Is there such thing as luxury on a budget in London, one of the world’s most expensive cities? I was doubtful, but citizenM London Shoreditch surpassed my expectations, delivering all the comforts of a high-end hotel for a fraction of the price.
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Luxury on a Budget in London
As I write this, I am sitting in the cafe at citizenM London Shoreditch, surrounded by other digital creators, all tap-tapping away on their laptops.
I have to leave in 10 minutes.
I don’t want to.
(Warning: I am about to gush. Are you ready?)
I only got to spend one night at citizenM’s London Shoreditch hotel but I’d like to stay a week. Or a month. Or, to like, to move in.*
I’m a huge design nerd and citizenM pushed all the right buttons for me.
Not only is citizenM effortlessly cool but it is stylishly functional, too.
How they manage all this at such an affordable price (in London terms!) is a mystery that other hotels would love to crack. If you’re looking for luxury on a budget in London, citizenM will deliver.
The lobby is a colourful playground of offbeat art and kitschy knick-knacks from every corner of pop culture. Darth Vader looms from his space on a shelf right next to a Nordic cookbook and a pair of vintage keyboards.
If you want to hang out and work all day, that’s totally fine. The staff will ply you with a never-ending stream of freshly made flavourful food and drinks. I dare you not to tuck into the piles of banana bread and chocolate cake that makes an entrance in the early afternoon.
Admittedly, the rooms at citizenM are small compared to many hotels. However, the slick design means that not a centimetre of space is wasted. There’s never of feeling of clutter or claustrophobia — it’s pure stylish comfort all the way.
What we loved at citizenM London Shoreditch
Funky & functional design. We love great design — and citizenM has obviously been designed with real travellers in mind. Everything you need to make you feel right at home is in arm’s reach. I felt so good there that I had to force myself to leave the hotel for sightseeing duties.
Big comfy beds. The most important thing in any hotel. The beds at citizenM are extra large and extra pillowy.
Blackout blinds. Nobody wants to wake up with the sun, do they? The blinds at citizenM don’t let in any light, meaning you can sleep whenever it suits you.
Free movies. With a suite of digital movies on demand and a TV placed perfectly for in-bed watching, there’s no need to go out into the city for your entertainment. Note to all men everywhere: even the naughty films are free.
Massive windows. A small room doesn’t have to have a small window. Mine had a great view of Shoreditch.
Storage, storage, storage. If you watch our Live Hotel Room Tours, you’ll know how important storage space is to a full-time nomad. A big drawer under the bed hides away your suitcase, while shelves in the sink unit hold toiletries, and closet space accommodates your fancy clothes. There are the all-important hooks on the wall, too. A+!
Comfy chair and a small desk. When you get tired of lounging in bed, there’s space to sit and work or read a book (also provided). The lobby is so comfortable that you may never need the in-room furniture.
Environmentally friendly soap and shampoo. You know what I hate? Those little plastic bottles of hotel shampoo that end up in the ocean and ultimately, in the stomachs of fish, seagulls, and sea turtles. Instead of plastic bottles, the citizenM soap and shampoo is in refillable ceramic containers so I could be clean without feeling dirty.
Free bottled water. Though it may seem like a bonus to have free bottled water in the room, it’s an environmental disaster, especially in a city where the tap water is perfectly fine to drink. If they really want to keep guests hydrated, a reusable glass bottle of filtered water in the room would be ideal.
Vegan milk shortage. At breakfast, which was an impressive spread by any standards, I was surprised to find that non-cow’s milk wasn’t readily available. The bar staff were happy to provide soy milk for me when I asked.
Strictly non-budget breakfast. Thought the breakfast buffet is extensive, it is also expensive. It will cost you far less to venture out for a full English in one of Shoreditch’s hip cafés.
Unusual extras at citizenM London Shoreditch
Perfect living-room lobby. I loved the vibe of the lobby-café at citizenM — I spent sitting at the communal work tables catching up on work. The buzz of activity around me, combined with the endless variety of things to look at, really helped with my productivity. It’s honestly one of the best nomadic work spaces I’ve ever used.
