London’s Soho district has seen a strong revival in recent times. An area which used to be a bit seedy is now the vibrant heart of London.
Today Soho has some of the capital’s best bars, cafes, clubs and restaurants and feels lively 24/7. Highlights include:
- Bars, cafes and clubs on Dean Street and Wardour Street.
- Bar Italia (Frith Street) is recommended for the best cappuccino in London at all hours. If you see a seat free then grab it fast!
- Ronnie Scott’s for jazz is right across the road from Bar Italia.
- The Curzon Soho cinema shows European art-house and mainstream films. It has a great café on the ground floor and a lively basement bar.
- Chinatown: especially fun in the evenings. Do stop by the authentic Chinese shops and bakeries as well as the tempting restaurants.
- Restaurants in Soho serve just about any cuisine you could wish for. If you’re unsure what you fancy, just wander around and feast your eyes.
Because of the high level of competition in the area prices are surprisingly reasonable.
Soho’s “buzz” helps you make the most of your stay in London. But if you want to be close to its many attractions, then what’s your best hotel option? We assume you want “funky” but also good service.
We present a couple of choices to you below just a stone’s throw away.
1. Myhotel Bloomsbury.
I’ve personally met the owner of this hotel several times and have no hesitation in recommending it.
Myhotel Bloomsbury achieves a rare balancing act: cutting-edge contemporary design and friendly, informal service.
The Myhotel concept aims to create a vibrant brand based on customer feedback, happy staff and above all “individuality”. Myhotel Bloomsbury is designed as “East meets West” with lots of Feng Shui touches.
Myhotels are driven by a passion for personal service; you’re even asked to complete a “my preferences” form in advance to help personalise your stay.
You’ll notice the striking design as you enter the hotel, particularly as you step inside its lively bar. Rooms can sometimes be slightly small unless you upgrade to a suite, however they offer good value for the location.
Guests often mention the “library” at Myhotel Bloomsbury, offering wired-up internet terminals and as much coffee and water as you need. There’s also a convenient “Yo Sushi” attached to one side of the hotel.
The location is excellent on a side-road off Tottenham Court Road. This street is also famous for the opportunity to get bargains on electronic goods – especially computer-related products – but be ready to haggle!
It’s easy to cut through Charlotte Street (famous for its excellent restaurants – Roka for Japanese and Passione for Italian are highly-rated) and be in Soho within a matter of minutes.
Finally, if you enjoy healthy eating there’s a Planet Organic store nearby (Torrington Place) which does a great organic lunch buffet.
There’s another Myhotel in Chelsea featured in this blog.
2. The Soho Hotel.
The Soho Hotel is part of a group (Firmdale Hotels) started up by husband and wife team Tim and Kit Kemp.
Their ethos, in their own words, is that “hotels should be living things, not stuffy institutions”.
I’ve tried several times to reach management at head office but have not so far been able to arrange a meeting.
However, people do rave about the hotel and its location. Although the room rate is by no means cheap, many feel that it’s worth it.
Guests at the Soho Hotel often highlight the quality and size of the rooms (ask for the 5th floor particularly) and the friendly staff as plus points.
The location is of course also unbeatable: as the name suggests, it’s in the heart of Soho and at the same time somewhat secluded.
Food at the hotel is reputed to be reasonably good rather than outstanding. Why should that matter though, when you can literally fall outside, straight into the arms of some of London’s best eateries?
Whichever hotel you choose, bear in mind another big plus of Soho: it is one of the liveliest areas of London on a Sunday.
If you’re on a weekend break and wish to experience the full “buzz” of London, then there’s no better place to stay.
Photo credits: Soho Hotel (Firmdale Hotels), Myhotels.