By: Sarah Borg Barthet
London is one of those places that everyone should visit at least once in their life. Similar to other awe-inspiring cosmopolitan locations such as New York City and Tokyo, it can feel like the center of the world. After all, it is Europe’s financial capital and the largest city in Britain.
There truly is something for everyone – over 9 million people have flocked to the capital and can now call London home. It is also a significant tourist destination worldwide, with its rich history and plethora of attractions attracting millions to the city each year.
If this is you, and you are planning to visit the United Kingdom or London for the first time, then you will need to select a hotel that’s right for you and the purpose of your visit. Selecting the perfect accommodation can be overwhelming, especially when there are thousands of hotels to choose from!
Of course, you could select something you know, such as one of the many Premier Inn London locations dotted across this city, but this is London. Why not spoil yourself and opt for a quintessentially British hotel with a fascinating story behind it, housed in a beautiful building and guaranteed to grant you exciting travel stories to share with friends when you return home?
Immerse yourself in the London way of life, select one of the best hotels in London, and you won’t be disappointed!
The Best Areas To Stay in London
You’re convinced that selecting one of the best hotels in London is the right choice for you and your travels, but where to stay?!
Like New York City, each part of the city has a character of its own, attracts different types of residents and travelers, and has its pleasures to offer, whether that’s art and culture, sheer luxury, nightlife and entertainment, and more.
The city is also sprawling, with travelers arriving from different airports for business and leisure purposes. Your London airport of choice is another factor you must consider, but more on that later.
This article will cover the 34 best London hotels in Central London (i.e., Zone 1).
Travelers can reach all hotels listed via the London Underground transportation system. Many locals use the underground (or ‘Tube’ as they call it) daily. Commuters and travelers can tap in and out of stations hassle-free using their contactless debit cards.
The ideal places to stay in London are:
– Knightsbridge and South Kensington
– Belgravia & Chelsea
– South Bank & Embankment
– Covent Garden & Holborn
– Marylebone, Bloomsbury & Fitzrovia
– King’s Cross/St Pancras
– Shoreditch & The City of London
London Airports: Which is Best to Fly Into?
On to airports! There are five main airports that you might arrive at, depending on whether you are flying in from long-haul international destinations, Europe, or domestic flights. You will have many different options of airlines to fly into London.
London Heathrow Airport: Located in Zone 5, London Heathrow is London’s main airport, servicing domestic and all international flights across five terminals. The great thing about Heathrow is that you can jump straight on the London Underground Piccadilly Line or Elizabeth Line, which will take you straight into the heart of London in about 45 minutes. The Heathrow Express is also available (at a higher cost), moving from Heathrow to Marylebone in about 15 minutes.
London City Airport: London City Airport is located close to Central London and is also serviced by the London Underground Jubilee line. Travel time into Central London is also fast, depending on where you travel. This airport typically services European and domestic flights; however, there is a regular flight to New York. London City Airport is located very close to one of the leading business and banking hubs – Canary Wharf – and therefore caters to business travelers, and thus the frequent flight to New York.
London Gatwick Airport: London Gatwick is another of London’s major airports; however, it is not reachable on the London Underground network, which can be a disadvantage for some travelers, especially if arriving at odd night hours.
However, instead of the London Underground, travelers have the option to reach Central London via several frequent trains to London Bridge or Victoria Station, the Gatwick Express, or the North/South Thameslink (an efficient commuter train for those that reside outside of London, but commute in to work). Gatwick Airport services domestic, European, and long-haul international flights.
Other Low-Cost London Airports
London offers two airports for low-cost airlines or budget travelers: London Stansted Airport and London Luton Airport. These are located outside of the city and typically require a train or bus to be reached. Typically, these are great for European or domestic flights; however, they only service short-haul international flights.
London Private Airports
If traveling on a chartered private flight, there is also the option to land at Farnborough Airport or London Biggin Hill Airport, which are slightly further out. If you are one of the lucky ones and a lover of all things luxury, you will likely want to select a London hotel in Knightsbridge or Mayfair.
The 34 Best Hotels in London
This article will break down what makes each part of London such a great place, the type of travelers that might want to stay there and why, and of course, the best hotels nearby. The closest station has also been mentioned for your convenience.
Knightsbridge & South Kensington
Some may save the best for last, but not in this case. Knightsbridge and South Kensington are right at the top of this list – both forming part of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. They are two of the most affluent and prized neighborhoods in London, and any tourist searching for luxury should consider selecting a hotel in this region.
Knightsbridge and South Kensington are a mere few minutes apart when traveling on foot and can be reached via the Piccadilly line from Heathrow Airport. Despite being very close neighbors, the vibe of each town is very different. However, they compare in their level of affluence, luxury, and well-heeled residents.
South Kensington is home to famous museums such as the National History Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum and many high-end eateries, fashionable cafés, and gorgeous white Georgian townhouses that the wealthy residents call home.
Knightsbridge is home to Harrods (think Europe’s version of Saks Fifth Avenue), many flashy supercars, luxury boutiques, exquisite residential garden squares, and pretty rows of mews houses.
Whether booking a hotel in this area or not, it is 100% worth stopping at Knightsbridge station to walk around these residential streets and observe a part of London that so few get to see.
