Book a stay at one of these five-star hotels and guarantee a room to remember
29 June 2020
No city does luxury hotels quite like London. The capital’s oldest five-star guesthouses – Brown’s, Claridge’s – date back to the Georgian period. The Victorian age gave rise to the illustrious railway hotel – today’s Andaz Liverpool Street and The Landmark London. There are the grand dames (The Savoy, The Ritz, The Langham, The Lanesborough); the boutique boltholes (Blakes, The Beaumont, Dukes); and the sort of contemporary sanctuaries beloved by the in-crowd (Ham Yard, Nobu). Whether you’re looking for historic splendour or cutting-edge cool, Luxury London has rounded up the high-end hotels guaranteed to provide a room to remember.
Andaz London Liverpool Street
Address: 40 Liverpool Street, London, EC2M 7QN
Number of rooms: 252 + 15 suites
Amenities: gym / spa / steam room
Restaurants & bars: Eastway Brasserie / 1901 Restaurant / 1901 Wine Lounge / Miyako / Rake’s Café Bar / Lady Abercorn’s Pub & Kitchen
Price: from £203 per room per night
Completed in 1884, and originally home to the Great Eastern Hotel, one of London’s illustrious termini guesthouses, this Liverpool Street-based, Grand II-listed building became an Andaz hotel in 2006. Since then, it has remained something of a secret – despite being one of the best-located and most eclectically-styled hotels in the capital.
Built on the site of England’s first hospital for the mentally ill (opened in 1247), referenced in Bram Stoker's horror novel Dracula (vampire hunter Van Helsing stays at the Great Eastern during a visit to London) and bombed during the Second World War (staff protected the building’s glass dome with mattresses), the hotel occupies a storied piece of ground where the Square Mile meets Shoreditch – something the Andaz has admirably tried to acknowledge.
Original features include mosaic floors, ornate cornicing and two Masonic Temples – an Egyptian temple in the basement and a Grecian temple on the first floor, now a private dinging space. The hotel even has its own authentic, oak-panelled pub. Offsetting these old-world features are neon lights, vivid upholstery, bold artwork and spacious rooms that are a riot of bright colour and contemporary comforts. St Paul's Cathedral, the Tower of London, Spitalfields Market and Brick Lane are all under a 10-minute walk away.
11 Cadogan Gardens, Chelsea
Address: 11 Cadogan Gardens, Chelsea, London, SW3 2RJ
Number of rooms: 31 rooms + 25 suites
Amenities: compact gym
Restaurants & bars: Hans Bar & Grill / Chelsea Bar
Price: from £275 per night
11 Cadogan Gardens occupies four adjoining redbrick townhouses in the heart of Chelsea. It embodies all of the old-school charm, splendour and English eccentricity that you would expect of a historic, five-star hotel by Sloane Square, while a top-to-tail refurbishment in 2016 ensures it is fit for the modern guest.
Rooms range from sumptuous and comfortable to all-out, gilded glamour in the Sloane Suite. Similar to a members' club, the hotel unfolds to reveal hidden corners and rooms full of curiosities, while the restaurant, Hans Bar & Grill, links 11 Cadogan Gardens to the eminently charming Pavilion Road. Unusually for a hotel dining room, it has a relaxed, neighbourhood vibe and draws a cross-generational crowd of families and local residents. Finish your evening in the low-lit Chelsea Bar.
Knightsbridge, Belgravia and King's Road are all within walking distance of 11 Cadogan Gardens, which is part of Iconic Luxury Hotels – the esteemed group behind Cliveden House, Chewton Glen and the Lygon Arms.
45 Park Lane, Mayfair
Address: 45 Park Lane, Mayfair, London, W1K 1PN
Number of rooms: 45 rooms + 11 suites + 1 penthouse suite
Amenities: guests have access to The Dorchester Spa and complimentary use of bespoke Brompton bicycles
Restaurants & bars: CUT at 45 Park Lane / Bar 45
Price: £895 per night for a deluxe room
45 Park Lane oozes art deco American glamour – all wood panelling and soaring drapes, with butterscotch leather furnishings and glitzy chandeliers. Rooms are equally slick, ranging from smart standard doubles to sprawling apartment-like suites, with views over leafy Hyde Park. The penthouse covers the entire top floor, accessible via a private lift.
