Follow in the footsteps of real local celebs like Joe Orton and the Krays in this stylish addition to the Shoreditch hotel scene
Walking off the grungiest-looking bit of Shoreditch into the former Magistrates Court and Police Station in Old Street is probably not unlike walking through a wardrobe door to discover Narnia, so magical is the scene that awaits you at the five-star Shoreditch Courthouse hotel.
Mind you, the outside of John Dixon Butler’s imposing Edwardian civic building is not bad. The large granite and portland stone blocks are grand enough to suggest something special inside, but we’re still blown away by the masterpiece of decorative detailing beyond its doors, where leaded and glazed windows, gorgeous mosaics and fine wrought-iron work are beautifully lit by a coloured glazed dome.
Cleverly, the hotel’s design lets all this historical splendour do the hard work, situating the check-in desk to one side so that the wow effect of the lobby isn’t lost on arriving guests. Similarly, the dining room, set in the original wood panelled magistrates court, is another tucked-away architectural treat.
Rooms span modern and manly in the new block (connected to the old three-storey block via two walkways), where huge flat screen TVs with Sky (inc Premiere and Sports) are the sole bit of tech… unless you count the tub-facing TV in the bathroom, where an elegant grey colour scheme continues the manly theme from the bedroom. So we head back down to explore the enjoyable basement mini spa (pool, sauna and steam room) and gym, two-lane bowling alley (charged at £45 per hour per lane for guests), 180-seat cinema, and a bar that includes five of the original cells – turned into booths decorated with street art depictions of the likes of the Krays and Dick Turpin.
The bar, with its gold booths and lovely original features, is a great escape from the Shoreditch hordes outside, and offers a decent and affordable dinner if you don’t fancy joining them. We don’t, but find the hotel enjoyable enough to spend the evening in, with friendly staff on hand to see to our every whim. Heading back to our room, we get a sneak peek into one of the old-building rooms, which echo details and styling from the building itself in a very appealing way; get one of these if you can, and, if it’s open, don’t miss the chance for a pre-dinner drink in the rooftop bar, where views over the city and East End help contextualise the old building perfectly.
Time Out top tipIf you’re here on a weekday, book lunch at Margot Henderson’s brilliant Rochelle Canteen, a five minute walk away down Calvert Avenue (stop off at Leila’s Shop for gorgeous gourmet nibbles). For dinner, the Clove Club is bang opposite the hotel in the old Shoreditch Town Hall, and offers some of the most interesting food in the area.
By: Yolanda Zappaterra
Thursday December 1 2016