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On a list of ambitious expansion plans – taking the original private members club as far as Mumbai – Soho House will be increasing its footprint in home base London too. And a serious increase it is: taking over the immense former Midland Bank building on Poultry, just off of Bank. That puts Soho House – founded as a private members’ club “for those in the film, media and creative industries” – right in the heart of banker / lawyer land.
The Grade-I listed building’s fifteen minutes of fame, mentioned pretty much everywhere, came and went in the sixties, as a backdrop for the James Bond film “Goldfinger”. Most reports also talk about 255 rooms, but the architect’s website speaks of “184 luxury suites of varying sizes”. Not quite the same as the intimate Dean Street Townhouse, is it?
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Since its beginning as a members-only club in London that you probably couldn't get into, Soho House has come a long way -- from New York to Miami, Toronto, Berlin and more -- becoming a touch more welcoming in the process.
It was just a couple of weeks ago that we heard rumors of Soho House opening up a new hotel in what used to be the BBC Center in London. Now we hear that there are confirmed plans for a different hotel in another part of the city: in, well, the City (that's London's financial district).
Time for a quick round-up of Soho House's heady expansion plans, we think.
Now that Soho House have made their move on the hot Chicago hotel scene (as well as that of Mumbai, Barcelona, Toronto and Istanbul ... and a new club on New York's Lower East Side), rumor has it they may be turning their attention back home -- to a new London location.
The Evening Standard reports that Soho House hotelier Nick Jones is negotiating with property developer Stanhope for a boutique hotel and club with a rooftop swimming pool at the site of what used to be the BBC Centre in West London -- Stanhope bought the site for £200 million when the BBC moved the location of their headquarters in March this year.
Facing Randolph Street from the rooftop at Soho House Chicago: to the left under the orange awning is Nellcôte with Little Goat across the street at right. Let the chow down begin!
Last January when we shared that the private member boutique Soho House would be coming to the white-hot Chicago hotel scene (watch out, don’t touch!), there was some talk from Crain's Chicago Business about whether the hotel would have trouble drawing guests to its West Loop location -- what it called a "non-traditional neighborhood" for a Chicago hotel.
Despite the location, we had no doubt from the get-go about the potential hotness of Soho House Chicago, based entirely on what we know about the collection. “The Soho House experience is so covetable, if you will,” we wrote, “that luxe scenesters--especially A-list celebrities as well as high-profile artists--will seek out the patented private haven, wherever it may be. We know we will.”
There's more: we recently spent time in the West Loop neighborhood and there's every reason to believe the West Loop location is going to be downright killer -- as hot if not hotter than the likes of the new Hotel Lincoln in unexpected Lincoln Park.
The company announced yesterday (while we were on vacation, naturally) that the Soho House Toronto will open this fall on Bishops Block in recently restored building from the 1880s. BlogTO.com reports that the house will open on Adelaide Street across from the soon-to-open Shangri-La Hotel on Adelaide St. W.
Soho House, which has always operated pop-up spots during the Toronto International Film Festival, plans to install a rooftop bar, a library, a house kitchen and pantry bar and a main lounge area, named the Pretzel Bell Bar Lounge (after the tavern that originally occupied the space, according to BlogTO.) Sadly, it doesn't look like there will be any hotel rooms here. Booo.
The Shoreditch House in London
Last week we were overly excited about the future opening of Soho House Chicago. But before the private members club/boutique hotel opens in the Windy City, Soho House is expected to first open in Mumbai this June and then in Istanbul in 2013.
And it turns out all this globe-trotting expansion is probably due to a major investment from grocery store billionaire Ron Burkle who recently bought a 60 percent share in the company.
Soho House hotelier Nick Jones wrote about the news to Soho House members saying:
'Though we've had a number of interested parties table offers for Soho House in the last few years, I believe that Ron shares our vision, and provides us with the backing to expand and improve our clubs whilst remaining true to our original ethos.'
Now, look what we've started. Just the other day we mused about the possible location for the planned Soho House Chicago. We were skeptical of the private members club' plans for Chi-town from 2008 which would have opened a hotel inside a building on Dearborn Street but we had no leads on where else they were thinking for Chicago.
Lo and behold, an excited Chicago-based tipster tipped us off the other day about a report in Crain's Chicago Business that says the Soho House Chicago will actually open in the West Loop/Fulton Market area inside a 91,000-sq.ft. warehouse at 113-125 N. Green Street. Soho House would install about 50 rooms, a signature restaurant and yes, a rooftop pool.
Apparently, Chicago-based hotel company AJ Capital Partners LLC is close to buying the property and once that sale goes through, Soho House will be installed.
Crain's also surmises that Soho House might have a problem drawing guests to a not-so-traditional neighborhood for tourists. We beg to differ. The Soho House experience is so covetable, if you will, that luxe scenesters--especially A-list celebrities as well as high-profile artists--will seek out the patented private haven, wherever it may be. We know we will.
[Photo mash-up: Google and HotelChatter]
You know the drill. Drinks going well, you decide to get dinner, then more drinks… then all of a sudden it’s midnight on a school night and you have to go home. What a downer!
Ah, says the Dean Street Townhouse, but it doesn’t have to be. Because if that dinner happens to be in that restaurant, and you happen to order after 11pm (it’s open till midnight weekdays and 1am at the weekend, last orders 11.30 and 12 respectively), they’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse: stay on in a hotel room that night for just £50.*
The £50 is per room, not per person, and you could strike lucky – they’ll give you any category, including the top level ones, worth £410.
Soho Beach House, Miami
We knew Chicago was having a bit of a hotel renaissance these days as evidenced by our 2011 Best Hotel Scene award and now we've got word that it will get even more exciting with the addition of Soho House.
A reader pointed out the careers page of the Soho House website which detailed some "What's Next" plans:
We are very excited to announce that we have a few new ventures just around the corner. In June 2012 we will be opening a site in Mumbai, followed by a site in Istanbul in June 2013.* We also have plans to take Soho House to Chicago in the not too distant future!
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In a world of shrinking amenities (hello, slippers, we miss you) and toiletry bottles getting ever smaller, it’s a mammoth relief to rock up somewhere and find as many options for molly coddling in your hotel room as you have at home.
And at Babington House, the country outpost of Soho House, the selection is pretty incredible. With full-size bottles of the entire Cowshed range of toiletries, you'll be spending more time in the bathroom than the rest of the room!
Now that it's getting crisp, it's time to start thinking about winter getaways--and one of our favorite things, beach resorts.
Which brings us to a fabulous amenity we noticed at two beachy hotels--the in-room loaner beach bag.
Yesterday we took you on a full tour of our room in the hotel portion of East London's private members' club, Shoreditch House, and even though the 26 rooms are very affordable at an average of 95-110 GBP per night, they aren't always available. This is an understandably popular place, but definitely still worth checking out if you're in the area...and particularly if you've got a massive craving for pizza in a lively atmosphere, surrounded by some of the coolest (and those who think they are the coolest) people in town.
It's called Pizza East, and it sits not inside Shoreditch House, but on the corner. It's still within the old Tea Warehouse building and part of the Soho House group, but separate enough from the private members' club that you don't need to drop keywords or cash to make it in the door.