Do not disturb: The Curtain, London

American hotelier Michael Achenbaum apparently spent nearly ten years seeking out his ideal location in London, and his first European venture has come to life in the form of The Curtain in the bourgeois/bohemian district of Shoreditch. Positioned on a quiet corner of hipster haven Curtain Road, as well as 120 guest rooms the site has seen the launch of Red Rooster, the none-trendier, NYC-conquering soul food restaurant from chef Marcus Samuelsson. I arrive early evening, and it's the Red Rooster sign that attracts my attention, with the hotel's entrance signposted far more discreetly. I'm checked in by one of the army of beautiful people on staff, and make a beeline for my room.
One of the Shoreditch Suites at The Curtain.One of the Shoreditch Suites at The Curtain.
One of the Shoreditch Suites at The Curtain.

Budget or boutique?

Most certainly boutique – everything in my room was finished to a luxurious standard.

Room service

I’m fortunate to have secured one of the Shoreditch Suites, and it’s stunning, decorated in a more classical style than I expected given the avant-garde touches in reception. There’s a living area with a Chesterfield sofa in subtle silver and bronze, which sits underneath a framed photograph of Lou Reed, Mick Jagger and David Bowie, plus a small table and chairs, desk and flatscreen TV.

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I turn my attentions to the minibar, a feature The Curtain says it takes “very seriously”. No kidding – it’s housed in a cabinet wider than a car bonnet and contains an embarrassment of riches, with various high-end spirits in miniatures and several full-size bottles of the likes of Grey Goose and Portobello Road Gin. Among the contents of the fridge are iced and cold brew coffees, and to eat there are stuffed olives and organic crisps, as well as snacks at the healthier end of the spectrum, such as paleo bars and energy balls. There’s also a proper kettle, an endangered species in hotel rooms, and the many components needed to make a dry gin martini.

The overall effect is very much ageing multimillionaire rock star’s dressing room, continued with the small Marshall speakers by the bed – which fulfils a dream of mine, being opposite a rolltop bath. There’s a separate shower that transforms into a steam room in the bathroom.

Wining and dining

As well as Red Rooster, a slice of Harlem with its signature chicken and waffles, there’s an all-day taqueria and bar, Tienda Roosteria. However, I opt for room service, and order a burrata and tomato salad with Marmite cheese straws (a much more elegant offering than their description suggests) plus Eton mess for pudding, before watching TV in bed. I’m too cosy, tucked up in the luxury bedlinen, to care, but there’s a party evidently under way on the floors below (there’s also a member’s club offering access to the likes of a “CBGB-inspired” venue).

Breakfast the next morning is on the rooftop in the LIDO restaurant, which has a compact, Moroccan-style swimming pool and looks out across Shoreditch and beyond, but feels more like a cross between relaxed LA cool and urban NYC edge.

After an egg white and kale omelette I undo my virtuousness by hitting the buffet, which includes an impressive range of mini pastries, a high-end cheeseboard and tropical fruits.

Worth getting out of bed for

I visit the well-equipped if slightly macho gym in the basement, making use of my personal steam room afterwards – before checking out feeling invigorated and taking a walk through the artfully graffiti-ed streets of Shoreditch and its bustling coffee houses, shops, boutiques and restaurants. Spitalfields, Columbia Road Flower Market and Hoxton with its excellent Geffrye Museum of home life are nearby.

Little extras

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Inside the wardrobe, lined with images of Debbie Harry, Elton John and David Bowie, there are kits separately covering “overindulgence survival” and “love” – with the latter including a whip.

Guestbook comments

The Curtain may be perfectly suited to those seeking debonair debauchery, but its take on luxury is a real treat even for those of us who prefer pampering to punishment…

Emma Newlands

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Rooms start at £240 per night for bed and breakfast at The Curtain, 45 Curtain Road, London EC2A 3PT (0203 146 4545,