An Inspector Calls… at the new Hoxton Hotel in Southwark, London

An Inspector Calls… London’s third Hoxton hotel, in Southwark, impresses with its homely feel and ‘tongue-in-cheek retro touches’

  • The Hoxton’s new hotel is the third in the capital after Shoreditch and Holborn   
  • The Inspector stayed in a ‘snug’ room that he said was actually quite roomy
  • The big reveal comes on September 16, when the posh rooftop restaurant opens 

 ‘Are you checking in? That’s amazing,’ says a bubbly young woman at reception.

It’s opening night at The Hoxton on the south side of London’s Blackfriars Bridge and it’s all happening. Waiters and waitresses are being given last-minute instructions; maintenance men armed with drills are on their knees fixing the lifts; a poetry session is about to start on the mezzanine; and you can hardly hear the muzak for the spirited chat bouncing off the bare-brick walls.

This is a huge new hotel (192 rooms), the third Hoxton in the capital after Shoreditch and Holborn, with outposts further afield in Paris, Amsterdam, New York, Portland and Chicago.

The Inspector stayed in a ‘snug’ room that he said was actually quite roomy 

It works spectacularly well. Which is to say that, whatever your age or tastes, you’ll feel at home here. The mix of old and new, with plenty of tongue-in-cheek retro touches, never takes itself too seriously, but everything is properly thought out. Affordable glamour. And the energy is, well, energising. 

You can park yourself with your laptop at one of the communal tables and stay all day without even ordering a cup of tea. Just having lots of people around creates a buzz. The open-plan ground floor must be at least 50 yards long, but it’s cleverly broken up with chic sofas and chairs, huge ferns and palms, and there’s a floor-to-ceiling gallery wall in the stairwell. We like the art and we like the heart.

At one end is Albie, a reasonably priced all-day restaurant with an open kitchen, while at the other is a slinky bar with a takeaway coffee counter next to it.

The big reveal comes on September 16, when the posh rooftop restaurant Seabird opens, promising to have London’s longest oyster list and some of the capital’s best views.

Rooms are sold as ‘shoebox’, ‘snug’, ‘cosy’, ‘roomy’ or ‘biggy’. We’ve gone for ‘snug’, but it’s actually quite roomy, with an attractive tiled bathroom, a velvet headboard, trademark cement ceiling, wood panelling and parquet floor. Sadly, you’re hermetically sealed (health and safety, presumably), but thankfully, there’s no iPad nonsense to turn on the lights or close the curtains.

The Hoxton's new hotel is the third in the capital after Shoreditch and Holborn

The Hoxton’s new hotel is the third in the capital after Shoreditch and Holborn

Service at dinner is haphazard — our drinks order goes awry — and, at breakfast the next morning, it would have been quicker to have walked to the other end of the downstairs space, ordered from the coffee counter and returned with a couple of lattes.

But everyone seems to be willing the place to succeed. Even one of the maintenance men politely asks what we think of it.

‘It’s terrific,’ I tell him — and I mean it.

TRAVEL FACTS  

The Hoxton, 40 Blackfriars Road, London, SE1 8PB. Doubles from £139, room only. For more information call 020 7903 3000 or visit thehoxton.com. 

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