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WITH THE DRINKING DENS OF SOHO right on your doorstep, Hazlitt’s is the perfect place for foodies, clubbers and night owls. Occupying three handsome Georgian houses in the heart of happening Soho, it simply oozes history.

Once the home of essayist William Hazlitt, Hazlitt’s a big favourite among writers, actors and media types. This cosy and characterful address is a throwback to old Soho, before the advent of wall-to-wall clubs and bars. Fortunately the plumbing has been updated since it was built in 1718  – and most of the candles replaced with electricity – but there are still no lifts, lots of stairs and a wonderful timewarp vibe.

Hazlitt’s is just the place for lazy, loved-up (and literary) liaisons. Tucked away off Soho Square, it’s an oasis of civility and old-fashioned hospitality. And while stout glazing ensures you won’t be disturbed by any late-night carousing, you’re just steps from London’s Theatreland, Chinatown and Soho’s galaxy of nightlife.

Literary names

Bursting with antiques, bedrooms are named after some of the writers who have lived here over the years – among them Jonathan Swift and Henry Fielding. You’ll find wood panelled walls, famously comfortable beds (many of them 18th century four posters), original oil paintings and rugs. 

Windows are dressed in silk drapes, while bathrooms come with free-standing clawfoot baths, gleaming Victorian brass fittings and (in many) shower heads the size of dinner plates. New-age comforts are not overlooked, with wi-fi, flatscreen LCD televisions, a minibar and safe.

Deluxe rooms go one better with period mahogany or carved oak beds, a cosy lounge area, Italian marble bathrooms and a DVD player. And you can always go the whole hog and take the luxurious Baron Willoughby suite, whose sitting room – complete with sound system – still has the original wood shutters. A room to avoid? Perhaps the basement-level Thomas Archer.

There’s a small lounge – though no bar or restaurant – where you can leaf through signed copies of books left by Hazlitt’s visiting authors. And there’s every excuse for a lie-in with breakfast brought to your bedroom door.

Hazlitt’s is shamelessly quirky. Don’t come here for cocktail bars and bling or the kind of slick-and-samey conformity you’ll find in the big West End chain hotels. Less-than-straight floors and intimate, home-from-home charm are all part of its appeal. Attentive, can-do staff will ensure you get the max from your stay.

© Room for Romance

Hazlitt's was reviewed for Room for Romance by Mairiona Cotter

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