If you haven't heard already, Shoreditch is cool. I mean, capital city, gritty gone pretty cool. As well as attracting beards and Adobe coffee baristas, there's now a wealth of beautiful boutique hotels in Shoreditch, London to match.
I love the caffeinated energy there so it's the place to stay if you're looking for modern London and a hefty dose of innovation inspiration.
Here's my hand-picked collection of great places to stay (with the quirks you need to know if there's somewhere you want to avoid.)
As an aside, if you book through any of these links I may earn a small commission at no cost to you. Cheers!
Recommended reading: 72 Hours in London – A Three Day Itinerary
You may know the name from the food, and that is a key part of staying at the boutique Nobu Shoreditch. The subterranean basement mixes Tokyo with London in style and service and offers a meal service that will make you rethink sushi.
Check in is slick and speedy and the whole hotel shimmers in a chic gloom of dark wood and gold. The street itself is quiet but you're only a few minutes walk from coffee shops and eateries aplenty and 10 minutes walk from Old Street Tube.
What to love: Japanese fusion, unapologetic design, great food, a sense of change.
What to know: the lattices and stripes can feel overwhelming if you're susceptible to migraines!
The Hoxton, Shoreditch, is almost a landmark in and of itself. This is the original, before success bubbled up in Holborn, Paris and Amsterdam. The lounge is filled with MacBook-tapping entrepreneurs and almost every week sees a millennial (or younger) event to tap into ideas and inspiration.
Design is key, even if space is small. The Shoebox room offers great value for money and there's a perverse pleasure in enjoying just how nifty, cool and enjoyable it is to see great design in such a small place.
Expect plenty of exposed brick, Art Deco chandeliers, retro telephones and enough character to shake a stick at.
What to love: tapping in to the vibe of Shoreditch amid coffee shops and the Hoxton Grill
What to know: It's just possible you might not feel cool enough...
Bag a Bargain
If you like luxury travel, but can't afford the price tag, fear not. If you join Design Hotels, you can get membership discounts up to 50%.
It takes a little while to appreciate what Z Shoreditch gets right.
Not because things go wrong, at all, but more in the self-confident way the hotel knows just who it’s for – and who it’s not.
It prides itself on affordable luxury – a much maligned phrase – but here’s how Z Shoreditch interprets it.
There’s no conference room here, no meeting rooms. No separate concierge, no crèche, no pool, no gym. No separate restaurant, no spa and no parking valet.
What Z Shoreditch does have are clean, sleek, central London rooms with a kooky-cute café downstairs that doubles up for the fresh and tasty breakfast buffet. The reception staff double up as the concierge and the waiters and yet nothing, but nothing here feels cheap.
Service is friendly, fast and fair. So while Z Shoreditch has trimmed away the plumper features of a luxury hotel, it’s avoided the budget trap.
I stayed in one of the rooms adapted for disabled access, with a large bathroom and sink and shelves adjusted appropriately. That left the rest of the room a little on the small side but having spent enough time on crutches lately, I’m happy that hotels are making rooms more accessible. Colours are muted and restful and the lighting controls resemble the recline functions found on first class flights.
What to love: friendly staff, relaxed lounge-cafe area perfect for inventing a new app. Great non-dairy options.
What to know: Z Shoreditch focuses on the rooms. No gym, restaurant, conference rooms here.
Recommended reading: 9 Unusual Things To Do in London
Disclosure: I received a complimentary stay at the Z Shoreditch Hotel for review purposes - on the understanding that as ever, as always, I kept the right to write what I like here on Inside the Travel Lab. Otherwise, what's the point?
Hi, I'm Abi, a doctor turned writer who's worked with Lonely Planet, the BBC, UNESCO and more. Let's travel more and think more. Find out more.
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