Literary Travel / Travel

Montcalm East: a literary bolthole in London’s east end

Montcalm East

While London is known for being a creative hotspot, there’s no doubt that stylish Shoreditch is the epicentre of the capital’s thriving arts scene. Packed with galleries galore, pop-up restaurants and stylish boutiques, it’s a hub of all things hip. And for anyone visiting London’s east end, Montcalm East is part of a new breed of hotels which supports its nearby vibrant community.

Perfectly positioned on bustling Old Street, Montcalm East is also a hot spot for readers, thanks to its art-focused and carefully curated library stocked by local indie-publisher Hoxton Press. A dream destination for anyone interested in design, the hotel has an undeniable flair – from the diamond-shaped exterior to the light-filled lobby and wooden-arched walkway, to its carefully designed interiors and optically lit tunnel.

Before checking into my room, I first visited the collection of books and magazines provided by Hoxton Mini Press and MagCulture. With an impressive range of fashion, art and photography titles that can be delivered directly to your room – after thumbing through the literature on offer I placed the literary equivalent of room service so I could enjoy a late afternoon of reading in my room after a trip to the sumptuous spa that’s located beneath the hotel.

With it being a particularly cold winter’s day, immersing myself in the steaming hot jacuzzi was luxury. A true urban oasis the hidden-away spa also has a sauna, steam room and large fitness centre as well as an elegant lounge area, perfect for relaxing with a book.

My bedroom was filled with natural light, and had floor to ceiling windows, a coffee-maker and fluffy robes, while in the bathroom there was a gorgeous rain shower and underfloor heating –  the perfect remedy to the bitter chill London is known for in its never-ending winter months.

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Montcalm East

The food was excellent. We enjoyed a three-course dinner in the on-site glass-fronted restaurant Moor & Mead, and feasted on classics like prawn cocktail and fish and chips, which we enjoyed alongside a selection of cocktails – of which the East London Spritz deserves an honourable mention.

Post-dinner, I curled up in the book lounge – which handily happens to sit next to the bar – with a glass of Baileys and a book; for the perfect end to my evening at Montcalm East.

Montcalm East Literary Links

Montcal East has teamed up with publisher Hoxton Mini Press to stock its ground-floor reading room. It’s also got a partnership with magCulture, which can deliver a range of fashion, art and photography magazines to guests’ rooms. When your nose isn’t in a book, some of the 288 bedrooms have floor-to-ceiling windows giving views over the city, and the hotel’s decor draws inspiration from the art studios that blossomed in the area in the 1980s and 1990s.

What to read at Montcalm East

If you fancy curling up with a London-based tome during your stay at Montcalm East, you really are spoilt for choice. From literary heavyweights such as The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, to contemporary tales including Caleb Azumah Nelson’s stunning Open Water, Brick Lane by Monica Ali and The Hungover Games by Sophie Heawood, the storied setting of London provides a brilliant backdrop for some of my all-time favourite books.

Libreria London

Near-by bookshops

East London is home to a wealth of bookshops, perfect for anyone with a penchant for literature. Libreria is a haven for bookworms; nestled in the heart of East London, this hip bookstore curate their books to maximise serendipity, and their stylish shelves are arranged according to broad themes like ‘Wanderlust’, ‘Enchantment for Disenchanted’ and ‘The City’. Nearby Paper and Cup is a pioneering café-cum-bookshop that sells excellent coffee and second-hand books. Finally, Brick Lane Bookshop is a both a cosy dwelling and an iconic landmark that’s been serving been serving the literary needs of the East End for over three decades.

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