The hotel centrepiece is CUT, Wolfgang Puck’s glossy restaurant for the super-rich, which is billed by many as the best steak in London. Damien Hirst adorns the walls, alongside a rotating gallery of global contemporary artists. 45 Park Lane is within walking distance of Mayfair and mere steps away from sister hotel, The Dorchester.
The Beaumont Hotel, Mayfair
Address: Brown Hart Gardens, Mayfair, London, W1K 6TF
Number of rooms: 50 + 23 suites and studios
Amenities: a Hamam-style spa / small gym / use of The Beaumont's chauffeur-driven house car for local drop offs
Restaurants & bars: Colony Grill Room / The Magritte Bar / The Cub Room
Price: from £488 per night
Art meets history in a tale of Mayfair make-believe at The Beaumont Hotel. Despite occupying a Grade-II-listed building from 1926 – and having the feel of a wood-panelled members’ club from around the same time – The Beaumont only opened in 2014. It was the first hotel by hospitality power-duo Corbin & King – of The Ivy, Le Caprice, The Delaunay and The Wolseley. To match the building’s Art-Deco exterior, King concocted a narrative that would inform all aspects of the hotel’s interior. The Beaumont, he imagined, was the work of fictional James Beaumont – Jimmy, to his friends – a discouraged American hotelier who escaped prohibition Manhattan to establish an eponymous guesthouse in pre-war Mayfair.
The result is cosy public areas of polished walnuts, bronze statuettes and black-and-white photographs from the Roaring Twenties. Traditionally-styled, masculine bedrooms come with all the mod-coms. There’s also ROOM, a three-storey, one-bedroom inhabitable sculpture by Turner Prize-winner Antony Gormley. The Colony Grill Room is a moody, macho American diner with blood-red leather banquettes and steaks the size of your forearm. In its short life, The Beaumont has won a bucket-load of awards, including The Gallivanter's Guide’s Best Independent Hotel in the World and Best General Manager Worldwide – two years running.
Blakes Hotel, South Kensington
Address: 33 Roland Gardens, South Kensington, London, SW7 3PF
Number of rooms: 34 rooms + 10 suites
Amenities: guests can enjoy access to the nearby South Kensington Club, which has a comprehensive gym and wellness centre
Restaurants & bars: Blakes Hotel restaurant / Blakes Below basement bar
Price: from £329 per night
Created by interior designer and former Bond girl Anouska Hempel in 1978 and considered London's first boutique hotel, Blakes is an unabashedly grandiose and provocative adult playground in South Kensington. The rooms were completely revamped in 2016, with Hempel citing Corfu, gentlemen’s clubs and the opium dens of Asia among her eclectic inspirations.
The immersive decor is both lavish and louche, from theatrical crimson walls and cocooning silk drapes in the Cardinal Suite to the immersive, ebony and gold milieu of the Gypsy Suite. Bibliophiles will find pleasure in The Library, with hidden bookcase doors.
The dark and gilded restaurant draws on Eastern and Mediterranean influences, and you can continue the night at Blakes Below, the hotel’s basement lounge with regular live jazz music. The hotel feels a world away from the V&A and the smart shops of Draycott Avenue and King’s Road, all of which are on your doorstep.
Address: Albemarle Street, Mayfair, London W1S 4BP
Number of rooms: 82 rooms + 33 suites
Amenities: 24-hour gym / spa / wellness centre
Restaurants & bars: Charlie’s / The Donovan Bar / The Drawing Room
Price: from £450 in low season; from £700 in high season
Located a stone’s throw away from the Royal Academy and the Burlington Arcade, Brown’s has all of the cachet of a five-star London establishment without the stuffiness. In the 19th century it was fondly known as a ‘family hotel’; unlike many of the clubs at the time, women were welcome at Brown's. Despite its celebrity following (Kipling wrote The Jungle Book here), the hotel does not rest on its laurels; it underwent a multi-million-pound refurbishment in 2004 and was reopened by former prime minister Margaret Thatcher the following year. The hotel benefits from a small but excellent spa and the 24-hour gym is a welcome sight after a boozy night out in Mayfair. Rooms are extremely comfortable, but the suites benefit from far more personality. The Kipling Suite, designed by Olga Polizzi, is an aesthetic delight with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking historic Albemarle Street’s designer boutiques.
