40 Winks is “the most beautiful small hotel in the world” according to German Vogue. It is situated in vibrant and trendy East London.
How would you describe Spitalfields Townhouse in a nutshell?
The Spitalfields Town House is a quirky, early 18th-century holiday home rental in London, England. Mixing old and new, it offers contemporary luxury in a former weaver’s home.
What’s the history of the Spitalfields Townhouse?
The shell of the building dates back to the 16th century and has timber framing on the top two floors and 17th-century weatherboarding on the outside. The vestiges and the cellar are also part of this early construction. Later, when the houses next to the Spitalfields Town House were built, the front of the building was pushed forward to line up with them. The visible structures, such as the paneling and the staircase, are from 1720.
When I bought Spitalfields Townhouse, the house had never been wired or plumbed and was generally in a very bad state. The downstairs had been a café and from the upstairs 1940’s bedroom, you could see through the roof to the sky. A hard hat was necessary to enter and look around.
The restoration of the house took two years and we only did what was necessary. It was important to us that the house would speak for itself; therefore we chose to use old materials as much as possible to harmonise with the rest of the original fabric.
Please tell us about the interior design of the holiday rental.
I did all the interior design with a focus on creating a calm and quiet atmosphere. In the shop I mix old and new, juxtaposing things. I think modern lines work very well with the very clean lines of Georgian furniture and the simplicity of the building.
What was your inspiration to rent out your townhouse to holiday guests?
When I first came here 15 years ago, this was not a touristy area, so that renting it out as a holiday home wouldn’t have worked. There was hardly anything here and it was a much edgier area than it is now. The area changed completely when they redid the market and put in lots of restaurants. Tourists started appearing about six years ago.
I originally had been renting Spitalfields Townhouse out on 12-month lets, but it eventually made a lot more sense to offer short-term holiday rentals, both for myself but also as a wonderful opportunity for visitors to this area of London.
What is so special about staying at this particular holiday home?
The opportunity to stay in one of these early 18th-century townhouses is very special. There are other areas in London that have buildings like it, but Spitalfields is known for its concentration of them. Not many of them are open to visit, so actually living in one of them is even rarer. It is especially nice as it offers luxurious holidays in a historical environment.
Our guests at Spitalfields Townhouse are interested in historic buildings and want to try something different and unlike every other hotel room. We also do have a lot of repeat customers who have fallen in love with the house and the area.
How long do your holiday guests usually stay?
Generally, people stay 3-4 days or a week, sometimes longer. They go out all day and try to do everything that can possibly be done in London, come back exhausted and then go out again in the evening.
What’s been most rewarding to you about renting out the Spitalfields Townhouse as a holiday home?
I love owning and running such a unique holiday home as it has been a wonderful opportunity to get to know our guests, even before they arrive via email. It feels like greeting not really an old friend, but you feel you know them somewhat. I’ve really enjoyed that as well as meeting people from all over the world.