It’s one of the largest cities in the world, attracting over 30 million visitors per year with its array of historical sites, West End shows, boutiques, quirky tours and diverse activities. And many of its hotels are attractions in themselves, with rich heritage, famous patrons, royal links, dreamy spas and award-winning restaurants. Some are housed in listed buildings with dramatic period features, others are funky, modern and sleek – but all will keep you in the lap of luxury. Whatever your reason for visiting this cosmopolitan metropolis, here are a range of hotel options to suit a variety of tastes.
London Marriott Hotel Park Lane (5 Star)
Base yourself here and you’ll be perfectly situated for both the shops and world-leading theatres of England’s capital. Located in Marble Arch, the bustle of Oxford Street is a stroll away, but in this salubrious Mayfair neighbourhood, guests are cocooned in elegance. Some of the executive rooms and suites at this 5-star establishment offer views over Hyde Park, balconies and sofa beds, with all bathrooms crafted from Italian marble. Suites come complete with lounge access offering complimentary food and drinks throughout the day and evening in the Lanes of London restaurant. A fitness centre features an indoor pool, steam room and gym with optional massage and spa treatments available too. And the hotel’s restaurant, Lanes of London is a chic venue for classic British-inspired dishes, botanical afternoon teas and craft cocktails.
The Park Tower Knightsbridge (5 Star)
Part of the Luxury Collection group, The Park Tower is a five-star establishment in the heart of Knightsbridge. It first opened to guests in 1973, a noticeable new landmark on the west London skyline, with its unusual circular architecture. All 271 rooms and suites come with a view thanks to its unique shape, as well as 200-thread count cotton sheets, robes, slippers and deep soaking tubs. In-room spa services are available, as well as The Park Tower Butler, for your every need. The Hyde Bar is the hotel’s main dining establishment, with afternoon teas served in The Knightsbridge Lounge.
The Lanesborough (5 Star)
Awarded the No. 1 Hotel in London by the Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards, the Lanesborough is part of the Oetker Collection. Found in the centre of Knightsbridge the hotel is comprised of 93 suites and bedrooms, an opulent spa, dynamic bars, a ‘Withdrawing’ room and its Michelin-starred restaurant, Céleste. Here you receive dedicated butler service 24/7 – no matter what grade of the room you choose. Following a major refurbishment in 2015, the interiors have been aligned with Regency and Georgian style by renowned design agency Albert Pinto. Lying just a short stroll from Harrods, this hotel is ideal for an upmarket combined shopping and spa stay in an ambience of timeless classic elegance. The hotel is known as the most expensive in London, and with one of the finest suites setting you back a cool £20,000 per night, it doesn’t get much more special than this.
The Wellesley Knightsbridge (5 Star)
One of our favourite luxury properties in London, the Wellesley Knightsbridge. Positioned in one of the best addresses in London 11 Knightsbridge, Belgravia, overlooking Hyde Park, The Wellesley Knightsbridge is a luxury hotel unlike most others in the capital. Petite in size at just 36 rooms, which means attention to detail is flawless and service is personal. Art Deco features adorn the walls, it feels like stepping back in time to an age of 1920’s elegance, while finishing touches like a butler and a chauffeur services for guests further elevate the luxury experience.
Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square (5 Star)
Designed in the Beaux-Arts style and opened in 1922 as the Port of London Authority building, this hotel is now a Grade II listed building. At its opening, it was one of the tallest structures in the capital and the 100 current rooms still command excellent views. This member of the legendary Four Seasons chain popular with business and leisure travellers offers a number of fine dining options. Creative French cuisine can be enjoyed in Anne-Sophie Pic’s Michelin-starred La Dame de Pic London. Contemporary Chinese and Japanese dishes are served at Mei Ume. And the stunning domed Rotunda Lounge and bar, at the hotel’s heart, is the setting for a unique Crown Jewels inspired afternoon tea. Below ground, the lavish contemporary spa contains one of the most dreamy pools in the city.
Rosewood London (5 Star)
Constructed in four blocks between 1912 and 1960, this Grade II listed building is a grand landmark in Covent Garden in the West End. Transformed into a luxury hotel in 2000, the Rosewood’s 262 rooms offer guests an ideal blend of British heritage and contemporary sophistication. Another distinctive afternoon tea is found here. Many visit for the art-themed pastries and sweet treats inspired by the work of sculptor Anthony Gormley and created by Executive Pastry Chef, Mark Perkins. Families are made especially welcome with interconnecting rooms (the second room is complementary), activities, games and cosy dog beds for the furry family members. Take part in the Rosewood Room Hunt and hunt for clues in an immersive scavenger adventure on specified dates. There’s also a Sense Spa for wellness and beauty, incorporating the Face Place and Matthew Curtis Hair Salon.
