THE HOXTON, SHEPHERDS BUSH, LONDON
Ennismore brings The Hoxton back to its roots with its fourth opening in London. Destined to put Shepherds Bush on the map, interior design practice AIME Studios, draw reference from the area’s eclectic heritage.
Jess Miles ventures out west to visit the newly opened Hoxton.
Anyone working out-of-office in London at any point in the last decade or so will know how the original Hoxton hotel in Shoreditch was—and still is—a pioneer in the shifts to how one inhabits a hotel. Way before the pandemic hit and the normality of coworking and remote working was, well, not normal, The Hoxton’s lobby was one of the only swanky spots in town you could pull out your laptop and casually work without feeling that you were unwelcome. Blurring the lines between work, play, and stay, The Hoxton was seen as a destination where you could meet for a coffee in the morning, work from through the day, meet friends for dinner, dance on through the night, and then wander upstairs to rest your potentially sore head. Albeit maybe not all in the same day’s work. With a balmy communal buzz about the place, it was perhaps the emerging creative’s inclusive answer to Soho House—minus the pricey barrier of membership.
Fast forward some 18 years on from its opening and you’ll find that The Hoxton brand has remained true to its roots despite growth. An acquisition by creative hospitality group, Ennismore, and 12 new international locations later, The Hoxton’s original ‘open house hotel’ concept is very much intact and at home in the hybridity of today’s cultural landscape. Headed out west for the brand’s fourth London location, The Hoxton Shepherds Bush has been the talk of the town since its opening in December and not just for its impeccable interiors. Following on from three older London sisters each strategically located—trendy Shoreditch, bustling Holborn, and then Southwark a stone’s throw away from South Bank—the seemingly far-flung west outpost is perhaps somewhat of a dark horse. Not necessarily on the radar, the local neighbourhood is upon first look more grit and clamour than glitz and glamour—which, might seem like an odd bet for a Hoxton hotel.
Though, on one hand, there’s Gucci, Prada, and the rest of the luxury village inside Westfield, on the other, you’ll find all the classics of a small-town London high-street lineup. On the short walk from the station to the hotel, old-school boozers, mobile phone shops, cheap and cheerful fruit and veg market stalls, independent fast-food takeaways, and of course Snappy Snaps all sit shoulder to shoulder. Whilst Shepherds Bush doesn’t have the picturesque romance of neighbouring Notting Hill, or the leafy-lined streets of nearby Chiswick, there is an eclectic charm and a great deal to be celebrated if only you are to peel back the layers—or rather, visit The Hoxton, as they’ve done all the peeling for you.
Establishing themselves as design-driven hotels rooted in culture and community, it’s no surprise you’re taken on a visual tale of the town through the property’s design. Taking up the stretch on the north end of Shepherds Bush Green and offering an impressive 237 rooms, the newly designed EPR Architects’ building is surprisingly congruous with its low-key location. Whilst I had forgotten that both iconic venues Shepherds Bush Empire and the 1960s-built BBC Television Centre are on its doorstep, The Hoxton did not. As an ode to this corner of London’s rich music and entertainment history, glowing theatre-style signage shines like a beacon above the entrance.
Stepping inside it’s evident that Ennismore’s in-house interior and graphic design practice, AIME Studios, have continued to draw reference from the hotel’s locality. The London Transport Museum Depot has served as a key influence on the public spaces—though, the aesthetic is suitably refined and far from gimmicky. Throughout the signature Hoxton open plan lobby, you’ll find the nods to retro transport design quietly nestled between vintage 1970s seating and mid-century modern lighting. Plum-toned walls, geometric furnishings, and aged hues mimic those found in the TFL archives, whilst large format artwork by locals Cece Philips and Hannah Ludnow, and an oversized, abstract mural by Colette Lavette, bring the whole feel up to date. Underfoot, collages of custom rugs by west London atelier Holmes Bespoke bring a welcoming warmth and gesture to the diverse range of fabrics and textiles on offer around the corner at Shepherds Bush Market.
