I’m going to be working a lot with ibis over the next year, but the first of the trips this lovely hotel chain organised for me was a stay at their London City – Shoreditch hotel in East London. I took my oldest friend down with me, and we had a great time.
I wasn’t sure about the location of this hotel at first, but it’s actually a great place to base yourself when visiting London. You are just a short walk from Spitalfields Market, and have easy access to all the hipness of Shoreditch, and the amazing food on Brick Lane. The ibis London City – Shoreditch hotel is also right next door to the Aldgate East tube station, which will take you into the likes of Soho or Kensington hassle-free.
When I entered the hotel, I was so surprised at how stylish and modern it was. The reception and restaurant/bar areas are designed with the surrounding area in mind and have some great quirky and chic touches. I loved that there was so many ibis staff on hand ready to welcome you too. It’s nice to be checked in sitting on a comfy chair with an iPad, and not have to queue at a desk. Over the course of the 24 hours we were there, we asked the staff for lots of tips on where to go and what to do and they were so knowledgeable and had lots of ideas.
Once we had checked into our room and got freshened up after a long train journey, we headed down for lunch at Fogg’s bistro in the hotel. The rooms at ibis are very comfortable and clean, but they are basic, with cool pod-like bathrooms. The restaurant however was a riot of colour and was so stylish.
We started with a tropical-flavoured coconut mocktail while we looked at the menu. We were both absolutely starving after travelling, so went for mozzarella sticks to start, then I had a huge and delicious pizza. My friend opted for something a bit healthier for her main course – grilled salmon with a pomegranate salad. Everything was delicious!
We then decided to head outside and take the tube to Embankment to check out the Southbank Winter Time Market and weekend food market. This location along the riverside looks so festive and it was so busy and full of festive cheer. There is literally every food you can imagine being cooked at stalls (the smells were amazing), but we headed straight to the sweet stuff and opted for some cheesecake and cupcakes. This is such a good market to check out if you want to try some different foods or to have some hot mulled cider. I was a bit disappointed there wasn’t any stalls selling Christmas gifts, but it’s still a nice place to spend an hour or two.
After our visit to Southbank, we headed back to the hotel. After spending hours out in the cold, it’s so unbelievably nice to have your hotel right next door to a London Underground station. We chilled out in our room for an hour or so, ate our cakes, and got all our hats, scarves and gloves out, ready for our night-time adventure.
At night, we went on the hunt for Jack The Ripper. The Jack The Ripper Tour with Rippervision departs just a couple of minutes from the hotel, at the door of the Whitechapel Art Gallery, and lasts for nearly 2 hours. I was amazed at how far we walked – you literally see the whole of the area on this tour. We were taken to the locations of all of the Jack The Ripper murders, even though many have now been demolished or modernished and there is little to see. Despite this, the tour guide did a great job at creating an atmosphere, and he had a projector which shone images of the locations from the time in 1888 onto the buildings and streets where they would have been now.
If you are at all interested in Jack The Ripper (who isn’t? It’s fascinating!), then you will love this tour as you learn so many things you never knew. Seeing the large scope of the east end that he went on his rampage in, is really surprising too. The location that I found to be the most interesting was one of the last ones – where he left his only clue (part of a dress he cleaned his knife with), and left his last written message to the police, in a doorway. This doorway has remained literally unchanged, right down to the stone circular design over the door.
I was so tired and freezing cold when I got back to the hotel, so it was nice to have such a comfortable bed, and heating you can turn up, in our room. We had a great sleep to prepare us for our journey back home to Glasgow the next afternoon. During our delicious buffet breakfast at the hotel (they had chorizo – amazing!), we were treated to a flurry of snow outside the window. It turned out to cause mayhem on the journey home, but it was pretty to look at while we enjoyed our food.
I had such a great whirlwind trip to London with ibis and I loved the hotel. I’m really looking forward to my next adventure with them! Have you stayed at an Ibis hotel before?
This was a complimentary press review stay, but all opinions are my own.
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