In 1830 a hack writer moved into a Georgian lodging house at 6 Frith Street, where he died in poverty. That was William Hazlitt and he was the greatest essayist of the Romantic era. The site of his home was given a diligent, atmospheric period reconstruction, creating an idiosyncratic hotel of wood panelled walls, portraits and antique furniture, where you’ll feel like you’re sleeping in Regency London – albeit with proper plumbing and 24-hour room service.
Listing London’s best historic and iconic hotels is simple – it’s keeping it to just ten that’s the challenge. The seventeenth-century George Inn is the city’s last remaining galleried coaching inn, but is now run as a pub, so we start instead as Regency London becomes Victorian: with nineteenth-century temples to opulent leisure and grand railway hotels.
There are also a growing number of period reconstructions in London, the best of which can catch the atmosphere of an era as brilliantly as a costume drama. And then there are high points in the history of modern hotels in the Big Smoke, including pioneers like homegrown architect Oswald Milne and supposedly the first ever boutique hotel (tied with San Fran, but we'll take it). Enjoy our personal picks of the best historic and iconic hotels in London.
Looking for more options? Check out London’s best Airbnbs
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