With the name Batty Langley, you’re destined for great things; the same is true of Batty Langley’s hotel, which delivers Georgian fun and frolics in London’s fashionable Spitalfields. Rewind a few centuries, minus the scabies and scrofula, at this witty and eccentric hideaway, whose bedrooms and bathrooms hint at a healthy sense of humour. Days here begin with bacon-stuffed sandwiches or smoked-salmon bagels – best enjoyed in bed – and end with a civilised tipple or two in one of the lounges. Batty is no one-hit wonder: its esteemed siblings include Hazlitt’s in Soho and Clerkenwell-favourite, the Rookery.
Get this when you book through us:
A bottle wine for stays in Club, Luxury or Superior Double rooms; prosecco for Deluxe Terrace rooms and up; champagne for GoldSmiths
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £180.66, including tax at 5 per cent.
Rates usually exclude Continental breakfast (£12 for adults; £5 for mini Battys). You’ll get a baker’s basket filled with just-baked croissants, warm breads and pastries, plus preserves and yoghurt, and can add granola, a bacon sandwich or salmon bagel.
If you like the look of Batty, appraise its siblings: Hazlitt’s Hotel in Soho and the Rookery in Clerkenwell.
At the hotel
Two lounges; honesty bar; free WiFi throughout. In rooms: Apple TV; minibar; Ren bath products; feature bathrooms.
Our favourite rooms
Bed down like Batty in his Deluxe Terrace chamber, styled with dark decadence and boasting a tempting four-poster bed, generous roll-top bath and a pretty terrace with elegant, green-cushioned benches. Opulent gold curtains and fresh flowers decorate Batty’s boudoir, whose walls are painted a dramatic charcoal-grey. There’s a flatscreen TV concealed in here somewhere – gold star to whoever finds it first. If you like your rooms to have a whiff of scandal, bed down in the Kitty Fisher suite, named for – and inspired by – a famous 18th-century courtesan (the suite’s lavish bed is a highlight, as is the Victorian bathing machine in the bathroom). Then again, we love the blue, grey and yellow Earl of Bolingbroke Suite, named for an earl who once had a mansion in Spital Square. This suite sprawls across two levels, has a luggage lift to eliminate arm-ache and boasts a bed built for a rather saucy bishop…
Bring a cravat, monocle or corset. Save yards of room in your suitcase for Spitalfield finds – Brick Lane has some brilliant boutiques.
One of the fourth-floor Luxury Double One of the fourth-floor Luxury Double rooms is suitable for wheelchair-users (and accessible by lift). The hotel has thoughtfully installed smoke alarms adapted for guests who are visually impaired or hard of hearing.
Little Smiths can come too. If you need to borrow baby kit – a travel or foldaway cot, baby bedlinen, a changing mat, highchair or baby bath – just ask. Cots (free) can be added to all rooms.
Your bed (how utterly lovely). Breakfast can also be taken in one of the cosy lounges, if you don’t want crumbs on pillows…
Batty doesn’t have a restaurant, but you won’t go hungry here. Enjoy a princely breakfast in bed – or downstairs – and order treats to your room around the clock. Room-service comestibles riff on Batty’s best-of-British theme: open ciabattas stuffed with Somerset cheddar and apple-and-walnut chutney, or oak-smoked salmon, lumpfish caviar and crème fraîche, for example. If you’re after something more substantial, mains include smoked salmon with bread and butter, crab tortellini, risotto with porcini mushrooms and sage butter, or beef Bourguignon with potatoes and green beans.
In keeping with Batty’s home-from-home feel, there’s an honesty bar in the lounge. Help yourself to a choice of top-notch wines, spirits and beers, then jot down your tipple/s of choice on the ledger. There’s even a handy cocktail-recipe book to get you started – try a DIY East London Spritz: a muddle of vodka, cherry liqueur and Fever Tree tonic, topped with a sprig of fresh mint.
Order breakfast whenever you like. Stay refreshed around the clock, with help from the hotel’s well-stocked honesty bar.
Hefty sandwiches and delicious British mains – supplied by artisan British producers, natch – can be ordered to your room, 24/7.
Batty Langley’s enjoys a prime Spitalfields perch in east London, a short stroll from arterial Liverpool Street Station and fashion-scene Shoreditch.
Heathrow – Europe’s busiest airport – is 22 kilometres away, an hour’s drive (www.heathrow.com). Hotel transfers in a black cab can be arranged (£75 each way); alternatively, hop in a taxi or Uber from the airport.
From Heathrow, you can catch the Heathrow Express to Paddington (a speedy 15-minute journey), then take a taxi or the Tube to Liverpool Street Station, which is on the Central, Metropolitan, Hammersmith & City and Circle lines (www.tfl.gov.uk).
There’s a public car park a few minutes’ walk away (broadgate.co.uk/around/carpark).
Worth getting out of bed for
Pick up vintage threads from the retro treasure troves that line Brick Lane and wander around Boxpark: a pop-up retail park by Shoreditch High Street with an ace selection of tip-top boutiques. Catch a film, show or exhibition at Rich Mix or the Barbican; step back in time at Dennis Severs’ House, right next to Batty Langley’s. On Sunday mornings, watch London bloom at the Columbia Road Flower Market and pause in the shops, cafés and pubs that blossom in abundance by the market. Browse the stalls inside Spitalfields Market; dip into the covered street-food market on Brick Lane if you’re getting peckish. Mrs Smiths can get ghetto-fabulous nails at Imarni Nails; Mr Smiths seeking an old-school cut or shave should drop by Jack the Clipper. Admire Georgian architecture by taking a perambulation around the hotel’s ’hood, starting in Fournier Street and heading north-east along Wilkes Street, Hanbury Street, and Folgate Street to Elder Street. Look out for the original wooden doors, elegant sash windows, detailed brickwork and lofts. Eyeball Christ Church, built by Nicholas Hawksmoor in 1729, and his elegant Rectory next door. Don’t miss Artillery Lane, where you will find one of the most beautifully preserved Georgian shopfronts in London, now the Raven Row Gallery.
