This is a very slick bar with a hotel attached. A mix of the stylish end of the city crowd (apparent from their chic outerwear) and grown-up Shoreditch hipsters loll on the 70s-ish leather chairs sipping cocktails from crystal-glassed ‘rocks’ (tumblers), ‘up’ (anything in a martini glass ) or ‘ long’ glasses. The whole low-slung, low-lit lounge vibe is very seductive. And the cocktails? Genuinely some of the best I’ve ever tasted. Ever.
But this is not a bar, it is a hotel and, pleasingly, passes this test with flying colours too. The Conran-designed rooms inspire a getting-ready-for-the-night-ahead feeling, thanks to the indulgent marble bathrooms and the giant perfect-for-hangover beds that are illuminated from beneath to give the sense they’re levitating against the plush carpet and rich mulberry walls. There’s cool art from the Hoxton Gallery hanging above the bed (a Lichtenstein-style pop piece in our room), a door-size mirror propped nonchalantly against the wall and dapper dogtooth scoop-swivel chair. It feels a bit boyish but the luxe-and-quirky extras more than make up for it – such as said chair, or the James Heeley St Clements toiletries, Josephine Home percale cotton bed-linen and cashmere-wrapped mattresses.
As this is the first hotel offering from restaurant group D&D London (Bluebird Chelsea, Floridita, Skylon…), you’d expect the food to be a feature and it is. There’s a laidback ground floor bistro that continues the buzz from the bar and a fine dining fish restaurant, Angler, perched on top – the deco-style glass casing revealing the London Cityscape. Both are excellent.
- The James Bond inspired games room - Le Chiffre is named after the Bond villain in Casino Royale and has a mini-library, snooker table, turntable, board games and drinks cabinet to play with.
- The cocktails – clever concoctions with cool names and pristine presentation. Try the delicious Saint Clement’s – Jose Cuervo tequila and Cointreau mixed with honey, apple, lemon and rosemary, or house favourite, The Equaliser – a potent brew of yellow Chartreuse, Absinthe and egg white.
-The first floor ‘hideaway’ garden bar with tropical plants and excellent smoking amenities.
- The service – the staff without exception know their stuff, are super helpful, chatty and look the part in ES Dundee tailored suits (boys) and hot-pink belted shifts (girls).
The ground floor restaurant is a wee bit pricey.
Need to Know: South Place Hotel
Number of rooms: 80 rooms and one suite, Suite 610
Check-in/check-out times: Check in 2pm, check out 12pm
Room service: 24/7
Swimming pool: No
Spa: Yes – courtesy of Aromatherapy Associates
Pets welcome: Yes, by prior arrangement. Only recently a gentlemen checked in with his pet cat for a week
Eating and drinking: 3 South Place, the modern bistro downstairs, does upscale comfort food –shellfish soup, smoked cobb chicken and lobster ‘mac’ feel New Yorky and hearty mains such as Devon Red chicken pie or rump of Colne Valley lamb are focused on top-notch local produce served gastro-pub style. There’s burger and salt beef sandwich lunch options here too and ‘Bellini Brunch’ at the weekends. Angler on the top floor is the designer dining option. It’s a beautiful space - encased in glass with polo-club style sateen striped chairs and white linen tables. Choose from the whole gamut of catches from crustacea (the shellfish platter is immense) oysters and caviar to specials like smoked haddock and mussel pie, soft quails eggs and baby leeks. Roast breast of guinea fowl with truffled macaroni or Hereford fillet steak more than satisfy carnivorous urges. The wine list is 250-strong. Retire to the (heated) terrace for a post-dinner digestif.
Near to? A block from Moorgate station and around ten minutes’ walk from Liverpool Street. You’re on the fringes of Shoreditch so close enough to the action but not hitting the pavement headlong into a rowdy pub-crawl. Equally not too City-bound to feel uncool.
The ELLE Edit
Best room: Suite 610 - 12,000 sq ft of City-skyline living complete with open-plan living and dining space and giant bedroom linking to the marble bathroom with its signature glass bath in the window. The suite can also be coupled with the two bedrooms opposite to create a three-bedroom apartment.
Best dish: For sheer indulgence, the Osietra caviar buckwheat blinis. Or, for total YUM the Angler & Lobster Pie.
Who stays here?
Rita Ora, Pussycat Doll Ashley Roberts, Caroline Flack and Laura Whitmore have all tweeted their appreciation. Lulu Kennedy of Fashion East is a huge fan and DFA Records DJs (wo)man the decks.
3 South Place, London EC2M 2AF; 0203 503 0000; southplacehotel.com; rooms from £210 (inc VAT) weekdays, and from £180 at weekends (special rates for 3+ night-stays)