Re­view of the Month: The Rook­ery in Lon­don’s Clerken­well

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What should I ex­pect?

The Rook­ery is spread across three Ge­or­gian town­houses in the neigh­bour­hood of Clerken­well. Part of the at­trac­tion is that it feels very much like a per­sonal dis­cov­ery, ly­ing dis­creet and unan­nounced down a cob­bled lane, a short walk from Smith­field meat mar­ket. The im­pres­sion con­tin­ues be­yond the hefty front door – you can imag­ine plot­ting some sort of scan­dal and in­trigue here. Creak­ing cor­ri­dors lead in sev­eral di­rec­tions from the re­cep­tion, end­ing up at a bed­room door (each named af­ter a his­tor­i­cal lo­cal char­ac­ter of gen­eral dis­re­pute) or in one of the lounges. Ev­ery cor­ner turned re­veals an an­tique (writ­ing bu­reaus, Re­gency chairs, oc­ca­sional ta­bles, Ge­or­gian busts and so on) or a piece of be­spoke art­work. Worth seek­ing out is the bon­net­ted lady peek­ing out be­hind a painted cur­tain on the top floor.

What’s my room like?

The rooms fol­low Ge­or­gian styling, co­coon­ing the guest from most re­minders of 21st-century Lon­don. The over­all mood is op­u­lent, but not os­ten­ta­tious, with big, or­nate beds and so­fas meant to be sunk into for an af­ter­noon. For a par­tic­u­lar treat, book into the Rook’s Nest, a two-storey apart­ment up on the top floors, with a su­per-king-size bed (guarded by cherubs) and in-room roll­top bath. There’s a din­ing room and lounge area on the se­cond floor big enough to hold a sub­stan­tial party and views over the rooftops to St Paul’s Cathedral.

What am I eat­ing?

There’s no restau­rant, but the likes of pot-roast chicken, mush­room risotto and posh sarnies can be or­dered through room ser­vice. There’s a de­cent wine list too, with a num­ber avail­able by the glass. Tea and cake is served by the fire in one of the lounges at the week­ends, with an hon­esty bar open 24/7. Break­fast is brought to your room on a tray – we can whole­heart­edly vouch for the whop­ping ba­con sand­wich.

What’s in the neigh­bour­hood?

Clerken­well is a fast-ho­mogenis­ing part of Lon­don, with a slew of chains open­ing in re­cent years. There’s still plenty of in­di­vid­ual char­ac­ter here though. Be sure to take a stroll round Smith­field meat mar­ket: you’ll want to rise at dawn on a week­day to see it in ac­tion (smith­field­mar­ket.com). We think Ori­ole Bar, be­neath the mar­ket, serves the best and most imag­i­na­tively pre­sented cock­tails in Lon­don – try the Blood and Bone (ori­ole­bar.com).

Good to know

There’s no lift, so ask for a ground-floor room if the stairs might be a prob­lem. Some of the lower-level bed­rooms suf­fer from a bit of late-night noise.

What’s the dam­age?

There are 33 rooms and suites at the Rook­ery. Club dou­bles start at £193 per night;the Rook’s Nest is from £516 (rook­ery­ho­tel.com).

The Rook­ery is a sis­ter ho­tel to the fel­low Ge­or­gian-built Ha­zlitt’s in Lon­don’s Soho

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