London’s 10 Best Character Hotels

London is a city with a lot of different facets to her appeal, but there's no doubting that this grand old lady is a charmer with plenty of character. She can be regal and haughty, treading a wonderfully British line between opulence and austerity, she can be forward thinking and fashionable in places and downright historical in others. She's a stalwart for traditions, but can also be up for all sorts. So part of the challenge of choosing London's 10 best character hotels is in choosing the facet of her character.

Central London

Price is another issue when it comes to making accommodation recommendations for London’s 10 best character hotels. Finding an affordable and half way decent bolthole has always been a challenge, and many visitors resort in desperation to the serried ranks of uninspiring hotels around Bayswater, Earls Court and Victoria just to ensure they have enough money left over for the price of the entrance fee to the Tower of London or a ride on the London Eye. But recently prices have steadied somewhat, and it's now possible to find a room in one of London's best character hotels that's in line with similar types of accommodation in the countryside.

To address the questions of price and character our gurus have collected a clutch of little places with heaps more charm than the norm, then thrown in a couple of traditional luxury options. One facet of London's character is her traditional grand hotels after all.

London’s 10 Best Character Hotels

London’s Best Grand Hotels

For traditional five star character you can’t go past London’s best luxury grand dame hotels. And these are names most of us will recognise.

While this list isn't in order other than by type, no one would argue the case against Art Deco masterpiece Claridge's appearing at the top of a list of London's best character hotels. Her recent makeover served to highlight her wonderful original assets and polish up this old dowager duchess's glamour.


The Goring Hotel is another wonderful London institution, with its credentials as a family-run country house affair tipping it into the list of London's best character hotels. Now on the fourth Mr, Goring, but still offering a wonderful traditional English experience, with magnificent breakfasts, private gardens and long serving staff. This is where Kate Middleton spent her last night as a single gal, and the hotel's fame hasn't stopped growing since - yet it's still the very heart and soul of English understated discretion.

The Goring Hotel

The Connaught Hotel is another brilliant bastion of Britishness, which has also recently been given a 'freshen up', this time with more modern results - think light and airy replacing ever so slightly slightly stuffy.

The Connaught Hotel

London’s Best Character Hotels in the West End

The West End is a lively place to be at all times of the day and night, and one of the London locations most visitors want to stay in. Visit the galleries and museums, shop Regent and Oxford Streets, take in a play, or the opera, dine in some of London's best restaurants, and stay in one of London's best character hotels…

The Stafford London by Kempinski in Mayfair makes the list because of its wonderfully quiet cul-de-sac location and Edwardian style. The decor is traditional without being heavy and there's plenty of good value luxury for those who want it.

The Stafford

Soho is the West End's more lively side, but Hazlitt's, with its Georgian period grandeur sits peacefully above the action. Hazitt's does a great line in elegance with flair and each of the 27 rooms has its own character, and treasures. This is one of London's best character hotels for people who appreciate the benefits of staying in a smaller hotel.


West London’s Best Character Hotels

The Portobello is the quintessential shabby-chic boho London bolt hole. A favourite of musicians in the 70s, the Notting Hill location now means it can charge a bit more for its rooms than it used to. And this is Notting Hill shabby-chic - but there's round the clock room service, so if you ever dreamed of ordering scrambled eggs and champagne at four o'clock in the morning this is London's best character hotel for you.

The Portobello

The Gore in Kensington couldn't have a more different vibe. This hotel has been around since the 1980s and has long been a favourite with stars who like a bit of respectful distance. Each room is different, but all are beautiful. There are lots of prints and paintings and some real treasures when it comes to antiques. There's been a conscious decision here to put character before mod. cons..

The Gore

Whether or not the The Petersham qualifies as one of London's best character hotels depends largely on whether you consider Richmond to be part of London. But for the sake of the argument lets call it Far West London. It's only zone four anyway, but there's a country feel to Richmond, what with Richmond Park, Kew Gardens, Ham House and Hampton Court so close. The views are marvellous and you're right by the Thames.

The Petersham

Great London Character Hotels in Perfect Locations

If you want to stay in The City of London, The Rookery is one of London's best character hotels for you. Three adjacent 18th Century house have been converted into one faithfully restored Georgian townhouse hotel, with plenty of period features, like roll top baths, traditional shutters, flagstone floors and copper plumbing.

The Rookery

Another top choice if you need to be in the city is Batty Langley's. A relative newcomer to the London hotel scene, this property oozes character and style with twenty nine rooms and suites filled with classic antiques and period features. Plus there's even a little courtyard for sitting out in warmer months.

