Hip hotel The Curtain slots perfectly into its Shoreditch surroundings; this effortlessly edgy hotel rocks exposed brick walls and psychedelic artwork. Hailing from Harlem, soul-food restaurant Red Rooster has made its second home here; it’s joined by a taqueria, for east-to-west-coast dining. A wide range of wines, whiskies and cocktails – curated by sustainable-drinks collective Trash Tiki – are poured out in the hotel’s hefty helping of bars. On the rooftop there’s a glittering city-view pool and a pergola-shaded eatery, and in the basement you’ll find a members’ club, a 24-hour gym and a spa that operates a pop-up-style rotation of the latest pampering treatments.
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability (and for an extra charge). Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from $162.00 (£133), excluding tax at 20 per cent.
Rates include a welcome drink at reception on arrival and some include English breakfast (for room only rates English breakfast costs £25, Continental £17 and à la carte items start at £9).
Not only is the Vault at the Curtain open 24 hours a day and filled with cutting-edge training equipment – including a trapeze-reminiscent TRX set-up – but it’s also manned by four personal trainers at all times. This isn’t your run-of-the-(tread)mill hotel fitness-room, but a modern gym in which you’ll have access to London’s leading fitness experts, dynamic music-filled yoga sessions and rave-worthy Boom Cycle spin classes in the basement club. Guests staying in the Curtain Suite can join yoga classes for free on Saturdays (for up to two guests).
At the hotel
Spa, members’ club, screening room, ballroom, gym, and free WiFi throughout. In rooms: a flatscreen TV, Marshall Bluetooth speaker, tea- and coffee-making kit with Ozone coffee, fully-stocked minibar, bottled water, La Bottega bath products.
Our favourite rooms
We love the Shoreditch Suite’s cheeky claw-foot bath tub, set in full view of the bed. For a room with a (less naughty) view, the Junior Terrace Suite has a private, city-gazing outdoor space for you, your special guest, and three more of your closest friends.
The rooftop plunge pool is just big enough for leisurely laps and looks out over the graffiti-splattered surrounds of east London. There’s a submerged bench along one side of the pool, and white-cushioned sunloungers are laid out along a wrap-around terrace.
Welcoming an array of pop-ups, the Curtain Spa collaborates with the best brands in pampering and wellness; the rotating menu covers facials, massages, sports physiotherapy and beautifying treatments. The spa has three treatment rooms, a sauna, mani-pedi stations and a hairdresser; there’s also a chill-out area where guests can relax with home-made granola bars and healthy juices.
Grow a beard and pack pop-culture-referencing tees and accessories if you really want to fit in with the locals…
All public areas of the hotel are wheelchair accessible and some of the Courtyard and City rooms are adapted for limited mobility, as is the Curtain Suite.
Well-behaved dogs can stay for £35 a night; they’re allowed in rooms and in Lido, Billy’s, the Green Room and the courtyard of Red Rooster (but not the main bit of the restaurant). Book in advance for dog-sitting and dog-walking. See more pet-friendly hotels in London.
Welcome, but not catered to (there’s a bar around every corner).
In Red Rooster, pull up a bar stool by the open kitchen to watch the chefs in action, or cosy up on the blue-velvet sofas.
A little rock-star leather, a hint of brightly coloured Mexican-inspired finery to match Red Rooster's vibrancy and something that subtly shows off that artful tattoo.
Like its sister restaurant in Harlem, Red Rooster Shoreditch focuses on American comfort food. Founder and acclaimed chef Marcus Samuelsson has dreamed up a menu with classics from the flagship – cornbread with honey butter and chicken ‘n’ waffles with hot Bourbon maple-syrup. Dishes dreamed up exclusively for the Shoreditch outpost include herring with horseradish and pickled turnips, and lamb meatballs with gnocchi. There’s a stage at one end of this vibrantly-decorated diner for daily live music, including a gospel choir on Sundays. Red Rooster courtyard has a retractable roof, half-moon sofa and an enclosed smoking area where you’ll find the Hatch, a bar window through which you can order rum-laced hot chocolate in the winter and refreshing ice creams in the warmer months. Poolside Lido Brasserie is a fresh Mediterranean-style restaurant with an extensive wine list. The ceiling and glass walls are both fully retractable, so on London’s rare warm days, you can dine alfresco, under the shade of a pergola.
