Best hotels in London (2024)

London has so much to tempt visitors: must-visit landmarks and Michelin-starred restaurants, West End theatre and buzzing neighbourhoods, each with its own distinct character. There are food markets and fantastic shopping, world-class museums and art galleries, and vast green spaces that punctuate the cityscape from Hampstead Heath in the north to Richmond Park in the south. London also has a mind-boggling number of hotels to choose from, with world-class dining, sumptuous spas and designer decor. These are the best.

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1. Shangri-La The Shard, London Bridge

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Shangri-La The Shard

£££ | SPA | POOL | Best for incredible Asian dishes with a knockout view

Everyone should try to stay at Shangri-La The Shard at least once in their lifetime. Whizz up in the lift to level 34 of the Renzo Piano-designed building to this wow-factor hotel, which is spread across the top 18 floors of The Shard. The biggest draw is the panoramic skyline views of the city from the floor-to-ceiling windows of the rooms, which nod to Shangri-La’s Asian roots with decorative Chinoiserie touches; from the infinity pool that’s the highest in western Europe; and from the Gong bar where, at night, lit-up London twinkles below. You can also get pampered in one of the treatment rooms using products from Neal’s Yard Remedies and pull up a chair at fine dining restaurant Ting, where chefs bring an Asian twist to British ingredients sourced from neighbouring Borough Market.

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2. The Ritz, Piccadilly

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The Ritz

BOOKING.COM

£££ | SPA | Best for afternoon tea

Since opening in 1906, princes, politicians and Hollywood stars have all stayed at this five-star hotel on Piccadilly. Palatial suites and Louis XVI-style rooms come with antique furniture and opulent marble bathrooms. The Michelin-starred Ritz Restaurant, with glittering chandeliers, towering columns and tranquil views of Green Park celebrates the best of British produce. The intimate, gold jewel box-like Rivoli Bar is the spot for early evening co*cktails, while the afternoon tea — an elegant affair which takes place in the Palm Court as the resident harpist or pianist plays — is legendary.

3. Claridges, Mayfair

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The Mayfair Terrace Suite

£££ | SPA | POOL | Best for art deco glamour

Doormen in top hats greet guests at this art deco masterpiece near Bond Street. Nods to the 1920s can be seen in the geometric lines of the rooms and suites (the hotel has a history of collaborating with designers: Pierre-Yves Rochon is behind a pair of Corner Terrace Suites while The Grand Piano Suite is the vision of Diane von Furstenberg) and its decor gets more modern the higher you go. The long-awaited underground spa is a cocoon of calm and guests can experience its signature Bamboo and Silk Ritual (£295 for 90 min), give their face muscles a workout with a Face Gym massage (£150 for 30 minutes) or lie back on one of three poolside cabanas. Afternoon tea, meanwhile, can be enjoyed in the equally striking foyer, with its monochrome diamond-pattern floor, mirrored walls and Chihuly sculpture. The hotel is constantly under renovation with new rooms, suites and apartments being added to do what this stalwart does best: give guests exactly what they want.

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4. Treehouse Hotel London, Marylebone

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Treehouse Hotel London

£££ | Best for unforgettable views

Elevate your stay in the capital with a stay at the cloud-tickling Treehouse. Gorgeously botanical bar The Nest is your perch from which to drink in a 360 vista and spot the London Eye, Canary Wharf and Regent’s Park from a wraparound terrace; keep your eyes peeled for celebrities who swing by after filming in the BBC studios opposite. Rooms promise more of those wide-eyed views and each comes with a huge bay window. The style is pared-back luxe: concrete ceilings, shingle walls with plenty of quirky touches (look out for Paddington Bear and the cuckoo clock) and, should you plump for the clubhouse suite, a giant copper bath. Location-wise, you’re in easy strolling distance of Regent’s Street, while Soho is in striking distance for dinner. Speaking of which, there’s no nd to leave the hotel: Madera will tempt you with Mexican favourites, washed down with passionfruit margaritas.

