Close to Farringdon tube/rail station, the Rookery is well connected but feels like it’s in another world down a little passageway between thoroughfares. This is one of London’s best areas for food-lovers, with half a dozen fine restaurants to suit all pockets in the vicinity, as well as fine traditional pubs.
The rooms I’ve seen are a bit darker than the public areas of the hotel, but jammed full of character - flamboyantly engraved four-poster and half-tester beds, wood-panelled walls, genuine old brass shower and bath fittings, drapes and frills and furbelows everywhere. If you ever dreamt of living like a jolly Old English squire or his dam, this will fit the bill. Flatscreen TVs with DVD and free Wi-Fi are there, but generally tucked into cupboards so as to maintain the fantasy of stepping into history. Because the house is so old, the 30-odd rooms are all very different in size, shape and furnishings - each room is named after a former resident of the house or a local character, with their story elaborated in the handbook (just as at sister hotel [node:120629]). You can see St Paul’s Cathedral from the split-level Rook’s Suite at the top of the house, but I like the smaller ‘Susan Gilyard’ room too. Light sleepers should watch out for the front rooms at weekends... there’s sometimes noise from nearby superclub Fabric.
The reception area lies behind the Georgian shopfronts looking on to Cowcross Street. Otherwise, there’s a lovely bright lounge at the back, painted peppermint green, with plump armchairs, an honesty bar, fireplace, internet station - and a beautiful grey cat who was far too dignified to play with me. There’s also a sweet little patio area outside that feels thoroughly removed from the bustling district all around.
Eating and drinking
This part of the City, Clerkenwell, is one of London’s best areas for eating and drinking, so you’ve numerous options - including the pioneering St John, barely five minutes’ walk away from the front door. A short range of simple breakfasts are served in your room or the downstairs lounge, where the honesty bar supplies a good but pricey range of wine and spirits.
Not much beyond the lounge and patio. But you don't come to a hotel like this to work out.
Who stays there
Romantics and lovers of London past.
- High-Speed Internet
- Room Service
- Culture vultures
- Mature travellers
Pros & Cons
- Rooms full of antiques and quirky fittings
- Unique atmosphere
- Not for lovers of sleek modernity
- Some bedrooms dimly lit