Being told you’re staying at the Great Marlborough Street Magistrates Court isn’t exactly the sentence you want to here. But the Courthouse Hotel has taken over the residency, and its opulence and charm means it couldn’t be further away from what you would expect an old Courthouse to be. In amongst trendy Soho, it’s unsurprising that the Courthouse Hotel prides itself on its unusual background. You’ll be staying where Oscar Wilde, Mick Jagger and John Lennon were all tried, with the décor reflecting the buildings history.
The bar features original prison cellblocks (*cue Cell Block Tango playing*), though the VIP area has now been decorated with pop art-style murals about the people who faced conviction there. Just in case the cellblocks weren’t enough to remind you, there’s also legal-themed cocktails. With a Behind Bars martini in one hand, where the white chocolate liquor somehow managed not to be sickly sweet, it’s hard not to imagine you’re in a movie. But if living prison-style (or in the more glamorous interior, James Bond style) isn’t you thing, you can head up to the newly refurbished Soho Sky Terrace. The relaxed vibe gives you a chance to wind down after a chaotic day, or give you some open space after a drink in a cell block…
It’s safe to say that luxurious is the best way to describe the Courthouse Hotel’s rooms, which offer stunning views of Carnaby Street below. And, luckily, unlike the previous prisoners, you can actually head out to enjoy the area. However, considering the hotel has a Spa and private cinema, it’s unlikely you’ll ever want to leave (oh, the irony).
Though you might expect a private cinema to be the dominant feature of a hotel, it’s the eateries that truly stand-out. You can tuck into Asian cuisine at Silk whilst looking at the original judge’s bench, dock and witness stand – which is a sentence I never thought I’d say. The Asian-inspired afternoon tea is a pretty relaxing (and delicious) way to spend a day. The Kutchi Dabeli, a popular street snack from Raan of Kutch, is a mouth-watering alternative to traditional fruit scones with cream. Though you can still finish it off with traditional British Pound Cake.
Over in The Carnaby, you can look out at the hustle and bustle of Carnaby Street shoppers while lounging in comfort. The brasserie serves lunch, dinner, afternoon tea and casual refreshments throughout the day. Dive head first into an afternoon tea menu comprised of scones, sandwiches, pastries and cheesecakes or go a la carte with a choice of salads, burgers and meat platters.
If you want a hotel with a twist, it’s safe to say you’re never going to find somewhere more innovative or unique than the Courthouse Hotel.