My last minute weekend in London for my British Airways status qualification trip gave me a great opportunity to try a new hotel, the Hoxton Holborn as I wanted an affordable hotel stay. The Hoxton hotel has been on my radar for a few years now since it first opened in Shoreditch in 2006 and then in Holborn in 2014 (I’ve recommended it many times and can’t wait to try their Amsterdam property or the 2017 anticipated locations in NYC and Paris) as they are changing the concept of affordable London with their well designed rooms, free amenities and hip lobby space all for a price that won’t make you cry after converting from pounds sterling to dollars. It’s an exciting time to be in London and see how the hotel industry continues to evolve and in the case of the Hoxton Holborn exceed expectations.
Hoxton Holborn Location
The location is fabulous in my opinion. Centrally located two blocks from the Holborn underground (tube) station which is served by two popular lines – the Central (red) and Piccadilly (blue) lines. I would take the Piccadilly line direct from Heathrow to Holborn (about an hour’s journey) then walk to the hotel. From the hotel you can walk to the City (about 30 minutes to St. Paul’s or two tube stops on the Central line), walk to the British Museum (about 15 minutes) or shop, eat and be entertained in Covent Garden, Soho and Oxford Street (about 10 minute walk). I walked everywhere as I love to do in London.
I had previously read that the lobby is teeming night and day with guests and non-guests working at the communal tables, couches, bar and restaurant (free Wi-Fi!). When I arrived near 1 p.m. on a Saturday, the lobby/bar/restaurant area was full of life of all ages not surprisingly attached to their phones and Macbooks. You might mistake it for an Apple store walking on the street if it wasn’t for the warm woods and designer touches. I thought I would feel out of place for my age but I happily saw people of all ages which was a nice mix.
The front desk is in the left hand corner once you enter the hotel. While check-in is normally 3 p.m., I was thrilled to find my “Cosy” room ready upon arrival (a nice surprise after my overnight flight in coach plus where I didn’t sleep). The front desk staff was pleasant in welcoming me to the hotel and explaining the hotel amenities as it was my first stay.
Hoxton Holborn Rooms
The hotel has 174 rooms in four room categories aptly named – Shoebox, Snug, Cosy and Roomy. They are small compared with American standard rooms of 300 sq. ft. as they range from 129-247 sq. ft. but you’re in London so you shouldn’t be in your room much. I was able to tour the Shoebox room and you can still walk on both sides of the double bed. It is good for a solo traveler or a couple without much luggage. The room rates vary but I’ve seen the Shoebox start at £99. The rooms are also listed on Hotel Tonight but you don’t know which category you’ll get as they are selling open inventory (new to Hotel Tonight? contact me for a $25 credit on your first booking).
Lest you think this hotel is just for solos and couples, they offer connecting rooms for families. The Roomy rooms can accommodate two twin beds instead of a double bed. So you need to pay for two rooms as with most of London hotels (unless you do a flat or corporate apartment) but these are a bit more affordable especially when you add in the breakfast bags, bottled water, and fresh milk. Downside for families is the lack of a bathtub in my opinion.
My Hoxton Holborn Cosy Room
Exiting on the 3rd floor (the hotel has 5 floors), I was greeted by stadium seating, an antique record player (that I may have seen as a child) and rollway desk as hallway décor. As I turned toward my room, I walked past it looking for the room number on the door rather than the floor. Each room has pegs outside the door for your morning breakfast bag (see below).
Expecting a small “cosy” room, I was pleasantly surprised when I opened the door. The background music was playing the “chill” station to welcome me and a good reminder of what this visit was about – to chill over the bank holiday weekend with friends and chocolate.
With a round mirror across from the bed, the room appeared larger than it was. There were many clever touches to utilize all the space that the room had to offer. The desk served many purposes – with a swivel flat screen, coffee/tea making amenities, an easy to find hairdryer, Hoxton Survival Guide listing all the hotel’s services and amenities as well as a map of Holborn with in the know recommendations like the Cartoon Museum (who knew?). With a radio, shelves and well-worn paperbacks, the desk was multi-purpose.
Next to the desk was a leather chair, copper table and lamp in front of the two windows with their gold curtain and heavy room darkening drapes. The black and white wallpaper added to the design of the warm room.
Turning around to look at the bed, it was so very inviting in its plush whiteness with the two checkered pillows and the turquoise “Softly Does It” pillow flanked by two bedside lights. I wanted to fall into this bed after my no sleep overnight flight but I was fighting jet lag to stay awake as long as I could (the chill music wasn’t helping my case). The wood headboard was covered in leather only adding to the modern design and warm feeling. Under the bed, the drawer held additional pillows and covers as needed.
The Hoxton Holborn Bathroom
Small and functional is all you need to survive but at the Hoxton Holborn, I got a touch of “wow” with the bathroom. At this price point, I wouldn’t expect a rain shower, but I got it. I wouldn’t expect large, plush, fluffy bath towels but I had those too! The Pen & Ink toiletries smelled good and I liked those as well. The only downside (for me) was the lack of sink space and hooks to hang my wet towels or clothes. Minor inconveniences given the powerful hot shower oasis I had to wash away the overnight flight.
The Hoxton – Free Breakfast Bag
The hotel has two on-site restaurants where you can enjoy breakfast but the hotel provides you with a FREE breakfast bag each day (you need to fill out the bag and hang it outside the room at night). Included in the bag is a bottle of OJ, a banana and a yoghurt pot. What a great start to the day. The bags are delivered on the hour between 6 a.m. – 9 a.m. As I’m dairy free, they substituted an apple for the yoghurt. If, like me, you slept your jet lag off and had a lie in, waking at 1 p.m. on Sunday (hey no judgements – the bed is super comfortable), having food waiting at the front door when you eventually wake up is fantastic.
Other Free Stuff
Yes, there is more than the free (no password required) Wi-Fi. The in room refrigerator is stocked with two bottles of water, called Flat Matt, and a container of fresh milk for your coffee/tea. If you need more water, just ask the front desk. I didn’t have to pay for bottled water all weekend that was lovely. Flat Matt is my new favorite water amenity (sorry Fred Water at Kimpton, you’ve been replaced with a new water man). The hotel also provides one hour of free local and/or international calls (in case you don’t have international mobile coverage, you can call home without worry). There’s also a calendar of music and lifestyle events happening at the hotel throughout the month.
The Hoxton Holborn Restaurants
There are three restaurant options on site. Hubbard & Bell, which is owned by the Soho House Group and provides room service, is a popular bar/restaurant serving up a good menu of food and drink as well as offering live music in the lobby. The lobby is a popular place all day/night. The Chicken Shop is the basement gem with a simple menu of rotisserie chicken, chips and apple pie (wait to you read my yummy review). The Hoxton Grind is the corner coffee shop serving up fresh cakes, breakfast pastries, sandwiches, salads and a coffee menu.
Final Thoughts – The Hoxton Holborn Hotel
You’d never know that this is an affordable hotel based on the design when you enter the lobby. My bank holiday stay (Saturday & Sunday) cost £328 (about $472) because I booked so late. From the outside, the hotel looks like a five story office building. The fact that I slept so well with no outside noise or light was reason enough to make this a new favorite London affordable boutique hotel for me. All of the amenities and helpful friendly staff were yet another reason to love this hotel. With clever details, well thought out amenities that travelers want and enjoy and a price that allows you a few more pints in London, the Hoxton Holborn is a hotel that you should check out on your next visit to the city.