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By Anna Dunn and Stephanie Davis Smith | Photo: Kettner’s townhouse Guest room, bar and rooftop photos by Simon Brown | The Hoxton photos courtesy of The Hoxton | Panna cotta photo by Jamie Lau | May 29, 2018
If you’re heading to see Big Ben, Parliament and the place where an attractive British prince recently married his American sweetheart, these three openings fit multiple travel temperaments.
For the In-Crowd
Kettner’s Townhouse and Soho House Greek Street
If you’re flying over the Atlantic to witness the spot where the wedding went down or toast the newlyweds with a Pimm’s Cup, it may be tough to snag a room at the newly bowed 33-room Kettner’s Townhouse or a seat at the new Circle Bar at 40 Greek Street, but you can try. This pair of uberhot reopenings has London’s hip set aflutter.
Two years ago, Soho House co-founder Nick Jones shut the doors to Kettner’s and the original Soho House (“The building lasted 20 years. By the time it closed, it was on its last leg,” he says) and went about refurbishing the two icons simultaneously. “So many members felt attached to the house, so the challenge was to evolve it without compromising its heritage,” says Jones. The company’s design team set about expanding its size, giving it a new entrance and reception on the ground floor and an outdoor courtyard. Upstairs, the roof deck—with its come-hither party vibe—has been extended and can now be used year-round. The original art collection is back on the walls, but there are refreshed dining rooms for those ordering one of 40 dishes (a nod to the address) from Soho Houses around the world. The new pewter Circle Bar still serves members drinks until 3am.
When the original private members’ club for creatives opened in 1995, Soho House shared a back courtyard with Kettner’s, the famed restaurant that had been around since 1867. Jones says, “When the opportunity came to take the restaurant over [two years ago], I jumped at it.” But instead of simply re-creating its French cuisine and giving it a design refresh, Soho House turned its storied private rooms upstairs into posh suites. The best news? While it’s part of Soho House, guests don’t need a membership to lay their head here.
An original 18th century spiral staircase leads up to the guest rooms. “The bedrooms are inspired by French boudoirs, referencing Kettner’s reputation for naughtiness,” says Jones. The design details in the Champagne Bar downstairs are equally covetable. While this space once played host to Winston Churchill and Agatha Christie, it now attracts London celebs such as Alexa Chung.
And across the hallway from the bar is... another bar! This one serves more as an on-deck batting area to the original Kettner’s, which has reclaimed its place as one of the best meals to be had in Soho. If you’re lucky enough to snag a room, all you have to do is pad down a flight of stairs to be in the mix. Rooms from $282 per night, Jacobean Suite from $734 per night, @kettnerstownhouse
For the Hipsters
If a total #nofilter Instagram moment is what you’re after, The Hoxton is your salve. With two London properties (Shoreditch in the East End and Holborn in Midtown), the European boutique hotel brand has nailed the retro-modern aesthetic. Guest rooms are outfitted with whimsical accents such as massive, backlit circular mirrors (very “But first, let me take a selfie”); chic parquet flooring; wallpaper designed by local illustrators; and conversation-starting pillows.
While the rooms are cozy, all the action is downstairs: Locals and visitors alike can’t get enough of the buzzy lobbies at both. The Hoxton, Shoreditch has 210 rooms, but its common areas seamlessly transform from a MacBook-and-latte-dotted space when the sun’s up to a literal club (hey, DJ!) at night. The 174-room Hoxton, Holborn’s lobby bar is an equally hot spot worth sinking into for conversation and a cocktail—or three—such as the lively Spokesperson, with Patrón, Aperol, St-Germain, cucumber and citrus. Social vibes abound at both hotels’ restaurants. Hit up Shoreditch’s Hoxton Grill and Holborn’s Hubbard & Bell for a classic English breakfast, millennial-approved brunch or late-night sustenance. For an unfussy lunch in Holborn, head downstairs to Chicken Shop, or to Holborn Grind for midday pick-me-ups. “Roomy” rooms from $254 per night, @thehoxtonhotel