Might not match your vision of London: right on a main road, this is a cool and lively part of town that looks very lived in, even bleak. Still, there are great boutiques around Brick Lane and Spitalfields, as well as thriving markets, and plenty of cheap restaurants, bars and clubs centred on Shoreditch. You’re very close to the Overground Line’s new Shoreditch High Street station (just turn left out of the station and cross the road to get to the hotel!), but it’s perhaps a touch far to walk luggage from Liverpool Street station.
They’ve adopted the same knowing approach to room descriptions as at [node:166802]: here you choose between Tiny, Small and Small+. In fact, Tiny is only about a yard smaller than Small, and Small+ rooms nos.23, 24, 25 and 26 are distinguished by their balconies more than the size - worth the extra £40, I think, even though your view is further east away from the famous landmarks of the City and central London. Rooms aren’t much bigger than the double bed, but each has a solidly-designed dresser (metal-topped, stuffed with goodies and supporting a big flatscreen telly) plus a schoolroom chair and, through Texan saloon-style swing doors, a small but well-appointed bathroom with rainforest shower. The décor is bright, with pale tongue-and-groove half-wall panelling and wooden shutters giving a breezy feel. Light-hearted retro details like the classic old-fashioned telephone and a (digital) radio are enhanced by free water in the minibar, own-brand Cowshed smellies and Wi-Fi.
The lobby is a handsome bare brick space, glammed up with big light fitting and made cosy by a hearth fire, but I didn’t find it easy to relax in - it’s a relatively small space that has to deal funnel hotel guests, Shoreditch House members and people after the Cowshed spa in their various directions. Better to check in and head up to your room or into the House itself. Outside the life on each floor of the hotel side of the operation, the ‘Borrow Me’ sections collect fun, useful and naughty things to improve your stay - board games, jars of gobstobbers and jelly beans, riding crops, modern irons and an antique sewing machine, books, maps and umbrellas.
Eating and drinking
Continental breakfast can be served in your room on request from 7am, but otherwise it's downstairs in the lift and back up the members’ club lift to Shoreditch House itself, where numerous bars, restaurants and lounges serve full meals and comfort-food snacks, with some sort of food available pretty much through the day. Soho House also runs Pizza East in the T Building on the Shoreditch High Street corner of the block, and there are loads of restaurants, ethnic cafes and bars in easy walking distance.
Off the foyer, there’s a Cowshed spa (10am-8pm daily, closing at 6pm Sunday). In Shoreditch House proper (the members’ club side of the operation) the range of leisure options is superb. On the fourth floor there’s the Biscuit Pin bowling alley. On the fifth floor there’s the Cowshed Active gym, with top-class cardiovascular and weights machines; sauna and steam rooms; and a Games Room containing a billiard table and classic arcade games. And, to top it all, is the rooftop 16-metre pool with views south towards the City. Gym and pool open 7am to 10pm (8am to 9pm on Sundays).
I found the staff relaxed, helpful and pretty much unflappable.
Who stays there
Real cross-section of the cooler media and business workers and people just here for fun. The quality of the place attracts as many grown-ups as young hipsters. I find the ‘no suits’ dress code a bit precious, but it gives a sense of the clientele.
A Small+ with balcony is well worth the extra money compared to the Tiny.
- High-Speed Internet
- Room Service
- Swimming Pool
- Families with teenagers
Pros & Cons
- Rooftop pool and lounge bar
- Relaxed but stylish
- Gritty area of London
- Small rooms