Travel

The Soho Hotel: can a hip hotel ever be family-friendly?

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I may have mentioned more than once that I used to be a Travel Editor. I may also have mentioned that my life is remarkably different now. Where once there were glamorous press trips, exotic adventures and nights in stunning hotels that were so amazing they made me cry tears of PURE JOY, there’s now the school run, head lice and rainy Cornwall during the summer holidays. But, that’s not to say that I’ve lost my love or appreciation of a wonderful hotel. Oh no, no, no, I might just appreciate them even more. But are the kind of hotels that I love (you know, luxurious, stylish, 100% grown-up great) compatible with the kind of people for whom Lego is more important than the way the bartender mixes the martinis? Thankfully, when it comes to London’s Soho Hotel, the answer is YES. My children, somewhat horrifyingly appreciate a luxury hotel just as much as I do (to which, I simultaneously say Hurrah! and ‘Don’t get used to this, folks.’) And when I took my six-year old on a trip to London to see Matilda and stay at The Soho Hotel, we discovered that not only is it great for grown-ups, it is really great for kids too.

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Beautifully designed in every possible way, thanks to the widely acknowledged Queen of Hotel Style, Kit Kemp, the Soho Hotel is unsurprisingly for its location, also very cool – but get this, it is also the friendliest hotel I have ever stayed in. (A shout out to the receptionist Samantha  – someone give her a pay rise now!) which is great whether you are a 6 year-old boy or a solo traveller or a couple or, well, just anyone really. People who make you feel welcome can really make your stay, so kudos to the Soho Hotel for welcoming us with a big smile and making us feel that extra bit special.

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The Room

Divine. But, with the aforementioned Kit Kemp at the decorative helm, you wouldn’t expect anything less. She specialises in the perfect fusion of colour and pattern with interesting little touches such as a mannequin stand or antique mirrors, to make you take notice. And great design is key when you’re weekending with kids as when they’re tucked up in bed, you have somewhere fabulous to enjoy. The floor-to-ceiling windows were fantastic as was the bed (so big, you could’ve fitted 6 of us in there), the fabrics and the giant bathroom complete with a TV in the bath (I have to mention this as this was the highlight of my son’s weekend. Forget our backstage tour of Matilda the Musical. Forget the gorgeous welcome pack with crayons – although these were loved. Forget ice cream in Covent Garden. Watching Strictly in the bath? Blew. His. Mind.)

The Food

So, what do you do when you’re in the heart of Soho surrounded by some of the city’s best restaurants? Order in room service and watch Strictly, of course. The great thing about weekending with your 6 year-old is that they can’t really be dragged out with you on a martini-fuelled tour of Soho’s prime drinking dens (they have to be at least 10 for that – I AM JOKING) – so instead you stay in, which is basically what you want to do anyway if you’re staying in a hotel this luxurious – otherwise, really, what’s the point? And so stay in we did and ordered amazing burgers. And then the next morning we feasted some more on breakfast – croissants, yoghurts, smoothies, flapjacks, fruit, eggs, coffee – you name it, we tried it – and loved it.

The Extra Touches

Ok, so these are the bits that make a hotel. The little thoughtful things that just make you want to barricade yourself in your room and never leave. In no order of preference..

  1. The mini bottle of milk and cookie that is brought up to every child who stays at The Soho Hotel.
  2. The gorgeous Kit Kemp-created bath products and mini bath products for children
  3. The amazing staff (I know I’ve mentioned this before, but they were wonderful)
  4. The ingenious London-themed puzzle and colouring book given to children
  5. The BRILLIANT children’s film club that’s held monthly in the hotel’s private screening room. We ate brunch (yup, as well as breakfast) and watched Finding Dory. Heaven. I even managed to stay awake through it all. And available to anyone, not just guests at the hotel.
  6. The bed. Huge and ridiculously comfortable.
  7. The flapjacks that the very lovely restaurant manager insisted we take away with us as they were just Too Good not to try. She was right.

So there you have it. Going away with your child on their own is an amazing thing to do. From the train journey up to London and shopping in H&M to going to a musical and just hanging out together,  we will both treasure it forever. Secondly, the Soho Hotel is fantastic. As good for a weekend with kids as it would be with your husband/boyfriend/friend/mother/on your own, it is a hip hotel with a heart. Great design, great service and great location. We are both desperate to go back.

The next children’s film club is on Sunday 30th October. Our stay was complimentary, although everything in this review is true! Rooms from £366 per night.

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