The Savoy (5 Star)
One of the most famous hotels in London, if not the world, the Savoy opened in 1889 on The Strand, as the first luxury hotel in Britain. It quickly became a byword for elegance and grace, with interiors designed by Collinson & Locke. Now owned by the Fairmont group, it has an illustrious history – Frank Sinatra, Geroge Gershwin and Noel Coward all entertained here, while Oscar Wilde, Laurence Olivier, Edward VII, Humphrey Bogart, Elizabeth Taylor, The Beatles and many other legends have counted among its guests. Hosting royalty and a wide variety of celebrities is all in a day’s work for this titan of the hotel industry. Many of the 268 rooms provide stunning views across the nearby River Thames, and the hotel also has 7 restaurants for a wide variety of fine dining options. As an English icon, The Savoy is very popular with tourists seeking a quintessentially classic British stay.
Mandarin Oriental (5 Star)
Originally built in 1889 as an exclusive gentleman’s club, the building was opened as a grand hotel in 1902 and extensively refurbished in 2000. The Mandarin Group has hotel across the globe and their London residence is situated in fashionable Knightsbridge, overlooking Hyde Park. The hotel has 141 rooms, 40 suites and 3 restaurants and over the years has played host to a number of events involving royalty and celebrity guests. Many stay here to enjoy the oasis of calm at the spa. Chinese medicine treatments, Bastien Gonzalez manis and pedis, the Rasul Water Temple and anti-ageing Nescens facials are all popular items from the wellness menu, while the 17-metre stainless steel pool provides a truly urban luxury style dip. Heston Blumenthal’s restaurant is also a big draw and meals can be taken in the dining room, at the chef’s table or in a private room.
The Ritz (5 Star)
Another entry on this list able to lay claim to being amongst the best-known hotels in the world – so much so it had a song written in its name. The Ritz opened its doors in 1906 founded by Cesar Ritz and became closely associated with London high society and elegance. The hotel has hosted numerous royal guests over the years, particularly during the Second World War, and the tradition of Afternoon Tea at the Ritz is rightly world-famous. More recently it featured in key scenes on TV’s Downton Abbey. The Ritz, owned by Ellerman investments, currently has 134 rooms, including 23 suites, decorated with Renaissance glamour in mind and fully refurbished in 2006. Its Michelin-starred dining room – often cited as one of the most stunning on earth – overlooks Green Park and even has its own cookbook, compiled by Executive chef John Williams MBE. Book Live at the Ritz, for sumptuous dining and dancing to the music of yesteryear. Or if pampering is more the order of the day, the experts at Hiro Miyoshi deliver top-class hair and beauty treatments.
The Langham (5 Star)
The largest hotel on this list, the Langham was built in the traditional grand style and opened for business in 1865. It was one of the first buildings to incorporate electric lighting – in 1879 – and played host to a number of famous guests. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle regularly stayed at The Langham, and even set part of two Sherlock Holmes stories at the hotel. The Palm Court dining room is said to be the birthplace of traditional afternoon tea, and Michel Roux has a restaurant here – Roux at the Landau, alongside two glamorous bars. Foodies will enjoy a stay combined with workshops learning trade secrets at the cookery school or membership to the Supper Club. The Langham currently has 380 rooms and a Grand Ballroom that can accommodate up to 375 guests for an event. Richmond International has had a hand in creating the stunning, club concept interior design on show in this grand West End hotel.
The Connaught (5 Star)
A notable example of discrete luxury, The Connaught, part of the same hotel group as Claridges, is the oldest hotel on this list. It opened in 1815, initially as a pair of Georgian houses. But modernisations and restorations in 1897 and 2007 created a five-star, 121-room establishment in the heart of majestic Mayfair, latterly refurbished by renowned designers Guy Oliver and David Collins. For your own private el fresco area, book the Terrace Suite, or choose from a varied range of further suite options. The world-famous Connaught Bar is the only bar in the world to have won World’s Best Cocktail Bar twice and there are two fine restaurants – Jean-Georges and the artful newly re-opened Hélène Darroze. Tranquillity seekers love the Aman Spa, the first of its kind to be built outside of the Aman resorts. Guests can unwind in its black granite pool with water wall, book healing therapies, naturopathy, meditation classes and work up a sweat in the state of the art fitness room.