Drinks in the Green Room – the concrete-floored lobby-level bar that’s decked out in rich velvets, metallic accents and floor-to-ceiling murals – are curated by the hotel’s drinks mastermind Jenny Willing. The cocktails are inspired by the local area – there’s East London Liquor Company demerara rum in the Baby Grand, London turmeric honey in the Forbidden Fruit, and a dash of E5 sourdough in the Bread and Butter Sazarace. Trash Tiki, the anti-waste cocktail specialists, have curated the drinks for the hotel’s other two bars. Red Rooster’s drinks menu takes a cue from its food with a rum- and turmeric-laced JL Swizzle and a Lindy Hop Sour with bourbon and blood-orange. Basement bar Billy’s is members-only; the drinks list has classic cocktails and an impressive array of whiskies.
Red Rooster is open from noon to 1am (2am Thursdays and Fridays) during the week, and 11am to 2am on the weekend. Tienda Roosteria is open daily from 7am to 2am; breakfast there or up at the Lido Brasserie from 7am to 11am.
Cheese boards, club sandwiches, salads, fully-loaded bagels, chips and more can be delivered to your room at any time of the day or night.
Hip hotel the Curtain is smack-bang in the middle of Shoreditch, across the street from the site of a theatre by the same name, used by Shakespeare’s company before they migrated south of the river to the Globe.
London City Airport is the closest to the hotel, around a 30-minute drive, and London Heathrow is an hour away by car; call the Smith24 Team to arrange flights. The hotel can arrange transfers from both (price on request).
Liverpool Street Station serves the overground and London underground; it’s a mile from the hotel; call ahead to arrange transfers, or stroll through Shoreditch if you’re light on luggage. On the opposite side of the hotel, Old Street underground station is on the Northern line and connects to Saint Pancras, Euston and London Bridge.
There’s no need to drive yourself around London, but if you are arriving in your own set of wheels, there’s a car park across the street; rates start from £16 for two hours.
Worth getting out of bed for
Explore the markets of Spitalfields and Brick Lane, or street-food market Dinerama in warmer months. Rent a sleek and stylish cycle from Tokyobike and explore the city on two wheels, or arrange for an outing with SideStory and have a guided tour of East London’s famous street art or the newest cool kids on the bar scene. Nostalgics can check out Bethnal Green’s V&A Museum of Childhood. If you’re up bright and early on a Sunday, stroll over to the Columbia Road Flower Market (it kicks off at 8am, and we’d recommend going early) for your weekly fill of authentic hawking and a colour wheel-spanning blooms.
Peruvian restaurant Andina dishes out fresh, healthy fare inspired by the cuisine of the Andes (and a Pisco-heavy cocktail menu too); go for brunches and dinners of sharing plates, including all manner of ceviche and hot corn-cakes. The daily-changing Italian menu at 8 Hoxton Square includes charcuterie platters, dishes of polenta, wild mushrooms, burrata and truffle, and lemon panna cotta; their spaghetti with truffles is deceptively simple, but incredibly flavoursome. Kiwi chef-led The Modern Pantry in Clerkenwell is light and oh-so-aesthetically appealing. Start with Za’atar focaccia and work your way to tamarind- and miso-marinated onglet steak or Vietnamese-style roast pork belly; save room for after-dinner cocktails, cheese plates and heady desserts, including cardamom-and-coffee cheesecake mousse. Michelin-starred Ellory serves a daily-changing menu of modern European sharing plates, paired with wines plucked from all over European.
Can’t get enough of your in-room, locally-roasted coffee? Head to Leonard street for breakfast, brunch or an afternoon pick-me-up at Ozone Coffee; order eggs with halloumi and kimchi, traditional or vegetarian full-English breakfasts, freshly-baked treats and seriously smooth coffee; be sure to grab a bag of recently-roasted beans to take home with you, too. For a trendy take on traditional bacon-butties, the Spitalfields outpost of St John is famed for its rare-breed porky sandwiches, grilled kipper on sourdough toast, and freshly-baked and filled doughnuts. Afternoon coffees are genteel and relaxed at Shoreditch’s Albion; cosy up at a table inside, or order your cup of joe to go and explore while you sip.
