London, I have discovered whilst drafting this, is home to a truly astonishing, 14 prisons. Given its hardcore gangster history, I shouldn’t be surprised, but London doesn’t seem overtly villainous to me.
However, I do have a handful of haunts that pay homage to the criminal underworld. The newest addition to the clink club scene is the Courthouse Hotel Shoreditch. Its big sister presides over the once seedy Soho so it seems only fitting that the building chosen for the new Shoreditch cell was once the old Magistrates Court that housed The Kray Twins.
The 128-room is the east end’s latest luxurious hotel, that cleverly blends period features with modern styles. The boutique property is complete with three bars and restaurants, one of which goes in big on the heritage theme – by making VIP booths out of former courthouse prison cells. ‘Legal-themed’ cocktails are served from the comfort of your own jail cell – and who said these were the last days of Shoreditch?
The main culinary pull at Courthouse Hotel Shoreditch is a restaurant within the old courtroom with prison-themed dishes. Plates are handcuffed together and there’s a private member’s club next door, as well as a number of privately-hireable rooms with real vintage twist.
Besides the eating and drinking, there’s a 200 seat cinema, a two lane bowling alley, an underground swimming pool and spa, and a dynamic social working space, for local businesses. And guests can expect spacious suites equipped with hi-tech entertainment systems. For those who enjoy the finer things in life, there’s a rooftop bar, with panoramic views over Shoreditch, and a choice of 42 suites (offset by 86 hotel rooms).
Something tells me check-out will be rife with lost keys.
Courthouse Hotel, Shoreditch, 335-337 Old St, London EC1V 9LL