5. The Connaught, Mayfair

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The Connaught

BOOKING.COM

£££ | SPA | POOL | Best for Michelin-starred dining

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Right in the heart of Mayfair, The Connaught has it all: contemporary rooms designed by Guy Oliver and the late David Collins; the chic Aman Spa, with a black granite pool; and a pair of excellent restaurants, Jean-George at The Connaught (which combines British classics and southeast Asian flavours), and the sensational three-Michelin-starred Hélène Darroze at The Connaught. The Connaught Bar is the obvious choice but do dip into the Red Room (enter through a velvet curtain in the Champagne Room), where the red artworks are by female artists and vintage wines by the glass arrive on a marble trolley.

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6. The Beaumont, Mayfair

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The Beaumont, Mayfair

BOOKING.COM

£££ | SPA | Best for 1920s elegance

It’s hard to miss the huge sculpture of a robot-like figure by Antony Gormley on one side of The Beaumont building. It houses ROOM, a one-off suite designed to encourage guests to switch off. The rest of the rooms feel grown-up and masculine with dark wood furniture, black and white artwork and art deco detailing. In 2021, the restaurants and bars were gently refurbished by designer Thierry Despont, who also created all-day dining space Gatsby’s Room and a new outdoor terrace. The much-loved Colony Grill Room is a New York-style steakhouse and the wood-panelled Le Magritte bar specialises in bourbons and American whiskies.

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7. The Hoxton, Holborn

££ | Best for stylish stays

Walk into the open-plan bar-cum-lobby and it’s immediately obvious which collection of hotels this slick Holborn outpost belongs to. Fun, laidback and stylish but never trying too hard — all of the Hoxton trademarks can, happily, be ticked off here. Downstairs, creatives tap away on MacBooks with a latte by day and switch off with rosé negronis and seasonal plates in Rondo, the stylish but relaxed in-house restaurant, by night. Retire upstairs and things take an industrial turn, with grey, cavernous hallways, which only add to the feeling of cosiness when you walk into your room (Cosy being the name of one of six rooms, which range from Shoebox to Biggy). Inside, you’ve got all you need to feel at home — a squashy armchair, a stack of Penguin classics and a Roberts radio; the quirky wallpaper is your only reminder that you’re actually somewhere way more stylish than your own abode. Location-wise, this pad is on High Holborn and a ten-minute stroll from Covent Garden.

8. The St Pancras Renaissance

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The St Pancras Renaissance

EXPEDIA

££ | SPA | POOL | Best for interesting architecture

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Designed as a hotel for Midland Railway by 19th-century architect George Gilbert Scott, this Gothic King’s Cross marvel was restored and reopened in 2011. No expense was spared, from the dramatic main staircase with its red fleurs-de-lys wallpaper to the peaco*ck-themed subterranean spa. Choose between the Chambers Suites in the Victorian building (these include access to the Chambers Club for evening canapés and champagne) or more modern rooms in the Barlow Wing. Dining options include Booking Office 1869 in St Pancras station’s original ticket hall and RoofGarden St Pancras, a rooftop bar and restaurant serving up wood-fired pizzas and BBQ fare.

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9. The Savoy, Charing Cross

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The Savoy

BOOKING.COM

£££ | SPA | POOL | Best for seriously good co*cktails

Britain’s first luxury hotel, The Savoy, has been a honeypot for A-listers (Marlene Dietrich, Frank Sinatra) since it first opened in 1889. Rooms are decorated in an Edwardian or art deco style; the best come with knockout views of the Thames. In 2021, The Royal Suite was redecorated in partnership with Gucci and now features furniture and furnishings by the fashion house. Chef Gordon Ramsay oversees the Savoy Grill and The River Restaurant, which specialises in seafood. For drinks, head to the glamorous black-and-gold Beaufort Bar or the American Bar, the oldest co*cktail bar in the country.

10. Rosewood London, Holborn

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Rosewood London

BOOKING.COM

£££ | SPA | Best for families

Housed in a restored Edwardian mansion a 15-minute walk from Covent Garden, Rosewood London is perhaps best known for gentleman’s club-like Scarfes Bar, named after artist and caricaturist Gerald Scarfe whose paintings hang on the walls, and chef Calum Franklin’s The Pie Room restaurant (he also oversees the brasserie-style Holborn Dining Room). An art-inspired afternoon tea is served in the shimmering Mirror Room and there’s a Sense Spa for chilling out. Families are well looked after too, with everything from baby monitors and cribs available on request, a children’s afternoon tea, mother-daughter massages and pie-making masterclasses.

