London is the world’s leading destination for travellers, whether here for the myriad of attractions that the city has to offer, visiting friends and family or on business it’s crucial to know the best places to stay. The Handbook has hand selected our favourite London hotels.
The grand sweep of The Connaught dominates the corner of Mount Street with views into the gorgeous Michelin starred Jean Georges restaurant through the beautiful stained glass windows.
Enter the hotel and you’re in a wonderland that’s part country house hotel and part ultra-modern. From the dark and moody bar to the two Michelin star restaurants, the luxury is unparalleled and only continues in the rooms with original features and marble bathrooms featuring the famous Japanese loos!
The hotel was founded in 1815 and although there are reflections of the historic past (the staircase alone is worth checking out) one foot is very much in the present day. The styling and attention to detail contribute to making The Connaught one of the great hotels of the world.
Proudly boasting that it’s London’s only hotel with a rooftop swimming pool, The Berkeley is noted for its firsts – from being the first hotel in London to install aircon or double glazing, both in the 1930s, to embracing technology through their 360-degree immersive whisky tasting experience.
The Knightsbridge hotel is set on the edge of Hyde Park and looks fabulous, a sandstone monolith with a thoroughly modern interior. The rooms are crisply furnished and decorated in muted colours with marble bathrooms providing the finishing touches.
Founded in the 1700s as the Gloucester Coffee House the hotel was renamed The Berkeley Hotel in 1897 and moved to its current spot in 1972.
InterContinental London Park Lane
It might lack the style and panache of some of its peers from the outside (although we rather enjoy the jaunty architecture), but what might appear as something of an office block beside its beautiful neighbours, Apsley House and the Wellington Arch, not to mention the Victorian sweep of Piccadilly and Buckingham Palace beyond, but it’s a totally different story inside. Plus, as the adage goes, better to be on the inside looking out than vice versa.
There are two excellent restaurants, Theo Randall at the Intercontinental and the newly-arrived Mexican masterpiece that is Ella Canta.
The rooms are smart and classically styled with double-height suites and a good chance of an iconic view across Hyde Park or Hyde Park Corner.
InterContinental London Park Lane, 1 Hamilton Place, Mayfair, W1J 7QY
020 7409 3131
The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences
Translated as ‘library’, the word ‘Athenaeum’ derives from the Greek name Athena, the goddess of wisdom, which probably suits anyone checking into The Athenaeum, one of London’s most sophisticated traditional hotels.
Based on Piccadilly, the hotel is sleek and timeless and the Michelin-starred restaurant, Galvin, run by chefs Chris and Jeff Galvin, is a crowning glory for this family run five star hotel.
The rooms and suites are roomy and light, overlooking Green Park, and the hotel is the perfect staging post for shopping in Knightsbridge, culture in Mayfair and Central London or hopping on the tube to do business in The City or Canary Wharf.
116 Piccadilly, Mayfair, W1J 7BJ
020 7499 3464
The London Edition
The London EDITION (the caps are deliberate) markets itself as a ‘new generation of luxury’. Hyperbolic as that may sound, you’ll end up believing the hype once you arrive, it’s ridiculously slick and contemporary.
The rooms make use of gorgeous woods contrasted with light colours to achieve a highly modern feel, but with hints to the past with gilt framed paintings and hand crafted furniture.
Downstairs the restaurant, lobby and bar areas enjoy double-height ceilings, plush furnishings and traditional and modern art. It’s dark, alluring and really is a ‘new generation of luxury’.
Occupying a good portion of Mayfair’s Albermarle Street Brown’s has been a mainstay of the London hotel scene since the 1830s. Pretty much everyone-who’s-anyone has stayed there, from Roosevelt and Haile Selassie to Cecil Rhodes and Rudyard Kipling. And it’s easy to understand why, the sophisticated hotel is a sanctuary in the heart of one of London’s busiest areas.
Downstairs, the Donovan Bar is dark and stylish, channelling the eponymous photographer Terence Donovan, whose pictures adorn the walls (including the famous ‘naughty corner’ with a dozen of his racier photos…). The restaurant and tearoom are noteworthy too with a universally high standard throughout the hotel.
The Stafford London
There are few hotels more discrete than The Stafford. Hidden up St James’s Place, close to Green Park and accessible from St James’s, The American Bar at The Stafford was once the retreat of Second World War spies, with Nancy Wake the most famous amongst them. Wake was the Allies’ most highly decorated servicewoman and on the Gestapo’s most-wanted list and its not surprising to see why the hotel was such a hit with the intelligence community.