Bulgari Hotel London, Knightsbridge
The Bulgari Hotel London is less ostentatious than you’d expect given the brand’s association with dazzling gold jewellery. Instead it champions an elegantly slick, mid-century modern aesthetic with shiny black marble flooring, polished mahogany and lots of silver metalwork. The building itself is only eight years old — making it a baby in Knightsbridge terms — and was built especially for Bulgari by Squire and Partners architects, the same creatives behind the brand’s other outposts in Milan, Bali and Dubai (to name a few).
85 rooms are spread over the top six floors, with two private apartments taking up the top two storeys. On the ground floor you’ll find the flagship restaurant Sette, owned by the New York chain Scarpetta, which serves hearty Italian dishes. Nightcaps are had in the basement at Nolita Social, which, with an elevated cocktail list and DJ sets, is poised for parties. The Bvlgari Spa is one of the most impressive wellness destinations in London and has been designed with the brand’s Italian heritage in mind — the 25-metre swimming pool is clad in textured Vicenza stone and the showers tiled with gold leaf.
Address: 171 Knightsbridge, SW7 1DW
Number of rooms: 85 rooms and suites
Amenities: The Bvlgari Spa and adjoining swimming pool / Workshop gym / Neville Hair and Beauty salon.
Restaurants & bars: Sette restaurant, Nolita Social bar and lounge, The Lounge
Price: From £922 a night for a Superior Guest room with a King Bed
Charlotte Street Hotel, Fitzrovia
Address: 15-17 Charlotte Street, Fitzrovia, London, W1T 1RJ
Number of rooms: 52 rooms
Amenities: screening room / gym / in-room beauty treatments
Restaurants & bars: Oscar Bar and Restaurant
Price: from £350 per night
With a grand mint green exterior crowned by a wafting Union Jack flag, Charlotte Street Hotel had us at hello. The five-star residence is part of Tim and Kit Kemp’s Firmdale Hotel group and reflects the duo’s modern, quintessentially British aesthetic, with plenty of warmth, wit and character. Bedrooms are uniquely designed with exuberant textiles and wallpaper prints, inspired by the history of the neighbourhood.
Charlotte Street Hotel is within easy reach of Soho, Marylebone and Mayfair, with the culinary delights of Fitzrovia right outside. Entertaining takes place in the lively Oscar Bar and Restaurant, which spills onto the streets during the summer months. There is a boutique gym and guests can also enjoy in-room beauty treatments in partnership with Temple Spa.
Address: Brook Street, Mayfair, London W1K 4HR
Number of rooms: 197 rooms + 11 suites
Amenities: rooftop gym / beauty treatment rooms
Bars and restaurants: Davies and Brook / Claridges Bar / Fumoir Bar / The Foyer & Reading Room (serving daily afternoon tea)
Price: from £570 per night
While exploring central London, a drink at the ineffably elegant Claridge’s Bar is the height of sophistication. Since 1856, this five-star hotel has been the art deco jewel of Mayfair, welcoming Marlene Dietrich, Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant and Kate Moss through its glitzy revolving doors. With a gleaming chequerboard marble floor, cascading chandeliers, towering floristry displays and dramatically curved staircases, it remains a glittering homage to the Roaring Twenties. None more so than in the opulent Mayfair suite, where gilded period features are complemented by scalloped headboards and matching velvet chairs.
Afternoon tea is one of the best in London, while superchef Daniel Humm runs Davies and Brook restaurant. The darkly decadent Le Fumoir bar is as cosy as it is glamorous with Lalique glassware and sultry interiors. Leave time to visit the serene rooftop spa, which offers a smorgasbord of Sisley beauty treatments.
The Connaught, Mayfair
Address: Carlos Place, Mayfair, London, W1K 2AL
Number of rooms: 121 (including suites)
Amenities: Aman spa / compact gym / indoor swimming pool
Restaurants & bars: The Connaught Grill / Hélène Darroze at The Connaught / Jean-Georges at The Connaught / Connaught Bar / Coburg Bar
Price: from £473 per night
The entrance to The Connaught reveals itself through a cloud of mist. The granite-edged water feature that engulfs two London Plane trees in the hotel’s forecourt emits clouds of vapour for fifteen seconds every fifteen minutes. The effect is mesmerising, and an apt introduction to a hotel that mixes modern taste with traditional hospitality.