If you’re a luxury traveler, here are some of the best hotels to stay at in Knightsbridge and South Kensington:
1. The Lanesborough, Hyde Park
- Address – Hyde Park Corner, London SW1X 7TA
- Closest Tube Station – Hyde Park Corner
If you’re hunting for all-out Regency-type luxury, The Lanesborough is the place for you. Home to the alleged most expensive suite in all of London, the hotel check will not be for the faint-hearted.
Situated at the edge of Knightsbridge and within walking distance of Mayfair, the Lanesborough exudes a neoclassical style, and its elegant front façade overlooks the beautiful Hyde Park.
What was once a St George’s Hospital has been transformed into the epitome of British luxury, and this could not be more apparent than when first walking through the front door. Feel enveloped by grandeur, admire the 23-carat gold-leaf gilding, crystal chandeliers, and overall old-fashioned British charm.
Even if you are not booking the hotel, it’s worth stopping by the Library Bar and cigar terrace for a drink or two before resuming your London adventures.
2. Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park London
- Address – 66 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7LA
- Closest Tube Station – Knightsbridge
Another of Knightsbridge’s most exquisite hospitality options is a little further down the street. The Mandarin Oriental sits just opposite the Harvey Nichols department store and is a mere few meters from Harrods – the luxury shopper’s paradise.
The Mandarin Oriental has its fair share of history, from the late Queen Elizabeth learning to dance in its ballroom to its major refurbishment following a devastating roof fire in 2018. Since the refurbishment that ensued, the hotel has returned in all its glory (perhaps even better than it was before!) and should be on a London traveler’s radar.
The hotel is also home to Dinner, an excellent two-Michelin star fine dining restaurant by the legendary Heston Blumenthal. It offers guests some stunning Hyde Park views, an intimate underground spa and steam room, and an overall fantastic London experience.
3. Bulgari Hotel London
- Address – 171 Knightsbridge, London SW7 1DW
- Closest Tube Station – Knightsbridge
The Bulgari Hotel is another of Knightsbridge’s finest hotels; however, tourists might miss it since it’s just off the Brompton Road main drag. The exterior is discreet and streamlined and does not necessarily give any clues away as to the luxury that lies behind the façade walls. Overall, it almost feels like the hotel is a well-kept secret, reserved solely for those in the know.
Despite the simple hotel exterior, the name Bulgari is synonymous with classic, opulent, and exquisitely crafted jewelry. This modus operandi has extended to their hospitality offerings. On the interior, the hotel exudes as much glamor as its jewels while retaining a spacious and somewhat contemporary feel.
The décor is classic yet plush, and the signature use of silver throughout is a nod to the brand’s roots as a Roman silversmith. The hotel also boasts its private cinema, a newly introduced Bulgari Pet Club, a 25m colonnaded swimming pool, and bar Nolita Social, a popular local hangout.
This hotel is ideal for travelers craving stealth wealth vibes: discreet, tucked away with a touch of Italian glamor.
4. Egerton House Hotel
- Address – 17-19 Egerton Terrace, London SW3 2BX
- Closest Tube Station – Knightsbridge/South Kensington
Egerton House Hotel is a luxury boutique hotel that is perfectly nestled in between both Knightsbridge and South Kensington tube stations and is a hotel that deserves recognition.
Set on a residential street, the hotel lies within an elegant red-brick Victorian townhouse overlooking a luscious green garden. Were it not for the discreet sign on top of the door, it could easily be mistaken for another of the residences rather than a luxury boutique hotel with a history spanning over 100 years.
The interior décor is classically British – the plush surroundings make guests feel warm, cozy, and comfortable, yet this does not detract from the exemplary service. The hotel is run by a team of staff that are experts in the art of first-class hospitality, who aim to anticipate the needs of the guests before they are even expressed.
For those looking for a quiet, more intimate service while still close to the action, the Egerton House Hotel is a great place. It is also ideal for anyone traveling with pets and is one of the most dog-friendly hotels on this list. They even offer an afternoon tea service and ‘dogtinis’ for four-legged friends!
5. Number Sixteen
- Address – 16 Sumner Place, London SW7 3EG
- Closest Tube Station – South Kensington
From Knightsbridge to South Kensington, we move to Number Sixteen, a bright and airy boutique hotel that boasts a tree-filled private garden and a picturesque Orangery. On the exterior, the hotel lies behind a beautiful Victorian white stucco terrace, perfectly matching the rest of the properties on this primarily residential street.
With only 41 rooms available for guests, this boutique hotel is as small and intimate as it is full of natural light. Each room is uniquely decorated; however, they share a commonality in that the ceilings are high and decorated in a classic English style with what feels like a modern garden twist.
Speaking of gardens, you can reach the private garden by walking through the unique Orangery and, if the weather is right, enjoy an afternoon tea amidst the eclectic décor and greenery.
Belgravia & Chelsea
Just south of South Kensington and Knightsbridge is the area of Chelsea, and to its east lies Belgravia – another upscale neighborhood home to many embassies and famous residential areas such as Eaton Square. Belgravia is also immediately west of Buckingham Palace grounds.
Staying in either of these two areas will work well for anyone visiting London for the first time. Belgravia is appealing due to its proximity to Victoria Station, making travel to and from Gatwick Airport easy.
6. Beaverbrook Town House
- Address – 115 Sloane Street, London SW1X 9PJ
- Closest Tube Station – Sloane Square
Located close to Sloane Square, the charming Beaverbrook Town House was born from a pair of exquisitely restored Georgian townhouses. The hotel is classically British, with each of the 14 suites paying homage to London by being named after celebrated London theaters.
