We'd hoped to stay at this hotel for a while, and we were thrilled to finally get the chance for a long weekend in London. Unfortunately, this fell on the hottest weekend of the year so far, which limited our ability to enjoy the surroundings quite as much as we'd hoped - but it meant we spent a little more time in the hotel than planned. The good news is, this is a fantastic place where you can easily while away time.
From the moment you arrive, the sense that this is a little different is strong. The Hoxton's entrance doors swing open to reveal a huge open space - at your right the Hoxton Grill, and to your left a lounge with lovely big vintage chairs. Check-in is quick, with the staff well informed, friendly and informal. Also here on the ground floor are Apple Macs available for free internet access, and an old photo booth! Service is generally great - and nothing feels like too much trouble. A great touch is the 'taxi lamp'. Ask for a cab and the reception staff switch on a light outside the hotel which flashes until a cab stops!
Our room on the second floor was of fairly average size by London standards, but felt luxurious. The wood floors and black tiled bathroom looked fantastic, with the firm but comfortable bed appointed with high quality linens. The desk revealed all sorts of quirks - the Hoxton way is not to deluge the guest with information, but to post little notices to tell you how the important stuff works. Here we found a useful map of Hoxton and Shoreditch, and a paper bag on which to order the free breakfast offering. This is simple enough - circle the number of people, select the time you want the items, and hang it outside the door. Sure enough, at the appointed hour two bags of goodies arrived including delicious yoghurt and granola and excellent orange juice. Just like everything here, we felt that time had been spent on figuring out a really high quality but unpretentious offering. The hotel pulls this off really well.
Despite being on the busy Great Eastern Street, the hotel's glazing keeps things remarkably quiet with only the loudest of City Noises creeping in. If you want a quieter, but perhaps less colourful experience there is wing of the hotel which faces away from the main street too. Most of the time, despite the heat, the air-conditioning kept the room cool enough to keep the windows closes and sounds firmly outdoors. The other furnishings are basic but luxurious - in our room a vintage office chair, a large leather armchair with very cool 'cassette tape' styled cushion which I badly wanted to steal, and a selection of books. There's a huge TV if you have time to watch it, and wifi access is always free and easy to obtain with no passwords or complications.
One of the huge attractions of being in Hoxton is the area itself - for a while now it's been an arty, hip neighbourhood on the fringe of the City of London. Thus, you'll find an dizzying array of things to see and do. Eating and drinking are well catered for - aside from the Hoxton Grill which is part of the hotel, there are countless cool, interesting bars and restaurants in the area - especially focused on nearby Hoxton Square. There are also likely to be all kinds of pop-up events and shops in the area - and really the only way to find out is to wander around and follow your instincts. This is a busy, generally very safe area to walk - you're more likely to bump into hipsters than gangsters in Hoxton! While we were in town, Rivington Street was closed for "A Fete Worse Than Death" - lots of local artists and performers holding an old fashioned village fete in the middle of London, for example. Further afield is Brick Lane with it's market, vintage stores and fantastic Indian food and 24hr Beigel Bake. There's always something happening here, and never a quiet moment it seems. Don't worry about being far away from London's other attractions though - there are buses directly outside the hotel which head for Oxford Street, Waterloo and points west. Also nearby is Old Street station, and the new East London line which connects with the wider tube and rail network. However, if I've one tip it's to WALK in Hoxton. The street art, interesting buildings and generally feel of the place is truly interesting.
So overall, this is reasonably priced hotel which totally outperforms similar costing competitors. It feels luxurious and relaxing, despite being in a busy, buzzy neighbourhood, and the service and quality makes a stay feel like an event in itself.