11. The Lanesborough, Knightsbridge

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The Lanesborough

BOOKING.COM

£££ | SPA | POOL | Best for old-fashioned romance

From plush regency-style rooms to ornate decorative detailing throughout (frescos, hand-painted trompe l’oeil and chandeliers), The Lanesborough is the epitome of opulence thanks to a beautifully crafted renovation by interior designer Alberto Pinto in 2015. Expect butler service as standard, fine-dining in The Lanesborough Grill, 18th-century cognacs in The Library bar, and Cuban and pre-Castro cigars from the walk-in humidor on the heated outdoor terrace. The location, right on the corner of Hyde Park and a short walk from Harrods and Harvey Nichols, is spot on too.

12. The Goring, Belgravia

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The Goring

BOOKING.COM

£££ | Best for a sense of tradition

Tucked away behind Buckingham Palace, this historic family-owned hotel has a royal warrant. Rooms are classically decorated with silk-lined walls, antique furniture and crisp Italian linens on the beds. The Dining Room restaurant, designed by David Linley and holding a Michelin star, excels in dishes such as lobster omelette and roast rib of beef that’s carved by the table from a silver trolley. There’s a resident pianist in the co*cktail bar but in summer, there’s no better place to be for drinks than in the garden, which feels like a secret oasis.

13. The London Edition, Fitzrovia

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The London Edition

BOOKING.COM

£££ | Best for a buzzy vibe

Studio 54 founder-turned-hotelier Ian Schrager is behind The London Edition, which sits just minutes away from the shops on Oxford Street. Tranquil, wood-clad rooms are reminiscent of sleeping in the cabin of a luxury yacht while downstairs, a pre-party crowd piles into Berners Tavern restaurant (which is overseen by executive chef Jason Atherton) with its eye-catching art gallery walls for dinner. There’s also the Lobby Bar and the Punch Room, which has a blues and soul soundtrack and 30 specialty punches on the drinks menu.

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14. Hotel Café Royal, Regent Street

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Hotel Café Royal

BOOKING.COM

£££ | SPA | POOL | Best for the incredible spa

Set right among the hubbub of Regent Street yet blissfully quiet inside, this storied hotel, once a haunt of Oscar Wilde, has been sympathetically restored by David Chipperfield Architects. Many of the serene rooms have stone walls that mirror the façade of the surroundings outside, contrasting with herringbone floors and colourful furniture. The Akasha spa is amazing — a basem*nt escape with a pool, hammam and an extensive treatment menu ranging from Watsu to reiki — while renowned chef Albert Adria’s Cakes and Bubbles is a must for sweet treats.

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15. Mayfair Townhouse

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Mayfair Townhouse

£££ | Best for a bohemian vibe

This row of 15 connected Georgian townhouses — seven of them grade II listed — can be found on genteel Half Moon Street, across Piccadilly from Green Park. The street was the haunt of Victorian London’s bachelors and bohemians, a place for writers (including, later, Wilfred Owen) to take up residence and set their works. Oscar Wilde based The Importance of Being Earnest here and, it’s said, would buy carnations for his buttonhole (and indulge in less innocent pursuits) at Burlington Arcade around the corner. The hotel has 172 rooms, almost all unique and linked by wobbly corridors — the charming result when you connect townhouses of different sizes. Opt for one of the cosily compact cabin rooms (they’re also the cheapest), which are tucked down individual flights of stairs and decked in restful shades of navy and brushed gold, with comfortable queen beds and little room for much else.

Read our full review of The Mayfair Townhouse

16. Nobu Hotel London Shoreditch

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Nobu Hotel London

WILL PRYCE

£££ | SPA | Best for delicious Japanese food

Nobu’s futuristic exterior will catch your eye as soon as you see it — and its interiors won’t struggle to keep your attention either. All-black corridors lead to rooms that manage to be simplistic and luxurious all at once with floor-to-ceiling windows, gold-lacquered cabinets and Instagram-ready space-age bathrooms decked out in gold sinks and filled with Natura Bissé smellies. Despite being just a five-minute wander from Shoreditch High Street, there are nods to Japan everywhere from the traditional tea sets in the bedrooms to Nami, the buzzy sake-filled bar and, perhaps most famously, in the restaurant that serves signature dishes including melt-in-the-mouth black cod.