Grab a bite to eat at Boxpark’s array of bars and cafés – Voodoo Ray’s pizza is a cheap, delicious snack; there’s also an excellent falafel café upstairs. Andina is one of London’s best Peruvian restaurants, a short stroll from Shoreditch High Street; in the same stomping ground, there are outposts of Hawksmoor and Dishoom. For a vertiginous meal with a view, book into Duck and Waffle. Stroll down Kingsland Road – aka Phở Mile – for some of the city’s best Vietnamese food (Sông Quê Café is a favourite). If you want fine dining, try Galvin la Chapelle, right by Spitalfields Market. The English is cosy and comforting, as British as bread pudding.
The Redchurch Bar mixes some mean cocktails, including a delicious ginger number. Boogie on down at XOYO, or meet mates for a pint at the Queen of Hoxton, which does interesting things with its rooftop – transforming it into a giant teepee in winter, for example.
Fresh new luxury hotels on a Saturday evening – the very thought!
I decided to stay ‘in town’ one night after going to the theatre with my friend Sam. How very spontaneously ‘London’ – one of the very reasons I live in such a city, no? But as much as I adore my adopted city, I rarely do the very things that attracted me to it in the first place.
We went to see Cat On A Hot Tin Roof on its final night. I spent most of the play staring at Sienna Miller’s body wondering how the hell she got it like that. The other time was spent hoping for another shower scene with Jack O’Connell (I like to think I am young, rather than just immature). After its finale, and the breathless applause that followed, I suddenly thought that, actually, I’d rather be headed back home to Mr Smith, our three dogs and our very comfy bed, rather than spending the night on my tod in the Big Smoke.
But still, I got in my car, programmed in Batty Langley’s to the sat-nav and glided (I drive a Tesla) the few miles to Shoreditch from the West End. I’m not a huge fan of East London – mainly because I think I’m way too West London for it – but once I am there, every time without fail, I love it and think: ‘Why don’t I do this more often?’ The sort of thought you have when you exercise once every 18 months.
I’d Googled the hotel and it looked right up my strasse: quirky, charming, fresh and named after a madcap 18th-century garden designer and writer best known for a book called Ancient Architecture, Restored, and Improved (and for being locked up in Newgate Prison). As I got closer I was surrounded by towering buildings along the A10. How could a charming hotel possibly be squeezed in here?
But then I swept left into Folgate Street and lo, there it was on my right, exactly as it promised. Old world-y, charming, cosy and welcoming me in.
I popped inside to be welcomed at reception and one of the first things the sweet lass asked me was ‘Where did you park?’
‘Right out the front,’ I said proudly.
‘In the resident’s bay?’ she queried gently.
So, I set my alarm to make sure I could hot-foot it out in time to ruin the warden’s morning and was taken upstairs to my first floor junior suite – an upgrade! Yes! – called the Peter Merzean room. A quick Google told me he was the ‘King of Spitalfields’ – well Peter, I am happy to be your Jean (Queen) for the night.
After a tour of the room, during which I tried to listen to all the tips (in reality I’m just listening out for the WiFi code like everyone else), I eyed the high bed lustily. I could tell just by the look of it that we were talking layers here: mattress toppers, sheets, duvets, blankets, throws, the whole heavy, heavenly works.
And indeed we were, but first: the bathroom. I’m a big bathroom fan. I love space, a great shower, a bath (even though I rarely get in one), and nice big vanity. Just wandering in and out of this one was a joy. Back and forth to the bedroom I went, with the odd lean into the sweet little sitting room (I wouldn’t use it, but how lovely to have it).
After 10 minutes of trying to work out the shower I eventually called reception and asked the lovely lady to pop back up. I knew it was ‘pilot error’ and checked and rechecked about 10 times before I finally gave in and called. Of course, the very second she walked into the bathroom the hot water started flowing. I knew it was going to happen, we both did, but she smiled ruefully all the same and said ‘Yes, it can be hard to read sometimes…’ and scuttled back downstairs.
I settled in for a gloriously hot shower with side jets and everything. It was a joy. A few final loving glances at the precious tiles surrounding the vanity and a wondrous look at the old fashioned loo with the worryingly high chain (I did a quick check – yes I could reach it) and into bed I rolled for a delightful eight hours.
I woke to my alarm and happily waited for breakfast to be served to me in bed. An enormous helping of muesli, yoghurt and fruit so beautifully presented that I forgot myself and scoffed the lot before I could take a photo. You’ll have to go yourself to see it, but trust me it’s worth it. Somehow I managed to restrain myself from ordering a bacon buttie, too. You know that saying? Something about not wanting to regret all the foods you could have eaten? Well, reader, I regret it.
I took another delicious shower, said goodbye to one of the most comfortable beds I have ever slept in, took a final stroll around the suite, peeked inside the wardrobe again just to check if it really was wallpapered inside (yes it was) and said goodbye to a suite I could most happily live in. Perfect, compact, homey.
It’s a friendly and warm place, that Batty Langley’s. I will go back, and when I do I’ll do exactly what I did the first time: swaddle myself in luxury.