Our Stay at The Hoxton Holborn

Our Stay at The Hoxton Holborn | The ELL Blog

Our Stay at The Hoxton Holborn | The ELL Blog

Our Stay at The Hoxton Holborn | The ELL Blog

Our Stay at The Hoxton Holborn | The ELL Blog

Our Stay at The Hoxton Holborn | The ELL Blog

Our Stay at The Hoxton Holborn | The ELL Blog

Our Stay at The Hoxton Holborn | The ELL Blog

Our Stay at The Hoxton Holborn | The ELL Blog

Our Stay at The Hoxton Holborn | The ELL Blog

Our Stay at The Hoxton Holborn | The ELL Blog

Our Stay at The Hoxton Holborn | The ELL Blog

Our Stay at The Hoxton Holborn | The ELL Blog

Our Stay at The Hoxton Holborn | The ELL Blog

Our Stay at The Hoxton Holborn | The ELL Blog

Our Stay at The Hoxton Holborn | The ELL Blog

Our Stay at The Hoxton Holborn | The ELL Blog

Our Stay at The Hoxton Holborn | The ELL Blog

Our Stay at The Hoxton Holborn | The ELL Blog

Our Stay at The Hoxton Holborn | The ELL Blog

Our Stay at The Hoxton Holborn | The ELL Blog

Welcome to one of my favorite hotels EVER, the Hoxton Holborn in London! We absolutely adored staying here on the second half of our trip, and would recommend it to anyone looking for an affordable boutique hotel in the city.

The Hoxton’s central location made it extremely accessible (it’s a block from a tube stop), and since its nestled in the hip Holborn neighborhood, it came without the tourist crowds! And if its location wasn’t good enough.. how amazing is its interior?! The hotel has a very urban 70s vibe going on, which I loved (similar to the Ace if you’re familiar with that brand). Since the Hoxton is in a large concrete building, the lobby has exposed concrete walls and white-washed brick, which are complemented by vintage light fixtures and mid-century furniture.  The spacious lobby has several lounge areas that are perfect for taking a break from the city, too. This is where you can also find one of the hotel’s two restaurants, Hubbard and Bell. We grabbed a drink at the bar on our last night there (they truly put the craft in their cocktails), and even ordered dinner to our room for a cozy night in. Their other restaurant, Chicken Shop, is actually located beneath the hotel, and serves up amazing homestyle food (their chicken avo sandwich and apple pie are a must). On the first floor you can also find the cutest nail salon, Cheeky, as well as an AMAZING coffee shop, Holborn Grind — go for their avocado toast if you’re obsessed like me.

As for The Hoxton Holborn’s rooms, I was so pleased at their size. We opted to stay in one of the smaller rooms they offer, and found it to be SO much bigger than our Paris hotel room. When we walked in, they had a “London Chill” music station playing on the radio, which I thought was a perfect touch.  Since it was our wedding anniversary, they had also left us a bottle of champagne and a silver “Let the Good Times Roll” silver balloon on the bed — side note: all hotels should leave balloons when you check-in, it makes you feel really special! The room was beautifully curated, from the pink hashtag pillow on the bed to the wallpaper covered in Charles Dickens’ villains (the author lived in Holborn, and just so happens to be one of my favs). The room was incredibly functional as well, with an armoire that had a pull-out coffee and tea station and the cutest diner-style hotel mugs (traveler tip: buying coffee mugs or something you use on a daily basis from a hotel you love is a great way to keep the spirit of the trip alive at home). They also provided a Holborn neighborhood guide filled with all of the best local spots to eat, drink and shop, which we definitely put to use. One of the best perks of the hotel, however, was their daily breakfast bags. Each day, room service left two paper bags on our front door filled with yogurt, granola, fruit, and fresh orange juice. It was the perfect way to start the day since we could snack while we figured out the rest of the day’s plans!

Above all, The Hoxton Holborn is not only incredibly designed and executed, but it is a wonderful value as well. I don’t think you could find a better option if you’re looking to stay in central London without the crowds. We will definitely be making a return visit next time we’re in the city. If you’re looking to stay in Shoreditch (East London), Amsterdam, or Paris, The Hoxton also has sister hotels there as well!  And good news for those of us on this side of the pond… The Hoxton is opening up a location in the hip neighborhood of Williamsburg in New York this year!

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark

As I mentioned in my last post about the Leman Locke hotel, we decided to stay in East London during the first weekend of our recent visit to Europe. I absolutely fell in love with the different neighborhoods on the east side of the city, especially on the south side of the Thames. While we’ve visited Southwark several times before, this was our first time exploring the neighboring Bermondsey district. Between the street markets, breweries and restaurants, I knew I loved it from the start. If you’re visiting London and looking for some local spots to try out, I’ve listed some of my favorites from our time in the southeast bank below!

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark | The ELL Blog

Borough Market: This has always been a favorite spot of mine, and it now has an even more significant place in my heart due to the events that occurred there while we were visiting London. While the market has been closed since the attack, it’s  actually reopening this week to continue serving the city as it has for the past thousand years. A visit to this market — filled to the brim with produce, cheese, meats, and local food stands — is definitely necessary if you’re in London.

