaps

    And thanks for the support!

    The garden’s for smoking, as is the forecourt but we haven’t got all the necessary rain proofing organised for this lovely summer weather.

    That gear’s coming in the next fortnight or so — an all weather LCD screen in the garden for art movies and high art/sport stuff with a six x six metre all weather parasol thingy, decking and so on.

    The installation was supposed ot be ready in place for the smoking ban but the installers schedules are way behind because of rain. Can you believe it!


    I’ve been wanting to show this at The Sun and Doves but haven’t got round to organising it since my life is so distracted by impending legislation and storms.

  10. Bunbohue — Ruskin Cabs on the Walworth Road are the most reliable cab firm in the area. The drivers that do the airport runs are especially good. I would avoid Camberwell Cabs like the plague unless all other options are closed to you. The drivers there generally try to rip you off, in my experience.

    The “Bear” at Jack Beard’s has now been painted over.

  11. Ruskin

    I’d agree on balance they’re the best locally. Camberwell Cars have even got Ruskin to pick me up on 2 occasions when I’ve booked a car that they haven’t managed to honour.

    Creative thinking on CC’s part but made me use Ruskin. And there’s one Nigerian driver called George who’s brilliant. ‘How long have you been here?’ “I got off the boat yesterday and got this job today. God bless the Queen, I love your country”.

  12. Ive always found Kempton cars at 207 Camberwell New Road to be fine — never any problems and they always take your mobile number and ring when they arrive which I think is good as it saves having to wait outside in the rain or keep glancing out of the window.

    Generally though Ive found that its usually possible to get a ‘proper’ black cab taxi in the evenings if you go and stand on Denmark Hill (on the corner of Denmark Hill/ Camberwell New Road opposite the Silver Buckle pub is especially good as they are stopped for the lights) — presumably they are coming back having dropped people off in Dulwich.

  13. On M&S’s biodegradable packaging (Comment 9) — my husband, who is not one to believe environmental claims, is currently running an experiment in our back garden. He has buried part of an M&S plastic food container, along with various other objects which are said to be biodegradable, and will now wait to see if they do indeed degrade.

    When he emptied one of our compost bins a few weeks ago he found one of his baby grandson’s nappies, which are marketed as being compostable. I think the inside had composted (I didn’t look!) but the lining was intact. So he is looking for the perfect compostable nappy, especially as he now has a baby granddaughter, as well as testing environmental claims more generally. One of the objects in the experiment is a different brand of nappy.

  14. Congratulations to Mr Carole for his new grand-daughter and her contribution to the soil of Camberwell.

    That book “Necropolis: London and Its Dead” is interesting about aspects of decomposition.

    The six-foot under rule was introduced partly so that the gases of putrefaction could rise filtered through the soil. Paul Foot was buried in a cardboard coffin. Crematoria have been blamed for 16% of the UK’s mercury emissions. Formaldehyde leaks into the soil from burials, contaminating local water supplies. Woodland burials where the only memorial is a tree are becoming increasingly popular. George Melly has died. He used to have his tests done at my doc’s in Notting Hill.

  15. thanks for the mini cab tips guys,
    Nigerian George’s story reminds me of the Queens Rd minicab drivers who didn’t even know the Old Kent road, and why should they ? it is only SE London’s major artery!

  16. The weather’s ideal for a Stag weekend under canvas in Dorset. Don’t you think?

    See you Sunday night at The Sun and Doves? The flood damage has been fixed.

  17. The hailstones were the size of marbles in Battersea, whilst they were the size of peas here.

    Eighty-four people sheltering in St Peter’s crypt, Walworth, died when it was bombed in the Blitz.

    Bombs falling on the railway lines and gasworks by Kensal Green cemetery showered it with human remains, which were quickly reburied.

  18. Is anyone else going to the Tour de France prologue or first stage this weeked?

    Over 2 million people are expected to see the spectacular event. It will be really esciting and should help to promote cycling in London.

    This evening there is a general event in Trafalgar Square celebrating the Tour.

    On Saturday there are individual time trials on a route taking in Traflgar Square, the Mall, Whitehall and Hyde Park. There will be lots of stalls, sponsors’ free gifts and things to do (in addition to watching the men in lycra pass by) in the park.

    On Sunday the first stage departs from the Mall and goes the 120+ miles to Canterbury.

    Further information is at

    or on the Guardian website at

    There will be London Cycling Campaign organised rides to join the Prologue from Southwark (meet Southwark Bridge 9:30am) or the Lambeth one that I am helping to marshall which departs from the Ritzy Brixton at 10am. Over 150 have signed up for the Lambeth ride so it should be good. Both will get you wrist bands which allow access to a special viewing area for the prologue.

    As a result of the Tour much of central London will be shut to traffic all weekend

  19. I’m well up for big sporting events being staged in London and anything which promotes cycling is also a good thing. Hopefully I’ll get to see a bit.

    A small point, but I do hope the majority of riders clear up their used syringes along the way.

  20. I’ll be there to see as much of le depart as possible.

    I went to see the opening stages of the tour in Dublin about ten years ago and it was fantastic.

