Located in London’s East End, Shoreditch is the Williamsburg-meets-Meat-Packing-District-meets-Lower-East-Side of this British city. Yes, that’s a lot lot of hyphens for one area, but the truth about Shoreditch is, it’s all of these things. Gritty former warehouses now serve as luxury hotels. Restaurants, bars, and new-wave eateries abound, along with tons of interesting shops. In short, Shoreditch is London’s center of youth-culture, bawdy nightlife, and ultimately, renewal.
One of the great stories of renewal in the area is The Curtain London, a hotel and social club with the amenities, little luxuries, and food venues that set it apart from the rest of the new renovated places to stay at in the area.
Because there’s so much to do in London, many travelers barely spend any time in their hotel rooms. On our recent trip to the city in March, our time spent in our room at The Curtain London amounted to sleeping, dressing, showering, and winding down in the evening. Other than that, we were on the town, seeing the sights, doing all that typical tourist stuff. And, since most London hotels know this, they opt to minimize their rooms’ square footage to squeeze as many profit-generating rooms into their properties as possible. Luckily, The Curtain London doesn’t seem to subscribe to this system. Instead, even the hotel’s City and Courtyard view rooms start at around 260 square feet (24 square meters), while the Junior and Shoreditch Suites can reach up to nearly 600 square feet.
No matter the size, all rooms feature brickwork walls, hardwood floors, and soothing wall colors. Incredible bathrooms with floor-to-ceiling marble, a combined rain-and-steam shower, an expertly curated mini-bar, in-room tea and coffee, original artwork, Marshall speakers, and a supremely comfortable bed round out the roster of mood-boosting amenities. The Junior and Shoreditch Suites may also offer a terrace, affording stunning views of Shoreditch and the City of London beyond. All rooms at the Curtain London also come with access to the property’s full menu of amenities (including the rooftop pool), as well as the Members’ Club, free Wi-Fi, and use of a co-working space (in case you really need to get some work done while on vacation).
If you know anything about the London climate, you know it’s probably not often you find an outdoor, rooftop pool anywhere in the city. The Curtain London scoffs at that idea with its beautiful, heated, rooftop pool with amazing views of the city stretching out in all directions, from Whitechapel (home of Jack the Ripper) to the south and the city center to the east. Bonus: The pool is only open to Club members and hotel guests.
Once you’ve gotten your fill of floating, head down to the hotel’s old-boy’s-club-style wood-paneled gym with its impressive array of free weights and weight and cardio machines. It’s open 24 hours a day, and the hotel can even schedule you a session with a physical trainer if you really can’t deviate from your routine. If spinning solo is more your thing, you can also have a Peloton bike delivered right to your room where you can cycle to city views and be grateful you’re not actually down in the thick of London’s catatonic traffic. If, after all that exercise you still need a way to wind down, you can go further down to the underground spa where you can book yourself a variety of treatments including an altogether amazing sports massage that we highly, highly recommend. You’re on vacation, after all, so splurge a little!
Many guests’ first experience with the dining program at The Curtain London is at Lido, the hotel’s rooftop restaurant, and why not? Located on the top floor next to the pool, Lido is what can only be described as a greenhouse or conservatory in the sky. Featuring a retractable glass roof (and all glass walls), lush hanging plants and greenery everywhere, a charming and rustic interior design, and all-day dining open only to hotel guests and Club members, Lido is the place to be for breakfast in Shoreditch. But Lido is so much more than its breakfast buffet; it also does lunch and dinner with a Mediterranean slant on dishes such as spice lamb meatballs and a grilled five-cheese and truffle sandwich.
For an altogether different approach to dining, head downstairs to Red Rooster Shoreditch (there’s also a location in Harlem) for American-style soul food. The brainchild of genius southern chef Marcus Samuelsson, Red Rooster brings American Southern staples like fried chicken and waffles, “Obama Short-Ribs,” and shrimp ‘n’ grits that blows bland English food out of the water. Every night we stayed at The Curtain was a night in which Red Rooster was packed to the rafters with diners intent on filling their bellies with hearty American fare. Yes, you’re probably American and don’t want to eat American food when you’re in a foreign country, but honestly, just do it. You won’t regret it. And remember, there’s no wrong way to travel.
And finally, what would a hotel be without a bar? The Green Room cocktail bar, just off the lobby, offers every kind of evening drink you could imagine, including specialty cocktails created to enhance your sense of place in Shoreditch. The Green Room also offers the classic afternoon tea that every American tourist must experience when visiting England.
With a great location, excellent dining and drink options, spacious and comfortable rooms, and a rooftop pool to die for, The Curtain London is the perfect home base for singles or couples looking to get a dash of luxury in a gritty, vibrant neighborhood, all while having easy access to one of the greatest cities in the world.
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