If you’re looking for an East meets West vibe in the heart of one of London’s most hip locales, check into Nobu Shoreditch for a staycation with a difference.
From its ultra stylish Japanese interiors with a kitsch retro twist – think if Mad Men was set in Japan – to its world-renowned sushi and a seriously famously co-owner (that’s Robert De Niro no less), Nobu Shoredtich is a one of kind hotel. Add to that the upmost luxury and impeccable service you’d find in any five-star Mayfair hotel, plus a buzzy neighbourhood packed with bars, restaurants and street art just around the corner, we fell in love with this super slick offering. Read on to find out why…
Nobu Shoreditch sits right in the midst of it all if you’re looking for an East London staycation or are heading to the city for work. Just around the corner on Great Eastern Street you’ll find hotspots like Gloria and The Hoxton, whilst London’s very own silicone roundabout is just up the road and the City skyline peeps out in the distance. Nobu’s direct neighbours are the usual Shoredtich type – old factory buildings revamped as co-working spaces and cool creative agencies, but Nobu is something else when it comes to architecture.
The wood and concrete building stands behemoth like amongst the otherwise sleepy WIllow Street. Its form is part dystopian, part calming Japanese layered lines and pockets of green foliage peeking out from the industrial mood of it all. It’s meant to make an impact and that it does.
THE INTERIORS & ROOMS
Inside, every inch of the hotel has been considered, it’s like stepping into the pages of Architectural Digest. From the parquet flooring to the warming drop globe lighting, hints of gilded gold to more rustic concrete, there’s no doubt the interiors are stunning. As you enter the hotel via a discreet side entrance, you’re hit with a teaming wall of foliage and dark moody corners. It feels elegant and grown-up, a true representation of what Shoreditch has become over the years, moving from hipster and a little rough around the edges to filthy rich and home to the city’s creative spearheads.
The same vein runs up to the rooms but with a lighter feel. Sweeping desks of concrete are mixed with jet black wood paneling and there are thoughtful little touches that nod to the hotel’s Japanese heritage – dark clay teapots with loose tea and a beautiful old wicker ottoman fashioned as a TV cabinet. Our room was lofty and light, with pred back plastered walls mixed with fine luxury – the sexy lines of an architectural curved sofa, a golden headboard and the most sumptious of big beds to dive into.
In the bathroom, there were Natura Bissé products lined up – a stylish touch and chic alternative to to the usual hotel minis you get – which are also used in the treatments in the hotel’s basement spa.
The use of square footage of the rooms at Nobu is smart. The tiered design that looks so obscure from the outside, has allowed the interior designers to maximise as much space as possible, with the rooms feeling like you have a work area, vanity, sleep and seating area all in one place, despite the hotel being snuggly fit into a little corner of Shoreditch.
This design extends to an outdoor space for some of the rooms. Stunning, sweeping balconies with a seating setting up gloriously ginormous rosemary planters to bring in some nature in the middle of London. At night you can hear the laughs and roars of Hoxton’s hipsters having a fag break from the bars below, but it’s all part and parcel of the experience, the reason to stay in Shoreditch over another of London’s sleepier, more sensible areas.
When most hear the name Nobu, they will think of the food. The now huge portfolio started out life as a restaurant and swiftly went on to becoming one of the world’s most recognised sushi hotspots, whether you were in London or Las Vegas. A place to see and be seen.
Naturally, the chain’s hotels take their food and beverage offering very seriously, with the main restaurant sitting in the basement next to a livelier bar and hidden terrace which is ideal for al fresco drinks in the city whether you’re staying at the hotel or not.
The restaurant plays into Nobu’s classics that people know and love – from the butteriest melt-in-the-mouth black cod to beautifully marbled wagyu and zesty and colourful ceviches.
There are sweeping big dining tables for large groups or more private booths lined with Japanese wooden pillars or the 10-seater sushi bar which is the ideal spot if you want to be amongst the action, seeing the chefs work their magic right up close.
Whilst dinner at Nobu never disappoints, the breakfast helps the hotel stand apart from other big players our East. Of course you can get the usual full English, but there are some delicious Japanese-inspired dishes like Scrambled Egg Donburi or Matsuhisa Benedict Poached Eggs – a delight of crispy tofu, snow crab and shiso hollandaise.
We headed to the bar post-dinner for one of their signature cocktails and the Tokyo Cloud is a must-order – raspberry gin mixed with elderflower and lychee and a hit of spice – it was both refreshing and punchy all in one. A reason to return, alone.
Although Nobu feels quite grown-up, they are great with children. We visited with a toddler in tow and the staff fawned over him like he was footing the bill. The usual facilities like cots and bedding are provided on request but it’s the children’s welcome packs in the rooms and a departing gift of a teddy wearing a rather chic navy ‘Nobu’ crew neck was the cherry on the top.
Nobu Shoreditch might be an imposter in this part of town, but it’s one that’s bridging the gap between the cool, creative set and five-star luxury. We’ll be back, if even for another Tokyo Cloud in the garden terrace this summer.
10-50 WILLOW ST, LONDON EC2A 4BH, UNITED KINGDOM
BY the Handbook