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How about that: when we first learned about The Z Hotels heading out to Shoreditch (like everyone else), we thought the opening of its hotel in The Bower complex wouldn’t happen until second half of the year. Wrong – The Z Shoreditch opened on March 9.
But before we get to that, the budget-chic group is throwing a sixth London hotel in the mix on Fleet Street, right across from the Royal Courts of Justice. That will be the building above, a former office that will have 110 rooms between the lower ground, ground, and three upper floors. Behind the hotel is a beautiful courtyard with the Temple Church, built by the Knights Templar and famous from the Dan Brown novel. A few more shots below.
The beginning of March should have allowed us to cross the first of our five London hotel openings for 2015 off of our list, but it was not to be: the M by Montcalm Shoreditch has been delayed until mid-April.
Where reservations had been moved up to March 1 previously, we’re now looking at April 14 as the first day to stay at Montcalm’s “manifestation of glory”. Rates have crept up slightly with the six-week delay, starting at £187 ($289) a night rather than £170 ($262) before.
Room descriptions continue to ramble on about Deluxe Twin rooms that have “a super comfortable king size bed” (?), that “ooze personality”, and are designed with “oodles of luxury”. Two new photos have shown up, which we will say make those rooms look slightly more appealing than before.
Having walked by Nobu Shoreditch, just east of London’s Old Street roundabout, we quickly headed up City Road to see the latest at M by Montcalm Shoreditch, the “super high-tech” hotel the group has promised us for early this year. Construction has certainly progressed since last summer, with the still very angular building free of scaffolding, and most notably, with the top floor – meant to house a rooftop restaurant and bar – now complete.
Reservations have also moved up to March 1 from March 3, but what really caught our eye were the options to ‘enhance’ your stay. Complimentary room fragrances: romantic touch, refreshing lavender, fresh clean, pink grapefruit, saw grass, and marine fresh. Pillow menu: anti-aging, hypo-allergenic, shape your sleep, “The Ecological Pillow”, Ladies' Dainty Delight, and as pièce de resistance, Manly Macho Magic. We have no words.
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When we first headed over to east London’s Willow Street to check out the future site of Nobu Shoreditch, we encountered a dreary office block without much sign of the excitedly announced construction status of the future hotel. We assumed that everything that was there had to be razed, and we were right: above what you’ll find today, which is to say, nothing much.
In true east London style, graffiti has taken over the plywood surrounding the narrow site, where by first quarter next year a five-story, 156-room hotel should be complete. While we'd still love for that to happen so soon (in hotel time), we’ll believe it when we see it.
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On the first day of Christmas, Andaz Liverpool Street gave to me… a giant box that looked gorgeous on the outside but was ultimately empty, perhaps as a representation of the hollow emotional void of consumerism.
Nah, as if – this is the Festive Folly in the Andaz lobby, and it’s no damning take on modern society; rather, it’s an East London art installation. As you walk through the folly, its comforting glow will warm the cockles of your heart, and its festive scent – there’s a Fornasetti candle inside, plus it’s made of birch– will arouse your scent glands into a Christmas frenzy. Buy buy buy!
Because our list of new hotels for east London wasn’t long enough, here is another one: the Great Eastern Street Hotel. No points for guessing which street the hotel is on, which means that once complete, it will be a hop and a skip from The Hoxton Shoreditch and Nobu Shoreditch. In fact, you can just spy a sliver of the building that will be torn down to make way for Nobu in the aerial view above, to the right of the leafless tree, one block behind Great Eastern Street.
The 70,000 sq ft project will have a 125-bedroom hotel, taking over a site that was derelict for over a decade. Incorporating the façade of a Victorian warehouse, the Grade-II listed Griffin Pub will be restored, with “upper levels being converted to residential use”.
The hotel action in London’s Shoreditch is so crazy right now that in the hundred yards between Old Street roundabout and The Montcalm / Virgin Shoreditch, we passed another future hotel without knowing it at the time.
While Montcalm / Virgin is just north of Old Street, and Nobu is five minutes east, on the northwest corner The Z Hotels will open another one of its budget-chic hotels in mixed-use complex The Bower.
