London’s best boutique hotels
Inspired by the plant it’s named after and remodelled from a RIBA-winning building in Fitzrovia, this luxury boutique hotel was an instant hit with the fashion crowd when it opened in 2017. And no wonder: its dark, intimate and opulent styling offers sumptuous and quirky elements wherever your eye lands. The 30 bedrooms, set over four floors around a beautiful hidden courtyard, are each little works of art in their own right. Gorgeous, different and a stunning addition to the London hotel scene.
Best for Instagram likes.
Older Londoners will have fond memories of Kettner’s restaurant, opened in 1867 by Auguste Kettner, chef to Napoleon III, which has been incorporated into this gorgeous new townhouse hotel from the Soho House group. The massive restoration project involved 15 Georgian townhouses, including 11 listed buildings, plus Soho House Greek Street. The result? Thirty-three opulent rooms, from ‘cosy’ to suites, with both original features and twenty-first-century nods to art deco design.
Best for a trip down memory lane.
If individuality is your thing, look no further than Terence Conran’s Boundary hotel. Each of its 12 rooms and five suites have been uniquely designed, with handmade beds and original artwork. Even the other bits of furniture have their own personalities, having come from high-style brands including Eames, Mies Van de Rohe and Le Corbusier. The ground-floor deli-cum-café Albion is lovely, but a touch overrated. We'd advise beelining for the rooftop bar instead, which is one of the East End’s finest spots on a sunny evening. And round the corner is Redchurch Street, which, with its plethora of almost-edgy international boutiques, oozes trendy money.
Best for post-shopping sun-worshipping.
Tired of soulless luxury? Try this creaky Georgian townhouse smothered in period charm: open fires, four-poster beds, clawfoot tubs and brass shower fittings. It’s ye olde meets ye bouji, with a location in monied but-still-artsy Clerkenwell. There’s no restaurant, but Hix or St John around the corner are two of the city’s most reliably great eateries. Word to the romantic (and deep of pocket): the split-level Rook’s Nest suite, which has views of St Paul’s Cathedral, is perfect for popping the question.
Best for period charm in a cool (but not too cool) location.
The first London outpost from the Paris-based Experimental Group, a collective of friends with a love of fine food, wine, cocktails and design. The hotel has 18 bedrooms and suites designed by Dorothée Meilichzon, all of them sporting the appropriate wow-factor – leopard-print wallpaper, marble skirting boards and zingy geometric floorcoverings. The 80-seat restaurant is a modern British bistro and bar with a menu by chef Ollie Dabbous.
Best for some frankly OTT decor.
The first trendy destination hotel to open in east London, the Hoxton has won legions of fans for its formula of great-value rooms in prime locations. Rooms tend to be on the small side but are cleverly designed and you get free wi-fi, a 'light breakfast' package and fresh milk in your fridge. All this for a price that – if you book in advance – won’t break the bank.
Best for chic value without unnecessary extras.
A meeting of absolute style and convenience takes place at the Great Northern. Opened in 1854 to serve the the many passengers using the then-new King's Cross station, this glorious Victorian five-star provides some much needded tranquility away from the hustle and bustle of the mainlines and Eurostar, without having to walk more than a few feet. On the lower of five floors you'll find two bars and a restaurant, while each upper level contains its own pantry filled with tea, coffee and cake to make up for a lack of room service.
Best for a prequel to Eurostar’s first class.
There’s a lot to recommend here. First there’s the hotel’s location on Monmouth Street, the most attractive street in Covent Garden. Then there’s the decor: each of the 58 rooms displays designer Kit Kemp’s panache for comfort married with talking point interiors: pinstripe wallpaper with floral upholstery, oak and granite bathrooms. There’s a cinema, too, and a peaceful private library and drawing room. And that’s just inside. Bag a table out front and witness the masses strut by, saddled with shopping bags.
Best for a nap after a trip to the Royal Opera House.
The UK branch of the American indie chain continues to buzz. It’s slap-bang in the middle of the action on Shoreditch High Street, with a nattily designed restaurant, Hoi Polloi, on the ground floor and a club in the basement which has pulled off the rarest of tricks: being a hotel club that’s actually cool rather than full of suits and stuck-up foreign poshos. Rooms are full of urban artisan touches, decently proportioned, and, given the proximity to the City, reasonably priced.
Best for keeping it real (on your business trip).
The first thing you’ll hear about the Portobello Hotel is that Johnny Depp and Kate Moss once filled one of its bathtubs with champagne. Which obviously sounds like a hoot, but there’s plenty to recommend the classy-quirky Victorian conversion besides that. Just a quick dash from Portobello Road market, the vibe here is cosy and homely, well equipped rather than designy, so you can expect flatscreen TVs and wi-fi along with a sumptuous lounge, the odd four-poster bed and, of course, those lovely Victorian freestanding bathtubs.
Best for old-school celeb antics.
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