The hotel first opened in 1897 and retains much of its Edwardian charm. So enamoured was Ralph Lauren with the staircase in the lobby of The Connaught that he had a replica installed in his flagship store on Madison Avenue. The hotel benefitted from a £70 million facelift in 2007, which saw rooms overhauled by David Collin Studio and, subsequently, the opening of the Aman spa – the first Aman Spa to be built outside the renowned Aman resorts.
The décor may be turn-of-the-20th-century, but drinking and dinning is very much cutting-edge. Hélène Darroze at The Connaught earned the French chef a second Michelin star; The Coburg Bar has been voted Best Bar in London by Time Out magazine; while The Connaught Bar came runner up at the World’s 50 Best Bar Awards and was named Best Bar in Europe. Elsewhere, Jean-Georges at The Connaught mixes British classics with flavours from the Far East; and the 2020 opening of The Connaught Grill relaunches one of London’s most celebrated restaurants.
The Dorchester, Mayfair
Address: 53 Park Lane, Mayfair, London, W1K 1QA
Number of rooms: 194 rooms + 56 suites and 3 penthouse suites
Amenities: spa / steam room / small gym / gentlemen’s barbershop
Restaurants & bars: Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester / The Grill at The Dorchester / China Tang / The Promenade / The Spatisserie
Price: from £720 per night
One of the first purpose-built hotels to be constructed using reinforced concrete – the building was completed in 1931 and Grade II listed in 1981 – the austere, Art Deco exterior of The Dorchester is about as far removed as you can get from the extravagant interiors within. Public areas are characterised by marble floors, marble-effect pillars, gold-leaf ceilings, elaborate cornicing and acres of fresh flowers overseen by the hotel’s in-house team of florists. The Dorchester has almost 300 rooms and suites, some kitsch, others more contemporary. White-marble bathrooms, with super-deep baths, are a running theme.
The Dorchester was famed as a hangout for royals and movie stars, before George Clooney called for a boycott over the policies of the hotel’s owner, the Sultan of Brunei, in the Sultan's home country. Long before then, HM The Queen attended the Dorchester the day prior to her engagement to Philip Mountbatten. Prince Philip would later choose to host his stag party at the hotel – an evening that’s documented by a plaque.
The Dorchester is perhaps best known today for its culinary offering. French fine dining restaurant Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester is one of the few eateries in London to hold three Michelin stars. The Grill offers upscale British cuisine; China Tang serves ritzy Cantonese. The Dorchester’s Afternoon Tea, served in the sumptuous The Promenade, vies for the best in London.
Dukes London, St. James's
Address: 35 St James's Place, St. James's, London, SW1A 1NY
Number of rooms: 75 + 14 suites and one penthouse
Amenities: Italian marble steam room, spa, 24-hour gym
Restaurants: Dukes Bar / GBR
Price: from £350 per night
Dukes is small. And if your idea of luxury is multi-room apartments with flat-screen TVs the size of football pitches and corridors long enough to require a trail of brioche crumbs to navigate your way back to the bathroom, then Dukes isn’t for you. However, with marble bathrooms and inconceivably comfortable beds, these are rooms designed not just to be slept in, but to be lived in through afternoons of cold champagne and hot showers.
Down in the basement, Dukes Bar is famously where Ian Fleming is supposed to have decided upon 007’s favoured tipple. The bar’s white-jacketed barmen look old enough to have served Fleming himself. The hotel’s bistro, GBR, an acronym for Great British Restaurant, allows diners to eat any dish in either starter or main-course size.
These days, freedom isn’t a word often associated with hotels; a culture of hidden add-ons, ruthlessly applied check-out times and breakfast buffet queues see to that. Dukes is a glorious exception – and perhaps one of the last.
The Goring, Belgravia
Address: 15 Beeston Place, Westminster, London, SW1W 0JW
Number of rooms: 57 + 11 suites
Amenities: large private gardens / small gym
Restaurants & Bars: The Dining Room / The Goring Cocktail Bar
Price: from £520 per night
The Goring might have been providing well-appointed bedrooms to the rich and well-known since 1910, but it was Kate Middleton that really put the hotel on the map when she stayed here the night before her wedding to Prince William in 2011. Ms Middleton was staying in the Royal suite, a double-bedroomed, dining-room-equipped expanse that’s a stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace, whose balcony she’d appear on the next day.