Despite being classically British, the décor still exudes an urban twist. Take, for example, how the traditional four-poster beds are expertly blended with cushions in modern, vibrant patterns and shades or how the designers somehow integrated classic British charm with Japanese allure.
If you’re visiting London and looking for something traditionally British but eclectic, this could be your hotel.
7. The Goring
- Address – 15 Beeston Place, London SW1W 0JW
- Closest Tube Station – Victoria
Moving east from Chelsea to Belgravia, the next on the list of best hotels in London is The Goring – most famous for being HRH The Princess of Wales’ hotel of choice for the night before her wedding to Prince William.
This hotel is unique, and it’s no wonder it has become a favorite with members of the British royal family. The hotel has been owned and operated by the same family for over 100 years, and its patrons can very much feel its deep sense of heritage.
The Goring is proud to be the home of one of London’s finest and most extensive private gardens, which guests can enjoy for a spot of afternoon tea, especially when the sun is out.
However, the sunshine is unnecessary to appreciate the interiors’ beauty and handcrafted bespoke furnishings or the hotel’s magnificent 69 rooms and suites. The atmosphere is traditional yet not too stuffy, formal yet somehow comfortable.
If you’re looking for classic British charm with a long history and a seal of approval from the Royals, The Goring is the place to be.
8. Lime Tree Hotel
- Address – 135-137 Ebury Street, London SW1W 9QU
- Closest Tube Station – Victoria
Lime Tree Hotel is the first on the list to be seen as a more affordable option in the center of London while retaining its elegance and appeal. This quaint boutique hotel offers guests a home away from home, a pretty outdoor garden, cozy furnishings with a rustic flare, and an ideal location for anyone traveling to London for the first time.
The hotel offers 26 bedrooms with bespoke beds and 100% natural British toiletries that serve as the perfect souvenir of your time in the capital.
Patrons will enjoy the laidback feel of the hotel, which can be hard to achieve in such a bustling part of the city’s capital. The perfect way to experience these laidback vibes? Why not try dining al fresco in the hotel’s private garden, lounge by the fireplace when the weather is cold, or indulge in a sumptuous country brunch at the in-house café-restaurant, The Buttery?
South Bank & Victoria Embankment
Westminster sits alongside the Thames River to the east of Belgravia.
Not only is this the home of the famed Westminster Abbey and Elizabeth Tower (often mistaken as Big Ben), but many other activities are situated on either side of the river. Note: Victoria Embankment is on the north side, and South Bank is on the south side.
To get from one side of the river to the other, walk across Waterloo or Westminster Bridge, and you’ll be led to the South Bank, close to Waterloo Station.
When strolling about this part of town, expect to see some of the most well-known attractions London has to offer, including the London Eye, the Tate Modern, and Royal Festival Hall, as well as various food stalls and street vendors.
9. Corinthia London
- Address – Whitehall Place, London SW1A 2BD
- Closest Tube Station – Embankment
Situated in a prime location close to the riverside is a relatively new hotel name in London, The Corinthia. While the building has been around since 1885, The Corinthia opened its doors in 2011. The building previously housed the Metropole Hotel – once the largest hotel in Europe.
Fast forward over 100 years, and the Corinthia London now treats guests to over 300 revamped rooms and 47 suites that overlook some of London’s most iconic sites.
While the building itself has several tales that only the walls could tell, the clientele of the Corinthia is sure to create more memories at this lavish hotel. The overall atmosphere is grand, with exquisite rooftop terraces reserved for the suites, a fantastic four-level ESPA spa and glass-encased sauna, and Michelin-starred food.
Décor is neutral-toned yet lavish, and if it’s good enough for the likes of George Clooney, Beyoncé, and Jay-Z, then it’s good enough for us!
10. Sea Containers London
- Address – 20 Upper Ground, London SE1 9PD
- Closest Tube Station – Blackfriars
As can be expected, Sea Containers London is the first and only on this list to incorporate a maritime theme into the design of this five-star hotel. The exterior was designed to resemble a transatlantic cruise liner that had just entered the port.
While the eclectic riverside décor might not be to everyone’s taste, no one can argue that the hotel is in a prime area for sightseeing and offers magnificent views of the River Thames.
Think riverside chic meets a touch of brutalism and a nod to 1920s cruise liner glamor. Interestingly, the interior’s color scheme avoids your typical nautical shades and instead opts for more fabulous neutral shades with pops of vibrant colors like magenta pink.
The cherry on this maritime cake is the hotel’s gorgeous glass-enclosed rooftop bar, complete with an outdoor terrace, 12th Knot. It’s a fascinating spot to stop for a few drinks while reveling in the beauty of London’s famous skyline.
Mayfair (& St. James)
North of Westminster and Victoria Embankment is another of London’s famous affluent neighborhoods. The most prized area on the monopoly board – Mayfair.
Mayfair borders the grounds of Buckingham Palace and Hyde Park and is renowned for its upmarket Georgian townhouses, exclusive hotels, private members clubs, and expensive boutiques. It is also within walking distance of many other significant areas, including Knightsbridge, Oxford Street, Bond Street, Soho, and more.
There is so much to see in Mayfair that it’s hard to do it justice in a few lines. It’s a location perfect for lovers of traditional old-school luxury; art lovers that want to roam some incredible art galleries; or high-end shoppers that seek upscale shopping at places such as Burlington Arcade or Savile Row.
If this is what you’re after for your London holiday, here are some of the best Mayfair hotels to consider.
11. Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane
- Address – Hamilton Pl, London W1J 7DR
- Closest Tube Station – Hyde Park Corner
The Four Seasons chain is synonymous with indulgent luxury, and the Four Seasons on Park Lane is no different. The main selling points (aside from it being the Four Seasons!) include the stellar views over Hyde Park, the world-class spa, and the dramatically opulent décor that consists of a black marble lobby, a prominent grand piano, and an equally conspicuous cascading chandelier.
As the first Four Seasons hotel that opened outside of Canada, this hotel is proud to uphold the impeccable standards that guests have grown to expect of the luxury brand, and believe that this all begins with the people in their realm – no request is too big or too small. The staff is expertly trained to cater to some of the world’s most exclusive (and demanding) guests.
Patrons can select standard guest rooms, but the real jewels in the Four Seasons London crown are the Garden, Terrace, and Conservatory Suites. Aside from the luxurious décor that guests expect, these suites also include expansive outdoor terraces with exquisite views over Hyde Park. The ultimate treat for a luxury visit to London!
12. 45 Park Lane
- Address – 45 Park Lane, London W1K 1PN
- Closest Tube Station – Hyde Park Corner
Fun fact: before 45 Park Lane became a high-end hotel for affluent guests, this building was home to the original London Playboy Club and Casino. It is also part of the Dorchester Collection, which forms part of this list. Think of 45 Park Lane as The Dorchester’s cheeky younger sibling.
Nowadays, 45 hotel rooms cater to guests who appreciate dark, masculine interiors and art-deco masterpieces. Each room and suite overlooks Hyde Park and features marble-heated flooring in the bathrooms as standard.
The sleek, contemporary hotel is ideally located on the well-known Park Lane, within walking distance of Mayfair and Knightsbridge. It is also home to one of the best steak houses in all of London – Cut at 45 Park Lane.
13. The Dorchester
- Address – 53 Park Lane, London W1K 1QA
- Closest Tube Station – Hyde Park Corner
If 45 Park Lane is the sassier younger sibling, then The Dorchester is the Grand Dame. Catering to the upper crust of society, The Dorchester is one of the most luxurious locations you can book for your London vacation. Merely walking by the hotel’s façade and peeping inside will be enough to tell you all you need to know about the luxury that lies within.
Also located on Park Lane, The Dorchester opened its doors to patrons in 1931. They believe their hotel is more like a village, as the staff and guests form a vibrant and dynamic community – just like London itself.
The décor is, of course, luxuriously opulent; however, the atmosphere is bright and airy. You’ll regularly see references to ‘The Promenade,’ an elegant lounge with elaborate décor and a resident pianist – perfect for afternoon tea and cocktails. If staying at the Dorchester is not an option, you might consider visiting to experience the atmosphere and their afternoon tea offering.
14. The Ritz Hotel
- Address – 150 Piccadilly, London W1J 9BR
- Closest Tube Station – Green Park
Speaking of afternoon tea, this list had to include the world-famous hotel, The Ritz. Located on Piccadilly and right next to Green Park, the Ritz has become one of London’s institutions and a tourist attraction, even if not staying at the hotel.
Well-dressed door attendants are awaiting your arrival at the door, always ready to assist and offer a courteous word. This classic British charm carries through the hotel in every way.
Afternoon tea at the Ritz should be on everyone’s bucket list: to sit back in the plush surroundings, enjoy the live pianist and order a glass of one of the finest champagnes. If afternoon tea isn’t your cup of tea (pun intended), you might prefer to head to the recently refurbished Rivoli bar for one of your favorite cocktails. The Old-Fashioned comes highly recommended!
Compared to other grand hotels in London that have undergone modern refurbishments, the Ritz has always retained its old-world charm. The décor maintains the original Louis XVI style, and the color palette remains a pastel floral dream of pinks, pale yellows, and cornflower blues.
If you’re looking to stay at a location that engulfs you in the best of what the British have to offer and experience a few days of regal-like excellence, then the Ritz is the place for you.
15. Brown’s Hotel
- Address – 33 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4BP
- Closest Tube Station – Green Park
Just a few meters away from the Ritz and across the road lies Albemarle Street – a relatively quiet street home to several offices in residential buildings, art galleries, and restaurants. The true gem on this street, however, is Brown’s Hotel.
The bar at Brown’s is a well-known location to hold meetings for professionals working in the area, and the crowd is very much cosmopolitan.
From the exterior, you might need help to guess the luxury within. Still, this discreet five-star hotel has appealed to and been frequented by: royalty, presidents, and other famous literary guests such as Rudyard Kipling and Agatha Christie.
Rooms are decorated in a typical yet iconic British fashion using elegant neutral tones, with patterned wallpaper and cushions that offer a distinctive, yet classy, pop of color.
16. Dukes London
- Address – 35 St James’s Place, London SW1A 1NY
- Closest Tube Station – Green Park
Located just off St James’s is another discreet luxury boutique hotel that will only ever be spotted by those who know of its existence. It lies in a cul-de-sac in a quiet street that is more popular with professionals and locals than it is with tourists, and that suits Duke London perfectly.
Despite its discretion and lack of publicity, this hotel has been around since 1908 and has a remarkable history.
It is home to one of the most well-known bars without guests knowing it. The Dukes Bar was a favorite of James Bond author Ian Fleming, and it is alleged that Fleming got the name of the famous 007 ‘martini, shaken, not stirred’ from this bar. The current head barman Alessandro Palazzi even wheels his classic drinks trolley over to your table and crafts your cocktails precisely as you like them!
