London, United Kingdom

The Rookery

Rates from (ex tax)$173.95

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (GBP149.00), via, using today’s exchange rate.


Period drama


Clerkenwell’s gastronomic heart

Like its Soho sister, Hazlitt’s, the Rookery hotel's bathrooms have more character than most hotels can hope to boast. In London's cool Clerkenwell neighborhood, this moody Georgian gem manages to capture both spirit and imagination with pristine period antiques, fine art paintings and rooms with unusual and quirky layouts. It’s also in a prime location near Smithfield Market, St Paul’s Cathedral and all of the area's trendy restaurants.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

For Club and Superior Double room bookings: a bottle of house wine; for Junior Suites and Suite reservations, a bottle of prosecco


Photos The Rookery facilities

Need to know


33, including three suites.


11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 2pm.


Double rooms from $173.95 (£124), excluding tax at 20 per cent.

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (GBP124.17), via, using today’s exchange rate.

At the hotel

Free WiFi. In rooms: flatscreen TV, minibar, REN bath products.

Our favourite rooms

Mary Lane (a Superior Double) is set in the eaves, and has a low, beamed ceiling and a ruby-red complexion. Mary was a local servant girl who made good by marrying a diamond merchant; there’s even a portrait of her hanging by the glossy oak bed. Rook’s Nest has all the theatrics of a Poirot set: an ornately carved bed with black cherubs at its foot and a gilded faux bamboo frame; an Edwardian bathing machine on a raised plinth in one corner; a ceiling that moves at the touch of a button to reveal the spire above. There's no lift, so some rooms (such as the penthouse Rook's Nest) aren't ideal if you have trouble climbing stairs.

Packing tips

Remember geek specs and digital-print attire to blend in with the area’s glut of architects and graphic designers, and cat treats for Lady Grey (the resident feline).


Little Smiths are welcome; cots (free) for babies and extra beds (free for under-12s; £30 for older children) are provided.

Food and Drink

Photos The Rookery food and drink

Dress Code

Avoid anachronisms with a Georgian flourish or two: backdate your outfit with a corset, cravat, ruffles or a waistcoat.

Hotel restaurant

There’s no restaurant, but you won’t feel the lack, given the wealth of dining options on your doorstep, and the hotel has a stash of takeaway menus. Breakfast is brought to guests’ rooms and spans pastries, cereal, granola, porridge and bacon sandwiches.

Hotel bar

There’s a spirit-stocked honesty bar tucked away in a cosy corner of the Conservatory.

Last orders

Breakfast is served from 7am until 10am.

Room service

Staff can rustle up items from a small but discerning menu. In keeping with the rest of the hotel, in-room offerings have a traditional British bent: ham and mustard baguettes, cheese and chutney, and pie and mash.


Photos The Rookery location
The Rookery
12 Peter's Lane Cowcross Street
United Kingdom


London City airport ( is eight miles away, and runs regular flights to over 30 destinations, including Paris, New York, Edinburgh and Barcelona.


King's Cross St Pancras is less than two miles away, served by Virgin and First Capital Connect ( Farringdon tube station is just steps away (


With such great public transport connections (and bearing in mind the congestion charge), it makes no sense to bring a car; instead, live like the locals and zip around by bus, train or Tube.

Worth getting out of bed for

Explore the two-mile Clerkenwell Historic Trail; admire the mediaeval priory of St John, the nunnery of St Mary, Farringdon Road (which lies above Old Fleet River) and St. John Street, which was once the ancient drovers' route down to Smithfield Market. Speaking of which, Smithfield, or London Central Markets, has been the site of a livestock market for over 800 years. Navigate the walk yourself, or join a guided tour. Hop on the bus to Spitalfields Market and trawl the stalls: Thursdays are dedicated to antiques and vintage; Fridays are art- and fashion-focused; on weekends, it’s a mixed bag (no stalls on Saturday). Browse the exhibitions at Rainbird Fine Art gallery (+44 (0)20 7608 3333) at 114 Clerkenwell Road.

