There aren’t many hotels I fall in love with at first sight, but Batty Langley’s had me at hello. On my recent trip to London, I was lucky enough to stay in this charming boutique hotel in the heart of Spitalfield. And after visiting just once, I never wanted to leave.
A Little Background
Batty Langley’s is the brainchild of Douglas Blain and Peter McKay, the talent behind Hazlitt’s Hotel in Soho and The Rookery in Clerkenwell. Unlike most hoteliers, they are preservationists aiming to keep the original charm of historic buildings in tact. For Peter and Douglas, atmosphere is everything, “Atmosphere, even in an unspoilt period building, is the hardest thing to create and the easiest to destroy”.
After acquiring the five-storey building 20 years ago, the renovation process has taken the last five years to complete to ensure the hotel reflects the grandeur of the Georgian era. Self confessed collectors, Peter and Douglas have sourced artwork and furniture from provincial auctions and salvage yards all around the world. So much in fact that a Victorian warehouse in London is crammed full of furniture, pictures and textiles.
So who exactly is Batty Langley? Batty Langley (1696 – 1741) was a drawing master who was famous for publishing books to help people plan Georgian houses in “the most Grand Taste”. Quite fittingly the hotel itself owes its inspiration to many of Batty’s famous books.
Batty Langley’s is an eccentric 5 star hotel renowned for its decadent Georgian furnishings and décor. Housing 29 individually appointed rooms, the hotel oozes Georgian style and charm. Furnished by the collection of the owners, the hotel is a product of a five-year labour of love. But it has certainly been worth it. It feels more like a luxurious private home than a hotel, having a personality brimming with fun and good humour.
Batty Langley’s is nestled in the heart of Spitalfield on cobble stoned Folgate Street, just outside the ancient walls of the City of London. The area is steeped in history; in early times Spitalfield was the site of the Medieval priory of St Mary Hospital (Spital) – hence the name. The area of Old London has been newly gentrified and is home to some of London’s coolest restaurants and shops.
Conveniently located in Central London, the hotel is only a short walk away from the Shoreditch High Street Overground station and Liverpool Street Underground station.
Explore some of the nearby sights including Dennis Severs’ House, the Spitalsfield Market and the River Thames. Foodies won’t be disappointed here with the likes of hot spots like Lyle’s, The Clove Club and Tabera do Mercado nearby. Or if pub grub is more your fancy, try a couple of my favourite water holes – The Water Poet (just across the road) or the Owl and Pussycat.
Space & Facilities
Decadence is an understatement at Batty Langley’s. All rooms have been individually appointed to reflect their own personality and style. But what I love the most about the hotel is their ability to have a bit of fun and think outside the box. Take this Victorian copper canopied bathing machine as an example!
Depending on the size of your budget and your party, you can choose from a selection of rooms from the single ‘Box Room’ to The Earl of Boilingbroke’s penthouse which comes equipped with its own private library, drawing room and luggage lift to save you carrying your bags up to bed. Can I have one of these at home please?
Bookworms can take a seat at the elegant library room downstairs, one of the hotel’s common rooms. It’s a beautiful space, fully fitted with an early 20th century room divider and a collection of over 3,500 proper books. No deceiving book covers here – they are the real thing!
The neighbouring Tapestry Room is equally impressive, dressed with 17th century tapestries and a rather large antique bookcase. It’s a lovely spot to sit for a pre-dinner drink and take advantage of the unique selection of wines and spirits at the honesty bar.
Guests can also choose to have breakfast at Parlour, the front sitting room, complete with a built-in period china cupboard, antique furnishings and period oil paintings.
On my recent visit I stayed in the junior suite, named after Obadiah Shuttleworth the musician. Complete with a bedroom, double bathroom and sitting room, the suite was exquisite.
Decorated with gold-framed oilepaintings, crimson walls and ornate rugs, the bedroom had a cosy, homely feel. The queen sized bed was impossibly comfortable: If I hadn’t made a dinner booking I would be hard pushed to get out of it that evening.
Warm lamplight radiated from the sitting room, which was furnished with plush couches, a marble coffee table and second TV. All modern comforts were cleverly disguised behind mirrors and cupboards to retain the spirit of the Georgian era. Mahogany wardrobes expose mini bars and safes while gilded Georgian overmantels reveal flat screen TV screens.
Perhaps my favourite room of all was the bathroom – featuring a huge black and white ceramic bathtub, dual controlled shower and throne loo. Yes you heard correctly! A fully functional Georgian style throne toilet!
From the moment we walked in the door, we felt immediately welcomed by the staff at Batty Langley’s. Upon arrival, we were served a welcome tea tray, equipped with teapot, cups and jam jars filled with milk and loose-leaf tea.
Reception is available 24/7. The staff are all extremely knowledgeable about the hotel and the rooms. If you need any bar or restaurant recommendations, just ask the staff for some tips – they are more than happy to help.
High speed WiFi is also offered in all rooms as well as room serving and printing.
There is no restaurant on-site at the hotel, however they do offer nice selection of light dishes on the room service menu.
I enjoyed the lovely baker’s basket served in the comfort of our room in the morning, brimming with a nice selection of sweet and savoury treats, strawberry yoghurt and condiments.
Breakfast is served with your choice of coffee and a fresh juice.
Guests can also choose to order breakfast in one of the beautiful common rooms or in their sunny, private courtyard.
Earl of Boilingbroke £1,000.00 per night
Junior Suite £590.00 per night
Double Rooms from £550.00 per night
Box Room £234.00 per night
Continental Breakfast is also available for an additional £11.95
Highlight – Do I have to choose one? The beautifully appointed bedrooms and bathrooms including the famous throne loo.
Lowlight – Leaving. I wish I could take my bedroom home.
12 Folgate Street
Spitalfields London E1 6BX
Tel +44(0)20 7377 4390
Fax +44(0)20 7377 4391
Disclosure: I was kindly hosted as a guest of Batty Langley’s. Opinions are honest and completely my own.