Did you know there are upward of 123,000 hotel rooms in the capital (a figure estimated in 2010; it is doubtless now even more than that by now)? That means one thing: a dizzying array of choices for those in the market to book a place to lay down their head for a night or two or to book a city break.

There are, of course, easy and quick ways to narrow down that list. Budget, area, Tripadvisor reviews, newspaper and magazine write-ups, and star ratings all whittle the search down pretty reliably. But what about if you are looking for the crème de la crème? How do you know what qualifies one of the best 5-star hotels in London as superior to another that also lay claim to the accolade of being the ‘best luxury hotel in London?’ The answer, as with so many things in life, often comes down to taste.

hotel sign

The capital abounds with all manner of options, from those 5-star hotels in central London that are steeped in history to the best hotels in London for families to the best spa hotels in London. There are slick modern establishments; there are those whose names are synonymous with royalty, literary figures – and even historic inventions (we’re looking at you, Brown’s, site of Britain’s first telephone call, made during Alexander Graham Bell’s visit from Boston in 1877). And then there are the best hotels in London with a view, over which to look while enjoying a sundowner on a balcony or terrace.

We take a look at some of the best hotels in central London and what to consider when booking one.

What Area In London Is Best To Stay In?

If you’re looking for the best place to stay in London for tourists, you may well already have a pretty good idea that, given the sprawling nature of the city, central London is a pretty good and safe bet. But what qualifies as central London? After all, it is not just one amorphous mass; the central part of London is carved up into many distinct areas, each of which has its unique character.

Best hotels in London

Mayfair, for example, is a very different proposition to Soho, and what you’re looking for from your stay will dictate which would be the best location for you. The former, for example, is ideal for high-end shopping and high culture, while the latter is the place to stay if the thrum of buzzing nightlife tops your London to-do list.

London X London is an excellent resource if you’re looking for guidance on the areas of central London, their highlights, and the best hotels that can be found in each.

The blog suggests the West End for first-timers, its area encompassing Piccadilly, Covent Garden, and Leicester Square, and offering a wealth of activities, from evenings at the theatre to shopping on Oxford Street. (For a hotel recommendation, the blog suggests Hotel Café Royal).

Meanwhile, it names the South Bank as the best for cultural tourist attractions (think Tate Modern, The National Theatre, and The Globe) and suggests Sea Containers as an excellent base from which to explore it all. Kensington is regarded as the best place to stay with a family, thanks to its profusion of parks (Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, and Holland Park), its slight remove from the bustle, and its excellent child-friendly museums (V&A, The Science Museum and The Natural History Museum). The recommendation? The lovely Ampersand Hotel in South Kensington.

hotel room

For more advice on areas to stay in and the best hotels in London, do visit London X London.

Things To Consider When Choosing A Hotel In London

When deciding on the best hotel to stay in London, it is helpful to know what you’re looking for. Whilst Tripadvisor reviews can be a really good steer, you can also do much of the filtering for yourself first.

The Marble Arch’s blog has a very good list to check off for anyone on the hunt for the best hotel in London city center – all of which apply to the whole spectrum, whether it’s the most luxurious hotel in London you’re after or the best cheap hotels in central London.

It advises considering location as one of the foremost factors in your choice. As it points out, ‘Although staying in a central location may be more expensive it certainly will have better access to essential locations that you need to visit on your trip.’

Second, up is whether you choose to go for an independent or a chain hotel. The latter tends to offer familiarity and a guaranteed level of uniform service. The former, meanwhile, is all about the personal touch.

Thirdly, do consider what you might need from the services the hotel offers. For example, if you are going to need laundry or room service, do check ahead that your hotel has such services available.