Enter through the main door and the boutique hotel exudes the luxury of a London hotel of it’s calibre, with marble floors and high ceilings, but pass through and end up in the low, dark and surprising American Bar, highly praised and chock full of memorabilia. The courtyard beyond provides another, very different, equally pleasing, aspect to guests who can choose to stay in the Victorian grandeur of rooms at the front of the hotel, or the modern and sophisticated converted mews toward the back and overlooking the courtyard.
Dinner at The Game Bird restaurant isn’t to be missed, both superbly decorated as well as serving excellent seasonal British meals.
Claridge’s reputation goes a very long way in front of it. Known throughout the world as a touchstone of quintessential English hospitality, style and glamour.
Despite being opened in 1812 and rebuilt in the 1890s, it is its 1920s Art Deco styling that has made the hotel so memorable. The interior is a feast of Art Deco, from the stylings in individual rooms to the stunning Basil Lonides designed restaurant complete with engraved glass screens.
Often referred to as an ‘annexe of Buckingham Palace’ for the number of royal visits it receives, you will feel like absolute royalty staying at Claridge’s, eating at Simon Rogan’s Michelin starred Fera or drinking in the exquisite Claridge’s Bar.
Corinthia Hotel London
The Corinthia was built as a grand London hotel, previously known as the Metropole, but it’s spent the majority of its life as government offices and the hub for various intelligence and spy activities. The hotel’s location, just off Whitehall, led to it being requisitioned by government in the First World War and between the Second World War and 2007 until it was finally sold and turned back in to a hotel. Once again The Corinthia in it’s rightful place as one of London’s leading hotels, having been entirely gutted and refurbished to the highest standard once government cleared out.
With fantastic views over The Thames, two excellent restaurants, bars and a spa it’s difficult to believe that it was once teaming with government spooks and spies, but perhaps this just adds to the allure?
Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park
Overlooking Hyde Park, the Mandarin Oriental is one of London’s grand hotels. Originally accessed from the park side of the building, Queen Victoria decreed that guests must enter from the Knightsbridge entrance reserving the park doors for royal use only – a rule that has remained for over a century. Whichever entrance you use, though, you enter into sheer opulence.
Incredibly, once the tallest building in London, the scale of the hotel remains impressive. And plenty of room for dining options at one of the three bars and salons not to mention Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, the ground-breaking restaurant.
The rooms and suites are fashionable, using plenty of leathers and light coloured wood with marble bathrooms and views of the floral courtyard, Knightsbridge or Hyde Park.
Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane
The chain hotel that feels like anything but, the Four Seasons is a one-of-a-kind luxury hotel from the moment you enter and find yourself in a reception unspeakably plush with black marble, black leather furniture and red silk wallpaper.
The theme continues in the Amaranto Lounge and Bar with its wall of wine, but in a nod to the fact that what looks undeniably sleek and sexy downstairs would possibly be a little dark upstairs, so the designers have instead gone for clean, light and airy rooms in a muted palate that provide a perfect backdrop to the superb views across Hyde Park. The contrast is nearly as good as the winelist.
Covent Garden Hotel
Set in the heart of theatre-land, the Covent Garden Hotel is lavish and luxurious and not a little untheatrical, which is perfect given the neighbours.
With the Firmdale Hotels stamp-of-approval (the design is another Kit Kemp masterpiece) guests can’t help be delighted by the level of detail and attention to design across the hotel’s rooms, suites and guest areas. The first floor drawing room and library are perfect for relaxing with their comfy chairs and log fire.
Located just off Seven Dials it’s ideal for a London theatre visit or a longer stay taking in the many restaurants and vibrant bars in the area. Or if you’d rather not venture too far then the restaurant, Brasserie Max, serves an excellent dinner or a range of afternoon teas.
Charlotte Street Hotel
Surrounded, as it is, by ad agencies and media firms, the Charlotte Street Hotel had to be achingly cool, and the Fitzrovia hotel definitely lives up expectations.
The 52-room hotel has a real boutiquey feel, with design taking top priority and a ‘Bloomsbury Group’ theme developed by Firmdale Hotels’ Kit Kemp, co-owner and Design Director. The result is a liberal splashing of contemporary art, careful design and an originality that makes exploring both fun and obligatory. This couldn’t be further from the ersatz corporate model that make up the mainstay of London’s hotel stock.