There’s no shortage of bars in the Curtain (eight at last count), but if you’d like to venture out, since the area is renowned for its cocktails, Coupette is a French-accented drinkery set in a 160-year-old building offering outrageously decadent – yet moreish – champagne piña coladas. For a slice of traditional pub life head to Columbia Road’s Royal Oak; on warmer days, make a beeline to the beer garden in the back.
I arrive late onto the cobbled streets of Shoreditch and, of course, it’s pouring with rain.
Sludging into the lobby of the Curtain, I’m greeted by the concierge. The welcome to London is a lot warmer than the weather.
As they show me to my second floor room, there’s not much more on my mind than sleep. I happily spy the USB charger next to the pillow, plug my phone in and climb into the pillowy comfort of the king-sized bed.
To attest to its comfort, I snooze past my alarm the next morning so order breakfast to my room: eggs benedict dripping in hollandaise sauce and an iced coffee – just the way I like it
I’m all for quiet mornings so I enjoy my breakfast-in-bed while reading a book and doing a bit of work before I start my day proper.
When I do, I make my way down to the basement gym where I’m genuinely excited. Good gym aesthetics are hard to come by but this one – clean, sizeable, mirror-and-wood-lined, well organised and filled with every type of equipment you could possibly need – is a triumph. Post-workout I head back upstairs to the steam shower which is like having your own personal spa day – I walk out a new man.
As I lay on the bed staring at the gold and black wallpapered ceiling, my eyes catch the subtle silver lining of the curtains that fall to the floor. One side of the room has a London-appropriate exposed brick wall; the other an exclusive textured wallpaper reminiscent of a rock-star’s green room.
I’m delighted by the drink station, too. Beautiful crystal rocks glasses surround a slew of very well-selected spirits and a cocktail recipe kit to help you make your own. I look forward to impressing some friends with gin martinis of my very own crafting later that evening.
Before I head out to explore the neighbourhood, I’ve a bit more work to finish and a hunger to satisfy. I head up to the airy, open rooftop restaurant and glance out at the pool perched on the edge of the building overlooking the Shoreditch skyline. It’s a bit too gloomy for a swim but I imagine how nice an Aperol spritz with my feet in the water would be on a warm summer day.
You do get a sense of warmth from the inside of the restaurant, though – almost as if you’re at a balmy beach club in the Med. I sit at a small circular table and order the grilled chicken which arrives perfectly cooked, simply seasoned, and scattered with fresh parmesan on top. I barely stop to breathe, it’s that enjoyable a lunch.
Satisfied, I head out into Shoreditch to shop and grab some drinks. It’s a five-minute walk to some of my favourite bars and restaurants – Good Hood, for one, is filled with great designer clothes and a winning selection of homewear. I spend the rest of the afternoon stopping off at recommended restaurants and coffee shops before heading back to my room for a pre-dinner nap. Sleep couldn't have come any easier.
You could end up spending your entire stay inside this artfully-designed hotel (they even send a sundowner drinks cart around each evening) but you’d end up missing out, given its easy-to-get-around East London location.
I didn’t want to miss out on acclaimed chef Marcus Samuelsson’s soul food at the Red Rooster outpost downstairs, though. I grab a seat at the bar, order a negroni and work my way through two starters (devilled eggs and a salad) and the Harlem-style chicken ‘n’ waffles in an atmosphere that’s more well-loved locals spot than newly-opened hotel restaurant. It’s delicious, in short. The breakfast I have the next morning on the (now sunlit) roof terrace is just as good.
I make another trip to the gym, too – it feels like I have my own personal membership, after all. Eventually, though, it comes time for the curtain to fall on my Curtain stay. It’s been great – that clever blend of rock ‘n’ roll attitude and stone-walled old London that I love so much. In fact, it blends in so well with its Shoreditch surroundings, you’d think it had been there since the Bard’s time (much like its long-demolished namesake theatre).