The fourth way to discern if a hotel is right for you is to look at its reviews. As they write, ‘One of the best ways to choose a hotel is by reading guest reviews of the accommodation and facilities available on independent websites. They are a reliable way to know what is available and what may be lacking. You do, however, need to look at the specifics as to what areas may or may not be needed by you, in case of a negative review.’

family hotel in London

Finally, do check the hotel’s restaurant offering. If you know you’ll want to dine in at least some of the time, do look into whether lunch and dinner are served daily. Additionally, it is worth checking if breakfast is complementary or whether you have to pay extra for it. As the Marble Arch blog writes, ‘There are even hotels that offer rooms with a small attached kitchen area with meal preparation facilities for those who prefer to make something on their own. Keeping the meal option in mind is vital as it could fall quite expensive to have to eat out. If you are staying at a hotel in an expensive city like London and have to eat out it will lead to additional expenditure, something which is best avoided.’

To read the whole article, click here.

Our List Of Best Hotels


Best Hotels In Central London

Time Out has an excellent list of the best hotels in central London, which is drawn along two lines: the West End and The City. The former is more likely to attract tourists, while the latter is ideal for visitors who are on business.

No such list would be complete without a nod to Claridge’s, of which Time Out writes, ‘Art deco oasis Claridge’s has hosted many starry events through the years and always attracts a fashionable crowd, with its luxuriously designed rooms and suites. Some guestrooms continue the deco theme, while others are more classic, but all have beautiful furnishings.’

For opulence right in the heart of King’s Cross, the traveler has two excellent options. The first is the refurbished St Pancras Renaissance Hotel. ‘Restored from its original structure, the new and improved railway hotel beckons guests with its huge grand staircase and arched windows, which are matched with faithfully authentic decoration, with fleur-de-lys wallpaper, painted ceilings, and faux-medieval murals.’

The second, meanwhile, comes in the form of the Great Northern Hotel, ‘the original railway hotel’, first built in 1854 and later restored and reopened in 2015. There you can, ‘Luxuriate in the public spaces such as the GNH Bar, opening directly onto King’s Cross station, with its chandeliers and Belle Epoque mirrored ceiling. By contrast, rooms are sleek, chic, and contemporary, with vintage-style Lefroy-Brooks bathrooms. Some are paneled in dark walnut, while smaller ones are modeled on sleeper carriages.’

For a hotel that bursts at the seams with originality and flair, you can do no better than Hazlitt’s in Soho, which is set across four townhouses and where you can expect ‘Painted paneled walls, open fireplaces, antique furnishings, and old oil portraits in gilt frames all contribute to Hazlitt's old-fashioned charm.’ Wall-to-wall character lives alongside five-star luxury to a very appealing effect.

To find more ideas and to read the full article here.

Best Hotels In London With A View

The London skyline is one of the most iconic in the world. Who wouldn’t, then, want to find a hotel from which you can drink it all in comfort, luxury, and style?

The Most Perfect View blog does exactly what it says on the tin, comprehensively listing the hotels with the best views in the city. Topping its recommendations is, perhaps unsurprisingly, The Shangri-La in the Shard. It says, ‘When it comes to hotels with a panoramic view in London, this is among our top choices for enjoying those magical London vistas you’ve been dreaming of for so long. By staying at The Shard, the tallest building in the United Kingdom, you will be able to experience aerial views of London. The Tower Bridge, the River Thames, and The Gherkin are only a few examples of London landmarks available through your room’s window. The hotel operates between levels 34-52 and features the highest hotel bar in London with a view: G?NG. If you feel like a swim, head for level 52 and dip in the spectacular infinity Skypool with a panoramic view of London.’

Also making the list is the inimitable The Savoy, which has hosted the luminary likes of Winston Churchill, Frank Sinatra, and The Beatles. They say, ‘If you consider this world-class hotel for its views, you won’t be disappointed; pick a river view room and wake up to a romantic view of the London Eye, Thames River, and Big Ben. The five-star London hotel benefits from an exceptional location, caressed by the Thames and within walking distance to Convent Garden and the affluent Mayfair and Knightsbridge areas.’

