I used to live in the East End: when I first moved to London in the mid-90s my boyfriend & I lived on Buxton Street, just off Brick Lane. It wasn’t quite like it is now. No stylish boutiques, minimalist restaurants or hip hangouts. The Vibe bar was an always empty internet café with two computers & a dial up connection, the Cantaloupe had just opened and was so in the vanguard that Vogue wrote it up, and late night dancing was basically the infamous Charlie Wrights or nowhere.
Most evenings I was kerb crawled up Vallance Road on the way home from Whitechapel tube, (although it probably didn’t help that PVC minis, worn with heels & blue eyeshadow were the dernier cri at Vogue House that year). I soon learnt to carry a mac & flat shoes for the walk. The height of dining out luxury was adding smoked salmon & a schmear of cream cheese to a 10p bagel from the Beigel Bakery on Brick Lane.
It’s a little different now. The photographers and artists have been joined by some of London’s most interesting restaurants, boutiques and bars. The Cantaloupe is full of the kind of after work drinkers I’d pay to avoid and there’s late night distraction from more than just the street corner hookers who have all but disappeared. There’s even a branch of Soho House, the infamous Shoreditch House, which will add rooms in 2010.
Until then, the most interesting hotel option is The Hoxton Hotel on Great Eastern Street. I stayed on Tuesday night when the black ice on the back roads home made driving back to the country after Russell’s book launch suicidal rather than sensible, and the hotel PR kindly offered to fix me up with a room.
I was an instant convert to the brand when I was greeted by a pair of these babies at the front door:
I was also pretty impressed with their low key & subtle Christmas decorations:
I didn’t have time to eat at the hotel restaurant, The Hoxton Grill, (operated by the Soho House Group), but I did have time to make another review video (the first, from The Dean Street Townhouse hotel, is here.) late night when I got in from the party. (Yes, I was sober.) Please forgive the whispering at the beginning: I was paranoid about waking up guests by shrieking my VO in the corridor at midnight.
LLG was a guest of The Hoxton Hotel for one night