7 Trebovir Road, SW5 9LS
Loyal gay fans return year after year to this smart, discreet B&B on a quiet Earl’s Court street. The boutique hotel style of the Amsterdam’s refurbished rooms is now extended to the public areas, with pale colours, plain fabrics and good quality fittings creating an upmarket ambience. There’s an internet room and free wireless throughout, while in summer the peaceful garden is a big draw. All rooms are en suite; the serviced apartments on the upper floors come complete with kitchenette. The hotel is tolerant of late-night visitors, as long as they are discreet and considerate of other guests.
37 Wharfdale Road, N1 9SD
Not too long ago, Central Station was one of London’s seedier pubs. In recent years, it’s had a makeover, with the addition of a café, a roof terrace and, now, a B&B. Don’t expect too much: a boutique hotel this ain’t. Nor is it a particularly salubrious establishment: a cruisy air still dominates, especially in the basement club, with its myriad kinky nights and dark room. But if you need a place to crash after a night on the pull, or pick up a stranger and don’t want to bring him home just yet, this is a handy option.
29-33 Camberwell Church Street, SE5 8TR
Craftsman José Raido and his Galician family are behind this attractive hotel near Camberwell Green. It’s on the frontier of London’s Latin American quarter, reflected in funky bathroom tiles from Guadalajara, imported cinema posters and other Mexicana. The Somerset bed frames in the high-ceilinged bedrooms were made by José himself. Korres bathroom products are organic, like the pastries and cereals offered for breakfast (even those paying £70-£90 for the shared-bathroom ‘Poblito’ rooms are entitled to breakfast). The area is up-and-coming and edgy – be careful at night – but there’s always lots of street life, and buses run all night from nearby Vauxhall and Clapham.
30 Seymour Street, W1H 7JB
Edward Lear, the Victorian artist and poet, was gay. So it’s only fitting that this B&B in his former home should be gay-friendly. It’s an appealing place: flamboyant floral displays grace the exterior; the interior is bright and cheery, if a little old-fashioned; and the pretty breakfast room makes the most of the Edward Lear connection with poems on the placemats. Rooms are furnished in traditional style and are neither flashy nor luxurious (only four are en suite), but they are comfortable and well proportioned, and the front rooms are gloriously sunny. Oxford Street shopping is close at hand, as is the Quebec pub – a friendly local for a friendly hotel.
69 Gower Street, WC1E 6HJ
The owner of this gay-friendly townhouse hotel was in the antiques trade, and it shows: the Garth is decorated in an enjoyably fussy, camp style. The pink lobby walls are lined with framed theatre programmes, vintage fashion ads and black-and-white photos of Hollywood starlets and old London buses. The bedrooms are similarly crammed with interesting pictures, engravings and period prints; they’re not luxurious, but the tall ceilings and old fireplaces add period appeal. The verdant garden is delightful.
58-60 Cartwright Gardens, WC1H 9EL
It's gay friendly, although the George’s homely decor doesn’t exactly exude gay style. But the hotel occupies a Georgian townhouse on a handsome crescent, so the ceilings are high and public areas spacious. The rooms are fine, with tasteful pine furniture, a pretty blue and yellow colour scheme and new curtains and bedspreads. En suite rooms have minuscule bathrooms; the public loos are perfectly respectable. Guests can use the private tennis courts and garden out front. The location is the George’s strong point – Gay’s the Word bookshop is around the corner, and the bars of Soho aren’t too far away.
33 Gloucester Place, W1U 8HY
This townhouse hotel sports a nautical motif, the shipping paraphernalia, brass lamps and rich wood panelling of the public areas evoking a cosy old sailing yacht. Though you won’t have to scale the rigging, you may have to climb the stairs, for there’s no lift. Chandeliers and gaudy floral displays in the lobby add pizzazz. In contrast to the smart public rooms, the bedrooms are plain but they’re well equipped, including free wireless internet access. Long-running gay hostelry the Quebec is a short stroll away.
113 Ebury Street, SW1W 9QU
The Lynton isn’t exactly screaming. Its owners, brothers Mark and Simon Connor, aren’t even gay. But these cheeky chappies inherited the queer clientele of the defunct Noël Coward Hotel next door (no111; legend has it that Noël’s mum once lived there). The brothers are happy to give gay guests information about the scene, and generally mind their own business about nocturnal guests (just keep the volume down: the hotel’s straight guests don’t keep Vauxhall hours). The decor is simple, budget Victorian B&B, nicer than the somewhat threadbare halls would suggest; the more attractive rooms are on the upper floors. Some have tiny en suite bathrooms. Soho and Vauxhall are a night bus away, while serious retail therapy is available on the King’s Road.
16 St Alfege Passage, SE10 9JS
‘The bright young things will go to Soho, I suppose,’ says Robert Gray, co-owner of this diminutive, gay-run B&B in an idyllic corner of Greenwich. So it’s left to the over-thirties to enjoy this classy establishment. The decor is tasteful, from the exuberant Victoriana of the three guest bedrooms with their four-poster or cast-iron beds to the bold and eclectic sitting room, complete with mummified cat. Guests are discouraged from bringing ‘visitors’ home, though a small park nearby provides cruising opportunities. There are a couple of gay pubs in the area, and central London is only 20 minutes away by train.