If you're curious about the possibility that oysters are, truly, aphrodisiac, there could be few places better than The Hoxton, Southwark to conduct a little scientific research. Specifically, at the hotel's Seabird restaurant, where, perched on the 14th floor, the delicacies come with sprawling skyline views. And even if the briny bivalves don't cast their spell, a sparklingly mischievous dirty martini or glass of one of the vinous wonders hailing from Europe's boutique vineyards just might. Welcome to the Mediterranean - London weather permitting, of course.
True to The Hoxton group's distinctive style, this contemporary space seamlessly distils the essence of its neighbourhood - in this case, the industrial-artsy south-of-the-river borough of Southwark. Picture open-plan communal areas, a fusion of antique and bespoke furnishings, intimate corners with oversized greenery and one of the area's most diverse art collections.
As you wake, gaze through your expansive window and you'll capture glimpses of some of the city's most iconic landmarks. Linger in your snug haven for breakfast or venture downstairs to Albie, the hotel's all-day restaurant, before spending your day feasting and lounging (or co-working), repeating it for the entirety of your stay.
The lobby, left, and mezzaine
Whatever your preferred category, from the budget-friendly Shoebox to the opulent Biggy, rooms are airy and light-filled, with Crittall-style windows, bare brick walls, velvet headboards and art in every room. With 192 rooms in total, spanning cosy abode to luxurious expanse, The Hoxton offers something for everyone. And have we mentioned the glassware? It's all handmade, and chosen in homage to the artisans of the glass-blowing factories and tanneries that once occupied the neighbourhood.
What's for breakfast?
Prepare for all of your morning cravings to be conquered. From the curative Hox Benny and breakfast burritos for hangover relief, to a healthy smashed avo on sourdough or French toast to satiate your sweet tooth, breakfast here is reason enough to extend your stay. The menu also features organic cold-pressed juices such as the invigorating carrot, apple, beetroot, ginger and lemon concoction, or a refreshing mix of apple, kale, cucumber, celery, ginger and lemon. Vegan or gluten-free? You'll be spoilt for choice, too.
Albie, left, and a cosy room
How about lunch and dinner?
Keep your phone handy as you descend to Albie's photogenic terrazzo tables and mosaic-tiled floors. If you're into small plates, don't miss the trio of tiny falafels, the salt and vinegar baby squid, and the wild mushroom, truffle and potato croquette. The main course selection is equally enticing, featuring choices like linguine alle vongole and roast chicken. Salad enthusiasts, the green goddess iteration is for you. And the drinks? There's fizz galore, to begin with, then Spanish orange wine to sip. End the day with a signature Hox cocktail, such as an ice breaker (paving the way for further nocturnal adventures), or a goodnight martini nightcap. The power is in your hands.
Should hunger strike between the hours of three and six, make your way up to Seabird for an oyster happy hour, and stay for the whole sea bass, octopus roll or Cornish mussels with a side serving of sunset skies.
Is there a bar?
Certainly. The question is whether to ascend to the rooftop or descend below. Both invite with alluring length: marble elegance upstairs and golden brass downstairs.
Not particularly keen on breakfast but open to a snack? Simply hang the bag provided on the hook outside your room and it will be mysteriously filled with a pastry, orange juice and a piece of fruit by the time you wake up, with a £5 fee applied to your bill on check-out. All bathrooms are stocked with the group's signature Blank toiletries.
What are the hotel's eco-credentials like?
In their commitment to the planet, room-cleaning services are offered exclusively upon request, and the hotel is single-use-plastic-free. Keep an eye out for the "good to know" facts and figures strategically placed throughout the property.
What about accessibility?
Step-free all the way - almost. While all central spaces including the lobby, reception, Albie and Seabird are accessible, only some rooms are adapted to offer doors with lower handles, roll-in showers and more. Check before booking.
What's the crowd like?
From first-time tourists to London aficionados, the Hoxton caters to all. Whether you're a savvy digital nomad or a book nerd, a couple embarking on your first trip together or the person in charge of planning a family reunion, The Hoxton, Southwark is open to everyone - children and feline friends included.
Within a short walk I can find…
Take a leisurely stroll to Tate Modern and up your step count by continuing along the scenic South Bank. Eager to explore the neighbourhood further? Grab one of the local guides from the bookshelves for all the insider information you could ask for.
Things I should know
For starters, there's the Hox Shop, where you can buy beers, wines and snacks - without the minibar price tags. Fancy a workout? While there's no gym, reception offers discounted passes for nearby studios. You can also check in and out whenever suits you best - book your stay through the website 72 hours in advance and this service will be free. Also plan your Seabird visit ahead, if possible, as both lunch and dinner can get busy.
Doubles cost from £179 a night. thehoxton.com