    If you are a real cycling fan [and lets be honest there aren’t many of us left] then i have to recommend the signing on ceremony and the roll out early on the sunday morning.

    It has an almost religious air to it.

  21. Palm trees in giant pots set out all along Upper Ground today, so it’ll all look a bit prettier for TV I guess. Un peu cynical je pense.

    As for the syringes…that’s the reason I won’t be supporting T de F.

  22. Went to the opening of ‘The Bear’ on Camberwell New Road (formerly Jack Beards). Very nice it was to. i wish it well.

  23. Le Tour was great — bikes on roofs of cars, grumpy flics. Whoosh! The peleton went past, gone.

    I found a Hercules Balmoral three-speed in a skip outide the old Anchor & Hope pub in Addington Square, now a Hungarian club.

  24. I have a love/hate relationship with France. Seeing the Tour down near Tunbridge Wells reminded me of what’s great about nos cousins. So much more than a bike race… A celebration of machismo, joie de vivre, civic & national pride…

    Like Dagmar I enjoyed seeing les grumpy flics etc. though one did toot and smile (I think, maybe it was just wind).

    I for one hope the new government doesn’t forcibly alter the French psyche as much as they’d like.

    Got back in time (just) to catch another splendid S&D Sunday Session.

    Great day.

  25. French cultural theorist Barthes called the Citroen DS a supreme example of “the sublimation of the utensil”. I saw a DS D Super 5 in Linnell Road the other day, in a colour I can only describe as “chic”. I saw car again in East Dulwich.

    Robbie McEwen the Aussie who won the stage yesterday said something sublime which could be a haiku. After being knocked off his bike from behind, he thought his day was over, but:

    I had nothing to lose,
    I just went for it,
    And it worked out.

  26. Bonjour, les bloggeurs! Je viens de faire le Tour de Cool. C’est si chaud! Je suis foutue! Avez-vous vu les autres?

  27. The Tour was fantastic — so many people, such good weather and everyone in good spirits.

    They reckon over 4 million people turned out to watch it which is good considering that cycling is not exactly well covered in the media.

    We had almost 150 people on our ride from Brixton up to Hyde Park which is the biggest Lambeth Cyclists ride we’ve run. And there were similar numbers from most of the other London boroughs. And on Sunday at the finish in Canterbury there were hoardes of people — what a pleasure it was to sit at the roadside drinking wine whilst the publicity caravans, police escorts, the course leaders and finally the peloton came by.

    The biggest joy was the closure of so much of central London and the roads on the route into Kent on Sunday — it makes me very joyful when I can walk/ cycle around not having to worry about cars! Its a vision of another world that is possible but sadly not very probably anytime in the near future.

  28. USB device not recognised. This balloon keeps coming up every three or four seconds on my screen. Which bloody device? Some time in a far off future (a free of tie future) there will be no glitches.

    My god that pisses me off

  29. The more southern of the two pub tables in Lucas Gardens has been uprooted and carried to the playground area by vandals. One leg has a huge cone of concrete attached.

    I tried to help a chap carry it back so that he and his large family could picnic on it yesterday evening, but the table was too unwieldy.

    This evening, a lorry trundled very heavily along Camberwell Church Street towards central London. “S.Walker — Bulk & Walking Floor Specialists.” Walker!

    The Tour de France team Quick-Step is sponsored by a Belgian flooring company.

  30. The Lambeth Country Show takes place in Brockwell Park — for those of you that are new to the area. It’s on both Saturday and Sunday and is a very big event. Food from all over the world, live music, community stalls selling all manner of stuff (and ideologies!). If the weather holds out, pop down there — you won’t be disappointed!

  31. Just to say I have contacted the Council’s Parks officers about the tables in Lucas Gardens as raised by Dagmar. Hopefully some action will be taken soon. Many thanks.

  32. 37 Mushtimushta’s rigth

    Look out for bargain nuts; decorative sea shells (definitely sustainably sourced), knock down price garden watering devices and free Tory party balloons.

  33. Mushti, mate, is the show this weekend or next weekend? Lambeth site and others have 21st-22nd July.

    Thank you Councillor Wingfield, about the table in Lucas Gardens. It is a precious and important facility in that most atmospheric of Camberwell Parks. I was going to email Graeme Shimmin, he is always brisk and brilliant, effective and excellent.


    What a nice day!

  34. NFU site has 21–22 July for Lambeth Show. They are not likely to turn up on their combines on the wrong day investigating the benefits of hemp…

  35. @ Dagmar
    My apologies — it was announced yesterday on BBC London that it was this weekend, so I took them at their word. However, you’re right — it’s next weekend. Still good though.

  36. Yes.

    As ever in Camberwell, a Brazilian psychedlic artist’s show at the SLG has shot to No.1 in the Guardian’s Pick of the Week exhibitions. Art may be arse, but Guardian Arts are class.

  37. just popped in — couldn’t help wondering: why did you and your mum wait an hour and 20 mins at waterloo for a taxi? you could have walked to camberwell by then…

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