The best hotels in London 2018

Whether sightseeing, shopping, or in search of incredible dining, we’ve rounded up the best London hotels to make your stay unforgettable

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Culturally diverse, historically fascinating, and with seemingly infinite options for things to see and do, as suits-all destinations go, London is hard to beat. Foodies, theatre-goers, sightseers, art-lovers, history buffs and shopaholics both big and small are catered to with overwhelming variety and aplomb, and whether it’s your first visit to the capital or your umpteenth, there’s always something else to discover.

This variety extends to London’s hotels, too. From long-standing landmarks with frock-coated doormen to hip outposts with record player-equipped rooms, there’s something for every traveller, and every budget.

Where to stay in London

For those in search of accessibility, convenience,  or simply an itinerary that doesn’t feature too much herding small children on and off the Tube, it makes sense to look for somewhere as close as possible to where you need to be. 

The Athenaeum in Mayfair isn’t just our best family hotel in London for its kiddo-friendly extras, but for its excellent location within pleasant strolling distance of Buckingham Palace, Parliament and Big Ben. The Langham is perfect for shoppers thanks to its prestigious location just off Oxford Street. And for theatre lovers? The Piccadilly-based Ritz.

If trying to relax somewhere above the thronged pavements of Central London sounds to you like a Herculean task, look for somewhere a little farther-flung. For the coolest bolt holes, turn your attention to the east – our most romantic London hotel and our best destination for foodies sit in Clerkenwell and Shoreditch, respectively.

The 7 best hotels in London

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Best hotel in London for couples: The Rookery

Our top pick for a romantic weekend in the capital

Reasons to buy
+Cosy and personable+Something a little different+Quiet location

Old world romance is the name of the game at our best couples’ hotel, Clerkenwell’s The Rookery. With all the trappings of a plush Georgian dwelling – antique furniture, leather-bound books, friendly house cat – stepping over its threshold is like stepping back in time. The interiors are lavish and full of personality, with open fires, oil paintings and, in Superior Rooms, four poster beds and roll-top baths.

The quiet location, and cosy common areas such as the conservatory (complete with honesty bar), small garden, drawing room and library, make it a real pleasure to simply sit and enjoy each other’s company – and if you’re feeling especially decadent, you can arrange to have breakfast brought to your room.

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Best hotel in London for families: The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences

Let the Athenaeum’s attentive staff treat your family like part of theirs

Reasons to buy
+Attentive, accommodating staff+Luxurious yet child-friendly+Excellent location

This Mayfair hotel may have made its name as a favourite of the Hollywood elite, but The Athenaeum makes sure that little stars are just as well catered-to. A five-star hotel in the capital with children in tow is no cheap thing, but an ultra-convenient location and attentive service are extremely valuable commodities for frazzled parents here.

As well as in-house nannies and babysitters on call, there is a dedicated Children’s Concierge, in charge of everything from bedtime milk and biscuits to kite-flying in Hyde Park, and if all else fails, you can let them loose in the hotel’s own toy shop. Larger parties should seriously consider one of the 18 apartments, equipped with kitchenettes and extra bunks or pull-out beds.

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Best hotel in London for style: The Langham

Just a small stroll from the shops, The Langham goes big on style

Reasons to buy
+Ultra-convenient location for shopping+Fantastic in-house dining+Elegant interiors

Sure, style is highly subjective, but the Langham, a London institution for 150 years, is about as universally agreeable as it gets. With its elegantly imposing exterior, tasteful neutral schemes and an abundance of sleek marble and glass, it’s a thoroughly plush base from which to explore the city.

For those in search of a different sort of style, it ticks even more boxes, with an unbeatable location set just back from Regent Street, mere moments from Oxford Street and Bond Street, and a short stroll from Liberty and Carnaby Street. Staying in of an evening is a very attractive proposition too, with pre-dinner drinks at Artesian – voted World’s Best Bar four years in a row – and Gallic haute cuisine at the exquisite Roux at the Landau.

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Best hotel in London for luxury: The Ritz

The Ritz’ timeless appeal makes it our best luxury London hotel

Reasons to buy
+Timelessly luxurious rooms+Friendly and capable staff+Legendary afternoon tea

The Ritz has been a byword for luxury since it first opened its doors in 1906, but arguably the main appeal of this grand dame London hotel lies in the fact that its high-end experience doesn’t come at the expense of inclusivity – no sense of snobbishness or standoffish staff here. Rather, the doormen, bellboys, waiting staff and concierges, many of them proudly long-standing, make the experience.

Whether you’re enjoying one of those famous afternoon teas in the sublime Palm Court, or Michelin-starred dinner at John Williams’ in-house restaurant followed by dancing, part of that luxurious feeling is the peace of mind that everything’s taken care of. After all the excitement, the elegant Louis XVI-style rooms and suites are a joy to retire to.

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Best hotel in London for relaxation: The Ned

For a little R&R in the heart of the city, rest your head at The Ned

Reasons to buy
+Beautiful spa+Exclusive members club feel+Ultra-luxurious interiors

Situated in a former bank, it’s understandable that The Ned might be imposing on first glance, but those cavernous marble interiors are ideally suited to creating luxe lounging areas, housing opulent-feeling bars and – best of all, for guests looking for a more relaxing London break – fitting in a very well-appointed wellness centre. 

Beautifully designed and properly kitted out, it encompasses a traditional hammam, sauna and steam room, a gorgeous swimming pool with loungers for loafing, and even a nail bar and makeup parlour.

The ban on photographs in members-only areas may be a little frustrating for those trying to catalogue their trip, but on the plus side, it does encourage serial ‘grammers to put their phones down – and what’s more relaxing than a digital detox?

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Best hotel in London for scenic views: Shangri La Hotel at The Shard

At this super-high-rise hotel, every room is a room with a view

Reasons to buy
+Breathtaking views+Even more basic rooms well-appointed+Close to attractions

Like its legendary namesake, this luxury London hotel seems to sit at the very top of the world, offering the best views in – or of – the capital from its enviable position in the upper levels of the UK’s tallest building.

The infinity pool that occupies the 52nd floor is an awe-inspiring place for a dip with its views of the London skyline, but with every room possessing floor-to-ceiling windows, as well as luxuries like heated floors in the en-suite, Nespresso machines and sumptuous high thread-count linens, you’d be just as well staying in.

Should you wish to come back down to earth, Borough Market and London Bridge Station are mere moments from the lobby.

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Best hotel in London for foodies: The Ace Hotel Shoreditch

Whether staying in or going out, this hip hotel is our best for sampling east London’s foodie delights

Reasons to buy
+Convenient location on the high street+Great in-house restaurant+Quirky add-ons in rooms

Dyed-in-the-wool hipsters may scoff, but with its huge variety of high-end and casual eateries serving any cuisine you could possibly think of, Shoreditch is still the perfect place for hungry travellers to hang their hats, and The Ace Hotel is one of the best bases from which to experience it to the fullest.

Situated on Shoreditch High Street, the Ace puts you within mere paces of some of east London’s hottest dining experiences, but it’s also well worth staying in. In-house restaurant Hoi Polloi serves a dizzying array of unfussy but invariably well-executed snacks, mains and drinks, from Nordic seafood starters to fat beef dripping chips. Afterwards, you can drift off in minimal but comfortable loft-style rooms appointed with – what else? – record players and acoustic guitars.

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