A turret in your bedroom? Freshly baked croissants delivered to your room in the morning? Regal elegance of yesteryear combined with five star modernity? Yes please.
Comprising a row of 18th century townhouses knocked together into one building, this boutique hotel offers a charming slice of Ye Olde London tucked away down an atmospheric lane in bustling Farringdon, just a few minutes' walk from Farringdon tube.
From the outside, the hotel is so unassuming that it's easy to miss. And this discretion continues throughout the building, with no restaurant or communal areas to speak of save a small, unstaffed honesty bar opening onto a quaint walled garden. Breakfast is ordered via a card hung on your door, and served in your room, and mini bars are well stocked with soft drinks, alcohol and snacks. In fact, you could easily enjoy your entire stay in seclusion without ever bumping into another guest - if you liked.
Instead, the hotel gives the sense of a collection of private, luxurious hideaways connected by a winding maze of corridors and stairs, with most of the action evidently taking place behind closed doors. Doors which bear, not room numbers, but names of notorious characters from the area's 'colourful' past.
It's touches like this - as well as the Gainsborough and Reynolds style portraits that adorn the walls of the corridors and bedrooms - that keep the building's history very much alive, and one can't help but wonder about the dangerous liaisons to have unfolded behind these doors over the centuries.
Concierge staff are helpful and friendly, greeting visitors like house guests rather than customers. The impeccable service continues well after check-in, with staff being responsive and cheerful every time we phoned down to reception with a request.
Rooms are elegant without being stuffy, oozing historical - yet not old fashioned - charm. Each room is adorned with unique antique furniture, with beds being either 17th century carved oak or Georgian four poster. Bathrooms boast large, roll top Victorian bath tubs with antique brass fittings, and a generous selection of Ren cosmetics. Heck, even the toilets are beautiful.
Rooms have wi-fi, flat screen TVs and DVD players (a large selection of DVDs are available to borrow from reception), well stocked mini bars, bath robes and iPod docking stations.
These are not bedrooms to simply sleep in. They are rooms designed with pleasure in mind - hinting at a decadent regency underworld behind the prim, elegant facade.
The Rookery has three suites, the largest (and most expensive) being the two storey penthouse named The Rook's Nest. With a huge bedroom containing a roll top bath perched on a raised plinth, and a galleried upstairs living and dining area under its own 40ft spire, this is the ultimate in romantic escapism, perfect for a special occasion.
Sophisticated, elegant boutique accommodation with a naughty wink, The Rookery is a very special place indeed - and a rare character in London's often faceless hotel market.
The Rookery, 12 Peter's Lane, London, Tel: 020 7336 0931, www.rookeryhotel.com
Words: Jayne Robinson