Hotels in London
Prices are high and openings many in the run-up to London 2012
In certain respects, the excitement of London 2012 is being most keenly felt in the hotel industry. There are so many new openings planned for 2012, already under way or open, it’s sometimes hard to keep up. Even previously unfancied parts of east London are beginning to gain swanky and characterful boutique properties and new budget hotels.
The excitement isn’t confined to the east. In the West End, the reopening of the Savoy in October 2010 might be the biggest event, but the appearance of the new St John Hotel – a fabulous company and a fabulous location just off Leicester Square – might be more significant.
There will be splashy openings this year across all price ranges. For starters there's the W Leicester Square, the Mint Hotel Tower of London and the masculine new sibling of the Dorchester, 45 Park Lane. The Zetter is to open new bedrooms in a townhouse just across the square from the original in April 2011. The much-delayed redevelopment of the Grade I-listed frontage of St Pancras station into the Renaissance Marriott St Pancras has finally reached completion. It is taking bookings from March 21 2011, and will officially launch on May 5. The hotshot New York hotelier André Balazs is said to be developing a property in London, and Kit Kemp’s exemplary Firmdale Group is already at work on a new luxury hotel in Soho’s Ham Yard.
Room prices remain high across London. Significantly, Dean Street Townhouse, its slightly younger sibling Shoreditch Rooms and St John chose to offer ‘tiny’ or ‘post-supper’ rooms – their smallest or otherwise less-appealing rooms at lower-than-you-might-fear rates. The popularity of hip new B&Bs (Rough Luxe & 40 Winks) and no-frills hotel concepts speaks to the same need.
Find a hotel in London
Our Hotels homepage will guide you around the best hotels and B&Bs in London, allowing you to browse by budget, area and style.
Room ratesOn average, you can expect to pay more than £300 a night for a double room for 'Luxury' hotels, £200-£300 for 'Expensive' hotels, £100-£200 for 'Mid-range' properties and under £100 a night for 'Budget' accommodation.
The rates we’ve listed are only for guidance. The variation within these room rates, top to bottom and over the course of the year, can be huge.
Our listings room rates include VAT (sales tax). However, be aware that not all hotels include VAT in the rates they quote – always check before committing to the price. And watch out for added extras that you might otherwise assume to be free. Breakfast can cost around £20, as can internet access, while parking can cost more than £40. We’ve listed the prices of some extras in this chapter, but again, always check before signing up.
Where to stayIn general, the geography of London gives some guidance as to the price and type of lodging you’re likely to find in a particular part of town. Many of the city’s swankier hotels are found in Mayfair (W1), for example, whereas Bloomsbury (WC1) is good for mid-priced hotels and B&Bs. If you’re looking for a cheap hotel, try Ebury Street in Victoria (SW1) or Gower Street in Bloomsbury (WC1), as well as Earl’s Court (SW5), Bayswater (W2), Paddington (W2) and South Kensington (SW7).
Hotel servicesWe’ve listed a selection of services offered by each hotel: restaurants and bars, internet access, spas and the like. The hotel may offer additional services, too: call the hotel or check its website if you’re after something specific and unusual. If you’re bringing a car to the city (not recommended), always check with the hotel before you arrive: few central hotels offer parking, and those that do tend to charge the earth for it.
In addition to the standard services, note that hotel concierges can often help with additional services: theatre tickets, dinner reservations, babysitters and so on. We’ve also tried to indicate which hotels offer rooms adapted for disabled customers, but it’s always best to confirm the precise facilities with each place before you travel. Tourism for All (0845 124 9971, www.tourismforall.org.uk) has details of wheelchair-accessible places.