Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Sluttery Travels: The Bull and the Hide, London


A London hotel that's cheaper on the weekends is pretty much the dream. The Bull and The Hide is a little jumble of all things and it's all the better for it. It's a bar, it's a great restaurant and it's a collection of boutique hotel rooms.


I'm always a bit reluctant to drink anywhere around Liverpool Street during the week, a rowdy city boy night out can turn even the nicest of pubs into an uncomfortable nightmare. The Bull doesn't feel like that and The Hide, its upstairs restaurant, is likely to become a regular haunt. They have some really good offers on food throughout the week and I insist you go and eat their baked figs as soon as you can.


I actually had no idea the pub was here so can't tell you what it looked like before the refurb. I've never even ventured down Devonshire Row before. Given the excellent selection of ales on offer, I've been missing out.


Younger sister to the Fox & Anchor in nearby Clerkenwell, it somehow feels new but settled in at the same time. They've done a great job of making the hotel rooms bright and cosy. That mix of modern design in a traditional building always ticks my boxes and it's very well done here. They've finished three rooms and there are more on the way.


As the paint was still drying when I was invited to stay, there were a few to-be-expected teething problems. I love the pantry area outside the rooms (seriously, the way to my heart is with cups of tea, huge jars of Tunnocks bars and free Kernel IPA), but it would be a lot more convenient if there were robes in the rooms. I had to get dressed twice to make a cuppa and steal more Tunnocks bars. (I stole a lot of Tunnocks bars.) The details that will make this place stand out are very almost there, but things like typos in the menus will always bug me a little. Until I drink a lot of brilliant wine and then I care much less. I drank a lot of brilliant wine.


If I was to come back (and I'd really, really like to), I'd insist on a quiet room. I love the higgledy-piggledy style of an old building and I really like that every room was different. But my room (ironically called Bedlam) was right next to the ventilation unit for the whole building and it was noisy. I don't mind a little outside noise - if I'm staying in a busy city I think it's unrealistic to expect total silence - but I wish I'd left my super comfy and squishy bed feeling refreshed.


My trips to the pub and the restaurant are going to become pretty regular. I think it's a gem of a pub and I want to go back and try more of the menu. As for staying the night, at £150 a night to stay on a Sunday, I'd recommend The Bull and the Hide, but only if you can get a quiet room. It's a beautiful hotel-but-not-really-a-hotel in a great part of London for exploring (a quick search of similar boltholes in London show that the only cheaper comparative alternative is in fact the Fox & Anchor). With a quieter room, I think starting your week here would be a real treat.

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