Batty Langleys

No 11 Cadogan Gardens is in a great spot for both the shopping on the Kings Road and the museums in South Kensington. And it's a good example of traditional decor with modern flair - think Murano chandeliers and lashings of brocade. And a library… And open fires, when appropriate...

No Eleven Cadogan Gardens

London’s Best Value Character Hotel

While some of the hotels on this list of London's best character hotels will set you back more than a pretty penny per night, not so all.

Twenty Nevern Square has 20 rooms, starting from just £115 per night, in busy, buzzy Earls Court. A converted Victorian charmer, this hotel has deceptively generous proportions. And the Asian influence of the decor has a treasured colonial feel to it. The bright bar with its exposed ceilings and huge skylight is the kind of place you choose to hang out in.

Twenty Nevern Square

If you believe part of the experience of staying in a city is using its public transport then the Church Street Hotel is for you. Totally charming, with a bit of Mexican colour and kick to it, the hotel is on a fantastic street, just not the most central one. The compromise on travel means you'll pay as little as £90 per night though, so if your idea of character includes bright colours and quirky features then this is London's best character hotel for you.

Church Street Hotel

Still not found the perfect London hotel?

London’s 10 Best Character Hotels

  • The Goring Hotel London 69 rooms from £360

    Sights nearby  -  Great for Buckingham Palace, Westminster, Mayfair, Knightsbridge, Sloane Street and the Royal Parks.
    Great walks  -  Green Park in the summer is a sea of green with deck chairs for people to lounge in and relax.
    Traditional  -  The property has a quintessentially English feel.
    Full of character
    Recommended by  -  Frommers, Good Hotel Guide, Small Luxury Hotels, Tablet

    A family-owned luxury hotel in the heart of Belgravia with manicured lawns, award-winning high tea and proximity to some of London's most famous sights. Plush carpets, antiques and designer fabrics make up the rooms. Do not miss fine dining at the Michelin star restaurant. Magical stay. See More

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  • The Stafford London (Mayfair) 107 rooms from £395

    Sights nearby  -  Buckingham Palace at one end of The Mall, and Trafalgar Square at the other.
    Local markets  -  Southbank is home to food markets all year around.
    Full of character
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.
    Recommended by  -  Frommers, Kiwi Collection, Michelin Travel

    A perfectly-positioned luxury townhouse hotel near St James’s Palace with a rich history, contemporary art and comfortable rooms. Enjoy British classics at The Game Bird restaurant and cocktails at the American Bar. See More

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  • The Portobello West London 21 rooms from £195

    Sights nearby  -  Madame Tussauds and the amazing wax works is a memorable day for all the family.
    Local markets  -  Come Saturday be sure not to miss Portobello Road Market.
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.
    Full of character
    Recommended by  -  Frommers, Good Hotel Guide

    Legendary, laid-back chic boutique in Neo-Classical mansions loved by an eclectic clientele of business travelers, fashionistas and musicians. Varied, funky styles are adopted for the rooms and with delicious breakfast. Location in the heart of Notting Hill, for boutiques and food, is perfect. See More

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  • Hazlitt's London (West End) 27 rooms from £215

    Lively area  -  In the thick of the action.
    Full of character
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.
    Recommended by  -  Mr & Mrs Smith, I Escape, Tablet, Frommers, Good Hotel Guide

    This charming Georgian boutique is full of character and literary associations since 1718. This townhouse is in thick of it on vibrant Frith Street, home to lively bars and popular restaurants. Elegant wood paneled rooms are the perfect base, relax with a book or explore town as and when you wish. See More

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  • The Gore Hotel, Starhotels Collezione West London 50 rooms from £190

    Sights nearby  -  Great location for the Royal Albert Hall and Hyde Park.
    Full of character
    Quirky  -  An experience!
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.
    Recommended by  -  Tablet

    A quintessentially British townhouse that prides itself on spectacular service with laid back vibes. Classic-styled rooms house period pictures, antiques & comfortable beds. Restaurant 190 Queen's Gate offers contemporary classic dishes and Bar 190 superb G&Ts! Spot on location for city exploring See More

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  • The Rookery London (The City) 33 rooms from £282

    Exclusive offer
    Sights nearby  -  Barbican is a cultural hub worth checking out for performances, screenings and more.
    Lively area  -  In the thick of the action.
    Full of character
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.
    Recommended by  -  Mr & Mrs Smith, I Escape, Tablet

    Fashionable Clerkenwell is home to this intimate, period charm City bolthole which prides itself on homely atmosphere across three 18th Century houses. Rooms are full of character, classic antiques, open fires and roll top baths. Breakfast in bed or in the garden is the perfect way to start the day. See More

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  • Batty Langley's London (The City) 29 rooms from £170

    Sights nearby  -  The property is minutes from Liverpool St so there's easy access to all of London's highlights.
    Local markets  -  Old Spitalfields market is just round the corner
    Full of character
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.