The Goring (5 Star)
Located close to Buckingham Palace, the Goring was first opened in 1910 and is now the only hotel in London that is still owned and run by the family that built it. At the time of its construction, it was the first hotel in the world in which each of the 69 rooms had a private bathroom and central heating. The Goring, featuring classic English design, is very popular with the Royal Family (recent royal guests include HM The Queen). It was also the hotel of choice for the Duchess of Cambridge, then Kate Middleton, and her family the night before her nuptials with Prince William. Understandably, this placed the hotel firmly on the Royalist tourist trail. The recent opening of Siren was the first new restaurant addition in the hotel for over 100 years. There’s also an elegant main dining room, bar and refined Bollinger afternoon tea service. Live like a monarch by booking the two-bedroom, two-bathroom Royal Suite, with your own dedicated footman, decanter bar and walls lined with silk from the First Class Dining Room of RMS Titanic 1912.
Shangri-La at The Shard (5 Star)
This is an example of modern luxury, being part of the famous Shard building that towers above London. The building was completed in 2012 and was the tallest structure in Europe at the time. The multi-award-winning hotel takes up floors 34-52. It offers stunning panoramic views across the capital from its 202 rooms, decorated in plush silks, satins and cut-pile velvets. The Hong Kong-based multinational hotelier brand is a favourite with business travellers, providing excellent meeting spaces and proximity to the city’s commercial centre. The Shard is now firmly on the London map, so visitors who prefer a sleek, modern Asian influenced style flock to stay at Shangri-La, to swim in the infinity sky pool and dine with a view at TING. There are also packages for wellness, honeymoons and weddings, as well as two funky bars, babysitting, butler and limousine services.
Edition London (5 Star)
Hotelier Ian Schrager designed this one-of-a-kind Fitzrovia hotel, set in a row of Georgian townhouses. It’s ideal for those who want to stay in true luxury, but with West End and Soho nightlife on the doorstep. Past and present are blended in this boutique space, where period features are complemented by forward-thinking innovative furnishings and decor. Step inside one of the 172 rooms and suites, and you could imagine you’re aboard a private yacht. Dine at Berners Tavern hosted by Michelin starred Executive Chef Jason Atherton and drink in the Punch Room. Many guests visit for the ‘happenings’, a programme of events for adults and families, including immersive gong sound meditation retreats and cocktail masterclasses. But the pièce de résistance has to be the 2098 square foot Penthouse with wraparound landscaped terrace and 360-degree views of the capital.
Bulgari Hotel (5 Star)
Housed in a relatively new building for this Knightsbridge neighbourhood, designer Antonio Citterio was able to bring the famed jewellery brand’s signature style to this landmark hotel. There’s a mid-century feel, with lots of dark colours oozing sophistication. As Bulgari began life as a silversmith, it’s fitting that you’ll find touches of the precious metals throughout. But it’s by no means gauche or overbearing, rather erring on the side of sophistication. Five of its levels lie beneath the ground, including a sensual spa complete with hammam, 47 seat cinema, Nolita Social the funky bar and a huge ballroom. The 85 rooms are all fairly uniform in soothing neutrals, upgrade to a suite and you’ll get the benefit of butler service and your own steam shower. Italian cuisine is the fare here, at Sette, the on-site restaurant. Fans of Bulgari are sure to love this place and wit plenty of family rooms, it’s kid-friendly too.
Claridges (5 Star)
This famous hotel recently increased even further in popularity, following the documentary Inside Claridges. The 197 rooms are spacious, sporting the hotel’s art deco meets contemporary style, the work of a range of designers including Veere Grenney, Diane von Furstenburg, Guy Oliver and David Linley. Over 120 years old, this hotel, now part of the Maybourne Group, has long been a symbol of luxury. Weddings for up to 400 are held in the sumptuous suite of banqueting rooms – there’s even a choreographer in residence for an extra special first foxtrot. There’s also a health club, spa and a range of bars and eateries. Take a drink in the 1930s style bar The Fumoir, afternoon tea in The Foyer and Reading Room to the sounds of a grand piano, and dine on chef Daniel Humm’s cuisine at the brand new Davies at Brook restaurant.
Browns Hotel Mayfair (5 Star)
Period features meet contemporary interiors in this hotel opened in 1837. The design by Olga Polizzi was inspired by literary works and former guests – Rudyard Kipling wrote many of his novels here and it’s believed that The English Tea Room was the inspiration for Agatha Christie’s ‘At Bertram’s Hotel’. As such, the afternoon tea is popular with history lovers, seeking to retrace the steps of heroes and heroines in this award-winning, wood-panelled establishment. Now owned by Rocco Forte, modern comforts in the 33 suites and 82 rooms abound. Elegant muted shades are offset with pops of colour and unique artworks. The in-house restaurant Charlie’s, named after the founding Forte Lord Charles, is all about British cooking. While Donovan’s bar (name after photographer Terence), is an intimate and playfully decadent spot to enjoy a bespoke sixties themed cocktail.