Finally, The Four Seasons Park Lane also claims a spot on the list thanks to its ‘truly spectacular panoramic park view: the London Eye, Hyde Park, The Shard, and Big Ben dominate the skyline.’

For more ideas click here

Best 5-Star Hotel In London

dinner at hotel

London does not lack five-star hotels. But which are the best of the best? Helpfully, Luxury London has come up with a definitive list, which we dive into here.

The Rocco Forte-run, Olga Polizzi-designed Brown’s Hotel is a very happy mix of innovation and tradition. Right in the heart of Mayfair, just a short stroll from The Royal Academy, it could scarcely be better located if it tried. It is also one of the very best family hotels in London. Kipling wrote The Jungle Book here. Oscar Wilde stayed. And Agatha Christie is based At Bertram’s Hotel within its hallowed townhouses. Plus, the food is sublime, thanks to star chef Adam Byatt who presides over its superb restaurant.

Ham Yard Hotel, part of the Firmdale chain, meanwhile, demands a mention in any such list, its hip crowd flocking thanks to the chic décor (the vision of the uber designer, Kit Kemp), the superior cocktails, the in-house bowling alley, and the on-site theatre.

And finally, the neoclassical The Lanesborough, which reopened in 2015, offers unalloyed luxury in an ideal spot overlooking Hyde Park from Knightsbridge. First opened in 1844, its refurb references its Regency era origins, with chandeliers cascading dramatically from the ceiling and classical sculptures dotted around the interior. Meanwhile, its spa was named the best new spa in the world upon its opening. There is much to love here.

To find more ideas and to read the full article now.

Best Spa Hotel In London

hotel with spa

Amid all the thrills of a trip to London, time and space to wind down are imperative. Harpers Bazaar rounds up the best spa hotels in the capital.

We, like HB, are avowed fans of the extraordinary Aire Ancient Baths. They write, ‘Entirely lit by candles and free from technology, Aire offers a complete disconnect from the outside world, which is no easy feat for a spa situated in the very center of London. While others are racing towards hi-tech treatments and buzzy new devices, Aire is staying true to its traditional spa roots and offering complete, unrestricted relaxation.’

Meanwhile, for pure indulgence, it recommends The Bulgari Spa, a subterranean sanctuary that ‘offers world-class facial and body treatments alongside the capital's most serene indoor pool, saunas and steam rooms, and a relaxation space worthy of wiling away the hours in.’

Find more ideas here

Best Family Hotel In London

If you’re traveling with the family in tow, the chances are that your criteria will be somewhat different from those going it alone, with friends, or as part of a couple. Many of the best family-orientated hotels will offer cots, family rooms, or even babysitting services. Visit London outlines some of the best – and here we take our pick of their list.

On the higher-end scale of the list, the Athenaeum in Mayfair is hard to beat. They say, ‘Rely on the Athenaeum's kids concierge for the perfect family stay in London. Even before you arrive at this Mayfair family hotel in London, they'll be in touch to make sure your kids have their favorite DVDs and treat to keep them happy. Once settled into your family room or one of its family apartments, they can arrange your perfect itinerary, from bike hire to tickets for fun experiences.’

The Melia White House, meanwhile, might be part of a global chain, but its service is personal and perfect – especially when it comes to little ones. They say, ‘There are presents on arrival, a special kids' menu, and even their toiletries for a spot of pampering. Stay in a spacious family room, which accommodates two adults plus two children under the age of 11 for no additional charge.’ Ideal.

Read more here


hotels with view

The key to booking a memorable stay in London is to think ahead, do your research, and decide exactly what location suits you best, and what amenities and services you’ll need to make use of. Crucially, it pays to decide what will best suit the sort of trip you’re planning, whether it’s a romantic getaway, a business trip, or a family break. The research done ahead of time will then allow you to relax and make the most of one of the best cities in the world.

August 2022

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