If you go deep into the heart of Shoreditch, to the land where graffiti walls meet beetroot lattes, local cafes meet trendy bars, and city workers meet media types, you’ll find Boundary London. Once a Victorian printing warehouse, today the building lives on as this design-led neighbourhood hotel. Suitably placed at the end of Redchurch Street, with its high-end, independent boutiques, and in eye(and smell)-line of award-wining Dishoom, a stay here puts you in walkable access to many a cultural happening.
The ‘project’ of interior legends Sir Terence and Vicki Conran, and Peter Prescott (Prescott & Conran), the decor is an ode to the postcode’s spirit: cool, curated and creative. I arrived after a London-hopping day of meetings, and was taken to my room – one of 12, with another five suites also available. True to the hotel’s heritage, each room is individually designed and themed around an iconic designer or movement of the 20th Century – from Young British Designers to Bauhaus, Scandinavia to Le Corbusier. For the design-literate, it’s a carefully constructed celebration of fine aesthetic history. For the design-ignorant, the rooms are just really really lovely: spacious, chic and with posh toiletries (Aesop).
I was happily appointed the Charles and Ray Eames’ ‘corner’ room – inspired by the esteemed mid-century design duo and complete with its own original Eames lounge chair and ottoman (that is: their famous moulded plywood and leather furnishings). Apart from its designer provenance, it also proved a very comfy spot to enjoy my before-bed tea. The bed was, thankfully, incredibly snuggle-worthy and framed by a ‘House of Cards’ headboard – one of Eames’ most celebrated designs. The whole room in fact – in all its high-ceilinged, exposed-brick glory – felt like the bedroom of a high-achieving, arty-type. It’s certainly not cosy, but manages to achieve perfect fengshui. If you’re after even more space (perhaps to do morning yoga, which the hotel offers BTW), then you can upgrade to one of their two-level duplex suites, which are just as artfully decorated but also come complete with double-height windows and a terrace.
The hotel’s rooms sit above its own deli cafe, bar and grocery shop, The Albion, and below its own orangery rooftop bar. It was the Rooftop Bar & Grill that was soon calling me. I arrived at the to find my friend sitting pretty amongst wild herbs orange trees and fairy lights. Cocktails were soon ordered: a tummy-warming spiked hot chocolate for Phoebe, and a punchier, zestier affair for me: ‘Orange Provenance’, with Bombay Sapphire gin, amaretto, lavender syrup, orange and lemon juice. Mellow music and conversations from fellow guests danced through the air as we sat close, sipping and swapping stories from our day. Around us, a pink dusk descended on the East London skyline – Shoreditch and the City’s buildings turning to mysterious silhouettes, then dark shapes, studded with bright lights. There’s something about being up high, above the buzz of the city below, but still apart of it, which felt deliciously cosmopolitan.
It’s no wonder then that The Boundary’s rooftop bar is so popular. Especially as the air warms in London, when you can expect queues around the corner on a balmy after-work evening and weekend. Fear not though, potential future guests, for a stay at the hotel guarantees a queue hop. Or, if you’re after a more glamorous, subterranean evening, you can head downstairs to their double-height basement space, The Vault, where you’ll find red velvet chair, moody lighting and brick walls decked with silver platters.
I woke up the next morning with spring sunlight flooding into my six-windowed bedroom. I spent an hour working at my fancy desk, purely because it felt necessary to make use of such a sleek desk set-up. But by 9.30am the day called and I was soon sitting comfy in The Albion, freshly baked goods tickling my nostrils and strong coffee my tastebuds. I ordered myself a plateful of grilled sweet potato, avocado, kale, fresh chilli with a poached egg. It was oozy and zesty and spicy and the perfect way to spend a leisurely morning reading the Guardian and people-watching in this happy corner of the city.
Rooms start at £170 per night
2-4 Boundary St, E2 7DD
Review by Emma Winterschladen