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Shoreditch High Street from the Ace rooftop
Introducing our handy hotel guides--HotelChatter's Must Stay Hotels--where we pick four hotels for four different types of travelers in a particular neighborhood of one major city. We’re rounding up the last few weeks with a stop in east London. Got a question about where to stay and when? Email us.
Looking for a hotel in London? You can troll online review sites, crowdsource on Facebook and comb through endless “Best Hotels” lists but why do all that when we’ve done all the work for you already?
Here are four different hotels to try in east London. So whether you’re going for pleasure or work and whether you’ve got cash to throw around or have pennies to count, these hotels will fulfill your needs. One common thread running through these hotel picks? They have all free WiFi. So during your stay, you can write us a thank you email for the recommendation.
Yesterday, we told you how to find Chicken Shop, the new underground restaurant at the Hoxton Holborn. Today, we’re talking what to order (apologies in advance for the photos, it's very, very dark underground).
In a way, there’s not much advice to give, because the menu at Chicken Shop is limited. Very limited – your options for your main course are:
· A quarter chicken (£4.50)
· A half chicken (£8.50)
· A whole chicken (£15)
To jazz it up, there are sides, which all cost £4. These are:
· Crinkle cut fries
· Corn on the cob
· Butter lettuce and avocado salad
There’s no wine list – your choices are “house”, “decent” or “good” – by the glass or jug. There are four beers on draught, and four (plus a cider) in bottles. Food is served on enamel plates, wine in battered jugs. The whole thing sounds overly simple, and it is. But it is one of the best overly simple meals you’ll have had in ages.
The chicken is free range, from a named farm (Banham’s) in Norfolk. It’s marinated overnight, steamed, then stuck on a rotisserie spit and cooked over charcoal. They chop it up with machetes at the open-plan kitchen, hurl on some extra seasoning as they plate up, and bam, it’s on the way to your table. This is very fast (almost too fast) restaurant food – ours arrived within a couple of minutes of ordering.
You might have heard of Chicken Shop, the ever so trendy (but tiny) restaurant chain owned by the people behind Soho House. You might have heard that its fourth London outpost opened this weekend in the Hoxton Holborn. You might pop along to the Hox, and stride confidently past the people flooding the open-plan bar and lobby area, towards the restaurant at the back.
“Is this the Chicken Shop?” you might ask the perfectly made up, beautifully dressed ladies looking you quizzically up and down at the restaurant entrance. And they will say: no.
You see, the restaurant in the lobby is Hubbard & Bell, “dishing up Brooklyn grill style grub”, as the website says. Chicken Shop, on the other hand, is an underground restaurant. As in, it’s actually underground. And unmarked. And the closest to a secret restaurant you will get in the London hotel scene.
Are you ready to get busy with hotel openings, London? Before the month is out, we’ll have the Beaumont, Mondrian at Sea Containers, and, as first of the pack, you can now check out The Hoxton Holborn in all its east-meets-midtown glory.
We ran over to the hotel on opening day yesterday for a quick wander around its ground floor lobby and restaurants, which we last saw a month ago as raw spaces. Above the entrance, just this side of the divide between the two divergent buildings that make up the hotel. If you’re in the area, there’s a 50% off promotion running at the restaurants until tomorrow, Saturday the 27th. A few more shots below.
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Having just taken you inside The Hoxton Holborn, opening on September 25, we’re continuing as promised with an update on the international expansion of the brand, which will include Amsterdam, New York, and Paris within the next two years.
First up is The Hoxton Amsterdam, which as we looked at earlier this year will open in what was the Rembrandt Classic Hotel on the city’s Herengracht canal. While our January snap showed guests walking in and out, the hotel has been closed since April for its much-needed renovation to Hoxton standards. Opening should be in 2015.
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Having opened reservations earlier this summer, the Hoxton Holborn is now just a month away from opening, with the official date being September 25. Not only did we hear that directly from the hotel, we also had a chance to step inside and see for ourselves how the east London favorite travels to a midtown environment.
Above a snap from inside a Cosy Room, the third category out of four. While the 174 rooms differ in size (Shoebox, Snug, Cosy, Roomy), all share the same design and features, like the wood-and-leather headboard you see here.