As I leave, I learn there’s even an on-site tattoo parlour, although you have to gain access to the exclusive members' club to be eligible for an inking. Ah well. Maybe next time…
Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel or villa, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in The Curtain’s Guestbook below.
Best London hotel we have stayed in. Not only is it beautifully designed and the staff incredibly attentive, but it's also quirky and fun. The mini bar – as ridiculous as it seems – is an experience in itself. Chocolates brought to your room at turn down. Don't want to go to the bar? No problem. Order the drinks trolly to come to you while you get ready. The rooms are spotless, the bathroom well equipped and the shower amazing. Large, comfortable bed with lovely bedding and a monster TV (should you find the time). Both room service and the restaurants are delicious and faultless. And the facilities impressive and at times inspired. On top of that it was my birthday – cupcakes, bubbles and a card from the team was awaiting me when I checked in. 12pm check out is also a blessing. We checked out Saturday and within three days we had booked our next stay for a friends wedding I the spring. Couldn't recommend enough.
Unless you're in a suite, don't expect a sweeping amount of space in your room. But more than ample – let alone one while you're busy in the city.
Stayed on 8 Feb 2019
Everything! What an amazing hotel with a lot of fun details. The mini bar (think actual bar in your room), steam shower, use of the members club, lido. So much to make the stay memorable and unique.
Stayed on 26 Jan 2019
The elegant and luxurious atmosphere. It is an oasis in the heart of Shoreditch.
A quiet, tranquil escape.
Stayed on 8 Dec 2018
From the moment we stepped into The Curtain, we were blown away with the service. Every member of staff we had contact with, could not do enough for us. Working and often staying in London, I find a lot of the hotels lack a sense of going above and beyond. This hotel was so different and I will be raving about it to everyone.
Don't expect poor service or a stuffy attitude here; it's trendy and welcoming as well as 5-star.
Stayed on 6 Oct 2018
We only stayed one night which was our wedding night but could have happily stayed longer. Loved the decor, attention to detail in the room and great service from all the staff. We arrived quite late on in the evening but had a fantastic time dining and drinking in the roof bar overlooking London. Aiming to go back for an anniversary celebration next year. As we only live 2 miles away it was good to see a selection of the coolest bars, restaurants and local attractions being promoted in the information in the room. We were flying out to New York for our honeymoon the following day so didn't venture further than the hotel but didn't feel like we missed anything by not going any further as the roof bar with pool was fabulous!
Didn't expect the amazing selection of drinks and food in the room. The personal touches of celebration cake and champagne due to it being our wedding night were an unexpected lovely touch.
Stayed on 12 May 2018
The bathrooms were great. Comfortable beds.
Much space in the rooms – a real pinch point in the doorway. Extra frills.
Stayed on 10 Feb 2018
The gorgeous room and thoughtful extras which made the stay highly enjoyable. Staff were extremely friendly.
Stayed on 27 Jan 2018
The food (Red Rooster and Roosteria), the staff, the Sundowner Trolley, heated rooftop pool and adjacent bar, and the fact that it's a dog-friendly place! Oh, and the anniversary upgrade, cupcake and card. The Blues Kitchen just down the road for a lively night of great food, funk, soul and cocktails.
Stayed on 4 Nov 2017
The rooms, the little touches in the rooms, the big comfy bed, the cool vibe, the great location for a weekend exploring East London/Shoreditch/Spitalfields, the helpful friendly staff. Spitalfields market in the local area has much better food options than the quality we experienced in the hotel.
Great food – underwhelmed by the Red Rooster evening meal. It was for a large group, but even if the group size was less, it still would have been an unappealing menu given the great range of options in the area.
Stayed on 4 Nov 2017
The roof top bar, the cocktails and the shower that doubles as a steam room! Steak and cocktails at Hawksmoor Spitalfields.
To stay sober!
Stayed on 1 Sep 2017
Loved the balcony! Absolutely amazing to enjoy the sun and sip a glass of wine in the evening. Great staff too, exceptionally friendly. Resturant recommendations: Andina, Dishoom, Dinerama, Popolo Shoreditch.
Still finding their feet a little bit, I think due to it being so new. A few minor mistakes but nothing that would make me think about not going back. Central London is always going to have some background noise so you need to expect that.