Neal’s Yard Dairy: While this shop originated in Covent Garden, my favorite location to visit is on a side street near Borough Market. The shop is filled floor-to-ceiling with wheels of cheese, and you can sample a variety that are either locally made or imported. We grabbed a wedge of an amazing  local cheddar and a loaf of bread for our train trip to Paris (details of that trip coming soon).

London Grind: This café and cocktail bar is located within an old bank at the end of London Bridge, and  served up the best breakfast we had on the entire trip. Their avocado toast comes topped with poached eggs and red chilis, while their Full English breakfast came with the best roasted tomatoes and mushrooms. Aside from the food, their urban design aesthetic is pretty great, too. I fell in love with their neon sign quote on the back wall: “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.” There are also many other “Grind” locations throughout London, so there is most likely one nearby wherever you are.

Maltby Street Market: Located in Bermondsey beneath strings of lights and flags, this market should be on the top of your list if you’re in London during the weekend. The market runs beneath the train tracks, with local little shops tucked under the arches. Grab a gin cocktail to-go at Little Bird and stroll through the various pop-up stands serving all different types of street foods, from scotch eggs to waffle sandwiches. One of the best things I ate on the entire trip was a creamy French potato and ham dish served out of a gigantic pan near the end of the market (and I’m still trying to figure out how to recreate it!).

Bermondsey Beer Mile: The London craft beer scene reaches an all time high in Bermondsey. The neighborhood has nearly 10 microbreweries along a mile and a half stretch, which has been dubbed the “Bermondsey Beer Mile.” Many of the breweries are in the arches beneath the train tracks and are only open on the weekends. My favorites that we visited were Anspach & Hobday, Hawkes Cidery, and Brew by Numbers. The breweries are definitely on the smaller side and can get really busy, with people spilling out into the streets to enjoy their pints — but we loved getting to see where the locals spend their Saturdays!

Woolpack: Unlike some other pubs in London, the Woolpack has several local beers on draft. Their back patio is worth a visit, and made me miss my pup since it was super dog friendly! They also host pop-up events on their patio with local brewers, so we got to check out Fourpure Brewing Co. while we were there.

Tanner & Co: We stopped here for an afternoon cocktail, and it didn’t disappoint. Their bar menu can be found inside vintage books, while table numbers are painted on enamel cups filled with succulents. The best part is their bright patio complete with colorful market lights and vibrant patio chairs – an ideal place to enjoy a Saturday bloody mary in the sunshine.

More to come from our second weekend in London soon, as well as all things Paris!

The Leman Locke in East London

Our Stay at the Leman Locke in London | The ELL Blog

Our Stay at the Leman Locke in London | The ELL Blog

Our Stay at the Leman Locke in London | The ELL Blog

Our Stay at the Leman Locke in London | The ELL Blog

Our Stay at the Leman Locke in London | The ELL Blog

Our Stay at the Leman Locke in London | The ELL Blog

Our Stay at the Leman Locke in London | The ELL Blog

Our Stay at the Leman Locke in London | The ELL Blog

Our Stay at the Leman Locke in London | The ELL Blog

Our Stay at the Leman Locke in London | The ELL Blog

We’re finally back from our trip, and I’m already missing this gorgeous hotel! I was soo thrilled that we decided to stay at the Leman Locke during our first stop in London this time around. Located in the Shoreditch/Whitechapel area, it’s nestled in the East end of London, which I immediately fell in love with. After having visited the city multiple times, I loved getting the opportunity to stay in a spot full of local pubs, restaurants and cafés. Shoreditch is such a vibrant & hip area, so finding an amazing spot to eat or grab a drink was never a problem.

Now, more about this darling hotel. Since Leman Locke is an “apart-hotel,” the rooms are much bigger than standard rooms (especially compared to those typically found in Europe). Our room had a stove, fridge, and dishwasher, as well as a combination washer/dryer. In addition to the amazing size of the room, I was head over heels for the space’s design. Every room features a pink couch, which was an Instagram dream! I also loved their use of mixed furniture in the rooms, plus the exposed cement columns and slate blue and white walls were pretty rad.

Leman Locke is also home to a café and restaurant, Treves & Hyde, which are equally as dreamy as the rooms. The pink, lavender and mustard color palette of the café made it the perfect spot to grab a coffee before heading out in the morning. The mezzanine level restaurant had a beautiful bar that was great for a glass of prosecco at the end of the day.

If you’re looking for an amazing spot to stay in London, I would highly, highly recommend checking out Leman Locke. If it wasn’t great enough already, it’s incredibly reasonably priced, too! I’ll be sharing my recommendations for the Shoreditch area around the hotel soon, so stay tuned.