It looks like Holborn will have to settle for one out of two when it comes to new hotels this year: citizenM might have been pushed back to 2015, but The Hoxton Holborn has just opened up reservations from mid-October, still promising a “late summer” arrival for the group’s second London hotel.
A live reservation system comes with a first few renderings of the public spaces (above the suitably vintage-meets-industrial lobby) and a little more information about the hotel’s 174 rooms. Good news first? While small (about 130 sq ft), we can see entry-level “Shoebox” rooms from £79 ($135) – that’s under $150 dollars a night for a central, stylish London hotel. Hurrah!
Reading isn’t the first thing we’d imagine the cool kids of Shoreditch doing of an evening, but clearly we’ve underestimated their literary aspirations – because tonight the Hoxton Hotel launches its new book club.
Not just any book club, either – it’s in association with Elle magazine and the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction (AKA the former Orange Prize).
The club starts off with Animals by Emma Jane Unsworth – who will be there in person to give a reading, answer questions and lead the club discussion in the courtyard garden.
Sadly it’s not free, even for guests – tickets cost £20 (and have sold out for tonight). They do, though, include a signed copy of the book in question, a year’s Elle subscription, canapés and a tipple of Baileys.
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Rosewood London may have dominated headlines for the past six months as the new kid on the block in Holborn (sorry Boris, we’re still not down with calling it ‘Midtown’), but this year should see two new hotels opening in the same area, albeit in a very different segment: citizenM and Hoxton, both representing the much appreciated wave of stylish but affordable options that most cities need more of.
It’s also seconds for both when it comes to the British capital: citizenM Bankside is a twenty-minute walk across the river, and Hoxton Shoreditch has been doing its things just east of the Old Street roundabout for eight years. We walked past both hotels to check out what the buildings are like and how construction is coming along.
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Having looked at new Amsterdam hotels that start with a W (the W and Waldorf Astoria), we backtrack through the alphabet to the letter H, where we find two additional, and somewhat polar opposite, future openings: the business-focused Hyatt Regency and budget-chic Hoxton.
The 211-room Hyatt Regency will be located in the former Emma Kinderziekenhuis (a children’s hospital) between Sarphatistraat and Spinozastraat, down the street from the Amstel InterContinental and an easy stroll away from the city’s outpost of the Hermitage museum. Comparing what we found in person with Google Street View, a series of low-rise buildings has been levelled, creating what looks like the perfect space for the hotel’s driveway, entrance, and any gardens or terraces the architects might have in mind.
Looks like those expansion plans of Hoxton Hotels are indeed taking shape: only yesterday we looked at a potential opening in New York, and Amsterdam is in the works too. Before those we'll first get a sibling in home city London, opening May next year in Holborn. Among the good news is that affordability will continue to be part of the brand’s key attraction, with rooms starting from £69 ($110) a night. We presume that the £1 flash sales will pop up here as well.
The Hoxton Holborn will have 174 rooms in a Grade-II listed building in three categories: comfy, cosy and tiny. We don’t have exact square footage yet, but those labels tell you enough on what to expect in the space department. Each will have a black-and-white en-suite bathroom, and free WiFi and a complimentary breakfast bag of granola, yoghurt, banana, and orange juice is thrown in. Public spaces will be managed by the Soho House group, with both a Hoxton Grill and Chicken Shop planned.
With new hotels both in London and elsewhere, the original Hoxton needs to keep up, so a refurbishment of guestrooms is underway – we’ll have more for you on that soon.
[Photo: Hoxton Hotels]
Last year, the seemingly dull news that the Hoxton Hotel London changed hands to a new investment firm had us sit up and take notice based on the possible expansion of our £1 flash-sale favorite brand to places like New York – which arguably is in dire need of more affordable hotels.
Fast forward to this summer, and the only thing we’ve seen so far is the tiny notice on its website of the Hoxton Holborn, opening next year in a former office building about fifteen minutes due west of the hotel today. Things could be looking up, though perhaps not yet for New York, with The Times and DNA Hotels reporting that Hoxton-owner Ennismore Capital has agreed to buy the Rembrandt Classic Hotel in Amsterdam for €25 million ($33 million).