Smart room features. You control the entire room, from mood lighting to free movies, using the included iPad mini. No need to get up from your big comfy bed.
International wall plugs. Forgot your British plug adaptor? No problem. The row of international wall plugs available in the room means you can plug in using your home country power cord.
Digital and online check-in. The first thing you see when you arrive at citizenM is a small bank of computers, where you can process your own check-in, choose your room, and activate your key. If you’re in a jet-lagged fug or just in a hurry, this is a nice touch. Though digital check-in does mean you miss out on chatting with the uber-friendly staff!
What’s in the neighbourhood?
Where to eat in Shoreditch, London
canteenM. The array of fabulous food in the hotel’s café might tempt you to stay in and eat. It’s ideal for business travellers or those who are too jet-lagged to leave the building.
Pret A Manger. The nearest outside food is at Pret, where you can grab a fresh sandwich, salad, or half-decent coffee when you’re in a hurry.
Boxpark. This mini-mall built in a stack of shipping containers offers a range of gourmet street food on its second floor. Try Cook Daily for some of London’s best vegan food or grab a slice of gourmet pizza at Voodoo Rays (vegan options available)!
Brick Lane. London’s famous Brick Lane is just a few minute’s walk away. There are dozens of Indian restaurants to choose from, not to mention a whole host of other restaurants, bars, and shops to keep you entertained. On weekends, there is a massive street food market and another market inside the Old Truman Brewery.
Spitalfields Market. Another famous London destination, Spitalfields market, just 5 minutes’ walk away, provides high-end clothing stalls, a great range of food stands, and an array of proper sit-down eateries.
Where to get vegan food in Shoreditch, London
Merkamo. An Ethiopian food stall in Spitalfields Market and Old Truman Brewery (on weekends) where you can get a mixed plate of salads, grains, and hot foods. Delicious!
Mooshies. I’m not a huge fan of Indian food, so I was delighted to find a vegan burger bar in Brick Lane. I loved my burger so much I’m heading back there this weekend.
Brick Lane Beigel Bake. A Brick Lane institution, Stephen and I have been buying our bagels here since 1998 (it’s been open since 1977). Grab a half-dozen of the best bagels in the world (yes, we’ve tried them all) for £2.40. Plus, it’s open 24 hours, so makes the perfect stop after a long night of East London pub crawling.
CookDaily. I didn’t get to try Cook Daily because the food floor of BoxPark was closed for renovation while I was there. I’m gutted, since according to Fat Gay Vegan, this place serves the best vegan food in London.
Redemption. I also missed out on Redemption (ha ha) since it’s closed Monday evening, the one night I would have been able to get there. By all accounts, it’s pretty delicious.
Things to do in Shoreditch, London
Aside from grazing and shopping your way through Spitalfields Market and Boxpark’s amazing offerings, here are a few other ways to pass the time in Shoreditch, London.
Shopping on Brick Lane. London’s famous curry-house row, Brick Lane is great for grabbing a slap-up Indian meal but it’s much more than that. Record geeks gather at Rough Trade, vintage clothing hunters shouldn’t skip Rokit, Tatty Devine is the place for kitsch jewelry, and if you just want to London’s best street art, Brick Lane won’t disappoint.
Amazing London Walking Tours. Whether you fancy an Alternative Pub Crawl, a street art tour, a spooky Jack the Ripper walk, or an East End food tour, there’s plenty to keep walkers occupied in the Shoreditch area.
Or, if you’re not a walker, try this Ladies Love Beer Masterclass!
Getting to citizenM London Shoreditch
Address: 6 Holywell Lane, EC2A 3ET, London
Nearest tube station: Old Street. Liverpool Street and Moorgate are only very slightly further away.
For those arriving by Eurostar, bus 205 from King’s Cross is the most efficient way to get to citizenM Shoreditch.
Book Your Stay at citizenM
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*A small disclaimer: I was a guest of citizenM for my stay but my opinions are all my own (yes, it really was this great!). Also, this post contains affiliate links, so when you book using the links above, we get paid. Thanks!
♥ Happy adventures, Stephen & Jane