Centre stage of the lobby, it’s impossible to forget the rather striking wrap-around bar, assembled with reeded maple and Salome grey marble, sleekly finished with chrome curvature. Cocooned between atmospheric high bar booth seating on either side, passing through provides a Narnia-esque transition between the lobby and the bar, where the space opens back up to reveal Chet’s—the hotel’s Thai-Americana all-day restaurant. With a menu from Kris Yenbamroong of iconic LA hotspot NIGHT + MARKET, the dining experience was as anticipated, one to remember. Expect a fiery fresh Thai twist on classic American cuisine. Dishes are laid-back but perfectly executed—fancy enough to visit for a celebration with cocktails (I highly recommend the Lychee Martini) whilst also well suited for enjoying an informal bite to eat. Along with the hustle and bustle of the open-fronted kitchen and winning Hoxton hospitality that leaves you wanting for nothing, the décor sets a warm and vibrant tone. Continuing the retro railway theme but this time crossed with 50s American diner style, ochre yellow banquettes and booths meet steel-based tables with pastel-coloured glass tops. Smooth arches frame the restaurant, working in harmony with the art deco lighting and slick burr wood finishes that elevate the space. Perfectly poised, it gives Wes Anderson’s Darjeeling Limited vibes—but rather the Southeast Asian version.
Also tucked away on the ground floor is The Apartment—The Hoxton’s hybrid work/play space. Consisting of one large space that can be separated by retractable walls it’s a flexible set-up for private events or meetings with varying capacities. Nailing the home-from-home feel, any tech is available yet tucked away, formal boardroom furniture is swapped for lounge-like seating nooks, and there’s even a communal pantry-style kitchen for shoots and workshops.
Up above, there’s a choice of six room categories based more on your needs as a guest rather than by luxury classification, which feels incredibly refreshing. Kids are taken care of by means of bunk beds, whilst accessible rooms offer more space and additional features. Regardless of room type, the design remains elegant and upscale. Softer than the public spaces, peach-toned ceilings, curvy silhouettes in dark mahogany, and scalloped motifs along with antique brass touchpoints bring delicacy and decadence to the guestrooms. The beds really are quite alluring—mallowy bedding is dressed with cushions in Ottoline fabric and backed by wavy headboards custom designed by Bute. A vintage-style Marshall radio hums away quietly on the bedside whilst you watch the world go by from the extra-large Crittall-style windows.
In each room and dotted around the public spaces you’ll find The Hoxton’s ‘neighbourhood survival guide’ which provides guests and visitors with a diverse range of tried-and-tested local recommendations. Don’t expect chain restaurants or anything you might have heard of before—they’re taking you right into the heart and soul of the area by showing you the real faces and places of Shepherds Bush. Think humble juice bars and falafel shops in the middle of the market, indie record shops, and drinks under the railway arches. Without a wellness offering, they’ve even partnered with a nearby gym to offer staying guests complimentary passes.
Stripped back of endless amenities luxury hotels are so fond of offering (which normally, I’m so fond of experiencing), this Hoxton serves more as a hub to explore this under-the-radar area in the best possible way. Drawing visitors in, the hotel then pushes guests back out there to immerse themselves and invest in local culture by shining the limelight on independent businesses. I’m sure locals have also made it their go-to work/play destination too. It’s evident that honing in on the brand’s roots—to be centred around culture and community—was key, particularly to this location. Having both slinked around the hotel as if it was my own home, and trotted about the local area as encouraged, noticing all the subtle details that make up the outside-in design story became lovely little ‘aha’ moments throughout my stay. Pulling together all the diverse yet distinct influences from the area to make a cohesive end design must have been no mean feat, but AIME Studios seem to articulate it all with such fluency that nothing feels out of place.
Architecture: EPR Architects
Interior Design: AIME Studios