If you can make it up to your room after an afternoon at Dukes Bar, you’ll be pleased to note that the rooms are decorated in muted shades and neutral tones, with the odd pop of color on an armchair or blanket. They also feature a marble bathroom and toiletries from Nobel Isles.
If you’re looking for a hotel full of history, somewhat secretive and hidden, yet with a sense of familiarity once welcomed as a guest, this is the place for you.
17. The Mayfair Townhouse, Mayfair
- Address – 27-41 Half Moon Street, London W1J 7BG
- Closest Tube Station – Green Park
The Mayfair Townhouse on Half Moon Street is a relatively new name to the list, just off the main Piccadilly drag.
While very much a luxury hotel offering decadence to its patrons, this one should appeal to art lovers. After all, it pays tribute to the artistic members of society in the 19th century, with plenty of colorful, intriguing, and fascinating pieces of artwork adorning the walls.
The hotel is uniquely spread over 15 Georgian townhouses, and its eclectic feel draws in characters that are almost as colorful as the works of art on the wall. The décor is plush but not over the top, offering a streamlined version of luxury.
The location of The Mayfair Townhouse is also of note. It is within walking distance of the boutiques of Mayfair and the festivity of Soho, and it is even closer to the infamous Shepherds Market – previously a red-light district for the well-to-do Mayfair residents. Nowadays, though, locals are more familiar with the well-known nearby private members club, 5 Hertford Street, rather than what the area used to be known for.
18. The Connaught, Mayfair
- Address – 16 Carlos Place, London W1K 2AL
- Closest Tube Station – Green Park
The Connaught is another staple of the classic London hotel scene and is a popular choice for those visiting the Mayfair area frequently. The Connaught Bar is also a much-loved hotspot.
The atmosphere is elegantly timeless – which can be expected for one of London’s old-school luxury hotels.
The Connaught has stood in this spot for decades and is in the most pristine areas. It is surrounded by luxury shops, private gardens, and fine-dining eateries such as Scott’s and Jamavar and is within walking distance of Oxford Street and Soho.
If you’re looking for a hotel in the heart of Mayfair that showcases old-school British flair and service, this could be the hotel for you.
- Address – Brook Street, London W1K 4HR
- Closest Tube Station – Bond Street
Even if you are unfamiliar with London’s hotel scene, you may have heard of Claridge’s. You may even have seen the documentary on this traditional British staple called ‘Inside Claridge’s,’ released a few years ago. It documents the extent the staff goes to ensure that all their guests leave feeling like the most important people in the world.
Claridge’s is an institution, a proper luxury hotel in every sense. Repeat visitors have been returning for decades as they know what they are getting – the service never disappoints, and the needs of individual guests are noted for future visits. It is old-fashioned luxury in every sense of the word.
The décor is immaculately elegant art deco, but the reality is, it’s not the décor or the rooms that people come here for, although the location is a huge plus. Visitors come here for the family of staff that keep the hotel running like a well-oiled machine. They know what to expect, and at Claridge’s, rest assured that expectations are always met AND exceeded.
If you’re a first-timer in London, Soho is the perfect place to begin. Some of the most famous attractions are located nearby, including the legendary Piccadilly Circus, the famous West End shows around Leicester Square, the multiple entertainment options like bars and restaurants, Chinatown, and so much more.
If shopping, entertainment, and nightclubs are your intention, Soho is an option worth considering. Trafalgar Square, The National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, and Mayfair are also within walking distance.
20. Hotel Café Royal
- Address – 10 Air Street, London W1B 5AB
- Closest Tube Station – Piccadilly Circus
Perfectly nestled between Mayfair and Soho, and found on a narrow street just off Regent Street, is the understated yet elegant Hotel Café Royal. The location itself is a selling point as visitors find themselves right in the center of the old-school opulence of Mayfair, the shopping atmosphere of Regent Street, and the entertainment hub of Soho.
Recently revamped, this hotel attracts a cosmopolitan crowd, but don’t let that fool you – this hotel is, in fact, over 150 years old and steeped in history. Over its life, it has attracted many famous faces, including Winston Churchill, David Bowie, and Princess Diana.
The most famous story of its guests comes from none other than Oscar Wilde, who allegedly once consumed so much Absinthe in the Grill Room that he began to hallucinate and believed he was gallivanting around in a field of tulips. The tulips located around the lobby are a nod to the tale.
If you’re searching for a hotel with understated luxury, streamlined elegance, and a great location, Hotel Café Royal should be a strong contender.
21. Ham Yard Hotel
- Address – 1 Ham Yard, London W1D 7DT
- Closest Tube Station – Piccadilly Circus
Just across the street from Hotel Café Royal, named after the road it lies on, is Ham Yard Hotel, offering an urban vibe to travelers in its 91 rooms and suites designed to impress.
While only a short away from the previous hotel, Ham Yard finds itself in the heart of Soho. That’s the fascinating thing about London – different areas are so close together and can be reached within a few minutes walk, yet the atmosphere change between them is palpably different.
Ham Yard’s décor is inspired by contemporary art, and the more artistic travelers will be intrigued by the designer’s fascinating use of color, accents, and unique furnishings. The hotel is also the proud owner of a 1950s bowling alley (imported from Texas) and treats guests to expansive floor-to-ceiling windows in each room.
