There are around 140,000 hotel rooms in London — historic, budget, family-friendly, glamorous boutique, luxury and quirky options just for starters. But it also means the choice of where to stay can be overwhelming, whether you’re planning a short break in the capital or looking for a place for friends and family to stay.
So from the hottest new openings to the latest packages and renovations, we’ve found some of the best places to stay in London.
Best for… five-star families
The Arch, Marylebone
There are certain things you expect from a luxury five-star hotel: posh toiletries, a fluffy white robe. What you don’t normally find is that the robes come in children’s sizes and the toiletries include a kids’ brand.
It’s all part of the new Family Fun package from The Arch hotel near Marble Arch, which has realised that plenty of parents don’t want to sacrifice the usual comforts just because they’re travelling with children.
And it works beautifully, as you’d expect from a Small Luxury Hotels of the World member. Even with a rollaway bed, our suite had masses of room as well as hand-painted wallpaper and duck down duvets. Plus, through the doors lay our own patio., a traditional library lined shelves in the living area and a Nespresso machine and mini bar were in reach.
After drinks in the champagne bar or the travel-themed Martini Library, the restaurant’s menu is inspired by the ‘Best of British’. Jewish-owned, the hotel can also arrange kosher meals, as well as helping with lifts and electronic keys on Shabbat, plus information on timings of services at the Western Marble Arch and West London synagogues, both within walking distance.
From £390 per night. www.thearchlondon.com
Read our full review
Best for… high-tech history
Eccleston Square Hotel, Pimlico
When a little-known hotel in a slightly insalubrious area suddenly gets voted ‘Best in London’, a visit is de rigeur. And the Eccleston Square Hotel doesn’t disappoint.
In our chic little sleep space, there was a place for everything (if not much elbow room) from clothes to bedside treats; it is this ingenious high design and technological innovation which won top votes from 300,000 readers of Conde Nast Traveler in 2016’s awards.
Cutting-edge modernity is unexpected within a pair of listed Georgian townhouses behind Victoria Coach Station, where a former budget hotel has been converted to a luxury stay. Not nearly so smart as the Pimlico side of this mixed neighbourhood, it’s surely due for a massively regentrifying upgrade.
And no expense has been spared. Guests sleep in top of the range Hastens massage beds, the built-in televisions have huge HD screens and concierge and butler service are available at the touch of an in-room iPad.
A lovely touch in central London was a balcony overlooking the square with table and chairs at which to enjoy a beer from the minibar.
Rooms from £138.60 per night. www.ecclestonesquarehotel.com
Full review by Anthea Gerrie
Best for… a unique stay
Gir Lion Lodge, London Zoo
If you’ve ever fancied sleeping with the lions, this is as about as close as you can get — if you want to be certain of having breakfast the next day, rather than becoming breakfast. Inside London Zoo’s Land of the Lions exhibit, in the heart of Regent’s Park, the nine Gir Lion Lodges have to be some of the capital’s most unusual beds.
Opened last summer, the brightly coloured lodges are inspired by traditional buildings in India’s Gir Forest, where the only wild population of Asiatic lions still lives. And while you won’t get the mod cons of even a budget chain, that’s not why you check in here — instead, there are exclusive after-hours tours at sunset, after dark and the next morning, along with two days’ access to the zoo.
Between your two-course dinner and breakfast, you might not be able to wander around at will but with the chance to lie back and listen to the roars of big cats or be woken by a flock of flamingos, you’ll hardly wish to.
From £438 per lodge, based on two sharing. www.zsl.org/zsl-london-zoo/gir-lion-lodge
Best for… boutique budget
Gloucester Place, Marylebone
The Z Hotels chain works on the basis that the main thing you want from your accommodation is a good night’s sleep and a decent location.
Designed for a one or two night stay, with the modcons you do want but without charging for the luxuries you won’t need, Z Gloucester Place is the latest to open in the capital — bringing the total to six hotels in London with two more planned, not to mention properties in Liverpool and Glasgow.
A conversion of five townhouses not far from Marylebone Road, space is definitely at a premium but all the essentials are there without compromising entirely on style. There’s a choice of Queen and King beds as well as suites (and a Club option nearby, including some extras thrown in on top of the normal buffet breakfast), plus en-suite shower, complimentary toiletries, 48 inch TV and free WiFi.
And if there isn’t a huge amount of storage or floor space, it’s a small price to pay — quite literally.
From £60 per night. thezhotels.com
Best for… shops & music
Brook Green hotel, near Shepherd’s Bush
Brook Green may not be the first area most people check when they’re booking a hotel, but there’s a good reason this spot has been popular with visitors to the capital for over a century.
And the former 19th century coaching inn here has had a rather more modern facelift after its refurbishment last year.
Today, the retro touches in the 17 rooms are more Mad Men than Victorian, with dial phones, vintage map prints and mid-century mustards and teals. The beds are thoroughly modern, as is the free WiFi, Sky TV, laptop-sized safe and rainhead shower.
Downstairs, there’s a speakeasy-style bar with cocktails featuring locally distilled Sipsmith gin, as well as a restaurant, where chocolate hazelnut waffles and smashed avocado with poached egg are distinctly 21st century.
Only a short walk away lies Shepherd’s Bush Green, whether you want retail therapy in Westfield or gigs at the Empire at night, not to mention several cinemas and a string of restaurants plus the West End half a dozen stops away by tube. All without West End prices.
From £109 per person per night. brookgreenhotel.co.uk
Read our full review
2017's ones to watch
Ten Trinity Square
This new hotel from Four Seasons is set in a Grade II-listed building near Tower Hill, with the first UK restaurant by Anne-Sophie Pic — the only female French chef to hold three Michelin stars — plus a Roman-inspired spa coming this spring.
The Aparthotel company is opening its first venture in the capital in Stratford this spring, with the Olympic Park and Westfield Stratford nearby, and a string of rooms sized from studio to suite.
The Soho House group is opening its new flagship five-star hotel in the Grade I listed former Midland Bank headquarters in the City of London this spring. Originally designed by Sir Edwin ‘Ned’ Lutyens in 1924, expect 20s and 30s styling and nine restaurants.
Nobu Hotel Shoreditch
The first European hotel from the Nobu Hotels brand is coming to east London this summer, with a promised London twist to the east-meets-west philosophy, as well as restaurant menus from chef Nobu Matsuhisa.
Great Scotland Yard Hotel
The original Scotland Yard HQ in Westminster is due to open as a luxury hotel this year after a multi-million pound transformation. Start saving, the most expensive rooms promise to cost £10,000 per night.