Rosewood London

Best Hotels in London

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The capital's finest staycation spots

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Maybe you live in the capital and just want a change and a rest after months of lockdown. Or perhaps you are a country dweller and crave a dose of its buzz, shopping, thrilling culture and equally thrilling world-class restaurants. Whichever, London’s hotels make brilliant – and sometimes surprisingly affordable – boltholes. 

Best Hotels in London

Some reviews are taken from this year’s Great British & Irish Hotels Guide. You can read the full reviews online or purchase your print Hotels Guide here

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  • Brown's Hotel

    Brown’s Hotel, Mayfair

    Archetypally British, with a hint of the unexpected, Brown’s was founded by Lord Byron’s butler in 1837 as London’s very first hotel. In the heart of Mayfair, this five-star delight has all the history and gravitas but none of the pomp or flashiness of some of its rivals. The rooms and suites have been curated by Olga Polizzi for her brother, Sir Rocco Forte, each paying tribute to the hotel’s illustrious heritage and charm. The Kipling Suite honours Rudyard Kipling, who famously penned The Jungle Book while staying here. The famous Donovan Bar, in honour of celebrated photographer Terence Donovan, features a 1960s-inspired cocktail menu created exclusively by ‘Maestro’ Salvatore Calabrese, while Charlie’s at Brown’s offers a unique dining menu of seasonal dishes, headed up by head chef Adam Byatt of Michelin-starred Trinity.

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    +44 (0)20 7493 6020 / roccofortehotels.com

  • Lime Tree Hotel

    Lime Tree Hotel, Belgravia

    It’s rare to find an affordable hotel in central London; even more so in smart Belgravia. But the Lime Tree is just that, and what’s more it has the air of a place in the country, with painted furniture and breakfast menus chalked jauntily on blackboards. Matt and Charlotte Goodsall took over the guesthouse, which is spread across two grade II-listed townhouses, from Charlotte’s parents more than a decade ago. . When the weather allows, relaxing outside in the peaceful walled garden feels like having discovered a magical secret oasis, a world away from the bustle of nearby Sloane Square.

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    +44 (0)20 7730 8191 / limetreehotel.co.uk

  • Number Sixteen

    Number Sixteen, South Kensington

    In a mid-Victorian white stucco terrace, Number Sixteen is one of Firmdale’s townhouse hotels, which include Dorset Square Hotel and Knightsbridge Hotel. Decorated by founder and creative director Kit Kemp in her inimitable, contemporary, eclectic style, it’s full of bold colours, joyful collisions of pattern and hand-picked artworks. The result: your spirits are lifted the moment you walk inside. The ground-floor rooms are flooded with light from floor-to-ceiling windows and include two drawing rooms, a library with an honesty bar, and an Orangery, leading to a beautifully designed and leafy garden – a rare treat, and one of London’s best-kept secrets.

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    +44 (0)20 7589 5232 / firmdalehotels.com

  • Belmond Cadogan

    The Cadogan, A Belmond Hotel, Chelsea

    A stand out on Sloane Street, midway between Chelsea and Knightsbridge, The Cadogan’s sleek and glamorous good looks may recall well-heeled Knightsbridge, but its many literary and artistic accents mean that boho Chelsea is here too. In bold check uniforms that reference Mary Quant, books and author talks curated by beloved Chelsea bookshop John Sandoe, specially commissioned art from young artists, and recollections of Oscar Wilde (famously arrested here) and his friend Lillie Langtry, whose adjacent house now forms a private entrance for hotel guests and a dining room of the restaurant.

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    +44 (0)20 7048 7141 / belmond.com

  • The Beaumont, Mayfair

    It was always going to be great. The first hotel from restaurant supremos Corbin & King was a glossy, stylish hit from the moment it opened in 2014. Many Hotel of the Year awards later – and now under new ownership – it is still private and still independent. The Beaumont is a classy joint (chequerboard lobby floor, early 20th-century paintings, gleaming antiques) yet also intimate. The 50 art deco-themed rooms and 23 suites are handsome, sensible and supremely comfortable: the showstopper is Antony Gormley’s ROOM, a three-story architectural extension and public artwork from the outside, and an extraordinary one-bedroom suite of dark fumed oak within.