    Opulent, sumptuous and quirky converted 18th century townhouse in the trendy Spitalfields district. Gorgeous over-the-top rooms and suites offer stunning traditional interiors and equally impressive bathrooms. A romantic bolthole in the city of London perfect for a cosy getaway! See More

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  • Twenty Nevern Square London (South West) 20 rooms from £115

    Local markets  -  Food markets are taking off in the city, so be sure to explore the local ones on the weekends.
    Full of character
    Four poster beds  -  For romantics.
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.
    Recommended by  -  Good Hotel Guide

    Chic tranquility meets a West London colonial-style townhouse. Good value. Fantastically well connected by tube, train and bus. A wide range of different rooms and a breakfast worth getting out of bed for. See More

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  • Claridge's London (Mayfair) 197 rooms

    Sights nearby  -  Nestled in the embassy district of town, you will see many old grand buildings.
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.
    Full of character
    Outstanding location
    Recommended by  -  Tablet, Frommers, Kiwi Collection

    Art Deco inspired, luxury-centric hotel in the heart of Mayfair offering seamless service, spa treatments and gym facilities. Large, contemporary rooms exude comfort. Whether it is the famous afternoon tea in the 1930's Reading Room or a gourmet meal at the restaurant, be ready to be spoiled. See More

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  • Church Street Hotel London 31 rooms from £90

    City Style  -  A totally unqiue experience with quirky and meticulously thoughtout design, bold colours and unique charm.
    Value chic  -  Excellent value for money- top quality service, decor, cuisine and vibes for a reasonable price tag.
    Local markets  -  Borough Market on the weekend is a fantastic food heaven with stalls from all over Europe and places to catch a quick bite.
    Great walks  -  South London is full of parks, walk ways and beautiful buildings full of history.
    Recommended by  -  I Escape, Fodors, Good Hotel Guide

    This wonderfully vibrant Mexican themed hotel is a shining light in Camberwell. Bright, cheerful rooms are full of character and thoughtful touches. Make sure you sample the to die for tapas, as well as the knockout cocktails in the Havana Lounge. A new wave of affordable and stylish hotels. See More

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  • The Connaught Hotel London (Mayfair) 121 rooms from £600

    City Style  -  The last word in luxurious London hotels - a sleek revamp to Mayfair's finest has sharpened the edge of this historic hotel.
    Spa breaks  -  World renowned Aman spa offering green-tea foot baths, Oriental oil massages and red clay body wraps with Navajo herbs.
    Swimming Pool  -  Stunning black granite indoor pool filled with ionised water. Child and family friendly sessions are available.
    Sailing  -  During the summer months rowing and pedal boats are available for hire in nearby Hyde Park
    Recommended by  -  Mr & Mrs Smith, Tablet, Fodors, Frommers, Kiwi Collection

    The discreet and understated ‘grande dame’ of Mayfair. This hotel is the epitome of old world Britishness meets contemporary elegance and design. Impeccable service from the fleet of butlers, the ultimate in traditional comforts. Chic restaurants and bars match the world class Aman spa. A must stay. See More

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  • The Petersham London (Surrey) 58 rooms from £80

    Restaurant  -  Recommended.
    Sights nearby  -  Great for Richmond Park, Royal Botanic Gardens and Twickenham Stadium
    Views  -  Over the River Thames
    Local markets  -  Good for local colour.

    Country house feel by the river in leafy Richmond village. Superb restaurant, traditional bedrooms, fine views and a sit out terrace. Good wedding and business venue. See More

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  • 11 Cadogan Gardens London (South West) 56 rooms from £290

    Romantic Break
    Local exploring
    Sights nearby  -  Within walking distance of Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament.
    Recommended by  -  Tablet, Small Luxury Hotels

    Located just behind Sloane Square, 11 Cadogan Gardens is a luxury boutique hotel in London part of Relais & Châteaux. Eclectic style with lavish interiors and comfortable rooms including a library, drawing room and terrace. Elegant and calm, this luxury gem is brilliantly positioned. See More

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Written by Fiona Duncan

posted Thursday, 24th January 2019