Read our full review of Nobu Shoreditch

17. 100 Queen’s Gate, Kensington

££ | Best for location

Location is king at the former home of a Victorian aristocrat; it will take you less than ten minutes to get to the V&A, the Natural History Museum and The Science Museum. Stroll ten minutes further and you’ll come across Hyde Park and Kensington Palace. The hotel is a Hilton – meaning the majority of guests are American – but has made a great effort to not feel like a chain; it goes big on the building’s Victorian backstory, which is felt through collections of stamps and magnifying glasses and a downstairs bar inspired by Victorian London. Rooms feel plush with high ceilings and welcome comfy touches such as leather headboards while plates of lobster ravioli can be enjoyed in the stylish Italian restaurant Cento, Instagram-ready with its wisteria ceiling.

18. Great Northern Hotel, King’s Cross

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The Great Northern

£££ | Best for central location

You’ll be hard pushed to find a more convenient hotel in the capital: step out of King’s Cross station and the Great Northern is mere metres away. It’s the perfect end to a long journey — or a great start to another, with St Pancras and the Eurostar directly opposite. But the location doesn’t mean you need to compromise on fun. The bar, dressed up to the nines with a chequered floor and chandeliers, is a spot where locals head for expertly shaken co*cktails while restaurant Rails plates up classic dishes with a creative twist. Rooms are filled with light and painted in soothing olive greens to guarantee a good night’s sleep; the Hypnos mattress will help too.

19. Hilton London Bankside, Southwark

£££ | SPA | Best for a buzzy restaurant
There’s an industrial-chic vibe to this south London hotel – polished concrete floors, subway tiles, timber cladding – which are the perfect compliment to its surrounds; you’re halfway between Waterloo and London Bridge here and in walking distance of the Shard and Borough Market. Despite being a Hilton, the vibe is more fun than corporate with help-yourself sweet carts in reception and OXBO, the buzzy restaurant with an open kitchen and a 17-metre long slick heated pool. Larger-then-usual entry-level rooms have lots of handy touches — USB plug slots, TVs with Chromecast — and stylish, low-hanging lights by the beds.

20. nhow London, Old Street

Best hotels in London (18)

nhow London

££ | Best for fun interiors

Like quirky? You’ll love nhow’s outpost in east London. Neon signs add a glow to reception, where walls pop with a riot of colour, vintage candy machines keep guests sweet and a 39ft Big Ben modelled in the shape of a rocket is your cue to expect the unexpected. Admire architect James Soan’s take on “London Reloaded” over stonebaked pizzas at the Bell & Whistle restaurant, but don’t get too comfortable. The fun continues upstairs: bedrooms take the Reloaded theme further with fun paintings of Henry VIII and friends, while graffiti artwork adds even more colour. Want to splash out? This is the place to do it. The botanically themed penthouse comes with more eccentric touches: a grass carpet, stone garden and, to be sure you don’t come back down to earth, floor-to-ceiling windows.

21. Mama Shelter, Shoreditch

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Mama Shelter, Shoreditch

££ | Best for entertainment

The Mama Shelter brand is known for its tongue-in-cheek budget hotels and this outpost, a ten-minute walk from Bethnal Green tube station, is no exception. Everything about the design by Parisian studio Dion & Arles is playful and eclectic, from the chalkboard ceiling and fringed 1970s-style lampshades in the restaurant (expect plenty of French-inspired dishes on the menu) to the cartoon-character masks that encourage selfies in the rooms. In the bar, table football and ping pong take centre stage and DJs spin the decks at the weekends; there are also two Lucky Voice karaoke rooms for belting out your favourite pop songs in private.

22. Ruby Lucy, Waterloo

Best hotels in London (20)

Ruby Lucy

££ | Best for a cool co*cktail bar

The ground floor of Ruby Lucy — tucked away behind Waterloo Station, a short walk from the South Bank — is dedicated to its 24-hour co*cktail bar, kitted out with plush colourful velvet chairs, circus-inspired drum tables and brass lamps. The ethos is lean luxury which means streamlined comfort: extra-long beds in the all-white and dark wood rooms, rainfall showers and a Maxi bar in the galley where you can pick up anything you might have forgotten, from an umbrella to a toothbrush. The help-yourself buffet breakfast sets guests up nicely for days spent exploring.