Local restaurants

Fergus Henderson’s temple to nose-to-tail eating, St John Bar & Restaurant (+44 (0)20 3301 8069), is set in a former smokehouse just around the corner from Spitalfield’s market at 26 St John Street. Headline dishes include bone marrow on toast, lamb tongue salad, and chitterling chips. John Torode is famous for his TV appearances, but his London restaurant, Smiths of Smithfield (+44 (0)20 7251 7950), proves his culinary prowess. The three-floor building opposite the meat market houses a relaxed café-bar, elegant wine rooms serving home-made nibbles, a second-floor restaurant with a Mediterranean influence, and a top-floor dining room that celebrates rare-breed and organic British meats. Mark Hix heads up Hix Oyster & Chop House (+44 (0)20 7017 1930) at 36–37 Greenhill Rents, Cowcross Street. The building was once a sausage factory, then a fish restaurant; plenty of original features remain, including a marble and wooden oyster bar and the original wooden flooring and panelling. Don’t leave without sampling the eponymous shellfish, and don’t look too closely at the photos on the toilet door. Sample inventive British cuisine at Coach & Horses (+44 (0)20 7278 8990) at 26–28 Ray Street, Clerkenwell. Typical dishes include rabbit and pork terrine with medlar jelly and toast, roast mallard with red cabbage, and buttermilk pudding with elderberries and cinnamon doughnuts.

Local cafés

Pop along to Workshop Coffee Co (+44 (0)20 7253 5754) on Clerkenwell Road for amazing coffee and even-more-amazing brunches (we love the huge Mexican-style corn fritters with spinach, grilled halloumi and poached eggs).

Local bars

Sip Portuguese wine and sample petiscos (Latin tapas) at Portal (+44 (0)20 7253 6950). The restaurant and wine bar are housed in a sleek glasshouse at 88 St John Street. Redhook (+44 (0)20 7065 6800) at 89 Turnmill Street has a cocktail and oyster bar, and serves up succulent seafood and steaks in its restaurant. Have a pint at Fox & Anchor (+44 (0)20 72 501300), a cosy pub at 115 Charterhouse Street; if you’re feeling hungry, nibble on Scotch eggs with curried mayonnaise or opt for a hearty main (typical offerings include rabbit and cider with thyme and bacon dumplings, and monkfish cheeks with cockles and mussels.)


Photos The Rookery reviews
Rachel Juarez-Carr

Anonymous review

Standing alone in the pouring rain while trying to find the entrance wasn’t the most auspicious beginning to a hotel escape. Mr Smith promised he'd be punctual – he wasn't; my phone said the sun would shine – it didn’t. And, I couldn't figure out which door to go through, given that the hotel's made up of a row of historic homes. Suddenly, one flings open and a welcoming blonde ushered me in to the dark-wood corridor.

A thousand things begged to be admired – paintings, books, a cat slinking around – and it was so warm and cosy that I was almost glad to have been caught in the rain first. The friendly pair checking me in gushed about how lovely my suite was with genuine glee, and 30 seconds later I was bounding up the stairs to the Rook’s Nest, my two-storey home for the night.

Back in the 18th century, were you to bed down in a rookery, you wouldn’t be sure to wake up. If you did, you’d most likely be minus your purse. For a ‘rookery’ or ‘stew’ was a city slum, its cramped tenements teeming with prowlers. Now, a night at the Rookery – that’s another story. Set in Clerkenwell – itself a former stew – the hotel is inspired by Georgian London. Rooms are named after some of EC1’s ribald characters of yore: Dr Dodd was a disgraced preacher; Jack Ketch an incompetent executioner; Sally Salisbury a prostitute hanged for murder. Guests can savour a potted account of these long-gone locals when they stay, and some rooms are decorated with original paintings of their former inhabitants.

To my not-so-nefarious Mr Smith, who was by now hot on my heels. A Californian, he finds London exotic even at its most pedestrian. Saucer eyes surveyed the Rook’s Nest, making his face worth immortalising in oils for a portrait befitting for the hotel’s motley collection. ‘Oh, most hotels in London are like this’, I fibbed, feigning indifference. Then he found a button that slides the centre of the ceiling back to reveal a spire stretching upwards. My gasp rather rumbled that perhaps this place is anything but your usual city stay.

We sprinted up our staircase – I love hotel suites with stairs – to find our living room with its antique desk, orchid-adorned coffee table, green leather bucket chairs and books stacked everywhere. Views of St Paul’s dome definitely outdo the one I have at home of my neighbour’s shed, and they sure impressed my Angeleno guest.

