Batty Langley’s, London

Author: Guy Dimond

New London hotel from the Hazlitt's creators replicates Georgian grandeur.

For much of the past two centuries Spitalfields, in east London, was a slum. Now fashionable, its fortunes changed in the 1990s when it started getting gentrified, and the neighbourhood has become one of the most charming historic areas of London.

It's teeming with clothing stalls, antiques markets and notable restaurants such as Taberna do Mercado, the latest opening from Nuno Mendes of Chiltern Firehouse fame.

Back in the 18th century, comparatively wealthy Huguenot artisans built the loveliest parts of Spitalfields. The well-restored Folgate Street is now home to a museum showcasing one such Huguenot building, and next door is the area's first luxury hotel, Batty Langley's.

Hoteliers Douglas Blain and Peter McKay are preservationists and self-confessed eccentrics who previously created the atmospheric Hazlitt's Hotel in Soho from a shell, followed by The Rookery in Clerkenwell.

The Batty Langley's project started 20 years ago with the acquisition and eventual rebuild of a five-storey building. Over the past five years McKay has sourced furniture and artwork to evoke a plush 18th-century inn. The rooms have remarkable attention to detail in everything from the plumbing (dolphin bath spigots, elaborate flush levers) to tongue-and-groove panelling that replicates the grandeur of the Georgian era. It feels like a members' club rather than a hotel. There's no restaurant and the front door is locked to all but guests. The service is welcoming, though. Breakfasts are served in the rooms, and some suites have views across the East End.

Batty Langley's, 12 Folgate St, London, E1 6BX

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