Getaways + TravelinsideLONDON

Citadines Islington – the answer to your next city break in London

London: a city that needs no introduction. A global hub that never sleeps, packed so intensely with things to do and places to see, the mere thought of our capital can be overwhelming – but it need not be. A proud member of the Home Counties, Kent shares an unbreakable bond with this city, and today, the centre of this place that once seemed so far away from us, can be reached from almost anywhere in the county in just over an hour. With this evolution of travel, both Kent’s bond with the capital and our own need to explore it, has become even stronger, meaning more of our weekends are now spent away on big adventures in the city.

Although travel has allowed us to save time when it comes to London, many of us find that treating ourselves to an overnight stay saves even more, but when staying in the capital becomes more of a ‘regular trip’ than a ‘special occasion’, sometimes what we’re really in need of is a home-away-from home, rather than an elaborate hotel. When our main reasons for visiting are to explore the city and to attend those must-go events, having a base to get ready in and return to with pleasure is the antidote we really need. But where do we find this happy medium that sits somewhere between ‘luxury hotel’ and our own London apartment? Enter Citadines Islington.

Citadines © Matthew Shaw

Ready and waiting to deliver that pause in busy city life like a breath of fresh air, this ‘aparthotel’ could be worthy of Carrie Bradshaw herself. Push through the gleaming glass doors and you will find yourself immediately in an oasis of calm, greeted by a friendly concierge, already on hand to make sure your stay is as smooth as it possibly can be. “You are staying in our Studio” he smiles reassuringly as he slides the key card across the marble counter. I happily glide across the shining floor to the elevator – there’s no need to lug suitcases up flights of stairs here. 

Opening the heavy door of the studio upon first ‘beep’ I push through with excited anticipation. Wow, I breathe out. Before me is a glorious apartment, beautifully fresh and spotlessly clean, the sheer newness of this city abode is an element that has clearly stuck fast since they first opened in 2019. Straight ahead of me are floor-to-ceiling windows flooding the studio with natural light and illuminating the calming colours of the decor. The earthy tones of the wooden flooring, comforting and solid underfoot, blend in beautifully with the crisp white cotton bed sheets, giving the apartment an almost villa-esque status, which lies in contrast to the matte blacks and greys of the slick kitchen. Separated from the bedroom area by a sturdy wall and open shelves, the partition allows the feeling of infinite space while creating two different entities. The kitchen comes complete with everything one might need to really feel at home here. All the basics such as microwave, kettle, fridge and iron are on hand – there’s even a glass table set for two, plus all the crockery and utensils you might need to make a light meal if you really wanted to. 

Citadines © Matthew Shaw

Although just an 11 minute journey from Kent’s high speed link London station, St Pancras, Islington is an area I know little about. I know like many London boroughs, it took what seemed like a blink of an eye sometime in the late 80s, to go from ‘undesirable’ to ‘sought after’, remaining the latter ever since. In 1997 a grand Victorian house here saw its owner, Tony Blair, win the election and subsequently sell his abode for a hefty 1.25m in 2001. I am quick to confirm that whoever purchased this from our former prime minister, made a good decision. Stepping outside the hotel and walking only a few steps, I find an urban oasis comprising two spotless arcades of boutique shops and high-end stores, including Anthropologie and The White Company to name but a few, as well as being crammed with fabulous restaurants and coffee shops. As well as these, the arcade is home to Duck and Dry, an utterly fabulous hair and nail salon. ‘An influencer’s dream’ Duck and Dry is the ultimate place for getting ready before an event; whether with friends or alone. Home to a group makeup table, a nail bar plus a cocktail/prosecco bar – there really is no salon like it. 

Citadines © Matthew Shaw

This time however, I am here for none of the above. Duck and Dry also offer a glorious menu full of hair styles, including big, bouncy, voluminous blow dries – which I select with glee. After a full hair wash complete with a relaxing head massage, I sit back and watch the sheer genius of the stylist that goes about giving me that va-va-voom I can never achieve myself. Drying my locks with an admirable ease, I am in awe as I watch this master at work – twisting and turning the hair with all the experience of a seasoned professional. The big reveal at the end has me beaming a huge grin: my long hair that usually falls straight and heavy down my back now has all the beautiful bounce, lustre and volume fit for the Oscars red carpet. If you have an event in London, I cannot recommend Duck and Dry more highly when it comes to hair styling. You will not go wrong by paying them a visit beforehand. 

  

After working up an appetite at Duck and Dry, I venture further into Islington. I, ever the pastry seeker, set off to find the nearest bakery before making use of the Twinings tea that sits waiting for me on the worktop in the studio. On the other side of the high street I spot a Gail’s Bakery and march towards it, mouth watering for a blueberry custard brioche which I know I can eat in the guilt-free privacy of my apartment. After this treat, I work on some insideKENT articles from the quiet of the studio (wifi is free and super speedy), and then really allow myself to fall into the Carrie Bradshaw fantasy. Knowing I have dinner that evening I give myself a long time to get ready, absorbing all the luxury of my own spacious abode. I slip on the complimentary slippers and fluffy bathrobe, padding over to the glistening bathroom/wetroom that has a large shower, a huge mirror that takes up an entire wall and brilliant lighting- thus perfect for doing makeup. Switching on the shower, the space steams up and I wish this really was mine forever. Dreamy. 

Citadines © Matthew Shaw

After making use of the complimentary Algotherm toiletries, I feel utterly zen and ready to have a nice meal at Megan’s Restaurant, which is only downstairs and one of London’s trendiest places to eat – whether it be brunch, lunch or dinner. After dining on Mediterranean inspired dishes, I return back upstairs and fall into a blissful sleep on Citadines’ sumptuous bed with fluffy pillows: beautifully quiet and disturbance free – a real rarity for a London hotel.

Citadines © Matthew Shaw

Waking up to my phone alarm, carefully set for breakfast and fully charged from the magnetic charging station next to the bed, I rise, myself re-charged, and looking forward to my favourite meal of the day. Modernity and a feeling of light, bright, airy spaciousness sit composed at the centre of Citadines’ visual persona. The lounge, an open space which shares the same glass frontage as the entrance, doubles as a breakfast bar and eating area. Funky, squashy and comfortable seating – a mix of café style tables and coffee tables with sofas for those that prefer lounging with their morning cappuccino – make up the space, and a buffet style spread is laid out on an island opposite.

Although all the hearty ingredients to create an English breakfast are available, I opt for the appealing porridge and add a selection of beautifully fresh raspberries, blueberries and blackberries alongside a cold glass of orange juice for the perfect start to the day. To finish up, I go in for one last time, buttering up a warm croissant and sipping a flat white from the machine which is available to use throughout your stay. A delightful end to a delightful stay – a personal sanctuary perfect for finding your balance again when exploring London.

Citadines © Matthew Shaw

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