If you’re a trendy traveler looking for the eclectic while still craving luxury, this hotel is for you.
22. Dean Street Townhouse
- Address – 69-71 Dean Street, London W1D 3SE
- Closest Tube Station – Leicester Square
Wander a little deeper into the belly of Soho, and you’ll come across Dean Street Townhouse, a member of the well-known and much-loved cult Soho House group. The hotel building is two 18th-century townhouses that were allegedly once home to Nell Gwynne, a local celebrity, actress, and long-time lover of King Charles II.
While that was a long time ago, the hotel now attracts the young and hip media-type personalities that frequent Soho House Group locations, and the décor caters to that same style, with an intelligent mix of neutral tones coupled with velvet textiles and Paisley chairs and headboards. The Dining Room is also home to a selection of artwork in a unique blend of emerging and more recognized names.
Visitors can choose from a range of 39 stylish rooms, none decorated the same way. Our tip? Always opt for a small room rather than the tiny one and indulge in its four-poster bed!
Covent Garden & Holborn
Covent Garden and Holborn are the ideal locations to stay if you plan to visit plenty of West End theaters but want to be slightly outside the madness. Think of the West End like Broadway in NYC – you might want to see the Broadway shows, but you may not want your hotel to be in the middle of Times Square!
Just like it’s easy to walk from Mayfair to Soho, it’s just as easy walking from Soho to Covent Garden. Holborn is also a mere few minutes away from Covent Garden but is closer to the City of London (featured further down).
While it may be less rowdy than Soho, Covent Garden still offers visitors plenty to see, including the well-known Covent Garden Market (not to be confused with New Covent Garden Market, which is actually in Vauxhall), the traffic-free cobbled piazza, the quaint shops of Seven Dials, the Opera Quarter, London Transport Museum and more!
23. The Savoy Hotel
- Address – Strand, London WC2R 0EZ
- Closest Tube Station – Covent Garden, Charing Cross
The Savoy Hotel is one of those classic, quintessentially British institutions that feels like it has been around since the beginning of time. And it may feel this way because the Savoy was, in fact, the first purpose-built premium hotel in London, targeting affluent lovers of luxury and offering world-class service before it was expected.
Located on the Strand and easily reached from either Covent Garden Station or Charing Cross Station, this famous hotel opened its doors in 1889; however, it has naturally been the subject of several renovations.
The hotel itself isn’t the only thing to hold a ‘first of its kind’ type record. The American Bar at the Savoy Hotel was also one of the first to introduce American-style cocktails to Europe, drawing in visitors to this legendary art deco bar even if they were not vacationing there.
While the hotel has been renovated and restored, visitors can expect Edwardian opulence and luxury, with an art deco flair that still dominates. A treat for any traveler looking for classic British, as well as lovers of history, without being far away from the action.
24. NoMad London
- Address – 28 Bow Street, London WC2E 7AW
- Closest Tube Station – Covent Garden
Situated just outside the Royal Opera House and adjacent to the newly opened Bow Street Police Museum lies the first NoMad hotel extended outside of the United States. The hotel calls a palatial former magistrates’ court its home, and not long since opening in 2021, it has already garnered a reputation for being one of London’s finest and a force to be reckoned with.
The obvious highlight of the hotel is the courtyard restaurant, which is more like an ornate glass greenhouse (complete with hanging plants and vintage chandeliers) than a fine dining eatery – however, good luck getting a reservation. This very Instagrammable London restaurant is often booked out weeks in advance, showing its popularity with those in the know.
Aside from the novel glass-ceilinged indoor restaurant, the rooms and the hallways which lead to them are also something to behold. The bedrooms are decked out in a Roaring Twenties art deco style, and the hallway walls are adorned with enough art history to bring out anyone’s creative side.
From a historical perspective, it might intrigue travelers to know that the Magistrates’ Court has had some familiar names walk through its doors over the years, including poet and playwright Oscar Wilde, British political activist Emmeline Pankhurst and infamous London gangsters the Kray Twins.
This hotel is one for crime and history lovers who seek a touch of intrigue in their daily lives.
25. The Rosewood London, Holborn
- Address – 252 High Holborn, London WC1V 7EN
- Closest Tube Station – Holborn
A short walk away from Covent Garden lies Holborn, caught in between the creativity and artistry of Covent Garden and Soho and the formality and professionalism of the City of London. Holborn’s unique location makes it the perfect place to stay in London if traveling for work while craving a little bit of the fun London has to offer.
A much-loved favorite is the Rosewood Hotel, and as is expected of a world-class luxury chain, this hotel does not disappoint. Given its proximity to the well-known business district, this hotel oozes luxury professionalism; however, thanks to its Edwardian mansion façade and décor, it unexpectedly emanates the warmth and coziness of an English country manor. This unique blend of two juxtaposing concepts is what makes Rosewood unique.
Enjoy a delicious meal at the often fully-booked Scarfe’s Bar, relax in the Holborn Dining Room that boasts brasserie vibes, or indulge in some much-needed self-care at one of LA’s best skin care salons specializing in facials in the heart of London.
Marylebone, Bloomsbury & Fitzrovia
If you were to walk north of Holborn station rather than east into the City, you would find yourself in Bloomsbury’s pretty and primarily residential area, complete with Georgian townhouses and leafy garden squares.
Although slightly quieter than its bustling Covent Garden neighbor, Bloomsbury does not disappoint. It is home to several academic and medical establishments, trendy cafes, museums, and bookshops.
