London is trumpeted for many things – its culture, its food scene, its nightlife, its cosmopolitan crowd – but reasonable prices is, alas, not one them. It is, famously, an expensive place to live and to visit. And yet, if you are planning a trip to the capital, it may buoy both your spirits and your coffers to know that there are some good budget options available when it comes to booking a hotel. These are the affordable London hotels we think feel more expensive than they are.

The Bedford, Balham

The Bedford

The Bedford in Balham has been an institution since it opened in 1931. It has attracted the likes of Harry Hill, Frank Skinner, Ed Sheeran, Paolo Nutini and Joe Lycett, all of whom showcased their stuff here before they made it big, and it is heralded for its legendary Sunday roasts. But best of all, if you do decide to come for a long lunch or supper, there’s no need to stumble home afterwards: instead, simply climb the stairs to one of its fifteen cosy boutique bedrooms. From £119. Book it.

New Road Hotel, Whitechapel

There are strong New York overtones to be revelled in at the New Road Hotel in Whitechapel, which is housed within a former textiles factory. The rooms are not big, but that is not why you’re here. It’s all about compact style and making the most of the space, which exudes industrial chic. The Chophouse restaurant is presided over by Marco Pierre White (albeit, one senses, from afar), and guests can take advantage of a hot tub on the roof, as well as a pool table, library and games room. From £99. Book it.

The Buxton, Whitechapel

A fondness for Whitechapel seems to help when it comes to chic yet inexpensive hotels; the area appears to be a magnet for them. One such is The Buxton, a pub and hotel which sits directly on Brick Lane, famous for its string of excellent curry houses. Found within a characterful old pub, it won the ‘Open Right’ award at the 2019 Food Made Good Awards, which garlands businesses that have launched with sustainability built in, and was shortlisted by Le Fooding as one of the top best new bistros in the world. Not bad. The rooms are simple and unfussy and perfect for a comfy yet pared-back night in capital, right in the thick of things. Feeling peckish? All you need do is meander downstairs. From £150. Book it.

The Z Hotel, Covent Garden

Handcrafted beds. Clever, compact design. No frills simplicity. What the 113-room Z Hotel in Covent Garden lacks in extras, it makes up for in slick design. Simply, there is nothing here that is extraneous, and yet guests have everything they need, from wi-fi to tea and coffee to plenty of cleverly designed storage space. Plus, it looks over Covent Garden Piazza, so you couldn’t be more central if you tried. Continental breakfast is free, as is evening cheese and wine. From £113. Book it.

Mama Shelter, Shoreditch

Budget Hotels Mama Shelter Shoreditch

Founded by Serge Trigano and his sons Jérémie and Benjamin, the Mama Shelter story began with an ‘urban refuge’ in Paris’ 20th district. Since then, it has gone from strength-to-strength, offering playful places to stay at reasonable price points without compromising on design across nine continents. We love its Shoreditch outpost, which is perfectly placed for all the capital’s thrills, which are found in abundance on the doorstep. And yet, if you did want to stay in for a quiet night, the rooms are chic and the movies are free. From £92. Book it.

Room 2, Chiswick

Dubbed a ‘hometel’, Room 2 in Chiswick is inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement (see the area’s Bedford Park for more examples of the architecture) and, as such, its onus is on local artists and craftsfolk. With a kitchenette in every room, guests can use the establishment flexibly, all while reassuring themselves of its eco-credentials: they describe themselves as ‘a net zero hometel, 100% of the carbon emissions from conception through to end-of-life have been reduced and rebalanced to zero.’ And it’s pretty stylish to boot. From £109. Book it.

The Pilgrim, Paddington

Sometimes when you arrive in London, all you want to do is alight the train and flop. The Pilgrim in Paddington is perfect for that, beckoning the weary traveller into its ultra-stylish embrace. Comprised of four Victorian terrace houses yolked together, it nods decoratively to the period architecture in which its bones are steeped, all while keeping things decidedly contemporary. There are communal pantries and thoughtful home-from-home touches, such as Marshall speakers so you can lull yourself to sleep to the sounds of your favourite podcast. From £149. Book it.

CitizenM, South Bank


Any visitor wanting to be right in the thick of things could do no better than to check into citizenM on the South Bank. Shakespeare’s Globe, The London Eye, the Royal Festival Hall, Borough Market, Tate Modern: all are but an amble away. We like its smart, sultry look and streamlined compactness, but a caveat: everything here is conducted by app, which could be good news if you like that sort of thing; less so (or even wildly infuriating) if you don’t. What you will get is an XL bed, a power shower and super-fast wifi. From £127. Book it.