Cherry laurel is Prunus laurocerasus - have a look at Prunus lusitanica
https://www.rhs.org.uk/Plants/14003/Prunus-lusitanica/Details though - it's hasn't got quite such large, rather coarse looking leaves, has a more delicate appearance, though it isn't delicate at all, and will also make a good hedge, and is far less ubiquitous than P. laurocerasus. Also less reminiscent of Victorian shrubberies and cemeteries, and won't become invasive, which is a slight possibility with P. laurocerasus. If you intend to use a hedgetrimmer, then any leaves which have been cut in half will be less noticeable with P. lusitanica. Its flowers are similar, but held in a more spraylike arrangement compared to the upright 'candles' of P. laurocerasus. If you really want P. laurocerasus, go for Prunus laurocerasus 'rotundifolia', which has slightly narrower and less coarse leaves.
Planting distance between plants (for both varieties) is 60-90 cm - planted at 90cm, they will fill in and make a solid hedge, but at 60cm, they'll do that quicker. I'd go for around 75/80cm myself. This link http://www.laurelhedging.com/faq.html should be helpful, and answer any other questions you have too. Rate of growth depends on conditions, but probably about a foot to 18 inches a year - keep well watered during dry spells in summer.
As for the narrowness of the ones you've seen, it's necessary to remove some of the height in spring to force the plants to bush out from the base anyway, otherwise your hedge will be bare at the base within 2 or 3 years.