If you are looking to dip your toe into the past and explore the glamour and grandeur of the British Georgian era, but demand all the trappings of a modern luxury travel experience then the latest hotel addition in London’s Shoreditch area, Batty Langleys is THE place you should be heading to in London right now.
Batty Langleys is the brainchild of Douglas Blain & Peter McKay, owners of Sohos, Hazlitt’s and The Rookery in Clerkenwell and has taken the east end of London by storm. The 29 room and suite hotel has the feel of stately home rather than hotel and has been a labour of love that took 20 years to finish – partly due to the amount of time it took to source all the original Georgian fittings, fixtures and antiques that line the walls, floors and ceilings. But it was all worth the wait as the hotel oozes atmosphere, is indulgently romantic and definitely a little eccentric, which all works in perfect harmony together.
What to Expect
Batty Langleys is slap bang in the middle of the east end’s most buzzing area and one of the best boutique hotels in Shoreditch, tucked up a quiet through road called Folgate Street, which means you have the best of London on your door step with the peacefulness of a Georgian mansion to retire to after a day of exploring the city.
I was really excited when I arrived because I realised a number of years ago I visited the quite fascinating Dennis Severs house which is next door and is a complete must do in the area!
A short stroll from the hotel and you are at Liverpool Street Station which connects you with the Central, Metropolitan, Circle and Hammersmith & City underground services as well as suburban rail lines. Walk a few minutes the other way and you are at Shoreditch High Street which is packed to the rafter with ‘the’ bars and restaurants to eat and drink at.
Ambiance & Check In.
The hotel is relaxed – imagine visiting some rich aunts house, in fact it hardly has the feel of a hotel at all. The main door is a buzzer entry, which is promptly answered, walk up the stone steps into the reception and the fun really starts. Sumptuous period sofas, ornate tables and lamps line each side of the reception and a warm smile from the reception staff greet you as you come in. Super quick check in makes everything stress free.
We were taken to our room and offered a tea tray to be brought up, which is very cute, moments later a tray of loose leaf tea, tea pot and beautiful china arrived and placed on our dressing table.
The hotel name is quite a curious choice and it turns out Batty Langley was a drawing master who lived from 1696 to 1741 and published a series of immensely popular books designed to help owners and their builders plan Georgian houses of all sizes in “the most Grand Taste”.
Rooms and suites, of which there are 29 in total have been individually styled so are all completely different and personal. Rooms are named after historical characters from the era, with the centre pieces being the Batty Langley suite and Earl of Bolingbroke suite (more on them later).
We stayed in a junior suite – the Peter Merzean’s suite which is situated at the front of the hotel, with a magnificent view up and down Folgate Street. Your eyes will be drawn to the traditional English pub across the road and you might worry that it will be noisy, but in fact clever double glazing keeps the sound on the street out and it was completely silent at night.
Everything in the room was to such a high standard that it did cross my mind that perhaps the antiques and furniture were reproduction, but indeed they are not years of collecting, a lot of TLC and a vat of french polish is the answer.
There are lots of little subtle design solutions that discretely house modern fittings but still keep them within handy reach when you need them. The fire-place across from the bed features a mirrored cabinet above, pull back the mirrors and you have a flat screen television complete with Apple TV.
The room and in fact the whole hotel includes all the modern amenities you would expect – built-in laptop safe in the wardrobe, free wifi throughout the hotel, the large office desk in the suite has a built-in row of plug points on the wall which take continental plugs, HDMI cable and internet.
The suite comes complete with lounge featuring a well stocked minibar, the homely feeling runs throughout the room, little touches like stacks of period books on desktops and soft lighting complete the romantic feel.
I was in love with the bathroom, my eyes immediately drawn to the 100ml tubes of REN bathroom ammenities – no expense spared there. Jack who showed us the room initially described the bath as a coffin, and in some respects it is but a luxurious one at that, this antique ceramic bath with Carrara marble casing is deep enough for even me to get into and lie back in.
I was told that the owners wife doesn’t like to get her hair wet in the shower, so the showers were made with side showers allowing you can wash but keep your head dry too, an ingenious solution to an age-old problem.
Original fixtures and fittings like the brass towel rail and the chunky bath taps as well as Heath Robinson style toilet flush are a beautiful reminder of innovation and quality of the period.
Batty Langley Suite
The hotel’s namesake has his own suite too complete with four-poster bed, walk-in shower, roll-top bath and outside terrace.
Earl of Bolingbroke Suite
This suite is fit for a Duke, quite literally. Located across two floors, including luggage lift so no need to carry anything up the stairs. the ground floor is home to the lounge, complete with a secret passage to the toilet, press the correct book on the bookshelf and a wing of the bookcase moves back.
Upstairs the bedroom with canopy bed and Tuscan marble bath (which had to be taken in via the roof when the building was being completed) add to the opulence and to finish the trio off the outdoor terrace provide uninterrupted views out over London’s east end.
Other Parts of the Hotel
Another element of Batty Langleys I loved is that the attention to detail does not finish where your bedroom door closes, hallways are decorated with Georgian sideboards and paintings, table lamps keep the lighting warm and the three communal rooms reinforce the feeling of staying in someone’s house rather than a hotel.
The Tapestry Room
The Tapestry Room is home to the honesty bar, so after a day of exploring the city, it’s a welcome sight to come back and pour yourself a G&T next to the fire. Or on a warm summers day take a drink out to the adjoining courtyard garden complete with fountain.
The Parlour offers the perfect place to read the morning newspaper over a cafetiere of coffee.
And the library is a cosy little nook in the centre of the property to curl up reading a book in.
Food and Drink
The hotel is limited in its food and drink offerings as they don’t have a tended bar or restaurant onsite.
If you fancy a drink help yourself in the Tapestry Room at the honesty bar which is well stocked with wine and spirits. Your bedroom’s minibar is also well stocked and in keeping with the feel of the hotel, there is a no Nespresso or bedroom kettle. Instead call down and a tea or coffee tray will be brought up to your room.
In the morning breakfast will be brought to your room, which you order the night before.
However given your location you are within a stones through of some of the best dining and bars in the city, so step out of the front door and you have it all to choose from.
Batty Langleys is something really quite special that I personally haven’t come across before. If you want to feel like you are living out a period drama for a night (and who doesn’t, I certainly do) then you will love the place. With just the right mix of old vs new and an acute attention to detail by owners and staff this has the winning formula just right!
Finances and Details
An overnight at Batty Langley’s ranges from £250 to £1000 per night exclusive of breakfast.
Address – 12 Folgate St, London E1 6BX
Tel – 020 7377 4390
Web – www.battylangleys.com