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    +44 (0)20 7499 1001 / thebeaumont.com

  • The Portobello Hotel Notting Hill

    The Portobello Hotel, Notting Hill

    In room 16, Kate Moss and Johnny Depp filled the Victorian bath with champagne, Alice Cooper kept his snakes in it, and Tim Burton flooded the room by leaping from the bed into the bath and back again. The Stones, U2, Tina Turner and many other starry names from music, fashion and showbiz also stayed at The Portobello in its heyday. A few years ago it was given a new lease of life by Peter and Jessica Frankopan of A Curious Group of Hotels, which includes Cowley Manor, L’Hôtel in Paris and Canal House in Amsterdam. Today’s look encapsulates the bohemian spirit of Portobello Road in the Swinging Sixties and that famous bed and bath are still there, among many other items from the hotel’s decadent past.

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    +44 (0)20 7727 2777 / portobellohotel.com

  • The Marylebone

    The Marylebone, Marylebone

    Which born-and-bred Londoners would have dreamed that Marylebone, an area once dusty and overlooked, could become such a chic and lively quarter, full of quirky, stylish shops, restaurants and cafés? And at its heart this cosmopolitan community has The Marylebone, a great place for breakfast, lunch, or dinner in its sassy 108 Brasserie with red leather upholstery – also perfect for a catch-up drink at the bar with a friend. Sister to The Bloomsbury and The Kensington hotels, as well as the The Westbury in Dublin, The Marylebone’s refurb has added a new lobby cocktail bar, seasonal lounges, including an outdoor Summer Terrace, and sparkling new party and event spaces – The Marylebone Rooms and Number Six.

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    +44 (0)20 7486 6600 / doylecollection.com

  • The Kensington

    The Kensington, South Kensington

    What a great address, in an attractive and central part of London that so far hasn’t been noted for its hotels; at least, not until spot-hitting ones like this Doyle Collection model from the family-owned luxury group that also owns London’s The Marylebone and The Bloomsbury hotels, and The Westbury in Dublin. Its chairman, Bernie Gallagher, oversaw the interior design to make it feel like a beautiful private residence. Comfortable, sophisticated, but never try-hard, you can eat and drink in the homely Town House restaurant or in the K Bar, which offers signature cocktails and bar bites and do not miss out on the acclaimed London Landmarks Afternoon Tea. The public drawing rooms are stylish yet relaxing and there are 150 beautifully decorated bedrooms and suites including two sumptuous signature suites.

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    +44 (0)20 7589 6300doylecollection.com

  • The Rookery – Clerkenwell, EC1, bedroom

    The Rookery, Clerkenwell

    Those in the know in London don’t lay their heads in the centre of town – they swerve east to its most fashionable districts. Luckily, we know of secret abodes beyond the reach of hipsters and tech geeks. One such hideaway is the deliciously unique Rookery, set in the heart of gastronomic Clerkenwell. After eating top-class grub and partying hard, you can retreat to one of its 33 quirky bedrooms, none of which is the same. Each, though, shares gorgeous Georgian detailing, polished brass metalwork in bathrooms, antiques aplenty and shelves bulging with real books.

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    +44 (0)20 7336 0931 / rookeryhotel.com

  • COMO The Halkin

    COMO The Halkin, Belgravia

    Can a hotel corridor be seductive? It can here. From the lift you navigate a graceful arc of black-painted strips of wood in which bedroom doors are all but invisible as gently curving walls give the impression of infinite depth, and create a zen mood of unhurried calm. Throughout, bespoke Italian design is combined with subtle Asian nuances. Contemporary, cosseting rooms are furnished with soft carpets and warm wood panelling, and have some of the largest bathrooms  in London. Guests can sign up for yoga and personal training sessions or work-out in the gym; pampering in-room COMO Shambhala therapies and spa treatments can be arranged.

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    +44 (0)20 73331000comohotels.com/thehalkin

  • Artist Residence Pimlico

    Artist Residence, Pimlico

    The third hotel from the hands of dynamic duo Justin and Charlie Salisbury –following their Artist Residences in Brighton and Penzance – was once just a down-at-heel local boozer. Together, with enthusiasm, hard work and artistic flair, they’ve transformed it into a charming, affordable London hotel with bags of character. On three elegant floors, it has ten comfortably rustic bedrooms and two fabulous suites, all imaginatively decorated and furnished with quirky, cleverly sourced finds. There’s a moody and glamorous bar tucked away in the basement that comes alive at night, serving drinks inspired by cult movies like Kill Bill, which comes with a black vanilla sugar stripe, or The Departed, a cocktail so lethal it’s limited to two per person.

