If you’ve ever thought it would be really fun to spend time rummaging through antique shops and reclamation warehouses with a seriously deep wallet, in order to furnish a property, then London hotels Hazlitt’s, and Batty Langley’s would make you seriously jealous! What’s more is that they’re both 17th century buildings, and the interior furnishing is pretty much all period, from the radiators, shower fittings, and bathroom hooks, to the door knockers, desks, chairs and beds.
Hazlitt’s is as about as central as it gets in London’s West End, right next to Soho Square and surrounded by night life, restaurants, and theatres to the point that you’d need a few weeks to do it all any serious justice. Curiously, the noise that this suggests wasn’t a problem for us as we had a room at the back of the hotel, which made it feel like we were miles from anywhere, without even that familiar background noise of the city I’d normally expect.
Batty Langley’s is one of the newer properties in this group of unique hotels and is hidden away in a side street within 5 minutes walk of Liverpool Street station; a couple of minutes to Spittalfields Market; and next door to the wonderful Dennis Sever’s House (restricted opening times). The interior of the building is incredibly well appointed and furnished to a really high spec, and I’d suggest that all the media attention it’s had recently is both well deserved and pretty accurate in my humble opinion!
Neither property has a restaurant, but there is a room-service menu, and breakfast is served ‘in room’ at the time of your choice, and there are 4 main options (salmon & cream cheese bagel, bacon roll, granola with fruit & yoghurt, or a pastry basket) all served with a choice of juice and tea or coffee, though you can also add a few extras if you wish, such as porridge, or cereals. It might seem limited but its all really high quality and definitely sets you up for the day.
I tend not to react well when I read reviews which have used the words ‘quirky’ and ‘hidden gem’, and yet, many reviews about both of these properties use these words in abundance. But the truth is, they’re both fairly hidden away in reasonably quiet side streets; they’re both Georgian-era gems of places to stay in London; and quirky is a word you can’t avoid when describing either of them. And it’s not just the furniture that’s quirky, but the whole concept! All the staff have clearly high customer service values and some have been around for a long time so must feel a strong connection with the properties.
The respective locations of each property have lots to offer both the casual, and more serious visitor, but both locations have their own, very distinct character: Soho largely associated with the modern gay community, as well as having the largest concentration of London’s main-stream theatres; and the east end, previously much associated with emerging artists, and now a highly desirable area to live with lots of interesting shops as well as modern, new, residential and commercial developments, sandwiched between the more historic buildings.
Each property also has its own unique story too. William Hazlitt is considered one of the greatest essayists in the English language, though apparently died in the property when he was leasing rooms there… the landlady was so keen to re-lease the rooms quickly, that she hid his corpse under the bed until it could be taken away! Batty Langley on the other hand was a garden designer and architect. Many of his drawings adorn the walls throughout the hotel and clearly display his keenness to promote the Gothic form, which at the time had become somewhat unfashionable. He also chose rather unusual names for 4 of his sons – Hiram, Euclid, Vitruvius, and Archimedes!… I’m guessing the school bullies of the time had a field day!
- Hazlitt’s (Frith Street, Soho):
‘Duke of Monmouth’ Junior Suite £559/night, room only (April 2017); it’s split level with upstairs lounge, bathroom (with throne loo!) and outdoor terrace, and a bath (filled from the mouth of a large eagle statue!) in the main bedroom downstairs; https://www.hazlittshotel.com
- Batty Langley’s (Folgate Street, Spittalfields/Shoreditch):
‘Peter Merzean’ Junior Suite £399/night, room only (April 2017); separate lounge and bedroom, with large bathroom including head & side shower, and a large, marble surrounded bath; https://www.battylangleys.com
- Both offer:
Breakfast at £11.95/person with extras available;
Complimentary REN toiletries;
Hotel branded bath robes available in-room;
Well stocked mini-bars;
…and Batty Langley’s have TVs with Apple & media hub technology;