The hotel has 67 other rooms and suites, many of which are flooded with natural light from windows that frame The Goring’s large private gardens. A resolutely English hotel, every room is individually decorated by renowned British designers to feature select wallpapers, fine Italian linen and bespoke furniture. Bathrooms are stocked with Asprey amenities and Egyptian cotton towels and bathrobes.
The Goring is the only hotel in London still owned and operated by the family that opened it, and is the only hotel in the capital to have been awarded a royal warrant of appointment from Queen Elizabeth II, which it’s held since 2013. The Goring’s Afternoon Tea has won a splattering of awards and its Dining Room was granted a Michelin star. It may not boast an indoor swimming pool and cutting-edge fitness centre, but what The Goring lacks in amenities, it more than makes up for in service, style and splendour.
Ham Yard Hotel, Soho
Address: 1 Ham Yard, Soho, London W1D 7DT
Number of rooms: 89 bedrooms + 9 suites + 17 luxury long stay apartments
Amenities: spa / gym
Restaurants & Bars: Ham Yard Restaurant & Bar / Rooftop Terrace
Price: from £498 per night
Also part of the Firmdale Hotel chain (see Charlotte Street Hotel above), The Ham Yard Hotel is tucked away down a quiet side street by Piccadilly, amongst the charming shops of Ham Yard Village. The hotel bar packs out most evenings with a diverse, hip crowd of creatives, who come for the eclectic decor and sophisticated cocktail menu.
Bedrooms boast floor-to-ceiling, triple-glazed windows - allowing you to sleep peacefully through Soho’s clamour - while decor reflects Firmdale’s penchant for bold pattern and high-end contemporary design. There are also 17 serviced apartments with minimum three-month lets (you'll never want to leave).
In warmer months, visitors spill onto the al fresco courtyard, or take refuge at the rooftop bar, which is one of the best in London.
Hotel Café Royal, Soho
Address: 10 Air Street, Soho, London, W1B 4DY
Number of rooms: 115 rooms + 5 suites
Amenities: state-of-the-art spa with 60ft pool and complimentary fitness classes
Restaurants & bars: Oscar Wilde Lounge, Laurent restaurant, Cakes & Bubbles café and Ziggy's Bar
Price: from £505 per night
First opened in 1965, Café Royal courted bohemian contemporaries including Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw and Virginia Woolf. The hotel underwent a vast refurbishment in 2013, restoring the building to its former glory. Today, it truly lives up to its Royal name, with a vast marble lobby and lashings of Louis XVI gilded extravagance in the Oscar Wilde Lounge, where afternoon tea is served daily. There is also a delightful Cake & Bubbles café, serving champagne and Michelin-starred pastries.
By contrast, rooms are light and modern and surprisingly quiet, given their proximity to Regent Street below. Seriously impressive suites include the Dome Penthouse, complete with its own verdant roof terrace. There is a gorgeous, state-of-the-art Akasha spa in the belly of the hotel, with a 60ft pool and private hammam. Guests can enjoy free-of-charge fitness classes in dedicated studios, including morning yoga and Pilates.
The Landmark London, Marylebone
Address: 222 Marylebone Rd, Marylebone, London, NW1 6JQ
Number of rooms 249 + 51 suites
Amenities: spa / sauna / steam room / gym / indoor swimming pool
Restaurants & bars: The Winter Garden / Great Central Bar & Restaurant / Mirror Bar
Price: from £294 per room per night
Along with the buildings now occupied by the Andaz hotel at Liverpool Street, and the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel in King’s Cross, 222 Marylebone Road was originally designed as a grand, Victorian-era railway hotel serving the relatively-minor (given the size of the hotel) Marylebone station, opposite. The Landmark London is centred around a stunning, eight-storey glass-roofed atrium that’s lined with towering palm trees, making for one of the most spectacular interior spaces of any London hotel – and a place perennially popular with afternoon tea goers and Sunday brunch lovers (thanks, largely, to the free-flowing champagne that comes as part of the deal).
