The Rookery

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HIDDEN AMID A WARREN of tiny streets that was once home to London’s notorious rogues and roués (it takes its name from a gang of thieves who once ruled this area) The Rookery stands just a stone’s throw from The Square Mile, London’s financial epicentre.

This row of beautifully restored Georgian houses at the end of a narrow Dickensian lane feels rather like a throwback to storybook London. The 18th century meets the 21st with a ravishing splash of theatrical Gothic as you step inside.

The atmospheric Rookery echoes with Clerkenwell’s colourful history, and interiors in this enticing boutique hotel are brimming with period charm. Mellow wood panelling, flagstone floors, oil paintings, antiques and cosy open fires in winter lend an at-home warmth that makes it feel more like a private club than a hotel. The owners have filled the place with some of their own quirky artworks and antiques, and it all works a treat.

Witty touches

Bedrooms – all different – have a cosily romantic vibe and are named after some of the people who have lived here during the last 250 years. Expect antique beds with ornate carved wooden headboards, crisp linen sheets, beamed ceilings and windows adorned with silken drapes. 

Bathrooms come with big Victorian roll-top baths, generous bath-shower combos or walk-in showers, with plenty of fluffy towels and Aveda toiletries. Technics include free wi-fi and flatscreen TVs.

The Rookery’s luxurious Deluxe rooms go one better, with four-poster beds and a sitting area. Then there’s the Rook's Nest. This swishy duplex suite at the top has what's probably London's most lavish bed –  a huge affair flanked by a quartet of dusky, lamp-bearing gilded cherubs. You’ll also find an original Edwardian bathing machine, and rooftop views to St Paul’s cathedral from the top floor attic lounge.

Downstairs, there’s a well stocked honesty bar in The Rookery’s cosy lounge, and a pocket-sized garden filled with urns of flowers – ideal for a glass of bubbly before heading out. Witty decorative touches around the place include a trompe l’oeil painting of a young milkmaid peeking naughtily around a half-open door, and the fresco of smocked peasants – sly portraits of the owners – leading cows to market.

You’re in the happening heart of Clerkenwell here, so request a room at the back to ensure the soundest slumbers. This fascinating quarter of London simply hums with history, and if you’ve done the West End, this is the place to soak up a new and fascinating slice of London away from the big tourist crowds. Cosseting staff will help ensure you love your stay.

© Room for Romance

The Rookery was reviewed for Room for Romance by Mairiona Cotter

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