Those in the know in London don’t lay their heads in the centre of town – they swerve east to its most fashionable districts. Luckily, we know of secret abodes beyond the reach of hipsters and tech geeks. One such hideaway is the deliciously unique Rookery, set in the heart of gastronomic Clerkenwell. After eating top-class grub and partying hard, you can retreat to one of its 33 quirky bedrooms, none of which is the same. Each, though, shares gorgeous Georgian detailing, polished brass metalwork in bathrooms, antiques aplenty and shelves bulging with real books. In the 1800s, Clerkenwell was teeming with thieves, tarts and ne’er-do-wells. A rookery was universally understood to mean a criminal area and many of the rooms are named after those local characters of ill repute. And you won’t worry about the wonky floors or the lack of things like a spa or a gym as you enjoy the hotel’s calm and mannered atmosphere – a bit like that of a private club – as you settle in the drawing room or courtyard garden with the papers. Plus, you’re only a stone’s throw from St Paul’s Cathedral.

Doubles from £325

+44 (0)20 7336 0931; 

Desk overlooking circular window