Classically-styled rooms may not be as expensively upholstered as some of London’s starrier hotels, but they nonetheless come with marble bathrooms and all of the traditional mod-coms. Likewise, a basement spa may not enjoy the reputation of its peers, even so it is spacious, well-equipped and features a good-sized pool with a hot tub – something that many pricier hotels aren’t able to boast.
Architecturally-uplifting, The Landmark London is a Victorian vestige that offers door-step access to one of London’s more under-explored neighbourhoods.
The Lanesborough, Hyde Park
Address: Hyde Park Corner, London, SW1X 7TA
Number of rooms: 47 + 46 suites
Amenities: state-of-the art gym / sauna / steam room / small pool / Hair salon
Restaurants & bars: The Library Bar / Céleste / The Garden Room
Price: from £615 per night
When The Lanesborough reopened in 2015, after a year-and-a-half of restoration, it promised to take guests back in time to the early 19th century. The price of tickets – £26,000 a night for The Royal Suite – reportedly made it London’s most expensive hotel. Today, this suite is priced at £12,500 per night.
Occupying a neoclassical, Grade II-listed ex-hospital dating back to 1844, the inside of The Lanesborough was reimagined in the style of its Regency-era façade. Crystal chandeliers cascade from high ceilings, wide corridors are held up by ornamental Greek columns, marble runs for miles, more than 42,000 sheets of gold leaf was used for various decoration, there’s a bar stocked with cognacs that date back to 1770 (which cost up to £10,000 per pour) and an impressive collection of 18th-century artworks, including three original Reynolds.
The Lanesborough Club & Spa was named the World’s Best New Hotel Spa in the year of its launch, while Michelin-starred restaurant Céleste wouldn’t look out of place at the Palace of Versailles. All bedrooms come with butlers and televisions that are artfully hidden behind replica oil paintings.
The Langham, Marylebone
Address: 1C Portland Place, Marylebone, London W1B 1JA
Number of rooms: 380
Amenities: spa / sauna / steam room / indoor pool / gym
Restaurants & bars: Palm Court / Artesian Bar / The Wigmore / Roux at The Landau
Price: from £342 per room per night
The Langham is a historic hotel that’s kept up with the times. Its two biggest draws are its location – it’s a three-minute stroll to the shops of Oxford Street and equidistance to the restaurants of Marylebone – and its food and drink offering: Artesian was voted the World’s Best Bar for four years in a row (2011-15); Roux at the Landau has a reputation for serving some of the finest French cuisine in London; while the less-formal, highly-welcoming The Wigmore is a gastropub with a menu overseen by Roux – what more could you ask for?
When the 10-storey, turreted, neo-baroque building was completed in 1865 it touted itself as the continent’s first ‘Grand Hotel’. Then the largest hotel in London, it housed 100 water closets, 36 bathrooms and the first hydraulic lifts in England. Guests have included Mark Twain, Napoleon III, Oscar Wilde, Winston Churchill, Charles de Gaulle and Princess Diana. The past 30 years has seen The Langham pass through the hands of several owners. The upshot is that the building has benefitted from almost £200 million’s worth of refurbishment.
The Langham may have 380 rooms, yet away from its bustling, marble-clad, column-lined lobby, it manages to retain a sense of intimacy. Rooms are light, neutral and luxurious. The Chuan Health Club boasts a 16-metre subterranean swimming pool and a spa that was the first in London to incorporate the ancient principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine into its signature treatments.
The Ritz, Piccadilly
Address: 150 Piccadilly, St. James's, London, W1J 9BR
Number of rooms: 111 rooms, 25 suites
Amenities: Rolls-Royce Phantom available for suite guests / Hiro Miyoshi at The Ritz London / cigar room / beauty and massage treatments
Restaurants & bars: The Ritz restaurant / Rivoli Bar / Afternoon Tea Room / outdoor terrace
Price: from £445 per night
In 2020, The Ritz celebrates 114 years of splendour and elegance and a new proprietor. It has won the affection of innumerable high-profile guests over the years – The Prince of Wales (the future King Edward VII) who was a loyal client of César Ritz is reputed to have said; “Where Ritz goes, I go”. In 2002, it became the first hotel to receive a Royal Warrant for its banquet and catering services. With many world-class restaurants in the vicinity, The Ritz Restaurant easily holds its own (a Michelin star was awarded in 2016). A quintessential experience of The Ritz is afternoon tea in the Palm Court, where more than 18 different types of loose-leaf tea can be chosen.
