Finding an affordable and half way decent bolthole in London has always been like looking for a needle in a haystack, and many visitors resort in desperation to the serried ranks of uninspiring hotels around Bayswater and Victoria just in order to have enough money left over for the price of an entrance ticket to the Tower of London or a ride on the London Eye. But recently, prices have steadied somewhat, and now a room in a characterful London hotel can be little more expensive than in a similar establishment in the countryside. Our recommendations include two traditional luxury hotels and a clutch of little places with heaps more charm and character than the norm. The order of the hotels in this list bears no reflection on our preference.
Sumptuous, family-run country-house style hotel in the heart of London, close to Buckingham Palace. Plush carpets, antiques, designer fabrics and fine dining set the tone.
Kempinski luxury and Edwardian townhouse styling in a Mayfair cul-de-sac, with quiet rooms and seamless services. Well positioned for shopping, the Parks and landmark sights.
Legendary, laid-back shabby-chic bolthole for an eclectic clientele, with varied and funky room styles. In the heart of trendy Notting Hill, for boutiques and restaurants.
London (West End)
Character, charm and literary associations, Georgian style, this townhouse hotel is a gem in Soho, close to nightlife, top restaurants and easy to see the sights from. Real style.
Quirky, intimate and laid back townhouse hotel in Kensington, steps from Hyde Park, well positioned for the sights. Full of art, with a lively bistro. Enchanting.
London (The City)
Jewel-like and intimate City bolthole in a very fashionable, buzzy area, full of character, roll top baths etc. Faithful restoration of three 18th century houses, with a rooftop suite.
London (South West)
Tranquil and chic, colonial-style townhouse hotel in West London - good value and near transport hubs, quick to get downtown. No restaurant.
One of London's great hotels: an Art Deco masterpiece in the heart of prime Mayfair - seamless professional service, understated luxury, gourmet food, the perfect treat.
Funky 'theme hotel' in off-beat south London, a one-off sanctuary and eclectic mix of Mexican style and sumptuous colours. Full of character and divine tapas.
Super discreet and understated ‘grande dame’, the epitome of old world Britishness. Impeccable service, numerous repeat guests, the ultimate in traditional comforts.
Country house feel by the river in leafy Richmond village. Award-winning restaurant, traditional bedrooms, fine views and a sit out terrace. Good wedding and business venue.
London (South West)
Located just behind Sloane Square a stone's throw from Knightsbridge, No 11 Cadogan Gardens is a hidden gem. Eclectic style with lavish decor including Murano chandeliers, sumptuous fabrics and gilt edged mirrors. Ideal if you're looking for a Central London location, yet away from the crowds.