A ‘bathing machine’ downstairs was the next twist in our tale: if a black-and-white rolltop bath in the bedroom isn’t exciting enough, the Edwardian tub’s punctured-metal contraption showers you from all angles. Hilarious, particularly when you’re three inches from a life-size statue of a washing maiden clutching a cloth to her bosom. Half drowned, thoroughly amused, we next raided our mini-bars: he lounged on the gold-covered bed with Belgian chocolate–covered raisins and I munched my way through spiced peanuts one-handed while drying my hair.

Cedar Creek: A Tale of Canadian Life, one of the zillion assorted titles scattered around, proved remarkably engrossing for Mr Smith. He finally looked up from the peeling-cover hardback book to find me cross-legged in a towel on the floor photographing an anatomically correct whip-wielding cherub.

Tempting as it was to stay in, we made it downstairs to the Conservatory. We hadn’t discussed it, but I’m pretty sure by this point we were both pretending the Rookery was our house. The honesty bar did nothing to dispel our folie à deux: Mr Smith lounged on a settee contentedly admiring the green paisley curtains, while I played the dutiful Mrs and poured us some experimental cocktails. The Rookery doesn’t have a restaurant – but who cares when you have St John’s, Moro and Modern Pantry just around the corner? We dined a minute away at Vinoteca, followed by cocktails in the Zetter Townhouse’s lounge.

Drenched again, it was late when we made it back to our new home: we tiptoed through the corridors, giggling at the eccentric characters such as the beard-stroking man contemplating his chessboard. Back in our sumptuous suite, we dragged all three sets of heavy gold curtains closed and the true nature of the bedroom revealed itself in all its theatrical glory. By day, it’s a dark-walled womb; by night it’s an opulent stage set for performance: we opted for dramatic readings of books plucked at random from the shelves.

Hoarse from reading strange books in gin-fuelled silly voices, the huge bed beckoned. I don’t know if it was the cocktails, the bad acting or the rainy dash back from Clerkenwell, but once I’d bid goodnight to the gold-loin-cloth-clad blackamoors at the head of the four-poster, I’d barely mumbled ‘This bed is absurdly comfortable...’ before I’d fallen asleep.

Dawn’s light reflecting off the shiny bottoms of our cheery cherub bedmates was an eye-opening first sight of the day. Ordinarily I’m a massive fan of hotel black-out curtains, but in the Rook’s Nest I recommend leaving the curtains a tiny bit open: waking up in a really big room with sunlight sparkling on the myriad gilded surfaces is exciting. And, who wants to sleep until noon when you have booked breakfast in bed?

Our morning spread was delivered to our door precisely on time; I rashly volunteered to lug the weighty tray up to our lounge, doggedly determined to use every inch of our upstairs space even at the cost of a wrist-sprain. Perfectly executed bacon rolls took the edge off feeling forlorn about saying farewell to our characterful perch. But, as Mr Smith consoled, we’ll just have to return to these Dickensian digs to stay in the room that boasts a loo set in a wood-panelled confessional.

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith Hotel with us, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in The Rookery’s Guestbook below.

We loved

The ultimate London nook with lovely staff – get a tea tray and sit in one of the cosy spaces they have. Super close to most places you want to go to in London! The bath is heaven and it's very easy to feel like an English aristocrat. Cafe Luca – an amazing little Italian cafe with gorgeous decor and a breakfast menu where everything is delectable!

Don’t expect

Huge expansive space – this is London!


Stayed on 14 Feb 2018

We loved

A beautifully decorated room, very comfortable bed, lots of period charm. The hotel itself was peaceful and quiet, but its Clerkenwell location means there is plenty to entertain. Loved the honesty bar. Very friendly staff.

Don’t expect

There is no restaurant – breakfast is served in your bedroom and was quite pricey so we went to one of the many lovely brunch places nearby.


Stayed on 26 Jan 2018

We loved

We loved the decor and ambience of this beautiful hotel, but also the quiet tranquillity on a side street in a lively old historic part of London. The staff were very friendly, accommodating and hospitable. We had a lovely Superior double room with a four poster bed which was super comfortable. A really cosy room on a winter weekend. In fact the hotel is ideal for the winter. It's like being in a costume drama...without the costumes! We are happily recommending this hotel to all our friends and will be back.