The restaurant, Oscar, is worth a visit and in summer serves on the front terrace, perfect for people-watching as the beautiful people sweep past this beautiful hotel.
The Dorchester is an icon, a byword for absolute luxury and elegance. Occupying an imposing spot on Park Lane it’s unmissable and its charm and magnificence is undeniable.
This is underlined by the fact that the hotel’s restaurant, Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, is the only hotel restaurant with three Michelin stars in the country. And it wouldn’t even necessarily be our first choice of Dorchester restaurants given the excellent Grill at The Dorchester and China Tang are both fantastic too!
The rooms are perfect, the staff is perfect and it’s very difficult to not surmise that the hotel is too.
The very word ‘Bloomsbury’ evokes such a rich combination of literature, culture and heritage, with just a hint of what went on between the sheets of one of the most bohemian and chic groups of intellects that ever gathered in one place. So how better to celebrate figures like Virginia Woolf and EM Forster than an Edwin Lutyens Grade II-listed masterpiece in the heart of Bloomsbury. Welcome to The Bloomsbury Hotel.
The links to the Bloomsbury Set period are all-too apparent in the hotel (the elegant Dalloway Terrace restaurant, named after Woolf’s eponymous character sees to that, not to mention the impressive art throughout the hotel), but there’s nothing old fashioned about The Bloomsbury, a vibrant and modern hotel set within one of the most interesting areas of London.
Something of a hidden gem, the Haymarket Hotel is nestled a stone’s throw from Trafalgar Square and the bustling, delightful carnage that is Piccadilly Circus; but you’d never know.
An oasis that’s not only tranquil but also attractive, with light open guest areas furnished distinctively and artistically with modern art and sculptures as well as more traditional pieces. The rooms and suites are airy and carefully furnished.
Downstairs the pool area includes a bar, giving a more chilled out vibe than most that’ll confirm the fact guests are on holiday, not bootcamp!
Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill
Sir Winston Churchill is regarded by many as Britain’s greatest prime minister, so who better to theme a hotel after? Built just after Churchill’s death and in his honour, the Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill is full of subtle references to the great man.
The interior design of the Churchill Bar and Terrace includes a life-sized bronze sculpture of the former PM, and includes many design references to Churchill and his wife Clementine. The main restaurant, The Montagu, meanwhile, pays homage to Elizabeth Montagu, a social reformer who lived on the site of the hotel until her death in 1800.
Occupying an edge of Portman Square the hotel is modern and business-friendly, part of the Hyatt Group and comes with all the benefits that entails. But it’s the small touches that make this a great hotel and a great place to stay, as Churchill himself once said “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference”.
Jumeirah Carlton Tower
The ultimate shopping hotel! Located on Cadogan Square in Knightsbridge, The Jumeirah Carlton Tower is one of London’s finest, and a short walk from Harvey Nichols, Harrod’s or Sloane Street and Sloane Square and all the delights of Knightsbridge, Belgravia and Chelsea.
And it’s not just the location that’s noteworthy, the hotel enjoys stunning uninterrupted views across London’s famous skyline, with the view inside rendered equally impressive thanks to Khuan Chew, the creative genius behind the interiors of the legendary Burj Al Arab Jumeirah.
The Jumeirah Carlton also plays host to restaurants The Rib Room and Chinoiserie as well as having plenty of options for business meetings and events.
St Pancras Renaissance Hotel
Let’s be honest: few hotels are all that memorable; identical corridors in concrete towers. It’s not often that you get to stay in an absolute landmark, but that’s exactly what St Pancras Renaissance Hotel is. The red brick George Gilbert Scott designed gothic masterpiece is one of London’s best known buildings, towering above the station whose name it bears.
Opened in 1873, the hotel closed in 1935 and wasn’t to reopen as a hotel until 2011 when Marriott Hotels revived and rejuvenated it into the living, breathing luxury hotel that now dominates the entrance to St Pancras, effectively acting as the gateway to Europe.
The modern rooms, many of which overlook the Eurostar terminal with views across the canopy covered Victorian station, are well appointed with high ceilings and decently furnished. The hotel’s amenities, from spa to the various dining options, are excellent. The Gilbert Scott Restaurant is worth checking out simply to experience the Victorian surroundings. But then the same could be said for pretty much everything at the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel.
