First look inside art’otel Hoxton, London’s newest skyline hotel


art’otel Hoxton (PPHE)

London is in the midst of a hotel building boom. Between 2023-25, thousands of new rooms in more than a dozen major new sites are set to launch, including the £1.1 billion, £1300-a-night Peninsula London near Hyde Park Corner which opened its doors in September.

It was quickly followed by the £1.5 billion Raffles London at The Owo, in the grand former War Office building on Whitehall, while the capital’s first skyscraper hotel, the glamorous Hilton Park Lane, reopened after a thorough makeover.

This year’s next ribbon-cutting event will be at art’otel Hoxton – a 27-storey site a stone’s throw from Silicon Roundabout in Old Street, the gateway to Shoreditch and the borough of Hackney — which has already begun taking bookings for March 2024 onwards.

The huge, pencil-shaped tower is one of the few tall towers in East London’s coolest postcode, giving it stunning views of the City. As one of the builders putting the final details on the interior tells me, it is about the only place you can view the stadiums of West Ham, Arsenal and Tottenham all at the same time.

The hotel, owned by London-listed operator PPHE, which also runs the classy Park Plazas in Westminster and Embankment, represents the firm’s first major foray outside central London, marking what may be the final step in Shoreditch’s 20-year long gentrification into the capital’s number one hipster district.

The building is packed with luxurious features. There is an upmarket spa and swimming pool area, carefully lit with dim, amber bulbs akin to the surrounding night-time cocktail bars. A bright, high-tech top-floor gym will surely rank among London’s best when it opens. Below it, a 25th floor restaurant with 360-degree views promises to impress (a star head chef will soon be revealed), alongside a ground-floor café and a bar complete with al-fresco dining.

“We’re trying to build an upscale lifestyle brand,” Greg Hegarty, Deputy CEO of PPHE, tells the Standard. “It’s luxury but without being too finnicky.”

Reflecting the commercial and cultural blend of the local area, the building will mix hotel rooms with office space, and a bookable theatre sits in the basement that becomes a cinema for hotel guests in the evenings. Dozens of serviced apartments were planned too – but these ultimately gave way to more hotel space – upping the room count to 357 —  after PPHE decided there would be more than enough demand. And the expects as many tourists as young professionals on work trips, if not more.

Our founders are very entrepreneurial and they saw the area as a gateway location that ticked all the right boxes

Before the builders arrived, the site was made up of a four-story concrete post-war office blog and a few ugly advertising billboards. The development has been painstaking. It began as a joint venture in the late noughties between PPHE and the billionaire Reuben brothers, before PPHE bought them out. After the tumult of Brexit, the firm then sat on the land for a while, making various amendments to the design until it arrived at a final plan for the latest addition to its new art’otel branded locations, which include sites in Rome, Berlin and Amsterdam. Planning permission was approved in 2019, and when the pandemic hit and hotels were forced to close, PPHE decided it was the right time to send in the builders.

“We saw the potential of the spot…the potential became more evident over time when we were working with Hackney,” says Hegarty.

“Our founders are very entrepreneurial and they saw the area as a gateway location that ticked all the right boxes. We understood what the market needed and where it was going.”

As its name suggests, art’otel Hoxton has works of art everywhere you look, from the entrance lobby right down to the patterns on shower screens in the guest bathrooms. The hotel even has its own gallery – a sizeable space in the basement – which will be open to the public.

D*Face's funky designs and bold colours can be found everywhere in the building (PPHE)

D*Face’s funky designs and bold colours can be found everywhere in the building (PPHE)

But those expecting the walls to be adorned with watercolours from the French romantics or works of Picasso-inspired cubism may be disappointed. The company has opted to commission a graffiti artist known as ‘D*Face’ to produce bespoke designs for the interior.  Dean Stockton to his friends, D*Face is known for his avant-garde compositions that, among other things, explore misery and suffering, such as a cartoon of a dead Snoopy, a painting of the skull of Queen Elizabeth entitled “Her Royal Hideous” and more than a dozen different murals of women crying.

Art’otel say the choice of artist reflects the local community. Not all of Shoreditch may find that a compliment – though no doubt many will revel in the funky designs and bold colour choices.

One piece of work that is certain to turn heads is that by the notorious Banksy, which the mysterious and world-famous artist composed on the site before construction began. PPHE struck a deal with the local council to display the work prominently so it can be viewed by locals passing by and guests checking into to London’s latest cutting-edge destination.

The edgy interior design choices are all part of PPHE’s mission to differentiate the art’otel brand from the dozens of new hotels that have been opening across London.

“Building hotels is still preferred for many investors – if you look at surveys for venture capital funds, hotels is number one,” Hegarty says.

“But new hotels now can’t just be cookie-cutter boxes. There needs to be an augmented experience for the future. It’s got to be more than just a hotel.”