Just down the road from Clerkenwell, Farringdon has historic buildings, atmospheric streets and a real sense of old-world London. If you’re looking to get in on the East London action, take a look at Culture Trip’s pick of the best hotels in the area.
Steeped in history, Farringdon was once the bustling hub of London’s East End. Nowadays an extension of the city centre, the area is filled with creative offices and many of London’s most beloved dining institutions. It’s the perfect place to sample a slice of London’s rich culture and see a side of the city that is at once hedonistic and buzzing, while still playing host to the area’s history.
Among the hubbub of Smithfield Market, modern boutique hotel Malmaison shines bright. The rooms bring together a mixture of textures and colours, as seen in its velvet-clad headboards, marble-topped tables and retro reclining chairs. The Mal Club rooms have a little extra pizzazz in the form of Sky Sports, selected coffee-table books and Lavazza coffee machines. After 5pm, you’ll find a buzzing crowd enjoying the Chez Mal Brasserie, which offers contemporary cocktails and an à la carte menu of seasonal dishes.
The Zetter Hotel, which is housed in a converted Victorian warehouse, is brimming with character. Retro furnishings are paired with contemporary design. If available, book into a deluxe rooftop room to soak in an outdoor neon pink tub with views of the Gherkin. In the hotel’s restaurant and bar, guests can enjoy signature cocktails and brasserie-style fare while seated in high-backed velvet armchairs.
Back in the day, a rookery was a rough-and-ready area of London reserved for the city’s poorest communities. Today, the sentiment is very different. The Rookery is a hotel you’ll need to book weeks in advance to guarantee yourself a room. If you manage it, you’re in for a treat. Inside, the decor pays homage to the history of the space and the significance of the name, with features such as roll-top baths, an Edwardian bathing machine (the original iteration of a multi-jet shower) and oil painting portraits throughout. Decadent, homely and a little bit naughty, this hotel offers an insight into the salacious side of London that many don’t get to see. Be sure to make the most of the breakfast-in-bed room service – which includes bacon rolls, porridge, tea and coffee – at whatever time of the morning you like.
Right next to Farringdon station, the Fox and Anchor offers several plush bedrooms above a beautiful wood-panelled pub. This is British styling at its best, with the air of a cosy, romantic countryside retreat plonked in the centre of London. Plush Hypnos beds, roll-top baths, velvet throw cushions, Sky Plus TVs and high-speed Wi-Fi make the six boutique bedrooms difficult to leave. Do venture out, though, if only to sample the craft beers in the pub downstairs or the local produce in nearby Smithfield Market. With its great location, luxurious rooms and delicious local food, this one ticks all the right boxes.
As the smaller sibling of the Zetter Hotel, the Zetter Townhouse Clerkenwell offers a stay that any mod rocker would approve of. Bohemian trinkets litter the lounge and bar, where fires blaze and mixologists whip up trendy signature cocktails. Each of the 13 bedrooms is uniquely designed, but you’ll find Brit-pop references in all, such as Union Jack bedding or bulldog doorstoppers. With its decadent and uber-cool ambience, it perfectly sums up the eclectic style of its Clerkenwell locale.
Housed in a wonderfully restored red-brick building, these well-equipped aparthotels offer a glimpse into London’s Victorian era. Combining the perks of a luxury hotel with the home comforts of an apartment, the rooms feel like home, thanks to full-sized kitchens, while still having that cushy hotel comfort in the way of ultra chic furnishings and facilities. Located in funky Clerkenwell, the apartments are close to some of London’s top dining institutions such as Quality Chop House and St John – and Chancery Lane and Farringdon tube stations are also a short walk away, connecting you to the rest of the city with ease.