A Boutique Hotel in Shoreditch – The Courthouse:
I love quirky hotels with a history. The Courthouse, Shoreditch is a Grade II listed building which was once Old Street Magistrates’ Court and Police Station. This is where the Kray brothers were held and stood trial.
It also held Eric Arthur Blair, the author of 1984 and Animal Farm, better known as George Orwell. He appears to have intentionally got himself drunk so that he would be arrested and be able to spend Christmas in prison rather than on the street. He later wrote that he drank whisky and beer on an empty stomach before being arrested ‘drunk and incapable’ on Saturday 19th December 1931 and put in a cell to be transported to the Police-court at Shoreditch on the following Monday. While the original article ‘Clink’ that Orwell wrote documenting his life at the time remains unpublished, it formed the basis for ‘Down and Out in Paris and London’
Renovated at a cost of £40million, these days the 128-room Courthouse Hotel Shoreditch offers guests a rather more comfortable stay, with access to a 196-seat cinema, heated indoor swimming pool, luxury spa, bowling alley and a sky terrace overlooking London. In fact, there’s a feeling of grandeur from the moment you walk up the steps and into the building. It’s almost intimidating…
The hotel has launched a new restaurant named ‘Judge & Jury’ which aims to combine excellent British produce with a relaxed and sophisticated atmosphere. The oak panelled walls with leather and tweed upholstered chairs and banquettes exude warmth and luxury. And, to add to the atmosphere you will find yourself surrounded by leather-bound law journals and courtroom memorabilia.
Meanwhile, in the bar you can, if you choose, take your tipple in one of the five 5’x15′ holding cells where the notorious Kray twins appeared at their first criminal hearing in 1965. Or, relax in the large open space, the Jailhouse Bar which is anything but oppressive and is now a place to take the ‘Cuffs Off’ and unwind.
The Jailhouse Bar serves as a relaxed lounge area throughout the day, perfect for meetings and coffees, and then transforms into an after-work hub for those looking to unwind with a drink or two after 5 pm. I loved my citrussy ‘On Trial’ cocktail, with Vodka, Creme de Cassis, Chambord, blueberries and lemon juice, all topped up with champagne.
Bedrooms look spectacular, with fantastic views over the East End of London. One of the benefits of staying this side of town is that you’ll find the rooms tend to be larger (a minimum of 26m² and, this newly opened hotel has a feeling of opulence and luxury.
Definitely worth checking out.
The Courthouse Hotel
335-337 Old Street,
First and last photograph courtesy of and copyright The Courtyard Hotel.