If you want to see a completely new kind of luxury hotel in London, head for The Curtain, in trendy Shoreditch (it is ten minutes’ walk north of Liverpool Street). Go into the ground floor Tienda Rooster for a taco, from breakfast on, and you are greeted by brick walls, a woodburning oven, this mannequin hostess – above – and by real live hostesses in chic gear. Everyone making this month-old new-look luxury hotel work so well wears their own clothes, and that includes the overall director of this unique production, Elli Jafari. She is, admits the gal, a character, who is quite capable of organising Olympics at short notice if the cities of Los Angeles, or Paris, whichever is announced this September as the 2004 winner, asked her.
It was Michael Achenbaum, owner of Gansevoort hotels, who asked her to open this 120-room hotel, and use it to spear a new brand. Think a DNA that is fitness, fun, value and wellness and you get the message. Duncan Miller Ullmann (Design DMU) has put silver stag heads above elevator doors on the ground floor, with Vienna Ball crystal chandeliers hanging from 18-foot ceilings. To see what inner courtyard room 210 looks like, see the video below: it a nutshell, it is distressed wood floors, raw brick walls and the bathroom cleverly carved out of a neighbour’s space, and open the closet and you are in for a big surprise – the interior, above the safe, is all bright pine green, with the door panels covered in a collage of mature pop stars.
Dining and drinking and networking are a larger share here than is industry norm. From top to bottom, the sixth floor rooftop has a year-round, pool-side Lida lounge, for buffet breakfasts through to sundowner cocktails and beyond. Ground floor is the Tienda, but go down brick stairs to semi-basement Red Rooster Shoreditch – more brick walls, plain wood tables, live groups five nights and a voluminous gospel choir at Sunday brunch. Dine here, again and again, for Marcus Samuelsson’s divine comfort food, say black kale and spring pea salad followed in order by herb-roasted chicken with sunchoke, carrot, wild mushroom and chimichurri and then the Rooster princess cake, vanilla mousse with green marzipan and topping of raspberry mousse. (Next time I will try the Obamas’ favourite short ribs, or a whole rooster with a sparkler coming out of its top. House champagne, incidentally, is Veuve Clicquot, and the very drinkable glass wine includes a superb Ch d’Arcole 2014 St Emilion.)
Other notable features of this totally-memorable luxury hotel? Elli Jafari has created an already-successful private members’ club, marketed purely by word of mouth. I thought the crowd in the three networking rooms, that serve ultra doses of food, plus live music, more Venice CA than Silicon Valley, ages 25 to 40, millennial mindset: they have a stunning screening room with padded leather walls and an eye (Audrey Hepburn’s?) on one wall, and they can go into the hotel’s serious-workout Vault gym. It is 24/7 so, being me, I was in there at 4.30 (am, no-one else except a charming cleaner around) and then, back up in room 210, my 5 am breakast-to-go arrived. I had two sturdy paper carriers holding berries (how did they know?), bircher muesli, two small round doughnuts, a big bagel-and-lox, lilliputian disposal cutlery, both china and paper cups, good flavourful coffee, and a note that Elli had written sometime after 10 last night. Amazing. NOW SEE A VIDEO OF ROOM 210, BELOW