COMO Metropolitan London
The Como Metropolitan London is surrounded by a veritable jungle of larger hotels, just off Hyde Park Corner, a veritable watering hole for international hotel chains, and yet with just 144 rooms, internationally renowned restaurant and reputation for untrammelled luxury, Como Metropolitan Hotel stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the competition.
Oozing Asian sophistication, the hotel is sleek, minimal and cool. Nobu Park Lane sits inside, as well as The Met Bar offering excellent food and drink options. For the larger group or longer stay the hotel boasts a series of self-contained apartments.
As Grade-II listed buildings go The Sanderson is no Georgian masterpiece or Victorian gothic revival palace, but rather a 1960s steel and glass office block. Originally built as the headquarters and showroom for Arthur Sanderson and Sons, wallpaper manufacturers, it reopened as the Sanderson Hotel in 2000 and has taken the very best of its heritage, and combined with the cutting edge design of Philippe Starck and Denton Corker Marshall.
Located just above Oxford Street and part of the Morgans Hotel Group, The Sanderson is as cool as you’d expect for a hotel in the centre of ad agency land. Its newly renovated rooms are beautiful and modern, not here the fusty mansion house hotel style of many competitors, and they have recently been reimagined by Tim Andreas of Banjo, with ingenious design touches and true to the whimsical aesthetic Philippe Starck’s vision.
The Sheraton Grand London Park Lane
The Sheraton Grand Park Lane is grand in more than just name. The Art Deco hotel constantly harks back to its heritage, while remaining totally up to date. If proof were needed, take a detour to the gents toilets in the basement where there is quite possibly London’s best surviving example of Art Deco design, perfectly persevered and in constant use. Back in the lobby and beyond, though, we are firmly in the 21st century.
Restaurant-wise, Mercante is seasonal Italian while the afternoon teas in the Palm Court are second-to-none. Smith & Whistle is a reimagining of a traditional pub but done with great panache and style.
The only question, which should’ve been posed back with it opened in 1927, is why is it named ‘Park Lane’ when it’s on Piccadilly?
Sofitel London St James
Right in the heart of St James’, dominating Waterloo Place, rises the majestic form of Sofitel London St James. The magnificent architecture and dazzling white stone on the outside belie the myriad delicate touches on the inside.
The rooms are classically decorated and appointed, designed with features by Hermes and drawing on a palette of blacks, whites and muted pastels.
Restaurant-wise Sofitel London St James boasts The Balcon, serving fine French cuisine from it’s beautiful ground floor restaurant, while the unmistakable glamour of Coco Chanel is the inspiration behind the St James Bar.
St Martins Lane
Walk into the St Martin’s Lane Hotel and you know you’re somewhere special. It just feels… cool! Perhaps it’s because you’re in one of the most enduringly hip parts of the capital, perhaps it’s because it’s full of the sort of people who implicitly know it’s naff to use the word ‘hip’. Or, indeed, ‘naff’. But mainly it’s because the Philippe Starck designed hotel is just very very cool.
The white cube that rises up above St Martin’s Lane contains rooms with serious views, sitting as it does close to the corner of Trafalgar Square, and the rooms themselves are neat pieces of art, very carefully designed and executed.
Not to be outdone, the dining facilities are noteworthy in themselves, namely in the form of Asia de Cuba, the Latin-Asian fusion restaurant. Blind Spot, the hotel’s cocktail bar, is also worth a look (and a taste!).
Quintessentially furnished in the indomitable style of Kit Kemp, the Soho Hotel is the very essence of London’s most vibrant neighbourhood. The heart of London’s media industry, Soho is a wondrous criss-cross of excitement and intrigue, and it’s eponymous hotel certainly lives up to the hype.
The downstairs rooms, an interconnected series of sitting and drawing rooms, are always bustling in the evenings, with guests spilling from room to room, like the giant party that Soho evokes. The bar and restaurant are generally full and awash with celebrity gossip and rumour.
Upstairs, the rooms are bright and decidedly tranquil, perfect for the night after a private screening in the hotel’s cinema room, a meal at Refuel – the hotel’s excellent restaurant – and the small-hours whiled away in the bar.
