An Uber or subway ride away heading East you’ll find Shoredich, one of London’s most hip quarters. Stroll around along the streets and feel the scent of amazing food from the restaurants, let your eyes wander between cool shops and graffiti covered walls, while your ears are treated to lovely music from talented street musicians. Do you want to visit a place where all your senses are satisfied? Welcome to the coolest area in London; Shoredich!
My boyfriend Oscar and I laded just after 1 in the afternoon and jumped straight into an Uber towards our hotel. In collaboration with citizenM (6 Hollywell Lane) we stayed at their cool hotel in Shoredich. There first thing we were greeted by when we arrived at the hotel was an Instagrammable wall, covered in awesome grafitti. The rest of the wall was covered in glass, and behind it there was a big red M, which is dedicated to all the adventurers out there; ”a Mobile citizen of the World”. Inside the hotel we were greeted by interiors out of this world, like an art gallery with an exhibition of pictures of Tupac, Pablo Escobar, Marilyn Monroe, Matisse and Eazy-E among others. And let’s not forget about the designer furniture that were all to die for. It wasn’t unusual to see everything from businessmen and businesswomen to photographers, artists and designers in the lobby. The hotel lobby is a perfect place to find lots of inspiration and positive energy.
We got help with check in with the kind and trendy staff gave us tips on the best view. ”If you’re going to stay in Shoredich you should also have the best view over east Shoredich!” We were told as I clicked myself though as per their instructions. Yes, there were trendy check in counters where you could check in yourself. Of course the staff were there if you had any questions.
When we came into our room we were greeted by a colour explosion. I’m talking about the shower/toilet that had awesome neon colors that you could change around yourself. Both Oscar and I said ”wow” numerous times when we noticed all the details. Read inspirational quotes on the soap or the shampoo, a hair dryer playing hide and seek or cushions inviting you to start a pillow fight. All the rooms have amazing king size beds, lighting and music after your current mood, international electric plugs, electronic dark blinds, free wifi and a good selection of movies (which was also free) and yes, even all the things in the mini bar were free. All these functions in the room were controlled from an iPad found in each room. Since citizenM have everything and knows what the modern traveller wants, there is no need for a pillow mint or other nonsense.
We unpacked our things, freshened up and decided we wanted to grab lunch at Boxpark, that was literally located around the corner from our hotel. Boxpark is a concept with modern street food, local and international shops, all located in containers. Sadly, Boxpark was undergoing renovations so we steered towards the city centre. We strolled around Victoria Embakment Garden (a perfect place for a picknick) to meet up with some friends who were in London at the same time, for an evening of wine and tapas at Polpo (6 Maiden Lane) located in Covent Garden. Polpo is a bácaro, a Veitmamense word for a restaurant that serves simple food and good Italian wines in a simple way. Here wine is not served in wine glasses but drunk straight out of water glasses.
Tip: since the restaurant doesn’t take reservations it’s always full, so make sure to be there early.
We came back to the hotel around midnight and went to bed straight away. Come Sunday morning we weren’t feeling too allert, but luckily enough there was a Sunday brunch at the citizenM. Hotel breakfasts are always nice, but this was something out of the ordinary. A Bloody Mary station, the best banana bread I’ve ever had, amazing variations of marmalade (lemon/tequila for example) and croissant heaven. Just as I was about to have the very last of my smoothie, the fire alarm went off. Thanks to the hotel’s professional staff everything went smoothly and we were soon back with our smoothies and breakfast again.
I wanted to spend the entire day at the hotel but it was time to go and explore the eastern parts of town. Sundays mean markets in London and our first destination was Columbia Road Flower Market; a color explosion with hundreds of flowers in different stalls that made us almost fall over. Some of the stall owners babbled on an on about the different kind of flowers that they sold while someone else talked about their peonies and made us laugh. Here you could find everything from beautiful peonies to massive trees. Except for the flower market there were also some antique stores and nice open air cafés.
Tip: when you’re walking around Brick Lane, make sure to visit Brick Lane Market and eat Indian food at one of the many Indian restaurants. This is a perfect place for those who enjoy shopping local produce, vintage clothes and to eat outstanding street food.
After a lot of walking and shopping it was time to head back to the hotel to change into a more fancy outfit. We wanted to eat at a place where we overlooked Shoredich and therefore couldn’t pass up booking a table at a very picturesque and well known sushi place; London’s coolest sushi restaurant is spelled SushiSamba. What makes it so cool? SushiSamba is influenced by the Japan, Brazil and Peru, making the food experience that little bit more exciting. The cherry on top is the fact that the restaurant is located on the 38th and 39th floor, making the views amazing. Keep in mind that you need to be somewhat dressed up to visit the restaurant, and you also have to walk though airport like security to enter the elevator. After having had a few great drinks, 5 courses plus desert and taking pictures next to their famous orange coloured tree, it was time to grab an Uber back to the hotel. Where we slept like a king and queen in our wonderful XL king size beds.
Monday came way too soon. We continued to walk the streets of Shoredich. First out was Whitby Street located a stone throw away from our hotel and Boxpark. There you can find cool street art and cozy streets to walk along.
Tip: if you’re around Boxpark, the Boundary Hotel with their Albion Café and Boundary Rooftop Bar (2-4 Boundary Street) is a very nice place to go for a bite to eat.
We walked along Brick Lane and towards Spitalfields Market, a roofed market where you can shop all days of the week. We went though all the stalls, tried on a few hats and sat down at a café - because we were too full to have anything to eat at one of the many food trucks available.
The street markets and vintage shops in east London are a dream. Blitz Vintage (55-59 Hanbury St, London E1 5JP) is one of Europe’s biggest vintage shops with a nice space, good structure and nice staff. Here there is a chance to find unique items, a tip is to keep your eye out for the staff handing out flyers (get 10& off) that stand on the street corners. After having had some rest we walked towards citizenM to pack up and check out.
We really wanted to spend every last minute in Shoredich before we had to leave to go home again. We were allowed to leave our bags in the hotel’s bagage room, free of charge, which was perfect. After having stood and talked to the nice staff we were told to check out The Blues Kitchen (134-146 Curtain Road). Said and done, we headed towards the restaurant to grab a beer and a burger. It’s always good to ask the staff for where they usually eat and hang out. That’s how you find the real gems and get away from the touristy places.
Heading back towards the hotel, Oscar and I enjoyed the scents streaming out from all the restaurants, the music played by the street musicians and let our eyes wander passed the cool walls and worn down, yet charming, buildings. I took one last photo by the citizenM graffiti wall (which came to be a regular thing for us when walking passed) and hugged the staff goodbye. While Oscar got us an Uber, I took the time to take one last stroll in the lobby of the hotel to get some inspiration from the cool interiors. I will definitely come back to Shoredich next time I’m in London, to experience even more of this cool area.
citizenM - 6 Holywell Lane
Polpo - 6 Maiden Lane
Albion Café & Boundary Rooptop Bar - 2-4 Boundary Street
Blitz Vintage - 55-59 Hanbury St
The Blues Kitchen - 134-146 Curtain Road