A new hotel opened in Holborn this week, and the Evening Standard wrote about it.
You could click through and read their article here. Or you could try my special quiz.
In each of the pairs that follow, one paragraph is taken from the newspaper story and the other paragraph was written by me. I wonder if you can perhaps spot which is which.
Click the sentence you think was written by the genuine journalist and published in an actual newspaper. And then check at the end of the quiz to see how many you got right.
1a)Central perks: why Holborn is the new Hoxton Coffee is grinding, beards are trimmed and MacBooks are online — Holborn is getting a new eastern flavour, says Susannah Butter 1b)A new hotel has opened Visitors and local people may use it, says DG
2a) If you go down to Midtown this afternoon you may be pleasantly disorientated. The streets are lined with shops and places to eat and drink; all gleaming and new, yet strangely familiar. The feeling that you've seen them before is correct — for Hoxton has come to Holborn. Central London's cafés are populated with yo-pros, busy on their MacBook Airs in between meeting for cold-pressed juice or figs with ricotta and seasalt and soon the streets will be full of people drinking coffee from white Shoreditch Grind cups, except here it is called Holborn Grind. 2b) In parts, Holborn is quite nice. But the hipster twats are moving in.
3a) All this action is centred around The Hoxton Holborn hotel, which opened this week in a former model toy shop on High Holborn. It’s the latest London branch of The Hoxton Hotel, which reinvigorated Shoreditch when it opened in 2006, with flash-room sales, DJ sets and food tastings. For its big move it has brought along all its friends from the East. Collaborators include everyone from Cheeky Parlour beauty pitstop to the Soho House Group’s Chicken Shop, a downstairs dirty food den, full of hardworking Midtowners in need of fortification in the form of toothsome fried meat and chips. 3b) Hoxton Holborn is not a purpose-built hotel, but has been squeezed into some refurbished BT office space and a former shop for sad men who like model trains. The reception area is quite loud, and the fried chicken is bloody expensive.
4a) This is not the only Eastern migration to an area that is more accessible and yet to be colonised by those with beards and fixie bikes. Timberyard, which was born in Old Street, has expanded its coffee shop to Upper St Martin’s Lane, while Dishoom whose Boundary Street branch is always packed out, has just announced a new location in King’s Cross. But this isn’t a case of copying Hoxton. Holborn has its own particular swagger, including Hubbard & Bell restaurant, an exciting new venture from the Soho House Group at the Hoxton Holborn that describes itself as “a Brooklyn style grill”. That means steak and eggs for breakfast, truffle chips and a belting banana split. The bar will serve mead made from the honey of local bees. 4b) There are at least two food and drink outlets in the area, or three if you're labouring under the misapprehension that King's Cross is near Holborn. Some insects excrete nearby.
5a) “This part of town is turning into somewhere you’d actually cross the city to eat or drink in,” says Catherine Hanly, editor of the Hot Dinners website, an authority on London’s restaurant scene. “The Hoxton’s arrival in Midtown is a big deal for Holborn. Coming less than a year after the ultra luxe Rosewood opened on the same road, the two hotels are transforming the area. There’s a perception that Hoxton has an edge, so bringing East London brands west is an easy way for more mainstream parts of London to get a little of that cool by association.” 5b) Nobody has ever heard of Holborn before, so thank goodness Catherine Hanly noticed a couple of hotels opening and alerted us.
6a) As soon as you enter the vast lobby of The Hoxton Holborn there are options. The low sofas in muted colours are perfect for casual meetings or catching up with emails. Should you want refreshment, the Hubbard & Bell coffee shop has a special machine with parts imported from America, Origin coffee and House Press juice. For the healthy there are breakfast power smoothies — try the oat, blueberry and almond milk — but there is also a counter piled high with croissants and doughnuts. 6b) Anyone can walk in off the street and hog the leather sofas, at least until the doorman chucks them out. But when the coffee machine breaks down it takes a long time for the replacement parts to arrive.
7a) The other coffee option, because one is not enough, is the Holborn Grind. It’s opening soon on the ground floor, with floor to ceiling glass windows on either side. It was chosen by the Hoxton to supply coffee after coming out top in a blind tasting, with nine out of 10 connoisseurs voting their brew the best. This branch will have its own special single blend coffee, and of course serve up the Grind’s famous espresso martinis. Co-founder David Abrahamovitch says, “It’s going to be amazing. Holborn can often be left out as an inbetween place but now it’s becoming a focal point and a great meeting spot.” 7b) "Please come to my coffee shop," says David. "We have great windows."
8a) People who work in the area, at tech giants including Yahoo!, Google and MediaCom, are delighted that they have new places to play. “We chose to open in Holborn as it’s an under-the-radar creative hub,” says Toby Garden, general manager of The Hoxton Holborn. 8b) Nobody has ever heard of Holborn before, so thank goodness Toby Garden opened a hotel on the doorstep of the biggest search engine company in the world.
9a) The hotel hopes to become a place for these people to gather. Nick Jones, founder of the Soho House Group, says: “Holborn, much like Shoreditch before it, has really evolved. You only have to look at the companies opening and moving offices in the area to see this. So, when we were offered the opportunity to partner with the Hoxton, we jumped at the chance. We look forward to getting to know our new neighbours.” 9b) No Shoreditch start-up could possibly afford the rents in Holborn, so multinational companies are moving in instead. Expect WC1 to be crawling with beards within weeks.
10a) Executives who need to fit some grooming into their day can head to The Cheeky Parlour, which has expanded from its Redchurch Street home off Shoreditch High Street to beautify the people of central London. It has pink neon on the walls, six nail stations and three pedicure chairs that make it easy to escape from the strains of professional life. There are parties planned, so what are you waiting for? Quick, make a reservation now while you can still get in to Midtown. 10b) Everyone calls Holborn 'Midtown' these days, don't they? Everyone except the new hotel, which calls it Holborn. It's a new hotel, get over it.