51 Buckingham Gate
A suite may be the ultimate expectation in many a hotel, but at Taj 51 Buckingham Gate all the rooms are suites, and the opulence doesn’t stop there.
As part of the Taj Group, one of the world’s most luxurious hotel groups that includes Bombay’s famous Taj Mahal Palace hotel, you can be sure that the Indian restaurant here is sublime, and that the luxury won’t stop there. The suites are well proportioned and perfectly appointed and the architecture is especially noteworthy.
Build around a courtyard the shamrock green glazing contrasts with the terracotta frieze winding around the wall. At the centre of the courtyard sits a fountain, supported by bronze nymphs and many of the rooms overlooking feature Italian style balconies, adding to the theatre of this exquisite hotel.
If luxury oozes, then this one’s got it coming up through the floorboards. From the wood panelling to the Art Deco styling, The Beaumont does everything with style.
Seemingly lifted from the 1930s, this hotel in the seemingly forgotten hinterland of Mayfair close to Selfridges, the US embassy and Hyde Park is a hidden gem. It’s also the first hotel from restauranteurs Corbin and King (known for The Wolseley and Delaunay among others) has captured a golden age of travel, hotels and luxury perfectly.
And, as you’d expect, the restaurant, The Colony Grill Room, is exquisite, and The American Bar is a modern-day masterpiece, transporting you back to yesteryear in the very best way. Freshen up in the hammam spa and go and explore London.
The Bingham Hotel
South West London
And now for something completely different. London isn’t just the cramped streets of Soho, the shopfronts of Mayfair or the skyscrapers of The City. It sprawls, and then, abruptly, it ends. And it ends in Richmond, that buffer between metropolis and countryside. Making The Bingham quite possibly London’s most perfect hotel.
What is effectively a country hotel, The Bingham sits on the edge of the River Thames in the leafy suburb of Richmond and invites guests to luxuriate in their roll-top copper baths, eat in The Bingham Restaurant, sip cocktails in the bar slowly and at leisure. Slowly. You’re not on Oxford Street now, you can take your time.
However, should you need to visit the sights, enjoy the culture or the mayhem of central London then you can simply jump on a train or tube and be in the thick-of-it within 20 minutes. Making The Bingham the perfect compromise, if not the perfect hotel.
Bulgari Hotel, London
Bulgari make exquisite jewellery, beautifully crafted watches, the finest fragrances and, since 2012, hotels. People may have raised an eyebrow when the Italian fashion house decided to open a hotel, but they’ve taken exactly the same approach to handmaking a hotel as they do to a piece of jewellery, with service to match, and six years later they’re still going strong.
Enter the Bulgari Hotel lobby and it’s immediately apparent that you’re somewhere remarkable. This is a hotel that does things differently, channelling the very essence of a fashion brand into a hotel. The result is stunning attention to every detail, the most incredibly attentive staff and a building that’s beautiful inside and out.
With a palette of blacks and whites, gorgeous wooden panelling, leathers and chrome this is one of the best looking hotels in the world.
The Capital Hotel
Let’s face it, often the quality we really want in a hotel is that it’s a genuine home-from-home. Leave the business of being huge multinationals or imposing grand marques to others. The Capital shrugs that off and instead works on being a place you want to come home to after a day in London.
It’s not that there’s no grandeur, but rather that it’s on a smaller and more manageable scale, the rooms are attractive and the location isn’t to be sniffed at given it’s within spitting distance of Harrod’s.
And the glittering jewel in the crown has to be Nathan Outlaw’s restaurant, Outlaws At The Capital.
The Grazing Goat
The country inn has come to London in The Grazing Goat. With all the advantages of driving to the country to a destination inn without having to ever leave town, the hotel and public house has a distinctly rustic feel, brilliant food and is perfectly positioned in Marylebone for a great stay with all that London has to offer on the doorstep.
The hotel ties up the offering perfectly, along with the traditional English ‘grub’, cooked to perfection you can stay in one of 12 lovingly kept rooms.
The same keen eye that has made the small chain, including the Thomas Cubitt, such a success has been applied throughout the property, marrying all the parts together as one perfect modern-rustic reinterpretation of the country inn.
South West London
For museums you want to head to South Kensington, where they’ve got the Natural History Museum, Science Museum and V&A, but the one place you won’t find any museum pieces is The Kensington Hotel. Like the V&A it’s got excellent furniture, decor and style, like The Science Museum it’s packed full of modern tech and like the Natural History Museum – um, okay we ran out of things at this point (there is no Blue Whale at The Kensington!).