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    +44 (0)20 3019 8610 / artistresidence.co.uk

  • Claridge's

    Claridge’s, Mayfair

    Do you love giving special gifts? Then pop Claridge’s in a presentation box, tie it up with red ribbon and give it – for a night or two – to someone you love. We can guarantee it’ll be one of the best gifts they’ve ever had. Claridge’s has always had cachet. But while it used to be the staid and stately base for visiting royalty, today it is a spirited mix of the glittering and gracious, hip and dignified, all underpinned by it superb service. As part of the Maybourne Group that includes The Connaught and The Berkeley, it’s the attention to detail that makes it sing. From the moment you push through the revolving door, past celebrity-spotting photographers, into the marble-floored front hall to the wrought-iron lift complete with attendant, it just keeps giving.

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    +44 (0)20 7629 8860claridges.co.uk

  • Batty Langley's

    Batty Langley’s, Spitalfields

    As you walk through the doors of this charming hotel, packed with character and Georgian detail, you feel as if you’re entering another era. In lively, gentrified Spitalfields, Batty Langley’s lives up to its unusual name. Under the same ownership as the equally captivating Hazlitt’s and The Rookery it was inspired by the 18th-century architect and landscape gardener of the same name, who wrote guides to help his clients plan their houses and gardens in a grand style. Cocooning their inhabitants in comfort and calm, the 29 bedrooms and suites are furnished with antique carved beds or four-posters, heavy silk curtains and bathrooms with restored period fittings.

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    +44 (0)20 7377 4390 / battylangleys.com

  • The Athenaeum

    The Athenaeum, Mayfair

    Since its beginnings in 1850 as the elegant mansion of Henry Pelham-Clinton, sixth Duke of Newcastle, The Athenaeum has continually reinvented itself. The award-winning, family-run hotel is located in the heart of bustling Mayfair, opposite Green Park, and is the perfect base from which to explore the capital’s best-loved landmarks. The hotel epitomises five-star luxury with an independent spirit and, being surrounded by hidden gems, affords guests the opportunity to marvel at parts of London undiscovered by most visitors.

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    +44 (0)20 7499 3464 / athenaeumhotel.com

  • Connaught Grill

    The Connaught, Mayfair

    How we love The Connaught. It has always been a special, very British place and now, as part of the Maybourne Group, it’s both a home from home and a glamorous destination, with superbly orchestrated service. While the magnificent mahogany staircase compels guests not to take the lift, treats don’t come better than a martini in the seductive, buzzing Connaught Bar. Or take home a limited-edition, hand-inscribed bottle of the bar’s very own gin distilled in house by master mixologist Agostino Perrone. Since 2008 The Connaught has been home to the two-Michelin-starred Hélène Darroze restaurant, where the ravishing dishes are perfectly complemented by Pierre Yovanovitch’s sophisticated, colourful interiors.

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    +44 (0)20 7499 7070 / the-connaught.co.uk

  • Dorset Square Hotel

    Dorset Square Hotel, Marylebone

    The first of Firmdale’s vibrant and welcoming city hotels, opened in 1985 by multi-talented husband and wife team Tim and Kit Kemp. Like their Knightsbridge Hotel and Number Sixteen, it’s a beautiful London townhouse, in this case Regency, with some gentle decorative reminders that it overlooks the site of Thomas Lord’s first cricket ground, Dorset Square. There are cricket bats arranged like works of art, miniature balls used as wardrobe door handles, photographs and cartoons of famous cricketers and other memorabilia, all incorporated into Kit’s sophisticated interiors. There’s an elegant drawing room with an honesty bar and fireplace, and 38 seductive bedrooms, many overlooking the private Dorset Square garden, to which guests have access.

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    +44 (0)20 7723 7874; firmdalehotels.com

  • Bingham Riverhouse

    Bingham Riverhouse, Richmond

    Evoking the feel of a private members’ club, this intimate riverside idyll is as convivial as it is stylish. It began life as two Georgian townhouses and from 1899-1910 it was home to the poets Katherine Bradley and Edith Cooper. ‘I have rubbed myself against nature’s great warm hand,’ wrote Katherine, after a bout of gardening, ‘in a spirit of pagan delight’. Crikey. Today, the friendliest of staff serve food from the kitchen of Steven Edwards at Bingham Riverhouse (winner of MasterChef: The Professionals) in the parlour, with its striking modern art and verdant views, and the library with its wall lined rows of nicely dog-eared old Penguin paperbacks – 2,816, to be precise.

