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.
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Where to stay in London
From romantic getaways and relaxing spa weekends with the girls to checking out some of the spectacular views and street art across the fabulous city of London, there’s a whole host of hotels to choose from to suit your needs.
Shoreditch is the place to stay for foodies looking to indulge, but it’s also a fantastic area to stay for nightlife, transport links, and budget-friendly accommodation. If you’re looking to splurge then we’ve got some of the most luxurious hotels featured in our list, of course not leaving out the fanciest of them all: The Ritz.
However, if you simply want something a little more modest, or perhaps a little quirky, then check out our latest entries including The Hoxton Hotel with various locations across London and The Mandrake, possibly one of the most Instagrammable hotels 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? You can't beat 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.
The 10 best hotels in London
The Hoxton Hotel is right in the heart of Shoreditch and is perfect for anyone wanting to explore the area, with Old Street tube station just 5 minutes away. The rooms are certainly smaller than average (some rooms are even called ‘shoebox’), but their contemporary style and light and airy feel make them extremely comfortable and welcoming. We’re very impressed with this boutique-style hotel, offering double and twin rooms for as little as £138 a night, and you even get a complimentary granola pot delivered to your room in the morning!
The style of this hotel is quirky and fun, and they even have unique concept rooms that can be booked on request- perfect for art lovers who want to immerse themselves in the Shoreditch scene. The Shoreditch hotel also has a bar and grill open to the public, where you can tuck into delicious American style pancakes or chill with a coffee or cocktail. The Hoxton also has properties in Southwark and Holborn.
The Mandrake oozes style and sophistication. With botanical gardens filled with jasmine and eclectic art throughout the sultry corridors, this boutique hotel is every Insta model’s dream backdrop. With just 34 rooms, this is a modest boutique hotel in the heart of central London- close to Covent Garden, theatres, shops and restaurants.
Rooms are modestly priced, with a double starting from around £350, and although small, this luxury boutique also has three luxury suites and a penthouse on offer for those wanting somewhere super special to stay in London. Their restaurant also offers up a delicious fusion of European and South American dishes and their stunning courtyard is perfect for relaxing with a cocktail or two.
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.
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.
This is a very un-Hilton-like Hilton. Gone is the usual yellowing fustiness, replaced by contemporary design, a busy bar and restaurant, and a location within spitting distance of the Tate Modern in London's thriving 'Neo Bankside' district.
If you don't fancy staying in the sleek, stylish but comfortable rooms, why not book a business meeting/creative brainstorm in the Hilton's Agora room, designed in conjunction with Bompas and Parr? This meeting of minds came about when the Hilton sponsored a local festival at which the designer duo presented an immersive audio installation memorably described as 'like tripping without taking drugs'.
The Agora is a teensy bit more restrained than that, but with a cutting edge, 75-inch interactive display, a mirror you can write on, magnetic terrazzo tiles for pinning notes to the wall, and a selection of invigorating teas, brewed via induction, it's as much a fun, creative space as it is a business meeting room.
Our favourite bit? Press the 'Push for creativity' button and you'll be blasted in the face with cool air, 'scented with flavours such as lemon oil (for stimulating signals in the brain), peppermint (invigorating the mind) and cinnamon (research shows this enhances creativity).' Having tried it, we can certainly vouch for its ability to wake you up.
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.
The No. 5 Maddox Street suites offer an air of exclusivity, privacy and space, while remaining in the heart of the city and close to everything London has to offer. Located in a town house close to Regent Street, you’ll have easy access to prime areas including Soho, Bond Street, Oxford Circus and Piccadilly for the best restaurants, bars, shopping and nightlife.
Each suite has a unique design and comes equipped with your own kitchen and lounge area. Depending on which suite you go for, you can also get balconies and beautiful fireplaces which really finish off the luxury feel. Just as with a hotel, you’ll have a 24-hour concierge service, free Wi-Fi and other in-room amenities such as an iPod docking station and Nespresso coffee machine. All of this comes at a very reasonable cost, starting around £200 a night.
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.
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?
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.
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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