But where the whale might have gone there’s instead a stunning hotel filling a row of stucco townhouses on South Ken’s Queen’s Gate. As part of the Doyle Collection, alongside The Westbury and The Bloomsbury, guests are guaranteed a level of quality, but the interiors and the decor are still pretty mind-blowing.
Although there’s a world of culture on the doorstep, you’d be quickly forgiven for deciding to never leave the hotel, especially if you happened to be unable to tear yourself away from Townhouse, the restaurant formed of three interconnecting townhouse drawing rooms.
Crowne Plaza London – The City
City of London
Whether you’re working on a crucial international deal in The City or you want the perfect staging-post for an invasion of the Tower of London, the Crowne Plaza London is worth considering.
Built on the foundations of Henry VIII’s Bridewell Palace, the hotel is right in the centre of The Square Mile, London’s financial district, and sports two restaurants; Chinese Cricket Club, serving Sichuan and dim sum, or Italian restaurant Diciannove.
Add into the mix the subterranean vaults of the hotel’s Voltaire Cocktails And Champagne Bar and you’ve a winning formula.
Careful attention to detail, lots of light and an ideal location are all factors that make The Marylebone a brilliant find. The hotel, part of the Doyle Collection, is bijou but beautiful, vibrant yet tranquil, a delight to stay in and an ideal location for a meeting, drink or event.
Set in the heart of Marylebone, the hotel that bears the neighbourhood’s name is well placed for the shopping on nearby Oxford Street, a walk up to Regent’s Park, a day spent browsing galleries, in fact everything that the capital has to offer.
Mondrian London at Sea Containers is the epitome of cool. The giant Southbank building seemingly floats, a stone’s-throw from the Tate Modern and a river’s-width distance from St Paul’s. Although the huge building was originally designed as a hotel, it was converted into an office block at the last minute, hence being called Sea Containers House, after former long-term tenant, Sea Containers. However, with much of the building converted back into a hotel in 2014 The Mondrian was born.
The hotel evokes the nautical industrial feel of the the shipping industry, thanks to designer Tom Dixon there are nods to the building’s sea containers heritage throughout, from the ship models scattered throughout to the giant anchor to the copper reception desk designed to resemble a ship’s hull.
There’s an in-house screening room, spa, hammam and fitness centre and the rooms to book are the balcony rooms with a view across the Thames. The Rumpus Room rooftop bar is great for relaxing with a drink, but perhaps our favourite aspect is Dandelyan, the award winning bar serving the most delectable cocktails. This is a hotel worth going well out of the way to visit.
That bit of London they’ve been trying to rebrand as ‘Midtown’ for the past few years might not be the place you’d expect to find very much of real interest, after all – all the excitement happens in nearby Soho and Covent Garden. Which only heightens the pleasant surprise that is The Rosewood.
Set in a grand Edwardian Grade-II listed listed building moments from Holborn tube station you enter the hotel through an imposing arch and are immediately plunged into a world of sophistication and grandeur. The Rosewood has been extensively transformed by interior designers Toni Chi and Martin Brudnizki and their genius touch shows at every turn.
The bar, Scarfe’s Bar, which immortalises the art and wit of cartoonist Gerald Scarfe, is as beautiful to behold as it is to enjoy a cocktail or two in, while the The Holborn Dining Room is a perfect stop-off before dashing to the theatre or to enjoy the pleasures which await minutes from the hotel in the West End. And don’t forget to check if there’s anything going on in the hotel’s courtyard, it often plays host to a spectacle or popup.
Baglioni Hotel London
Italians just do things better than us Brits. They have flair, they have design, panache and chutzpah! If you want doormen and country house grandeur, ask an Englishman; if you’re after a sophisticated business hotel, find an American, but if you want style, opulence and jazz-hands fabulousness, you need an Italian.
London’s Bagloni Hotel feels like they floated a Venician palazzo away from the Grand Canal in the dead of night and quietly ran it aground on the edge of Kensington Gardens. Its gold and marble inlaid lobby sets the tone (and colour scheme) that’s repeated across rooms and the bar and throughout The Baglioni. Every part of the hotel is simply reassuringly extravagant, and we love it.
