After seven years opening spaces across Europe and the USA, The Hoxton empire is back in London with its third city hotel – this time, south of the river.
This is a buzzing, arty hotel in almost the last place you’d expect to find one. While South London has been historically neglected, the Southbank Centre, Tate Modern, Globe and Borough Market have transformed the area’s fortunes. But, until recently, this side of the river has been lacking one thing the north bank has in abundance: cool hotels. So The Hoxton’s happening lobby and stylishly quirky rooms are particularly welcome. This outpost even has an impressive rooftop restaurant, Seabird, and is defining itself among big-name neighbours such as The Old and Young Vics, the National Theatre and the Hop Exchange, working with artists to adorn the walls and creative locals to put on events.
The Hoxton has had a busy few years. The group, run by London-based Ennismore, which is also behind restaurants Breddos Tacos and Eggbreak, started slow with its Hoxton flagship in 2006, followed by a popular Holborn outpost in 2014. The hotels were slightly younger, cooler and less-exclusive versions of Soho House (though the members’ club has had a hand in designing some of The Hoxtons’ public spaces and is a restaurant partner). Since then, there have been openings in Paris, Amsterdam, New York City, Portland and Chicago; now it’s back in its hometown with a more mature offering. The decor is more polished than ever, and the food options have also taken a step up in tone (as well as in price).
Five floors of an industrial building formerly known as Wedge House have been given over to rooms ranging from Shoebox to Biggy. Ours was the latter, a striking corner spot with four floor-to-ceiling windows and with a gentle retro design including some mid-century pieces, old-fashioned wooden light switches and brass accents. Although the impressive amount of space was very welcome (it truly is biggy), the room felt a tad sparse and a sofa and extra storage wouldn’t have gone amiss. Similarly, the space taken up by the huge, teal-tiled walk-in shower could easily have accommodated a bath. That said, it had everything we needed for a more than comfortable night’s stay – most importantly, a decadently large bed with a smart velvet headboard.
Like the other Hoxtons, there’s no minibar (order drinks and snacks at reception and get supermarket prices for the mild inconvenience) and there are signature friendly touches (a map of cool local spots; pun-based accessories such as the ‘full of hot air’ hairdryer bag). Best of all, despite being on the main road and the first floor, the room was exceptionally quiet.
FOOD & DRINKS
Surprisingly, for a hotel with such a sociable and hedonistic communal area, there’s a strong emphasis on non-alcoholic drinks: kombucha and low-alcohol beer are on tap, while the alcohol-free cocktails are listed before the boozy ones on the drinks menu. The ground-floor Albie is a casual (but not cheap) restaurant where you can dine at tables or on one of the many velvet sofas – the menu of Mediterranean classics includes a few dishes jumping on the pasta trend, such as a large rigatoni bake to share and crab linguine. In a zone with relatively dead nightlife, the bar is sure to be a hit – if crowded, sneak up to the mezzanine level for a more peaceful spot. However, the real showstopper here is Seabird, the airy rooftop seafood restaurant on the 14th floor with an epic oyster selection, raw bar and a large, tropical-plant-filled terrace with stunning views across the city.
In an area packed with culture, the Hoxton is destined to be the party destination of Southwark, especially once you’ve seen the view from the roof. It’s the ideal spot for weekend jaunts in London and although there’s plenty to explore nearby, you won’t need to stray far for nightly entertainment.