West of Bloomsbury lies Fitzrovia, another small part of the city that is primarily residential. The imposing BT Tower is the main attraction; however, if you are not interested in media or telecommunications, it might be worth skipping this area and viewing the BT Tower from afar.
Further west of Fitzrovia then lies the more well-known neighborhood of Marylebone.
Home to the Heathrow Express, Marylebone is slightly more popular with tourists, mainly due to its location and proximity to Oxford Street and Marble Arch and famous attractions such as Madame Tussauds.
For Londoners, Marylebone is also a highly sought-after residential neighborhood to become a part of.
26. Kimpton Fitzroy London
- Address – 1-8 Russell Square, London WC1B 5BE
- Closest Tube Station – Russell Square
Kimpton Fitzroy London is a luxury hotel in Bloomsbury and a landmark hotel. It uniquely occupies an entire block along the eastern side of Russell Square – a perfect location for any first-time traveler to London.
The entrance to its terracotta façade is ‘guarded’ by four life-sized statues of British queens and has welcomed guests since its original design in 1898. Upon entering, guests will be impressed with the sheer sense of luxury, whether from the copious amounts of marble, the Zodiac mosaic flooring, or the opulent chandeliers located throughout the property.
The atmosphere upon entering is dark and moody but in a luxurious and mysterious way rather than negative. By contrast, the rooms are bright and sophisticatedly decorated. Lovers of opulent luxury and understated elegance will surely appreciate Kimpton Fitzroy London as one of the best hotels in London.
27. London Edition, Fitzrovia
- Address – 10 Berners Street, London W1T 3NP
- Closest Tube Station – Tottenham Court Road
Founded by one of the original creators of Studio 54, Ian Schrager, this is a spot for the hip, young and trendy – a place to be seen.
Of course, the rooms are crucial to deciding upon a hotel, but the Berners Tavern restaurant gets most of the attention. It features an open-plan dining room, eye-catching artwork on the walls, and a sizeable 18-ft stucco ceiling.
The hotel also homes an oak-paneled lobby cocktail bar, a nightclub, and the sleek, reservation-only craft cocktail bar Punch Room – one of only five worldwide. The limited seating and exclusivity only emphasize the exclusiveness of the location and the attraction of becoming one of the in-crowd.
Aside from the obvious entertainment options, the hotel offers patrons chic and sophisticated rooms. Each is flooded with natural light, boasts a spacious layout, and features floor-to-ceiling white drapes that perfectly complement the wooden-clad rooms and the rest of the décor.
This hotel may be renowned for its vibrant entertainment options; however, the rooms upstairs offer the perfect tranquil haven to escape from it all.
28. Nobu Hotel Portman Square
- Address – 22 Portman Square, London W1H 7BG
- Closest Tube Station – Marble Arch
Moving further away from Bloomsbury and Fitzrovia and into Marylebone. The Nobu Hotel on Portman Square offers patrons chic New York vibes in an urban yet minimalist setting across its 249 guest rooms and suites. Of course, the hotel would only be complete with its namesake eatery playing a prominent role in its popularity.
Aside from Nobu Restaurant, the hotel also welcomes guests to the Nobu Bar and Terrace and The Lounge – a chilled restaurant and bar. Relaxing is a priority at the hotel, offering guests the world’s first Nobu Pilates Reformer Studio and three beautiful treatment rooms.
The influence of Japan is felt throughout the hotel, not just in the cuisine but also in the bedrooms. The rooms are calming, white, clean, and minimalistic and feature beautiful natural fabrics.
Overall, this hotel ticks many boxes. It is ideally located for shopping addicts, has fantastic food inside the hotel itself, and offers guests a sense of traditional Japanese zen in the middle of one of the busiest areas in Central London.
King’s Cross St Pancras
Straddling the boroughs of Islington and Camden, the King’s Cross St Pancras area is located in a pocket on either side of Euston Road in North Central London, east of Euston, west of the area around Islington high street and bounded to the north by Regent’s Canal.
While the area itself, along with the rest of London, has been undergoing some regeneration over the past years (bringing in new residential and business occupants), King’s Cross St Pancras is best known as a transportation super-hub, with King’s Cross station (and Euston station not too far away either) connecting London’s underground, commuter rail, national and high-speed rails (as well as the odd magical train leaving from platform nine ¾!) with international rail links to mainland Europe via the Eurostar from St Pancras International.
29. St Pancras Renaissance Hotel
- Address – Euston Road, London NW1 2AR
- Closest Tube Station – King’s Cross
The St Pancras Renaissance Hotel resides in one of England’s most beautiful and important historical hotels. The exterior is a classic red brick carved in a neo-gothic intricate design symbolic of the Industrial Age. After all, before the King’s Cross and St Pancras area became the central transportation hub today, it was a neglected area of forgotten warehouses, forsaken industries, and everything such sites bring along with them.
While it was never an area to consider for a hotel in the decades prior, its convenient location is perfect for any traveler who wants to be well-connected by the London Underground, national train lines, or the Eurostar, which travels from London to several other destinations across Europe.
Inside, rooms are spacious, practical, and smartly decorated, with many offering Italian Carrara-style marble bathrooms.
The primary value of this hotel, however, is its exterior façade, history, and the sheer convenience of the location.
