In my days as an on-the-road reporter I used to stay in hotels quite a lot. Now my hotel stays are as rare as my trips to the gym. But this week I hotfooted it to east London to spend two days with my daughter. After scouring scores of websites we eventually plumped to check into The Hoxton in Great Eastern Street. As well as being just round the corner from Spitalfields, Columbia Road and all the places we wanted to visit, it looked good value and good fun.
And so it proved. The Hoxton, which opened in 2006, focuses on the things customers really care about. The room prices are cheaper the further in advance you book and every so often there’s an online £1 a room sale. Instead of leaving endless reams of literature in your room, they give you the basics about room service and the flat screen TV on postcards labelled the “really boring stuff.”
Rates for the night include free WiFi (no annoying codes), tea bags, bottles of water, milk, copy of The Guardian and a Pret breakfast of orange juice, banana and granola delivered to your door in a paper carrier bag. Oh, and there’s a corkscrew so you can bring your own bottle of wine and actually open it. The twin room we stayed in was small (with an en suite shower room) but the beds were super comfortable, with fine cotton sheets and duck down duvets.
The best bit was sitting by an enormous open fire on the ground floor, lounging back on a massive leather Chesterfield with the morning papers and a skinny latte. The only drawback was that it was all so comfy that at 11.30am we had to pull ourselves together and actually go out and do something.
When we got back to the hotel that night we were so exhausted that we couldn’t summon up the energy to eat in the hotel restaurant, the Hoxton Grill – all exposed brickwork, huge wooden tables and chic lamps. So we ordered a bowl of chestnut hummus (delicious) and some flatbread, poured ourselves a glass of Pinot Grigio each and settled down in front of the BAFTAs. Bliss.