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Artist Residence London

The best four-star hotels in London

Opt for style and elegance, without the unaffordable price tag, at London's best four-star hotels

By Anna Norman

London’s best four-star hotels offer style, comfort and convenient locations without quite tipping into the realms of unaffordable luxury. Many boutique hotels naturally fall into this category, drawing those who prioritise a personal touch and unusual design features over upscale spas, swimming pools, decadent breakfasts and famous chefs. That’s not to say that you won’t find some of these features in the hotels listed here – it’s just that most are known more for their unflashy style and elegance than for the high-end facilities that are par for the course at many international five-star establishments.

Looking for more options? Check out London’s best Airbnbs.

London's best four-star hotels

1. Artist Residence London

Hotels Pimlico

The ten individually designed bedrooms in this grand Pimlico building, designed by Thomas Cubitt, all have high ceilings and a vintage aesthetic, with bare-brick walls, distressed wood panelling, shabby-chic furniture and Roberts radios. Original artworks, freshly ground Allpress coffee and a hip cellar cocktail bar create an exclusive feel that morphs into positive luxury when it comes to the loft and two suites. Well located for Victoria station and Tate Britain.

Best for: arty professionals

2. citizenM London Bankside

Hotels Boutique hotels Southwark

CitizenM’s self-check-in counter, located in its slick café-bar and reception area, is a sign of what’s to come at this affordably chic newcomer. The adjoining lounge area has a buzzy feel, with Macs dotted about for guest use. Rooms are small but well-designed, with drench showers, free Wi-Fi and movies, funky coloured lighting and blackout blinds all controlled from a touch-sensitive tablet. But what you’re really paying for here is the central location – less than a ten minute walk to Tate Modern and the River Thames.

Best for: technophiles

3. Dorset Square Hotel

Hotels Boutique hotels Marylebone

Part of the solid Firmdale group, this Regency townhouse hotel features 38 individually designed rooms that manage that rare feat of being both colourful and classically stylish. All come equipped with high-end mod cons (iPod docks, flat-screen TVs), toiletries and luxury linen. There’s a charming drawing room with a fireplace and an honesty bar, plus a sophisticated all-day restaurant. The subtle cricket memorabilia throughout reflects the hotel’s location: the private garden square out front was the site of Thomas Lord’s original cricket ground.

Best for: style-conscious comfort queens
hazzlit's hotel
hazzlit's hotel
© Ray Main 2009

4. Hazlitt's

Hotels Boutique hotels Soho

These four Georgian townhouses, named after 18th-century essayist William Hazlitt, occupy a convenient site right in the heart of Soho but forego trendy touches in favour of classic decor and exquisite attention to detail. The addition of modern luxuries – AC, free Wi-Fi and TVs in antique cupboards – creates an elegant, fresh space in which to relax, within a stone’s throw of many of London’s best restaurants.

Best for: atmosphere

5. The Hoxton Holborn

Hotels Boutique hotels Holborn

The great success of Sinclair Beecham’s Hoxton Shoreditch has led to the opening of this offshoot in Holborn (as well as hotels in Amsterdam, New York and Paris). It is perhaps even more stylish than the original and better-placed for central London’s major sights, such as the British Museum. The 174 rooms come in four different sizes: Shoebox (around 14sq m), Snug (slightly bigger), Cosy (around 18sq m) and Roomy (around 23sq m). Free Wi-Fi and added extras like fresh milk and a daily breakfast bag make this a pleasurable experience all-round.

Best for: urban nomads
la suite west hotel
la suite west hotel
Adrian Houston

6. La Suite West

Hotels Boutique hotels Bayswater

Sleek lines and monochrome decor define Anouska Hempel’s row of Bayswater townhouses, with a definite Japanese influence in guest rooms, which are divided by slatted sliding screens for windows, wardrobe and bathrooms. The large terrace running along the front of the building, with trees planted for an arbour-like effect, is a big summer asset – as is the hotel’s proximity to Hyde Park. The restaurant has a health-focused menu, with many vegan and raw dishes.

Best for: park life

7. Portobello Hotel

Hotels Boutique hotels Notting Hill

The Portobello is a hotel with half a century of celebrity status, having hosted the likes of Kate Moss, Johnny Depp and Alice Cooper. It recently changed hands but remains a pleasingly unpretentious place, with a more civilised demeanour than its legend might suggest. Rooms are individually designed with eclectic period furniture and artistic touches such as wall frescoes. Though the hotel has a more classic feel than before, its round-the-clock room service is in keeping with its former rock ’n’ roll status.

Best for: wealthy bohemians
Ray Main

8. Rookery

Hotels Boutique hotels Farringdon and Smithfield

This charming sister hotel to Hazlitt’s feels for all the world like a creaky country manor transported to a charming Clerkenwell townhouse. Individually decorated rooms are kitted out in sumptuous old-fashioned English furnishings, with polished wood-panelling and freestanding bathtubs. The honesty bar in the bright and airy drawing room, complete with an open fire in the winter, opens onto a sweet little patio at the back.

Best for: traditionalists

9. Ten Manchester Street - A Bespoke Hotel

Hotels Boutique hotels Marylebone

There’s a definite upscale masculine vibe at Ten Manchester Street; with classic but stylish decor, a lounge bar and an all-weather cigar terrace, it was designed as a place to sip a whiskey while puffing on a hand-rolled Cohiba before bedtime. Rooms are fairly compact but, on the plus side, the Edwardian building is well-located on a quiet back street that’s close to Marylebone’s upmarket restaurants and designer shops.

Best for: those with classic tastes

10. The Zetter Clerkenwell

Hotels Boutique hotels Clerkenwell

This stylish, well-established Clerkenwell hotel is known for its pioneering green credentials and refreshing lack of attitude. Examples of the former include free Brompton bikes for the use of guests and occupancy detection systems in the contemporary guest rooms, which also feature walk-in showers with REN smellies, and high-tech mod cons. Thoughtful extras include the likes of hot water bottles in knitted cosies. The ground floor is home to the Atrium café and Club Zetter, the latter focused on wine, classic cocktails and small plates.

Best for: style-conscious eco warriors

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