30. Great Northern Hotel
- Address – Pancras Rd, London N1C 4TB, United Kingdom
- Closest Tube Station – King’s Cross
Great Northern Hotel is another plush hotel perfect for visitors who come to London intending to travel around the city, the country overall, and Europe. It is, in fact, the original railway hotel and has opened its doors to travelers since 1854.
The rooms exude classic décor and sophistication and provide a spacious, bright, clean pitstop for any discerning traveler. The Rails bar and grill is the perfect place for a good lunch before heading off on a journey, while the GNH Bar and Terrace is the ideal spot to kick back, sit outdoors, enjoy a glass of wine, and listen to some live music after returning from a trip.
The hotel is also part of Marriot Bonvoy, making this an excellent option for travelers under this popular hotel chain reward program.
The City of London & Shoreditch
It is easy to forget that there is a bustling metropolis east of the desirable shopping streets and palaces in West London.
The City of London, often referred to as the City or the Square Mile, is an area bookended by the West End and the Tower of London in the east, radiating out from London Bridge (not to be confused with Tower Bridge) with vistas across the river to Southwark and Borough Market, and London’s tallest building, the Shard.
It is a hot spot for business travelers and commuters, home to glitzy office blocks and quiet gardens, Roman-era ruins, and neoclassical architecture.
Further east is the area of Shoreditch – a once working-class area famous for the Jack the Ripper murders; it has not been spared gentrification. Its once anti-establishment grungy and grimy vibes still attract ‘alternative’ visitors to its street markets and fab fare.
31. Shangri-La at the Shard London Bridge
- Address – 31 St Thomas Street, London SE1 9QU
- Closest Tube Station – London Bridge
The London Bridge area has come a long way. It is home to Borough Market and its now stylish restaurants, a massive railway complex, and of course, the glittering Shard. The Shard was completed in 2012, and at the time of writing, it is also the tallest building in Western Europe. It also hosts the Shangri-La, the self-proclaimed highest hotel in Western Europe.
Starting on the 34th floor and occupying 18 floors, the hotel is spectacular, with fine dining options, the highest infinity pool in Western Europe, and mind-boggling views across the City and the South Bank.
The hotel itself does not explicitly draw in business travelers but is a destination in itself. Let’s face it, a relatively newly built hotel in a historically economically deprived area of London is not a recipe for a must-stay, but the Shangri-La reputation is a huge draw.
32. Mondrian London, Shoreditch
- Address – 45 Curtain Road, London EC2A 3PT
- Closest Tube Station – Liverpool Street (or Shoreditch High Street Overground)
Nestled in a gentrifying yet grungy area of Shoreditch (think of multi-story car parks and soulless 1980s low-rise office blocks), the Mondrian is famed for its Los Angeles-style rooftop pool deck.
Initially intended to be the crown jewel of the European portfolio of the Ian Schrager-owned Morgans Hotel Group, the latter was acquired in 2020 by the Accor group and is now managed by the Ennismore lifestyle brand.
The Mondrian is focused on the sensory experience with its restaurants and amenities, and its style is tactile and plush rather than opulent and flashy. It is a statement of intent, not only for the Accor Group but for Shoreditch itself – the Mondrian’s arrival (along with that of Nobu Shoreditch) flags Shoreditch as the new ‘place to be.’
33. Montcalm Royal London House
- Address – 22-25 Finsbury Square, London EC2A 1DX
- Closest Tube Station – Liverpool Street
Another Marriott Bonvoy Hotel, the Montcalm Royal London House, sits on Finsbury Square in the Liverpool Street area of the City.
A recently restored mid-century listed building, Royal London House holds its own against other hotels in the area, with comfy and well-appointed rooms and a selection of perfectly memorable mid-range and fine-dining restaurants. The hotel’s unique selling points are its location and the Aviary, its uber-swank bar and restaurant located on the tenth floor, and boasting views across the City.
Indoor or outdoor, and whether it is bar food or a full-on brasserie lunch, the Aviary was awarded the AA Rosette for Culinary Excellence, making it a mainstay for visitors and people working in the area alike – giving it a unique ‘lived-in’ vibe compared to other hotels in more manicured areas of London.
34. The Ned
- Address – 27 Poultry, London EC2R 8AJ
- Closest Tube Station – Bank
Formerly the site of the now defunct Midland Bank, across the road from the Royal Exchange, the Bank of England, and Mansion House, the Ned was designed by Sir Edwin ‘Ned’ Lutyens in 1924, which perfectly sums up the experience – think London City buzz meets roaring 1920s gilded age, and you’re halfway there.
Opened in 2017 after five years of planning and renovation, the Ned is ambitious in all aspects – it is right in the heart of the City, atop the sprawling Bank underground station, and within a stone’s throw of many significant landmarks and businesses.
It hosts 250 rooms, a private member’s club (Ned’s Club, obviously) with a private events floor, and ten restaurants, many of which are on the ground floor, regaled by its regular band performances. There is even a Downstairs Club with a bar in the original bank vault!
Like many other hotels in the heart of the City, the Ned takes on a unique life of its own, being a crossroads of entertainment and business, both a private and public space.
This article originally appeared on Savoteur.
Sarah Borg Barthet
Sarah founded Dukes Avenue in 2018 as a creative outlet while working at a London hedge fund. What initially started as a small blog has become a widely read luxury lifestyle online publication targeted at the modern woman, with content curated to inspire readers to live their best and most fulfilled lives. Sarah has lived in London, Malta, and, most recently, the United Arab Emirates and uses her travels and experiences to inspire much of the content.