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Friday, 14 June 2013

WestEndGirl Stays: London Calling

Last weekend The Boy and I took a trip to London to celebrate our anniversary. It's been 12 years since we started going out (although it only feels like 12 days...) and we decided to mark the occasion with a couple of nights away. We've been to London many times together over the years and normally stay at the Hilton in Kensington. This year we decided to switch things up and stay at The Hoxton in Shoreditch. I'd read about The Hoxton (or 'The Hox' as it's known by the locals) in a couple of magazines about two of three years ago and since then had wanted to stay there.

I don't normally blog about hotels but I enjoyed my time at The Hoxton so much that I wanted to share it with you lovely readers, in case you're thinking about booking a trip to London at some point.

You only need to cast your eye over the hotel's website to see that this is one seriously stylish place. Every square inch of The Hoxton has been carefully thought out and it looks fantastic. Far from looking generic, the decor is vibrant and eclectic from floor to ceiling. Although many of the fixtures feel like carefully-selected works of art, The Hoxton doesn't have that awkward "I'm too scared to touch anything" vibe and I felt comfortable immediately. As well as the interior design, there was also a mini-exhibition of prints by Pure Evil Gallery (whose studio we strolled past while out exploring the area) in the public area behind reception. I get the impression the exhibitions change periodically so I will definitely have a peek at what is on display next time I'm down.

Something that was clear from my stay at The Hoxton was how proud they are to be part of their area. Their 'Love Thy Neighbourhood' motto was a theme that ran throughout the hotel, from supporting local art and businesses (curated flyers were available at reception) and giving newbies to Shoreditch (like us) a guide complied by them of recommended places to shop, eat, wander and explore. The 'Hox Guide' (supplied in our room) proved to be a very valuable resource over the weekend and we visited quite a few places featured in the guide.

The room itself was beautiful. As well as the 200 regular rooms (which are pretty swish already), The Hoxton also has 8 individually designed concept rooms which can be requested (although not guaranteed) at no extra cost. I had originally requested the Hoxton Manor room, but on arrival we were checked into The Nelson room. I didn't mind, as I knew the concept rooms can't be guaranteed and The Nelson was chic and comfortable (I'm obsessed with the carpet, which looks like a piece of art on its own). The Hoxton website describes this room as: "Relaxed, stylish, fun and creative. Shoreditch is the main influence – it is fast paced, ever changing and the capital of London’s art, home to the young, the fashionable and the design savvy". It sums up the room (and in my opinion, the hotel in general) perfectly. We both agreed it was the most well-presented and comfortable room we'd ever stayed in (The Boy especially adored the gloriously fluffy-as-a-cloud mattress that guaranteed a very peaceful sleep - apparently the same kind used by the Queen. Well, if it's good enough for her...).

The hotel staff had even put balloons in the room for our anniversary - how kind! I've never (even in all my years staying at The Hilton) had small touches like that to make my stay feel more special before so it was really nice. The staff throughout our stay were friendly and helpful and nothing was ever too much bother.

There are loads of places to eat in Shoreditch (more on that later) and The Hoxton provides a small breakfast delivered to your room included in the price of your stay. An orange juice, banana and granola yogurt pot (each) - it's just the right amount so you can go out an enjoy a big brunch somewhere if you like. The hotel restaurant also offers a cooked breakfast if you prefer. We had dinner in the restaurant (The Hoxton Grill) on our second night - it was yummy and very fairly priced.

Apart from a quick tube trip to Johnny Cupcakes (and Topshop Oxford Circus OBVIOUSLY) in the centre of London, we spent our trip happily exploring Shoreditch. I was hoping for a hairstyle at Rockalily Cuts, but alas, I had not booked ahead and they were closed the Sunday we were in town (they normally open on a Sunday). I will book ahead next time because I'm always "ooh"-ing over their Instagram pictures! No trip to Shoreditch is complete without a stroll down to Brick Lane and we chose to do so on the Sunday since all the markets would be in full swing. We made a quick trip to Tatty Devine  and then headed along through all the markets and onto Spitalfields where more weird and wonderful markets were found. We grabbed bagels and home made cake from Brick Lane Beigel Bake (the oldest bagel shop in London - delicious) and got free Ben and Jerry's ice cream in Spitalfields. There was no way we managed to see even half of what was there, but that just gives us a good excuse to book another trip!

One place that was on my must-visit list was The Diner on Curtain Road - an American style diner serving up huge portions of heaven! I had the Yankee Pig Dog (a massive hotdog topped with pulled pork - what the what?! I want to meet the creator of this and shake their hand) and offically The Best Onion Rings I've Ever Had, whereas The Boy munched on the Arch Burger (topped with - you guessed it - pulled pork) and sweet potato fries.

The Boy had read about 80s-themed eatery The Breakfast Club so we made that our last stop before heading home on Monday for a big brunch to set us up for the journey. I loved this place so much, I wish we had one here in Glasgow! With it's retro interior (including He-Man wallpaper in the toilets!) and huge choice of food, it was one of my favourite parts of our time in Shoreditch.

We really enjoyed our trip to Shoreditch and our stay at The Hoxton and I hope we return sometime inn the future. It was nice to get away for a couple of days and celebrate our anniversary in style!

Have you ever stayed in The Hoxton? Or visited Shoreditch? What do you think of a hot dog topped with pulled pork - yes please or no thanks?

Thanks for reading!


  1. Looks like you had an amazing time! Shoreditch is a part of London I've never visited but next time I'm down I'd definitely head there! And the brunch looks insanely good! :p xx

    1. I would encourage anyone to give the area a visit! So many interesting boutiques, markets and places to eat :) The brunch was AMAZING! I wish I could eat it all over again x

  2. i'm so annoyed i missed you!! next time!!

    1. Aw we will need to hatch a plan at some point missy! x