Indeed, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother regularly dined at The Ritz where she frequently requested her favourite song A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square to be played on the piano. More akin to staying in a palace than a hotel, it has an opulently decorated cream-coloured Louis XVI setting, with panelled mirrors in gilt bronze frames. The ultimate way to experience the grandeur of The Ritz, The Prince of Wales suite is a vast penthouse suite with views over Green Park – yours from £5,450 a night. Toast the end of the day with The Ritz's French 75, a classic champagne cocktail.
Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, Knightsbridge
Address: 66 Knightsbridge, London, SW1X 7LA
Number of rooms: 168 + 26 suites
Amenities: 17-metre indoor swimming pool / state-of-the-art fitness centre / spa
Restaurants & bars: Bar Boulud / The Rosebery Lounge / DINNER by Heston Blumenthal
Price: from £740 per night
Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park re-opened its doors in April 2019 after a top-to-bottom refurbishment. Rooms were reimagined by Hong Kong-based design doyen Joyce Wang as bright, light contemporary spaces that come with Bang & Olufsen flat screen TVs, iHome stations, GHD hair straighteners, Nespresso coffee machines and heated electric toilet seats.
A literal stone’s throw from Hyde Park, Harvey Nichols, Harrods and Sloane Street, Mandarin Oriental is home to upscale French bistro Bar Boulud and two-Michelin-star DINNER by Heston Blumenthal. In its subterranean floors, the hotel boasts a comprehensively kitted-out fitness studio, an expansive spa and slick, spot-lit 17-metre pool.
From antique mirrors that have been artistically gilded and etched with feathers, to the heft of marble that flows from lobby to reception and into every guest bathroom via grand sweeping staircases, it’s clear that no expense has been spared transforming Mandarin Oriental into one of London’s classiest hotels.
Nobu Hotel, Shoreditch
Address: 10-50 Willow St, Hackney, London, EC2A 4BH
Number of rooms: 148
Amenities: spa / wellness and fitness centre
Restaurants: Nobu Shoreditch / Nobu Café / NAMI Bar
Price: from £193 per night
Celebrity chefs do everything other than cook these days, and Nobu Matsuhisa is no exception. Opening his namesake sushi restaurant in Los Angeles back in 1987, it became such a hit he once had to turn down Tom Cruise for lack of space. Soon after, Robert De Niro approached Chef Nobu to become his business partner – the rest, as they say...
With international outposts in more than 10 locations, including two in London, the hotels share a blend of modern cool luxury and minimal Japanese tradition. As expected, the food is the crowning achievement of the Nobu Shoreditch experience. The hotel features three restaurants: Nobu Shoreditch serves signature classics like the umami-laden Black Cod Den Miso; in the Lobby Lounge you’ll find the Nobu café, the first Nobu restaurant in London to serve breakfast; while NAMI bar serves a selection of Japanese street food dishes, as house music is played by a collective of mysterious, masked DJs.
Rooms are bento-box like in their dimensions but aesthetically pleasing and utilize space well. Defining moment? Make yourself a ceremonial-grade matcha tea post-spa treatment and soak up the vibes of Shoreditch from your terrace (available in higher-rate rooms) in one of East London’s most restful experiences.
The Savoy, The Strand
Address: Strand, London, WC2R 0EZ
Amenities: beauty & fitness centre / indoor pool / spa / sauna
Restaurants & bars: Savoy Grill / Kaspar's / Thames Foyerm / Simpson's in the Strand / The Bar at Simpson's / The American Bar / The Beaufort Bar
Price: from £440 per night
The Savoy – where do we start? If you want to sleep on a mattress worth £40,000, stay where Sinatra, Edward VII and Judy Garland once did, then the Savoy is where you can dream easy. As the first luxury hotel in Britain, the Savoy trades on tradition in both service and look. Immaculately turned-out staff have an ethos of ‘personal service naturally’ and the hotel was the first to establish its own school to train professionals.
