Creatives who appreciate a dose of fun with their five-star accommodation. (And those who travel with their pooches – The Curtain has dog-friendly rooms).
The converted warehouse that houses The Curtain – with its exposed red-brick walls and tall windows – lends the hotel an industrial edge that’s completely at home in the neighbourhood of Shoreditch. The grittiness ends there, however, as it’s all five-star from the moment you step out of the revolving doors and into the lobby, with its soaring ceiling. While you’re taking in the statement glass chandelier and the jewel-coloured velvet furniture, for example, you might be offered a beverage from the whisky trolley (welcome after a long flight, although there’s bottled water, too, and snacks).
The Curtain is in the heart of the hip borough of Shoreditch, sandwiched between Hoxton and City of London in the east of London. The Barbican Centre, Columbia Road Flower Market, Old Spitalfields Market and the travel hub of Liverpool Street Station are all within walking distance, as are plenty of trendy restaurants, bars, clubs and boutique shops. Fine dining spot The Clove Club and casual pizza at Pizza Pilgrim are some, as well as multi award-winning cocktail bar Callooh Callay and designer brands at Goodhood.
Heathrow Airport is an hour and 20 minutes’ drive away, while London City Airport is only half-an-hour away by car. The closest Tube stop, Old Street, is 10 minutes’ walk (it’s about an hour and 10 minutes on the underground from Heathrow Terminal stations) and the closest overground train station is Shoreditch High Street – about a five-minute walk away.
Light-filled city and courtyard rooms come in at 25-square metres and are finished with floor-to-ceiling windows with namesake views. Eye-catching green wardrobes lined with pictures of ’70s musos are stocked with cotton waffle robes and slippers and matching green Chesterfields are offset with tartan-print cushions and ottomans in wildly contrasting colours (hello, hot pink!). There are also in-room Marshall speakers to complete the rocker ambience. Bathrooms are marble trimmed with heated floors and rain and steam showers. If you haven’t experienced the latter before, you’ll likely be addicted by the time you check out (at the very decent time of 12pm). Curated minibars get a big tick for stocking all the ingredients and accoutrements to shake up a dry martini upon arrival, as well as not-so-mini bottles of spirits, Champagne, beer and mixers. For caffeine fiends, there’s cold brew as well as plunger coffee and T2 tea. A fully-stocked snack section has everything from paleo bars and pork crackling to popcorn and M&Ms (and of course, more booze).
Upsizing to the Junior Loft Suites gets you at least 32-square metres of space with a separate lounge nook, as do the Junior Terrace Suites – our pick of the bunch. The namesake outdoor spaces are generous (they can accommodate a party for up to 14), with views over surrounding rooftops that soon give out to the city’s ever-growing skyscraper population. Next, the Shoreditch Suites. Upon securing these, you’ll get Curtain Club membership perks during your stay and a 53-square metre room with a combined dining/living area and, best of all, a freestanding bathtub right next to the king-size bed. Finally, there’s the 95-square metre Curtain Suite. Suitable for entertaining, it has two bathrooms, a kitchen, large living and dining space and also comes with complimentary members’ club benefits.
Drink and dine
The all-day rooftop venue, Lido, incorporates a large plunge pool, outdoor seating and a retractable glass canopy. Head up for breakfast (last orders at 11:20am): there are veg-friendly versions of the full English, lighter “feel-good” options, more substantial plates (ham-hock hash, anyone?) and a buffet which covers all bases: breads, pastries, chia pudding, yoghurt, fresh fruits, juices and muesli. Exclusively for the use of guests and Curtain Club members, it’s also great for whiling away sunny afternoons with a refreshing spritz. On the ground floor, facing the street, you’ll find the Green Room lobby bar – a chic spot for a top-notch pre-dinner cocktail – and the comfort-food stylings of in-house eatery Red Rooster down a further flight of stairs. Head there for chef Marcus Samuelsson’s renditions of soul food, including sweet cornbread, biscuits and waffles, highly-rated fried chicken, “Obama” short ribs and shrimp ‘n’ grits served up by friendly waiters and a side of live music and good times. There’s even a gospel choir that performs here on Sundays.
For the business traveller
There’s free high-speed wi-fi throughout the hotel and all guests have access to the Design Studio: a co-working hub with café facilities and plenty of spaces to get on with emails, collaborate or meet including a private boardroom fitted with monitors. If you’re in The Curtain or Shoreditch Suites, you’re extended the benefits of being a Curtain Club member, and network with other creatives in the art, media, film and advertising industries. That means exclusive access to Billy’s Bar and its adjacent dining space, Imperial, as well as the intimate screening room (with its own bar) and LP – a pint-sized nightclub with a heaving atmosphere hidden behind a nondescript, and very soundproofed, door by the spa reception. These spaces, as well as an expansive ballroom, a light-flooded courtyard space, the ground-floor Green Room bar and the private dining room at Red Rooster, are also available to hire for events or receptions.
For the wellness traveller
Inspired by the interiors on the one onboard the Titanic, the gym is open 24-hours and is kitted out with the premium cardio and weights equipment – and an tennis court green and black floor. You can book a personal trainer, sign up for the daily yoga and fitness classes, organise a massage or manicure at the Wellness Centre (ask the concierge if you’re after a particular treatment). When we visit, there’s a collaboration with men’s grooming favourite Men’s Society, where a cut, shave, facial or beard trim can be arranged on-site. The rooftop pool isn’t really designed for laps due to its size but it has plenty of other charms, including an adjacent bar and a lofty outlook – arrive early to nab a sun lounger.
The fab factor
It’s all about the little things at The Curtain. Complimentary refreshment offerings are wonderfully relentless: a welcome whiskey on arrival, chocolate milk and cookies in the afternoon and an in-room cocktail service from the Sundowner Trolley in the evenings – when you’re feeling too lazy to take the lift down to the bar or whip up your own. Looking for a shoe shine service? Even that’s had an update: you can get your sneakers professionally assessed, cleaned and treated for a mere £10 – just throw them in the sneaker bag in your room and hand them over at the front desk.
NEED TO KNOW
Number of rooms: 120, including 14 suites
Rates from: £175 per night
Wi-fi: Fast, free and available throughout the hotel with no login details required.
Parking: None onsite but there is an unaffiliated car park located directly across the street.
Address: 45 Curtain Road, London
Telephone: +44 (0) 203 146 4545
Image credits: Justine Trickett; Adrian Houston; Jason Bailey