The Hoxton Shoreditch, London

Contributor/ Michelle Lewis

Best Known For
There’s lots of hype currently surrounding the Hoxton’s baby sister in Holborn, so we thought we’d pay a visit to the original Hoxton in Shoreditch to see whether it’s still a swinging scene. And it is – the bar was packed on Friday night with hipsters and people who’d just finished work, and the front desk could hardly keep up (but they did) with all the trendy guests checking in.

The Good Stuff
The Hoxton Shoreditch is budget boutique at its finest. Our twin room was small but perfectly formed, possessing all the amenities we needed and with style to boot. The duvets and pillows were feathery and fluffy, the beds are comfortable, and the Hoxton leaves a free brown-bag breakfast on a hook next to your room door (a banana, freshly squeezed orange juice, yogurt and muesli) to eat in bed in the morning. The rain shower was just right, and while the shampoo and body wash bottles were small, you also get a full-sized bar of Pears soap. Other delightful touches: super-fast free Wi-Fi, free unlimited bottles of water, and a container of fresh milk in the fridge to go with the well-stocked coffee and tea tray with proper kettle and mugs. And if you want snacks or sweets, they sell them for a reasonable price down at reception – no exorbitant cans of Pringles or bars of chocolate in this joint. You feel taken care of, not ripped off. But what’s really great about the Hoxton is their staff – their friendliness and professionalism rivals any five-star London hotel. I had a bit of a (cough) hangover Saturday morning, so I pathetically rolled over, phoned downstairs and pleaded for some aspirin. In five minutes, a smiling Hoxtonite knocked on my door and handed over a bottle of paracetemol. The cost for this cheerful room service and that bottle of relief? £1. Yes, you read that right.

The Vibe
This is East End hipster central – the clientele is young, and the place buzzes with activity. But that doesn’t mean pretentious, tiresome or annoying – everyone is friendly and appeared to be having a great time. Case in point: I am well beyond my hipster period, and I still didn’t feel like mutton impersonating lamb. It’s quite a feat to achieve an atmosphere that is both buzzing and chilled. It’s cool on a budget.

Inside the hotel – 7/10
The view from our room window overlooked an inner courtyard that felt more like a Manhattan air shaft, but this is central London on a budget, after all – you get all the convenience for just a fraction of the usual London hotel price, without any sacrifice of style. The cavernous brick and concrete lobby of the hotel, with open fires and big sofas, is a happening space full of cocktail lovers, and the Hoxton Grill was superb, with its American-style booths and comfort-food menu. I had perfect poached eggs on toast with crispy bacon, and my friend had a tasty fresh cheeseburger with perfectly cooked chips. Service was excellent, friendly and prompt.

Outside the hotel – 9/10
Like clubbing? Then there’s nowhere else you’d want to stay. The Hoxton helpfully supplies you with a little accordion map of the area – The Hoxton Guide to Shoreditch – that pinpoints all of what’s best about this trendy neighbourhood, so you can explore and enjoy all of its best markets, shops, restaurants and bars.

Image courtesy of Hoxton Hotels