The neighbourhood: Predictably Shoreditch House is located bang in the middle of Shoreditch – that means you are looking at a semi-industrial landscape with a trademark EINE graffiti wall on one side and the light railway line on the other. It’s glamour, London-style, but on the upside you are very much in Hipster-Central, near a patch of excellent cafes such as Terence Conran’s Albion Cafe and the rustic Leila’s Shop; art galleries like the Rocket Gallery in the Tea Building & White Cube (Hoxton Square branch), street art galleries like Pure Evil and the Village Underground and the cool shops of the surrounding streets and Brick Lane. There’s great street art everywhere, too.
What’s On Offer/The Crowd: Shoreditch House is part of the growing SOHO House empire – it is essentially a ‘member’s club’ for London-based media types which offers multi-level indie entertainment (bar, restaurant, cinema etc) including a much loved and photographed rooftop pool and bar. They host a swag of invitation-only media events such as book and film launches, which attract a nice crowd of creative types every night of the week. Basically if you work in media in London there is no escaping Shoreditch house. The good news is, the hotel is open for everyone, and if you are visiting London it’s your chance to mix with a cool crowd of locals at a very reasonable price (for London, that is).
The Hotel: It’s a good place to stay if you are in London for work and your meetings are on the East End. It’s anything but corporate but it is well set-up with a lot of common areas (think football tables; many bars etc) and is a great way to get people to come to you for a change – Londoners find it hard to refuse a rooftop drink on a sunny day. It’s also nice for a weekend if you are planning to hang out in Shoreditch, Dalston or London Fields (which is where things are these days in London).
Pluses: The bedroom decor is a success – think ‘institutional’ with a subdued ‘maritime’ theme –grey vertical wood panels, school chairs, white tiles. While this sounds like a very bad idea on paper, it works, and creates a rather minimalist, yet warm and cosy atmos. The individual balconies are great, and so are the large internal wooden shutters with which you can play to create your own personal light show. All in all, it’s rather upbeat, and very comfortable.
The public spaces – the downstairs bar is beautiful and the rooftop one, well… it’s spectacular.
Minuses: I wasn’t a great fan of the overly warm and OTT welcome (including hugs, or was it an arm squeeze?) and detailed instructions as how to fill my bags with the complementary beauty products. (Yes I have been in hotel before! – mind you it was a rather nice package of Cowshed stuff and I did take them home, as instructed, thank you!). But one can hardly complain about warm welcomes.
The Vibe: Staying there reminded me of French artist Philippe Ramette’s ‘Device for Becoming the Hero of your Own Life’ artwork (a sort of wearable harness that plays a soundtrack for your life – to see it, scroll down on this annoying web page) – you have been cast in a film where you are a cool urban creative with an exciting network of cool urban creative friends signing up book deals or generally going somewhere. I suspect it can be a bit tiring, sometimes, and not always relaxing if you are feeling a bit low.
Lullaby: Drift asleep to Night Time by the XX.