23. The Londoner, Leicester Square

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The Londoner

£££ | SPA | POOL | Best for Leicester Square on your doorstep

Central London locations don’t come more in the thick of it than this, slap bang between the National Gallery and always-lively Leicester Square. This pad, which opened in 2021, has one of the best postcodes in town and puts you in striking distance of the buzzy West End. Once inside, you’re cocooned away from the hustle and bustle in a space of calm. The Retreat is the perfect place to let off steam after a busy week, with plush poolside cabanas, a sauna and steam room and a slick juice bar. And, should you wish to feel glam before heading to a show, you can head to the nail bar or hair and beauty salon. There are 350 rooms, filled with fun art, calming colour schemes and unexpected treats like Dyson hairdryers, Toto lavatories and handy steamers.

24. Hart Shoreditch London

Best hotels in London (22)

Hart Shoreditch London

££ | Best for slick design

Housed in former 19th-century carpenters, Hart gives plenty of nods to its past with touches of east London craftsmanship throughout. Rooms are smart and simplistic and some come with glorious floor-to-ceiling windows — ask for one that’s south-facing — while the bar switches between a mid-afternoon coffee spot or late-night co*cktail perch depending on when you stumble across it. Families can request interconnecting rooms and kids can look forward to mini robes and activity packs. You’re just a ten-minute walk from the bars and shops of Boxpark.

25. The Landmark London, Marylebone

Best hotels in London (23)

The Landmark

££ | SPA | POOL | Best for grandeur

Occupying a prime spot of real estate opposite Marylebone station, this 19th-century grande dame is a landmark in itself. Bellboys in capes swing open the doors, leading guests to a dramatic eight-storey atrium topped with a glass roof that’s the centre of this hotel, part of the Luxury Hotels of the World group. Studded with palm trees (fake, sadly), this central courtyard is the setting for the Winter Garden restaurant, which serves afternoon tea, dinner and breakfast. Rooms and suites, which either look into the atrium or out to the Marylebone streets, are plush with marble bathrooms, thick drapes and old London photography on the walls. As befits a grand old railway hotel, the facilities are myriad: a basem*nt spa with chlorine-free pool (children’s hours apply) and sanarium; an atmospheric London pub, Great Central; and everything from a business centre to ballrooms for big events. Even if you’re not catching a train from London’s most charming station, a stay here puts you within easy reach of Regent’s Park and Mayfair.

26. St Martin’s Lane, Covent Garden

Best hotels in London (24)

St Martin’s Lane

££ | Best for theatre stays

Theatreland is in striking distance at this perfectly positioned pad in Covent Garden. Futuristic bedrooms — the work of French industrial designer Philippe Starck — feature interactive light installations and floor-to-ceiling windows from which you can peer out over the bright lights of the West End. There’s lots of fun to be found in the public spaces including a hidden co*cktail bar accessed via a doorknob in the form of a golden hand. A stay is also your ticket to the AIRE ancient baths, where guests can get access to discounted packages that involve treatments and an excoriation of a series of hot and cold pools tucked inside candlelit caves.

27. London Hilton on Park Lane

Best hotels in London (25)

A suite at London Hilton on Park Lane

££ | SPA | Best for suites

When it comes to postcodes, the Hilton on Park Lane has the prime spot. It’s minutes away from walks in Hyde Park and is right on the edge of Mayfair. No surprise, then, that views from its top floors are ones to remember. Book a table at Galvin at Windows, on the 28th floor, for indulgent dishes such as truffle ravioli and venison and panoramas of the city that are hard to beat. From here you can spot everything from the chimneys at Battersea Power Station to Buckingham Palace Gardens. It’s top-floor suites underwent a multi-million-pound refurbishment at the end of 2023 and bring more of those incredible views along with marble bathrooms and calming gold and cream interiors.

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Additional reporting by Lucy Perrin and Cathy Adams

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