Posts Tagged ‘Shoreditch’
Stepping out of the London Coffee Festival, I could not resist wandering through colourful Shoreditch. It has always been the core of the street art world, even more so now. To the point that I sometimes wondered whether the pieces were indeed camouflaged in the urban jungle or whether the buildings were starting to be the ones hiding behind all these murals! A few pictures of this safari:
You have seen them in the most beautidul cities, those love locks. Paris, Millenium bridge… Initial, a message, symbol of endless love. Did you know a fence is dedicated to them too close to Shoreditch Station? Go on - add yours. if not for the romance, just say it is your contribution to street art!
A stroll through Shoreditch, a lucky street art hunt: here is the perfect conclusions for caffeine-addicts. We know Starbuck won’t do, we need the real stuff. And ha, how welcoming that roasted fragrance is when you step in - the beans are grilled on site. Look around. This industrial building is now a trendy coffee shop with a homey feeling, a chic diner space and a lovely wooden counter along the window. Ah, the first sip of perfect velvety, fruity espresso, the one that sharpens your senses… The flat white is perfectly dosed too with a creamy froth. And you’ll be back - with a novel or a laptop. This is your new HQ.
Ozone Coffee Roasters
11 Leonard Street
Shoreditch - one of the trendiest areas in London. Why? Because it feels real, alive, buzzing with creativity. Because you can go street hunting, enjoy a wide collection of independant shops and cafés, find amazing vintage clothes, stroll through art galleries, enjoy Brick Lane or the flower market, find hype restaurants. Because from one week to another, the streets are reinvented, bursting with inspiration at each corner. So very artistic, a little bohème too, between the London of yesterday and tomorrow, all under the mirror towers of The City. If you already know the capital quite well and want a different vibe, this is the place to be. And The Hoxton definitely is the place to stay.
This boutique hotel is one of my favourite gems - both design and budget. It is affordable, playful, practical, fun and allows no nonsense. Wifi is free (don’t you hate hotels adding the cost of it? 2st century! Social media! Iphone addicts!), a keyboard allows to surf the web from the plasma screen if you haven’t brought your laptop along and Macs also are available in the lounge. The rooms are amazingly spacious, allowing for quite a few suitcases (we all know we will go shopping mad). A drawer has been converted as a treasure chest, the shape of each object craved into the wood: bottle opener, powerful hair dryer (only the girls can appreciate that one fully), tea and coffee, map of the neighbourhood with lots of helpful tips… There is, of course, a kettle but you will also find complimentary water bottles and fresh milk in the fridge and that is a lovely surprise indeed.
On the comfort side, you will be absolutely spoilt: the cotton sheets are fabulous, duvet and cushion are filled with duck down feathers and the mattresses are fit for royalty (we are not kidding). We fell in love with the cushions - Rock, paper, scissors themed, doesn’t this bring a smile? They proved so very successful that the hotel does now sell them online. In the bathroom, you will find a tropical rain shower (the best, they massage the shoulders fantastically), thick and luxurious towels (the same as the Ritz) and a little bonus: a heated mirror to get rid of that ever-annoying mist. Take the time to try the bath products by CO Bigelow, the oldest US apothecary: sweet yet very natural, refreshing and soft skin guaranteed.
I will add a special award for the stupid signs throughout the building. Just a sentence with a good sense of humour for those details you get blocked on (like opening a window, sometimes) but seem so logical afterwards. Our room, on the fifth floor, showed the roofs of Shoreditch with the majestic Shard in the background. At night, it became a beautiful carpet of lights so do plan a bottle of wine and spend some time admiring this. This is what I call a night hotel - it comes fully alive at night with its dimmed but funky lightling, its play on shadows, making you want to party. There is a funky ironing room and ice machine on the 6th floor, should you need these. Do spend time on the ground floor, have a look at the collection of artwork on the walls, make sure you enjoy the ping-pong room (it’s free!) and stop at the photobooth for extra memories. The quality of the black and white is excellent and it is one of those allowing four different poses (£3 only). There is, of course, a restaurant and bar to add to the fun. The room price includes a light breakfast and I tip my hat to that. Just fill the order on the kraft bag provided: orange juice, yogurt with granola, banana, delivery time, number of guests. You will find it just outside your door in the morning. With the coffee/tea you can make, it is usually more than enough although you also indulge in a extra English breakfast in the hotel restaurant if you prefer. But this option is fantastic if you are never so hungry in the morning and do not make the most of buffet, are on a budget or like me have to leave very early and therefore can 1/sleep 30mn more 2/have something to eat on the go.
Verdict? It has it all, doesn’t it? A fun, colourful, design decoration, a cheerful feeling all around, first-class comfort, ideal hype location (the tube station is nearby, plenty of buses too) and the prices are ever so wallet-friendly. Do not miss their regular £1 sale, every three months. Rooms at that price are sold within minutes but hey, it is such a bargain it would be silly not to try!
81 Great Eastern St
The most beautiful flowers are those blooming forever. On greyish days, I dream in front of this paper lace work by Rob Ryan. Of escapes to the seaside and spring valleys. A few seconds of sweetness before reality kicks in. Somehow, it proves even more efficient than chocolate.
Take the little ones along:
* Saturday, learn how to make 3D pancakes. It’s free.
* Also on that day, try the apple wassail at Camden’s Natural Reserve.
* The Duck Tour now proposes a James Bond theme.
Love, Love, Love:
* Victoria & Albert, a royal love - fabulous animations.
Out of the ordinary:
* Saturday, go clue hunting in Shoreditch.
* Or sing at the pub. At the Coach & horses, it has become a tradition every Saturday. They even have a piano.
* Prepare your own potions.
* A little London love.
* See a movie. On a roof. In a theatre made of reclaimed material form the olympic park.
* Camelias are in bloom at the Chiswick House – gorgeous!
Ah, how lovely to walk through Shoreditch again, such a familiar neighbourhood but with the constant surprise of street art. Keep your eyes open (and down) – there are still some of Pablo Delgado’s miniature works around… What are your plans for the week-end? None yet? Then scroll down…
That’s art, baby:
* Pretend you are Mime Marceau.
* This ice-sculpting festival should be pretty cool.
* Let’s be serious – Sky News and the Somerset House have put together an impressive collection of pictures.
* A colorful and fun exhibition that should delight curious minds - at the London Transport Museum.
* find your luck at the Wellcome Collection.
* Love the glass sculpture at the entrance of the V&A? Why not go and see what else the artist can do?
* And from the first floor of your double decker…
Take the little ones along:
* And rediscover Quentin Blake.
Out of the ordinary:
* Take those ice-skating shoes and dance.
* White your thank you cards at Tatty devine.
* Lord of the rings will take you through the night.
* Sing a cappella.
* Sip a drink in a tipi on a London roof. You read that right.
* Try this Pay what you want guided walk.
* And now, you can even personnalise your soup tin.