A sister hotel to Hazlitt’s in Soho and the Rookery in Farringdon, luxury boutique property Batty Langley’s opened in Spitalfields in April last year. It is owned and operated by Peter McKay and Douglas Blain, founders of the Spitalfields Historic Buildings Trust.
WHAT’S IT LIKE?
Like its sister hotels, Batty Langley’s is a small property (29 rooms and suites) housed in a historic building. This one dates back to 1724 and has undergone a loving five-year restoration of its five floors. Batty Langley was an 18th-century landscape designer and architect who helped his clients to deck out their homes “in the most grand taste”. Framed prints of some of his designs can be seen in the public areas.
Entering the hotel is like arriving at the home of a Georgian gentleman. You ring a doorbell to be let into the foyer, where huge portraits of Mr and Mrs Langley greet you on facing walls, and steps lead up the lobby – which is more like a grand reception room, with pale-green panelled walls, marble fireplaces, antique furniture and lamps, and sumptuous seating.
Sat behind the ornate dark-wood front desk are warm and friendly reception staff who, after checking guests in, offer to provide a quick tour of the ground-floor public areas, or send a tea tray up to the room.
There is a small inner courtyard and three cosy reception rooms with antiques and open fires – the library (the hotel has in the region of 3,500 books), the parlour and the elegant Tapestry room, which has an honesty bar. While there is no manned bar or restaurant, food and drink can be ordered to your room.
WHERE IS IT?
On Folgate Street, a cobbled street off Bishopsgate, about a five-minute walk from Liverpool Street station. It’s a quiet road, other than for a lively pub opposite the hotel – you can hear the buzz of the after-work crowd from reception but bedrooms are well soundproofed, and I couldn’t hear any noise from my bedroom at the front of the property.
Each guestroom is individually styled with deep-coloured walls, rich fabrics and antique furniture. A mix of Club, Superior and Luxury Doubles and Deluxe suites, they start from 13 sqm (there is also a bijou Box room). Beds are 17th-century carved oak or Georgian four-poster and come with ornate dark-wood headboards. Some of the rooms can be quite dark, but the lighting used is atmospheric and this place is more about offering cocoon-like luxury rather than bright floor-to-ceiling views. A couple of the top suites have private terraces.
All offer free wifi, Samsung flatscreen televisions with Apple TV for streaming content from your own devices (the TVs are hidden behind mirrored cabinets above the fireplaces so as not to spoil the period feel), media hubs above the writing desks with UK, US and EU sockets, Bluetooth and USB ports, and adjustable air conditioning.
Also provided are a minibar, safe, robes and slippers. There are no tea or coffee facilities but a tray can be delivered to the room on request. Bathrooms are luxurious, with a cast-iron roll-top tub with overhead shower or a walk-in rainshower (some have both, with some of the baths in the top rooms being decadent marble and canopied affairs). REN toiletries are supplied.
Each bedroom is named after a historic East London resident, from silk merchant James Stilwell to petty thief Ann Flynn – each of their stories is told in the in-room literature. Mine, a Luxury Double on the second floor, was named in honour of George Wagstaffe, an 18th-century bookseller who had a premises on nearby Hanbury Street but who was rumoured to be an alchemist.
Featuring soft burgundy walls hung with portraits and pastoral scenes, it was spacious with some wonderful furniture pieces. The bed was very comfortable, and the bathroom had a freestanding tub, a walk-in stone-clad shower, and gold and bronze fixtures and fittings. On this summer night I found it quite warm even with the air con on its lowest setting, but the windows opened, and I had a good night’s sleep.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS
None, but should you not want to visit one of the numerous options nearby, there is a short, fairly priced room service menu (baguettes, smoked salmon, ravioli, risotto, pot-roast chicken casserole) and a wine list supplied by Berry Bros and Rudd.
You can also order breakfast to your room – we tried the bacon sandwich (warm ciabatta with R B Woodall smoked back bacon) and smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel (sourced from H Forman and Son and the Brick Lane Beigel Bake), which were both excellent. Pastries, yoghurt, granola, cereals and porridge are also available, together with a selection of juices, smoothies, teas and coffees.
No dedicated facilities, although up to eight people can be accommodated in the ground-floor reception rooms.
A thoroughly enjoyable luxury bolthole with old-school, personal service. Should you have business in the Square Mile and are not in need of the bells and whistles of a larger property, or if you are simply enjoying some leisure time in the city, this is an excellent choice.
Internet rates for a flexible midweek stay in October started from £250 for a Club Double room.