If you saunter down Spitalfield’s cobbled Folgate Street, you may be fortunate enough to stumble across a discreet and pleasingly peculiar boutique hotel by the rather unusual name of Batty Langley’s.
Often quite the challenge to find as there is no name emblazoned garishly at the entrance, this unique urban haven can only be accessed by pressing an antique bell before being welcomed by the immaculately dressed receptionist into an elegant hallway.
The recent ambitious creation of hoteliers Douglas Blain and Peter McKay – responsible for the equally ornate Hazlitt’s in Soho and Clerkenwell’s The Rookery, this sumptuously styled hotel is named after an eccentric 18th century architect, landscape gardener and author.
Batty Langley’s boasts 29 individually styled, opulent rooms and suites complete with seriously sumptuous antique four-poster beds, dark wooden paneling, heavy silk drapes and unashamedly decadent bath tubs to evoke lengthily steamy soaks and gin-fuelled, amorous conversations.
In the extravagant Earl of Bolingbroke suite, you will discover the daddy of all baths – a massive marble creation, flown in especially from Tuscany and installed by crane when the hotel was temporarily roofless.
Instead of being drably numbered, each room and suite in this enchanting former silk weavers property has been named after notable (and sometimes rather scandalous) local historical figures such as Spitalfields silk designer Anna Maria Garthwaite and the notorious local thief/escapologist, Jack Sheppard – famous for helping his equally naughty prostitute girlfriend escape from prison before he was hanged in front of an admiring crowd.
These colourful characters are hauntingly immortalized in elaborately framed oil paintings on the chicly wallpapered walls and were specially commissioned for the hotel before its launch.
Guests often feel they are staying in a grand private home, for there is no restaurant or barmen to make those necessary nightcaps. Instead, inviting sitting rooms lit by roaring log fires beckon those in search of relaxation and an alluring ‘honesty bar’ tempts late night drinkers with its plentiful ‘do-it-yourself’ tipple selection and a kitsch bookcase brimming with 18th century novels.
Enticing room service menus are subtly perched on dark mahogany bedside tables to quell any pesky hunger pangs and traditionally dressed ‘French maids’ deliver smoked salmon and bagel breakfasts in bed.
Batty Langley’s is no ordinary hotel. It’s a walk-in, historical storybook awash with tantalizing tales of yesteryear – a rare London hidden gem you’ll want to keep as a sultry secret to yourself – and perhaps a lucky lover or two.