Can you Really Find Luxury on a Budget in London?

At citizenM Shoreditch, affordability and luxury go hand-in-hand

luxury on a budget in london

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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Book a room at citizenM London Shoreditch →

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.

Don’t miss my Live Hotel Room Tour at citizenM London Shoreditch
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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.

luxury on a budget in London

Make yourself comfy at citizenM London Shoreditch.

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.

luxury on a budget in London citizenM

There’s no skimping on size or style when it comes to the beds at citizenM.

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.

citizenM hotel London Shoreditch

Natural light and a great view are key ingredients of the perfect hotel room.

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.

london's best budget hotel

Environmentally friendly soap with a message at citizenM.

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.

london shoreditch luxury hotel

The breakfast buffet at citizenM has plenty of veggie options.

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.

luxury on a budget in London

Every citizenM hotel features a luxury cafe where you can work or lounge.

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.

citizenM london shoreditch

Customizable coloured lights give the room any atmosphere you want.

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!

best vegan food in London

The friendly faces at Mermako in Spitalfields Market.

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

Book a room at citizenM London Shoreditch to grab your slice of luxury on a budget in London →

citizenM also has two more locations in London.
Book your stay at citizenM London Bankside
Book your stay at citizenM Tower of London

citizenM also has locations in Amsterdam, New York, Paris, and more.

*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


  1. Comment by Jenna

    Jenna May 30, 2017 at 9:59 pm

    I really love the design–citizenM looks like a fantastic hotel and it’s even better that it’s an affordable option! The breakfast looks delicious and it’s so nice the rooms have a lot of storage. Sounds like lots of great restaurants and things to do in the area, too!

    • Comment by Jane

      Jane July 4, 2017 at 10:56 pm

      Hey Jenna,

      Yeah, the design is amazing! I can’t figure out how they do it for the prices. It’s not super cheap but compared to any hotel with this many comforts, it’s great value!


      P.S. Yes, the area is a fantastic one and one most tourists don’t get to on their first trip to London.

  2. Comment by Drew

    Drew May 29, 2017 at 4:23 pm

    I have not stayed at CitizenM, but walked by it many times. It is in such a great neighborhood. So convenient for visitors, with so many bars and restaurants close by, plus close to the City for some more touristy things. And it’s true, finding value in London hotels is not the easiest task, but the CitizenM seems to be a good choice. Love that lobby area too!

    • Comment by Jane

      Jane July 4, 2017 at 10:57 pm

      Thanks for the insight Drew. You could just stay in that area and never leave as a tourist! OK, you might miss Tower Bridge and the Millennium Wheel, but you’d get to know part of the real London :).

  3. Comment by Tamara Elliott

    Tamara Elliott May 29, 2017 at 10:17 am

    I stayed at the CitizenM in Paris once- it was right near the terminal, which was so handy for getting to the airport for our flight in the morning. And we didn’t even hear any noise of planes overhead!

    • Comment by Jane

      Jane July 4, 2017 at 10:58 pm

      Did you like it Tamara?

      We recently stayed at their new hotel in La Defense. We tried to spot the citizenM near Charles de Gaulle but didn’t see it. Very convenient if you have an early flight.

  4. Comment by Rhonda Albom

    Rhonda Albom May 28, 2017 at 10:31 pm

    What a find! When I was in London back in 2012 we didn’t look that hard for a place to stay and just went for Holiday Inn. We then proceeded to stay in Holiday Inns all around the country. The decoration is very fun and vibrant. It looks like a comfy place to relax at the end of a long day. And I remember those walking tours. I believe we did the Jack the Ripper tour.

    • Comment by Jane

      Jane July 4, 2017 at 11:00 pm

      I’m pretty sure citizenM didn’t exist in London in 2012 so you would have had to find an alternative anyway. The decor is great for inspiring creativity.


  5. Comment by Claudia

    Claudia May 27, 2017 at 9:04 am

    What a fabulous hotel recommendation! I love their unique and modern designs and the rooms seem to have a great view too! And thank you so much for the vegan suggestion, I am bookmarking this article :)

    • Comment by Jane

      Jane July 4, 2017 at 11:01 pm

      Great Claudia, so glad I could help. Let me know if you eat at any of the vegan restaurants around there. I really want to go back and try the ones that were closed when I was there!

  6. Comment by Robert

    Robert May 27, 2017 at 8:17 am

    Always on the lookout for great affordable places to stay when traveling. Will definitely bookmark this page for future reference. Excellent review and photos, thanks for sharing with us! :)

    • Comment by Jane

      Jane July 4, 2017 at 11:01 pm

      You’re welcome Robert. Thanks so much for commenting. I rarely fall in love with a hotel but when it happens I fall hard!!


  7. Comment by Megan Jerrard

    Megan Jerrard May 27, 2017 at 7:05 am

    I love the interior design of both the rooms and the public spaces here, and even though the rooms are small I think this is a London thing as opposed to a citizenM London Shoreditch thing. I remember staying in the most overpriced hotels and the rooms were tiny! So I love that there are now trendy options for those traveling on a budget. Thanks for the great hotel review!

    • Comment by Jane

      Jane July 4, 2017 at 11:03 pm

      You’re welcome, Megan. Thanks for the comment. You’re right, pretty much everything in London is smaller than we’d expect. The citizenM rooms everywhere are the same – very small but very comfortable. That’s how they keep the price low I guess.


  8. Comment by Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

    Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie May 27, 2017 at 5:52 am

    How fantastic to find a budget-friendly hotel in London! The decor in the lobby is really fun and I love rooms with great big windows looking out on the city. I’m always looking to stay in a different neighborhood whenever I visit London so I’ll keep citizenM in mind. I think breakfast is where most hotels including citizenM make their money. The cost per person is always so high that it’s better to venture out, especially with all the food nearby. Personally, I wouldn’t be able to stay away from Brick Lane anytime of day. I just love Indian food and it’s soo good in London! ;)

    • Comment by Jane

      Jane July 4, 2017 at 11:04 pm

      Totally agree on the breakfast thing, Jackie! Indian food on Brick Lane for breakfast sounds great. There are also a ton of Vietnamese restaurants nearby where you could get pho for breakfast. Or the full English from any of the diners around!

      Thanks for commenting. J

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