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    +44 (0)20 8940 0902 / binghamriverhouse.co.uk

  • Rosewood London

    Rosewood London, Holborn

    Since its opening in 2013, Rosewood has risen effortlessly to the highest echelons of London’s luxury hotels, combining English heritage with contemporary sophistication. The grade II-listed Belle Époque building has been sensitively renovated, with the feel of a stylish London residence; guests enter a grand, wrought iron-gated former carriage arch, leading to the hotel’s historic central courtyard, with its majestic, intricately-scrolled stone facades while the Grand Pavonazzo marble staircase soars to a dizzying 166-foot cupola. The work of two designers, Tony Chi created the splendid Rose Bronze Gallery entrance, the jewel box Mirror Room restaurant and 263 glamorous rooms and 45 suites. Martin Brudnizki designed both the Holborn Dining Room – a bustling British brasserie with innovative cuisine and a trendy gin bar – and the wildly popular Scarfes Bar, its walls decorated with a collection of paintings by satirist Gerald Scarfe.

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    +44 (0)20 7781 8888 / rosewoodhotels.com

  • 11 Cadogan Gardens

    11 Cadogan Gardens, Chelsea

    Discreet on the outside, dramatic and decadent within, 11 Cadogan Gardens, a member of Relais & Châteaux, is formed of four interconnected Victorian townhouses and was built by Lord Chelsea in the late 19th century. With a fabulous location in such a prestigious area, the hotel became vastly popular as a home for travelling Victorian aristocrats, politicians and bon viveurs. The entrance to this distinctive Chelsea hotel has a sense of theatre with its leather and dark wood panelling and low lighting. The drama continues up the portrait-lined staircase  to 56 individually-decorated bedrooms and suites, some opulent and elegant, others more contemporary and feminine.

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    +44 (0)20 7730 7000 11cadogangardens.com

  • The Bloomsbury

    The Bloomsbury, Bloomsbury

    A cherished member of The Doyle Collection, an exclusive Irish hotel group that also includes The Kensington and The Marylebone in London, and The Westbury in Dublin, The Bloomsbury is a sympathetic conversion of a Grade II-listed 1930s Lutyens building just a few minutes’ walk from Soho and Covent Garden. Following a multi-million pound investment, the transformation includes a new reception area and luxury studio suites with vintage-style upholstery, statement wallpaper and Italian marble bathrooms. There’s also a library dedicated to Seamus Heaney, comfortable guest sitting room and a stunning, chandeliered 1920s-style bar, The Coral Room, created by the acclaimed Swedish designer, Martin Brudnizki.

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    +44 (0)20 7347 1000 / doylecollection.com

  • The Soho Hotel

    The Soho Hotel, Soho

    This punchy and exciting, yet deeply comfortable and welcoming, Firmdale hotel is tucked away on a quiet street in the heart of London’s characterful entertainment district, surrounded by some of its best restaurants, bars, cafés, theatre and nightlife. It’s full of bold statements that are typical of founder and creative director Kit Kemp: her eye for beauty, fun and colour starts with the ten foot bronze Fernando Botero cat in the lobby, which has become something of a Firmdale symbol (see also Dorset Square Hotel, Knightsbridge Hotel and Number Sixteen). As well as the drawing room, a quirky take on a private London residence where light floods in and a bartender brings round the gin trolley every afternoon, you’ll find a library, screening room and film club.

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    +44 (0)20 7559 3000 / firmdalehotels.com

  • Knightsbridge Hotel - Drawing Room

    Knightsbridge Hotel, Knightsbridge

    Tim and Kit Kemp, owners of Firmdale Hotels, have the knack of creating places to stay that not only look fabulous but are also easy-going and smoothly run; Knightsbridge Hotel is no exception. An imposing house in a quiet tree-lined cul-de-sac and the ideal canvas for their skills (see also Dorset Square Hotel, Number Sixteen and The Soho Hotel). Kit has designed the interior with typical panache, using vivid colours, specially designed fabrics, original British art and statement furniture. There are two public rooms downstairs, the drawing room and library, each with a working fireplace.

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    +44 (0)20 7584 6300 / firmdalehotels.com