The restaurant is brilliance, bringing the flavours of Italy to Kensington, while the spa, designed by Rebosio+Spagnulo offers male and female steam rooms and treatment rooms.
The Goring has the royal seal of approval, literally, they are the only hotel to hold a royal warrant for hospitality services. The Goring is notable not only as a favourite of the Queen Mother but also as where Kate Middleton spent her last pre-princess days. And if it’s good enough for the royal family, then who are we to argue?
You can’t help feel that you’re somewhere out of the ordinary, stepping into The Goring. The quintessential English hotel impresses at every step. The bedrooms feel as though they might be at Buckingham Palace, which itself is just over the road from The Goring, with their high ceilings, grand furniture and silk lined walls.
The restaurant has a Michelin star and is an unmissable part of the Goring experience with everything you’d expect from one of the country’s best restaurants set within one of its grandest hotels.
Dukes catches you unawares. You almost stumble across it, nestled as it is down St James’ Place within its own little courtyard. But this bijou hotel packs a serious punch.
Plunging into the ground there’s a gym and function rooms deep underground, while above-ground the rooms are spacious and well appointed (including some dog-friendly rooms). The restaurant is delightful and the hotel bar is one of the finest in St James’, replete with Cognac and cigar garden and allegedly serving the best Martinis in the world.
The hotel may be neatly folded into a corner of St James’ that many-a taxi driver can’t find, but this very secrecy is part of the appeal. Indeed, this discretion probably is what inspired thriller writer Ian Flemming, a Dukes regular, to ascribe Martini to his most famous creation, James Bond. It’ll leave you stirred, though never shaken.
People say that The Lanesborough is the most expensive hotel in London. It certainly deserves to be. In what is effectively a palace on Hyde Park Corner the hotel exudes grandeur.
The hotel just underwent an extensive renovation and as a result everything, literally everything, is perfect. The rooms are bright, airy and beautifully furnished while the facilities are second-to-none.
Celeste, the jawdropping restaurant, has a Michelin star (of course) while the garden room is famous for being the best place in London to enjoy a cigar.
Zetter Townhouse Clerkenwell
Things can’t get better than the Zetter. The West End might have been cool in the 20th century, but now the East has taken the mantle, so it’s only right that one of London’s coolest hotels should be in Clerkenwell.
The Zetter Townhouse is a boutique joint with just 13 rooms and aims to emulate the private house of ‘an eccentric great aunt’! Occupying a townhouse on the historic cobbled St John’s Square, the Zetter Townhouse smashes the great aunt target, and then some. Eclectically decorated with quirky touches, guests are guaranteed to fall in love with the atmosphere, the rooms and the service.
What’s more, the hotel’s cocktail lounge pays homage to the area’s distilling heritage with a unique combination of drinks, while The Dining Room (don’t forget, we’re meant to be in Great Aunt Wilhemina’s house still) serves an excellent dinner. You couldn’t feel more at home.
Dean Street Townhouse
Dean Street, at the very heart of Soho, plays home to the Dean Street Townhouse, which itself goes very much to the heart of Soho. This neighbourhood has undergone a huge transition over the last couple decades, from den of iniquity to fashion capital, and the Dean Street Townhouse is the very personification of this, having been totally revamped by owners Soho House.
The Dean Street Townhouse boasts impeccable decor and furnishings in a range of sizes but all perfectly crafted. Downstairs the restaurant is invariably buzzing with all sorts of gossip and scandal, while diners are looked down upon by artwork by the likes of Tracey Emin and Peter Blake. Welcome to Soho!
Ham Yard Hotel
The Ham Yard Hotel is the latest hotel in the Firmdale empire and quite possibly it’s best. It’s certainly the grandest, with 91 rooms and suites, spa, screening room, huge events spaces, bowling alley, a bar and restaurant which are always packed and the all-important roof terrace. They even keep their own bees!
As with all Firmdale hotels it’s the brainchild of designer Kit Kemp and as all the hallmarks of one of her creations, not least the vibrant colour palette or attention to tiny detail.
No hotel enjoys such cachet as The Ritz. It’s synonymous with quality worldwide. The Ritz is quite possibly the most famous hotel in existence and we can’t stress enough that it is so well deserved; a hotel that doesn’t rest upon it’s extensive laurels.
