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Apr 28

Suites Above The Fox and Anchor, Smithfield

Posted in Where to Sleep

What could possibly be better than a boutique hotel in the epicentre of London? How about a stay at a boutique hotel above one of London's most coveted Victorian pubs, The Fox and Anchor. Just a minutes' walk from the Smithfield Market, you'd hardly notice it ever existed.

The Fox and Anchor is the lovechild of Malmaison, Devere and Hotel du Vin. Combine the minds of the worlds’ quirkiest hoteliers and designers and the results are not a super-dooper ostentatious five star complex in the Maldives, but a modest little abode in Clerkenwell.  

With a total capacity of six suites and an entranceway not too dissimilar in size from a glorified cupboard, it seems that bigger doesn’t necessarily have to mean better. Boasting copper roll-top baths and basins, Miller Harris toiletries, walk-in drench showers and king sized beds with dive-in duvets made from Egyptian cotton linen; it appears there are certain advantages to operating at more intimate level. 
 
For starters, there’s the rekindling of that age-old relationship between the landlord and the tenant. Cue the Fox and Anchor’s bubbly landlord, Scott Malaugh.
 
 “See that roll-top bath there, buddy. It’s made of copper so it’s a fast conductor and a fast insulator.  In fact, the most common complaint we have about the bathtubs is that they lose their heat too quickly,” said Scott as he stroked his well trimmed facial hair. I took a mental note of his advice and decided to put the thermal qualities of his bathtub to the test at a later date. 
 
After a couple of drinks in the pub below my room, it’s getting late so I order up a final tanker of Fox and Anchor Ale and retire to the relative safety of the bath with my drink. There’s no meat-headed bouncer shouting obscenities at me to leave my drink at the bar. If Scott Malaugh knows who’s staying in the six rooms upstairs then so does everyone else. At the Fox and Anchor the service is unpretentiously personal. 
 
Scott was wrong about one thing though. I filled the bathtub with the hottest water my body could stand and eased back into the grand roll-top. An hour passed. I still hadn’t finished by drink. I thought this an injustice to the hops and barley harvested just so I could enjoy a tipple in warm soapy bubbles. So I stood up, took the tanker by its C shaped handle and supped away on the golden liquid in my own sweet time, regardless of how naked I felt. 
 
I sank back into balmy waters of the roll-top. Two hours had passed before I first began to fill the tub. The water in the bath was still boiling and I was begining to feel a bit dizzy. I gave up, who stays in the bath for longer than two hours without physically transforming into a shrimp anyway? Besides, I had no drink left and the pub downstairs must’ve shut by now. I shrugged my shoulders and retreated to the downy comfort of a king sized bed, sated in the knowledge that copper was indeed the right mineral to insulate a bathtub.  
 
 
Above: The Lusciously Chic Market Suite With Its Roll-Top Bath
 
Each of the six suites at the Fox and Anchor is aptly titled after landmarks from surrounding environs such as, Smithfield, Barbican, St Pauls, Charterhouse, the Market Suite and St Bart’s. I was amazed by how spacious the rooms are. Even the most humble of the six abodes, Barbican, still lays claim to a king sized bed, a ritzy en-suite bathroom with a drench shower and a mezzanine floor. 
 
 
Above: The Smithfield Suite Looks Out Onto The Streets Of Clerkenwell
 
Alternatively, The Fox and Anchor’s premier room, the Market Suite boasts a huge open plan set up with a bedroom area and a reading area (complete with a large plush sofa and a full sized desk), not to mention the bathroom with his and hers copper sinks, a drench shower and a roll-top copper bath thrown in for good measure. There’s even a private terrace so you can enjoy that all important caffeine fix in the morning sunshine. 
 
If you’re thinking of embarking on a romantic escapade for the weekend then you’ll be pleased to know that the toilet at the Market Suit is as far away from the bed as humanely possible. There’s also a gargantuan mahogany wardrobe with oodles of room for the eager fashionista’s repertoire of garments.  
 
Velvet curtains keep the sun at bay on lazy mornings. The Market Suite is blessed with under-floor heating to keep those sensitive feet warm when you forget to bring the soap with you into the shower. There are not one, but two Bose sound systems and a pair of 42” plasma televisions; ideal if you’re thinking of hosting a shindig with friends.
 
It seems to me like the weary B & B scene just received a shot of bohemia to the heart by a vixen with an unnerving panache for all things chic. The view from a window upstairs in the Fox and Anchor may connote cramped negatives of London, but it serves as a stark reminder that space is a luxury best served stylishly. 
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The Market Suite is available for £200 per night.  
 
Top Tip: Have a laid-back weekend. Take advantage of the cheaper room rates at the weekend which start from £95.
 
 
Above: The Modest Exterior Of The Fox And Anchor Pub
 
 
Fox & Anchor,
 
115 Charterhouse Street, 
 
London, EC1M 6AA
 
Written by Seb King . Read Seb's blog here. 
 
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