Honeymoon Part II: London Travel Guide

London Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide | The ELL Blog
London Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

Exploring London might be one of my favorite things to do, ever. There’s so much to see in the beautiful city, which means we always spend most of our time walking instead of riding the tube (who wants to be underground when there’s so much to see?!). Between the architecture, open park spaces, and the local food + pub scene, London always captures my heart. If you’re planning on traveling to London anytime soon, I’ve created a London Travel Guide below with a few of my favorite must-see spots.

London Travel Guide

Seven Dials: In this adorable village within Covent Garden, seven historic streets come together to create a network of shops, cafes, and bars. By far my favorite spot in London, plus the surrounding Covent Garden area and nearby Theatre district are just as fun to explore.

Sky Garden: As cool as it sounds, the Sky Garden is an urban oasis located within the top three floors of a skyscraper in London. The space is filled with live trees, plants and flowers, and provides 360 degree views of the city. Admission is free, and reservations can also be made for the swanky restaurants and bars up there, too.

Fortnum and Mason: The place of my dreams, Fortnum and Mason is a high end department store selling picnic hampers, confections, tea, ice cream, and countless other British necessities. Plus they sell frozen champagne popsicles…

La Bodega Negra: If you’re in the mood for Mexican food abroad (we were craving it by the end of the honeymoon), this spot in Soho is a must visit. The ambiance is great and the tacos + margs are pretty swell, too.

Shoreditch: After some recommendations from our hotel, we  spent a bit of time in this East End neighborhood. This part of the city is young, hip, and full of trendy bars and restaurants (basically London’s version of San Diego’s North Park times ten). Old Spitalfields Market and Brick Lane are an obvious must see while there, and we even managed to find a craft brew bar. There are countless other spots in this neighborhood worth mentioning, so I would just recommend making a trip over to the East Side and wandering around for yourself!

Hyde Park: It’s hard to miss this huge green park sitting in the middle of the city, and it’s definitely worth a visit or two. A walk through the open space provides the perfect break from the bustle of the city. The swans and peonies growing in the park make it kind of feel like you’re in a fairytale, too.

Sketch: To read everything you need to know about this pastel dream of a restaurant, visit my previous post here.

Borough Market: One of London’s most infamous markets, Borough is always worth a visit on the South Bank to shop and try local eats . The small streets surrounding the market are wonderful as well and have quaint shops like Neal Yard’s Dairy.

Portobello Star: If you’re a G&T fan, this bar and home of Portobello Road Gin should be on your list. The Notting Hill spot serves the classic London cocktail  in a stemmed wine glass complete with fresh juniper berries and citrus. You can also make reservations and attend the Ginstitute on property, where you can learn to distill your own gin to take home.

Portobello Market: If you’re visiting on the weekend, the outdoor antique market on Portobello Road is always a fun stop.  My favorite part are the fruit stands within the market that serve fresh smoothies out of real pineapples, which you can sip while admiring all of the colorful Notting Hill homes.

Bill’s in Soho: We ate brunch here on our last morning in London, and they had the best avocado toast ever. Enough said.

The Churchill Arms: While London has an endless list of pubs, this one sets itself apart as the first one in London to serve Thai food. Built in 1790, the Notting Hill spot has the traditional vibe of a standard pub, but with the extra perk of ordering pad thai with your beer.

So there you have it! I could keep going on forever about the amazing pubs, gorgeous theatres, idyllic English breakfasts….. so I think the list needs to stop there. But there will be more to add soon because… surprise! We’re going back! That’s right, we’ve decided to make a trip to Paris for our one year wedding anniversary, which means we conveniently get to stop in London again (we definitely planned that). If you have any other recs for local spots to visit in either of the cities, I would love to hear!

 

The Laslett Notting Hill

The Laslett Notting Hill | The ELL Blog

The Laslett Notting Hill | The ELL Blog =
The Laslett Notting Hill | The ELL Blog

The Laslett Notting Hill | The ELL Blog

The Laslett Notting Hill | The ELL Blog

The Laslett Notting Hill | The ELL Blog

The Laslett Notting Hill | The ELL Blog

I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect spot to start our honeymoon in London! The Laslett Notting Hill, a self proclaimed “British alternative hotel,” sits on an idyllic tree lined street in Notting Hill. Comprised of five renovated Victorian town homes, the hotel is a perfect combination of contemporary glamour and British culture. The hotel was designed with the local area in mind, which was executed by creating a “neighborhood” feel in the hotel’s common spaces. The lobby area offers a cozy library room and  bright patio, as well as The Henderson Bar and Coffee Shop which attracts both locals and travelers alike. This ended up being one of our favorite spots for a drink since the staff were so welcoming and had countless local recommendations.  The rooms were equally as charming, with local art and trinkets adorning each space — the bathrooms even came complete with blue +white enamelware.

Not only was the hotel wonderful, but it’s location is ideal for anyone looking to stay away from the mass crowds in London. Although it’s near the popular Portobello Road, The Laslett Notting Hill sits on a charming neighborhood street, making you feel like a local. It’s only a block away from the tube station as well, which takes you into the heart of the city in minutes. Having stayed in several different parts of London, this was definitely my favorite and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a place to stay!