Attention to detail sets the Savoy apart from other five-star hotels – which other hotel employs a ‘Literary Ambassador’ to select novels for its guests? Rooms are cheerfully decorated in typically Edwardian or Art Deco style, though our recommendation would be to opt for one overlooking the Thames for spectacular panoramas at night. Guests are spoiled for choice with dining options. Gordon Ramsay’s Savoy Grill does not disappoint, neither does the darkly seductive The Beaufort Bar. Try the Incognito, a masculine mix of Patron Anejo Tequila, Averno and Martini Rubino with popcorn and walnut, inspired by the actress Katherine Hepburn, who was turned away from other hotels for wearing her trademark trousers.
Sea Containers London, Southbank
Address: 20 Upper Ground, South Bank, London, SE1 9PD
Number of Rooms: 359
Amenities: fitness & wellness centre / spa / Curzon cinema
Restaurants & bars: Sea Containers Restaurant / 12th Knot / Lyaness Bar
Formerly the Mondrian, the Sea Containers boasts spectacular views from its riverfront location on London’s South Bank. Whilst the 1980’s post-modernist exterior has remained largely intact, the interior was completely revamped by designer Tom Dixon in 2019, who drew inspiration from the former tenant of the building, a shipping company. Inside, the atmosphere is unashamedly flamboyant; there are glowing metallics, copper-clad hallways highlighted by moody lighting and sweeping art-deco curves, all intended to invoke the glamour of 1920s transatlantic liners. Staying on the ground floor, the Sea Containers evokes the sensation of a nightclub more than a hotel. Rest assured though, that the hedonistic Dixon theme does not extend to the rooms, which are comparatively modest in comparison. Voted one of the World’s 50 Best Bars, guests can enjoy a cocktail at Lyaness – which offers unique views towards St Paul’s and the Square Mile.
Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard, Southwark
Address: 31 St Thomas Street, London SE1 9QU
Number of rooms: 202 rooms and suites
Amenities: The Skypool offers an exclusive escape for hotel guests, who may also indulge in relaxing spa treatments, either in the comfort of their room or in one of the spa residences
Restaurants & bars: GŎNG Bar, TÎNG Restaurant, Bar 31
Price: Rooms from £327 per night
The capital’s highest hotel comes served with a slice of renowned Asian hospitality. Service feels friendly, warm and genuine, while 360-degree vistas of the capital from almost every standing point in the hotel are unrivaled. Being so high above the city, there’s a sense of serenity and occasion. The hotel’s restaurants are destinations in themselves – we suggest kicking off the night at Gong Bar, with its impressive rotation of themed cocktails.
This summer, the hotel has reopened with a sensational round-up of seasonal experiences to delight guests. The hotel is offering a complimentary upgrade to the next available room or suite category, a private Harvey Nichols shopping experience with a dedicated shopping consultant, a deluxe bath experience by Neal’s Yard Remedies or breakfast for two, served in the comfort of the guestroom or at TÎNG Restaurant.
The Stafford London, St. James's
Address: 16-18 St James's Place, St. James's, London, SW1A 1NJ
Number of rooms: 107
Amenities: a 380-year-old wine cellar / multiple private event rooms
Restaurants & bars: The American Bar / The Game Bird
Price: from £293 per night
English eccentricity meets mid-century Americana in this historic hotel, which served as a base for American and Canadian officers during the Second World War. Tucked away in demure corner of St James’s – just a few hundred yards from Buckingham Palace – The Stafford sits atop a 380-year-old wine cellar, thought to be the oldest in London, which houses whiskies dating back to the 1920s.
Despite the hotel’s storied history – since the 1940s it’s operated a member’s club for services men who’ve gone beyond the call of duty – there’s nothing antiquated about The Stafford’s rooms and restaurant. Rooms have the sprawling feel of an officer class cabin on a vintage ocean liner; dark woods, smooth leather chairs, marble bathrooms and tonnes of milk chocolate, caramel and cream.
Away from The American Bar, The Game Bird, presided over by head chef Jozef Rogulski, is an entirely unapologetic love letter to the Great British Larder. Immense flower displays, deep carpets, backgammon boards and a display cabinet full of partridge and beef ribs tells us one thing immediately: this is not a place in which to try and order a hot dog and fries.
The Standard London, King's Cross
Address: 10 Argyle Street, King’s Cross, London, WC1H 8EG
Number of rooms: 266&l
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