The 107-room hotel will sit together with office space, restaurants, and retail outlets. Rooms will be on lower ground (i.e. basement), ground, and three upper floors. Lead-in rooms (probably the ones in the basement) will be without windows. Further up there are Double, Queen, and Accessible rooms. All come with en-suite wet room, 40” flat screen TV, and free WiFi. Opening is at the moment listed as just “2015”; looking at construction status the second half of the year looks most likely to us.
One of the reasons we’ve always liked London’s Andaz Liverpool Street is that, despite it being a largely business hotel in the City of London, it’s always pushed the envelope with art projects, fashion things, Readers in Residence and so on. Another reason we’ve always liked Andaz Liverpool street is that, despite its business-ness, it’s always given a shout out to its East London roots.
So now we love it even more with the launch of Room With A View: a year-long series of “East London street art rooms” – basically, four rooms hand-painted by East London street artists.
The project starts with The Pearly Room by Chris Price: a black and white riot of pearly kings and queens amongst the spires of Shoreditch.
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Does the first international venture of Ace Hotels deliver? A HotelChatter Review
We didn’t waste any time waiting to check out what Ace Hotels was cooking up in London’s Shoreditch neighborhood, showing up earlier this week on the very first day guests were allowed through its doors. Over four years after Ace New York made its debut, how did its British – and first international - sibling stack up? Read on to find out.
Check-In: we walked to the hotel from Liverpool Street Station, which is an easy ten-minute stroll. Part of the façade is still covered by scaffolding, but most has come out from underneath, showing the basics of what was there before, with key changes being a darker coat of paint and alterations to the ground and top floors.
A number of guests were being checked in by the enthusiastic staff, who seemed psyched to finally have real-life customers coming through the door. We liked the laid-back attitude, which included being addressed by our first name. Each of the guests on the first night received a voucher for another night’s stay once all the hotel’s facilities are fully operational; we’re not sure how long that will continue for, but it’s a nice touch.
Rarely do we stumble upon the announcement of a new hotel and check in for opening night less than two months later, but that’s exactly what Ace Hotels pulled off in London. It was June we first spotted the planned revival of the ‘aesthetically-challenged’ Crowne Plaza on Shoreditch High Street, and today, September 9, we were handed the keys to our very own Ace Shoreditch hotel room.
In fact, we’re writing this from the very bed you see in the above shot of our entry-level Standard room, courtesy of free WiFi that so far has proven easy to connect to and dependable.
Having learned that Ace Hotels would be opening not just a London hotel, but doing so already this September, we had to wander over to the city’s eastern Shoreditch neigborhood for a first look at how an – in their words – ‘aesthetically-challenged’ Crowne Plaza would become a worthy venue for the group’s first international venture.
A true judgement will have to wait of course until we see the finished product, but like it’s Facebook page indicated a few weeks ago, the hotel has virtually disappeared behind extensive scaffolding as part of its makeover. Guests were coming in and out of the hotel’s heavily boarded-up entrance, so the Crowne Plaza is still in operation. Inside, there are currently 264 guestrooms, which is a lot of square footage to re-do for an unveiling two months from now. Downstairs will be a Square Mile Coffee Roasters and That Flower Shop, and a restaurant is in the works.
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Yesterday, when we found out that Ace Hotels would be opening next in London we guesstimated it would be about a year before Ace worked its hipster hotel magic on the existing Crowne Plaza Hotel which Ace referred to as " inherently aesthetically-challenged". But according to the New York Time's T Magazine, the Ace Shoreditch London will actually open in September. Yes, this September! And already, the hotel is swathed in huge amounts of scaffolding so work is indeed underway.
We also learned a little bit more about what will be inside like a restaurant and bar from David Waddington and Pablo Flack who already run Bistrotheque in town (and according to Ace's hotelier Alex Calderwood, "Made Shoreditch what it is", while Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby of Universal Design Studio are doing the facade and interiors. Guestrooms will sport "British-made Revo radios and Rega turntables" while downstairs in the lobby, it won't be Stumptown Coffee but rather London's own Square Mile Coffee Roasters as well as That Flower Shop.
No word yet on room rates but this is Ace, not Bulgari or even Edition, so we suspect them to be fairly affordable. We'll keep you posted of course as soon as we find out!