Don’t expect

No restaurant or separate bar area, which suited us fine as we had breakfast in our room. A couple of things: as breakfast is served in the room it really needs a larger table as we had a huge breakfast tray balanced on a very small round side table! The only down note of our stay was that we were wrongly charged for a bottle of wine from the minibar that we didnt have! However the hotel rectified this quickly. Also, as it was my mothers 75th birthday, and I did make the hotel aware of this, it would have been lovely to have something a little special to mark the occasion?


Stayed on 19 Jan 2018

We loved

The fantastic room and great service.


Stayed on 27 Sep 2017

We loved

Nice room and very good location. 

Don’t expect

A shower, some may like a freestanding roll top bath, but for me a proper shower is a necessity.


Stayed on 18 Jun 2017

We loved

Everything! Beautiful place; lovely staff; everything was perfect.

Don’t expect



Stayed on 12 May 2017

We loved

Extremely friendly staff, very helpful, even gave us a free upgrade to a suite which was outstanding. Beautiful quiet room with lovely bathroom and Ren toiletries. Smith free wine was very good! Breakfast was beautifully presented when bought to the room and absolutely delicious. Would definitely reccommend. I read some reviews that said it was difficult to find but this is not true - it is well signed from the main street and easy to spot.


Stayed on 5 May 2017

We loved

Our suite - was spacious, very comfortable and loved the wooden four poster bed. Love Ren toiletries and the bathroom. The staff were very friendly and helpful with advice. Loved the Greek kebab house round the corner for late night snack - great quality and recommended by the nightdesk. Also had a casual brunch at Smithfield's on Sunday which was also 2 minutes walking distance. Nice stroll to St Paul's cathedral and central location - easy to reach anywhere in central London

Don’t expect

No surprises.


Stayed on 25 Nov 2016

We loved

The country house feel in the heart of the city. The honesty bar where you could help yourself to a large vodka or whiskey nightcap. Very close to bars, restaurants and City of London. Smithfield is around the corner.

Don’t expect

...Modern bathroom with instant hot water -- but it's all part of the charm.


Stayed on 2 Nov 2016

We loved

The proximity to Farrindgon station making it very easy when flying into Gatwick. The period decor is beautiful and feels very authentic. The staff were very friendly and helpful. The area around the hotel has lots to eat and drink. Liked the small terrace for a drink. Recommend The Burger Lobster restaurant on St. Johns street. Amazing burger, tender lobster and great service. The JA Cafe on Clerkenwell was nice for a fresh homemade brunch.

Don’t expect

The windows in our room (Joseph Parcroft) didn't open or we didn't try hard enough.


Stayed on 3 Sep 2016

We loved

Individuality of the rooms - fantastic staff. Apulia and Polpo restaurants are within 2 mins walk and are both worth a visit

Don’t expect

New world luxury - this is old school


Stayed on 25 Aug 2016

We loved

The convenient location, the furniture, the cat! Recommend Zetter townhouse for cocktails, Modern Pantry, Bourne Hollingsworth, Dans Le Noir, Betsy Trotwood, Slaughtered Lamb, Night Jar, Little Bay

Don’t expect

Everything was great, very cosy, don't expect big chain hotel!


Stayed on 9 Jul 2016

We loved

The Rook's Nest.

Don’t expect

Extensive room service.


Stayed on 2 Jul 2016

We loved

Excellent service where the staff could not do enough for you. Also beautiful historical rooms in the heart of london - somewhere to totally get lost back in time.

Don’t expect



Stayed on 30 Jun 2016

We loved

The quirky charm of the hotel. Granger and Co is a fabulous restaurant, for breakfast and dinner. The Modern Pantry is also wonderful. 10/10

Don’t expect

Showers in the bathrooms!


Stayed on 22 Jun 2016

We loved

Little gem in the middle of busy London. 8/10

Don’t expect

Decor of the hotel is fab, but rather dark. Unfortunately not all the staff have made us feel very welcome.


Stayed on 3 Jun 2016

We loved

The antique bed and freestanding bath were a great surprise, the room was peaceful and quiet, and the staff were super friendly and helpful. We had a Sunday roast with family on the 3rd floor of Smiths of Smithfield. The food was amazing, and the views from the dining room and terrace are fantastic.

Don’t expect

There is no restaurant in the hotel, but you are surrounded by great options in the neighbourhood, from gourmet restaurants to streetfood and burgers. You can also order breakfast to your room.


Stayed on 29 Apr 2016

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