Walking into The Ritz is not like walking into any hotel, guests instantly understand that this is a hotel like no other. Doors swing open ahead of you, operated by men in impeccable uniforms, as you walk toward the glittering surroundings of the Palm Court, the piece de resistance of the hotel. Or, at least, it would be if this were any other hotel, but The Ritz could also point to it’s world famous Michelin starred restaurant, or the Rivoli Bar, in fact it’s an entire hotel of pieces de resistance!
The rooms could easily be mistaken for chambers within a grand French chateau, with their high ceilings and Sun King furnishings. The French theme continues, or starts, outside with an exterior is built in a neoclassical Louis XVI style. The overall effect is impressive and awe inspiring.
The Westbury Mayfair
The Westbury lies dead in the centre of Mayfair, making it the perfect staging post for shopping in the West End, theatre, culture or business. Of course you may not want to leave the confines of the hotel itself, and understandably so.
The hotel has undergone a recent and extensive revamp and the rooms are gorgeous, from the Signature King rooms, themselves spacious despite being the smallest, to the impressive penthouse suites with extensive balconies overlooking Conduit Street.
The Polo Bar is dark and stylish, perfect for meetings or drinks while Alyn Williams At The Westbury, the new restaurant, is only getting going and is certainly one to watch. For something lighter, guests can also enjoy the sleek interior and fishy art of Tsukiji Sushi Restaurant.
The Savoy is in a league of its own, so much so that even the road leading up to it has it’s very own rules (it’s the only road in the UK where drivers drive on the right). The imposing hotel on The Strand remains very much at the top of its game 130 years after it opened, and the 200 rooms and 67 suites are a in a mixture of Art Deco and Edwardian stylings, with many overlooking the Thames and commanding amazing views of the river, the London Eye, Parliament and beyond.
Downstairs The Savoy Grill, under the care of Gordon Ramsay, is acknowledged as one of London’s best eateries, while The American Bar is iconic and pretty much defined the American bar genre. Simpsons In The Strand, also part of the hotel, serves some of the most remarked upon and notable roasts in the capital and Kaspar’s at The Savoy offers something a little more informal. Or for Art Deco decedance go for cocktails at The Beaufort Bar.
The Langham is grand. Very grand. Constructed in the 1860s it was the largest and most modern hotel in London at the time, and remains one of London’s most treasured hotels, but also more than 150 years on it also retains a level of grandiose that few can equal.
And it’s not just the imposing exterior that impresses, the Palm Court dazzles and is the ideal place for eating and drinking, not least when it comes to afternoon tea. Dining comes courtesy Michel Roux Jr whose Roux at The Landau is an unmissable experience, as are cocktails at the celebrated Artesian.
Whether you’re visiting the grand ballroom or one of the 380 rooms there’s no doubt that you’re somewhere that can’t fail to impress.
Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square
The imposing structure of the 1922 headquarters of the Port of London Authority looms large at the entrance to The City, no mean feat given it’s neighbours include Tower Bridge and the Tower of London. Carefully converted into one of London’s most exciting openings of 2017, Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square is undeniably as impressive as it is luxurious.
The ceilings soar, marble floors sparkle and guests are left in no uncertainty that this is a special hotel. And it’s not just the surroundings, the Michelin starred restaurant, La Dame De Pic London sees renowned French Chef Anne-Sophie Pic bring her skills to bear, while the rooms are plush and uncompromisingly comfortable.
The May Fair Hotel
The May Fair Hotel dominates the corner of Stratton and Berkeley Streets, an entire block in central Mayfair, and it needs to be to fit its 400 rooms, cinema, restaurant, bar and casino. Not to mention the Cigar Bar.
This is a hotel for people with money to spend and with a certain expectation of luxury, and on both counts the hotel excels.
A brilliant hotel, ideally located and with a great bar.
Hotel Café Royal
Hotel Café Royal says it all in the name. A destination that prides itself on pure luxury, cuddled up on London’s famed Regent Street. Strikingly over 150 years old, the hotel is a staple of the city’s heritage and has welcomed guests inclusive of Oscar Wilde and Muhammad Ali, Winston Churchill and David Bowie, David Chipperfield and Albert Adrià…and that’s just to name a few!
Hotel Café Royal champions its heritage, Britishness, with sumptuous afternoon tea offerings, fine dining Laurent at Café Royal restaurant; a grill and sushi bar, and various cosy yet chic lounging areas inclusive of the Green Bar, Papillon and an Oscar Wilde lounge.