The British Museum sits between two of central London’s key neighbourhoods: Bloomsbury (for literary heritage and Georgian houses) and Covent Garden (for shops and theatres). But hotels in this area are also conveniently placed for Fitzrovia and Soho, where you’ll find a raft of top-notch restaurants (Hakkasan, for high-end Cantonese, is enduringly popular, while there are constant queues for the Japanese Ramen served at Kanada-Ya on St Giles High Street). The majority of accommodation in this zone is B&B or four-stars, with a scattering of hostels and a few rather tired three-stars. Here’s our pick of the best hotels near the British Museum.
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The best hotels near the British Museum
If you’re after refined British style and high-end comfort very close to the British Museum, this just might be your place. The Edwin Lutyens-designed neo-Georgian building houses 153 rooms that blend luxurious textiles and classic furniture with high-tech mod cons such as Nespresso machines, iPod docking stations and heated floors in the Italian marble bathrooms. The Bloomsbury Club Bar celebrates the golden age of cocktails, in line with its 1920s and 30s emphasis throughout, while the Dalloway Terrace is a relaxing spot for afternoon tea. Free wifi.
Now a fine exponent of Kit Kemp’s much imitated fusion of flowery English and avant-garde, this gorgeous Fitzrovia hotel – a ten minute walk from the British Museum – was once a dental hospital. Public rooms have Bloomsbury Set paintings by the likes of Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell, while bedrooms mix English understatement with bold flourishes. The huge, comfortable beds and trademark polished granite and oak bathrooms are suitably indulgent, and some rooms have unbelievably high ceilings. The Oscar restaurant and bar are classy and busy with a smart crowd of media and ad people.
The excellent location – in the heart of London’s theatre district and around a five minute walk from the British Museum – ensure that the popularity of this well-established Firmdale hotel has yet to fade. The tucked-away cinema also helps it to attract a starry clientele, with anyone needing a bit of privacy able to retreat upstairs to the panelled drawing room. Individually designed guest rooms mix pinstriped wallpaper, pristine white quilts and floral upholstery with bold, contemporary elements. On the ground floor, the 1920s Paris-style Brasserie Max and retro zinc bar retain their buzz – outdoor tables give a perfect Covent Garden viewpoint in summer.
With a handily central Bloomsbury location between the British Museum and King’s Cross, the Generator is a good option for those on ultra-tight budgets. It’s been part of a global refit of the chain, creating colourful dorms from £19 per night, as well as private rooms for around £70, and adding an in-house cinema and individual room lockers (to be fastened with your own padlock). There’s free wifi throughout, plus an urban-chic lounge that hosts regular gigs and DJs. The laundry, luggage store and hotel-style reception all stay open 24hrs a day.
This Holborn offshoot of Hoxton Shoreditch is at least as good as Sinclair Beecham’s stylish original, and better placed for the British Museum, as well as for the shops of Covent Garden and the restaurants and bars of Soho. The 174 rooms come in four different sizes: Shoebox (around 14 sq m), Snug (slightly bigger), Cosy (around 18 sq m) and Roomy (around 23 sq m). Free wifi and added extras like fresh milk and a daily breakfast bag make this a pleasurable experience all round.
Myhotel’s Bloomsbury branch sits on the north-west corner of tranquil Bedford Square, between the British Museum and busy Tottenham Court Road. Though the 86 rooms were designed according to feng shui principles, the Asian design touches that the boutique chain was once known for have been replaced by a retro-inspired contemporary style that’s as calming as it is stylish. Some rooms have been designed in collaboration with iconic furniture store Heals, a ten minute walk away. Food comes from upscale artisan bakery/kitchen Gail’s.
This four-star hotel is set in a Georgian townhouse that’s literally round the corner from both the British Museum and Russell Square. Those looking to get away from sleek lines and minimalist contemporary style might find the perfect refuge here; the 88 individually designed rooms (all with free wifi) cover a range of styles, though most are on the classic side, with patterned carpets, strong colours and luxurious drapes in abundance. The hotel is known for its afternoon teas, but the Leopard bar and cigar lounge is equally notable, so-named for its hard-to-ignore leopard-skin wall coverings.
Opened in an eighteenth-century hospital building as an exclusive space for creative people, Covent Garden’s Hospital Club – about seven minutes walk from the British Museum – features 15 boutique rooms across a range of categories, from the windowless but well-designed Sleeper to the ‘presidential suite’ with a private terrace. All feature high-quality toiletries, artworks, upscale retro tech and an ‘erotic minibar’ full of high-fashion sex toys. Hotel guests get full access to the club’s facilities, including the hip restaurant focused on sustainable British produce.
Situated right next to Russell Square, this classic hotel is handy for both the British Museum and the Piccadilly tube line. The rooms won’t win any design awards, with classic, patterned carpets and cream walls from a past England (the name says it all), but this is one of the few three-star hotels in an area where four-stars and hostels dominate. What’s more there’s free wifi and complimentary breakfast (full English or Continental), as well as three bars and a stylish café.
It’s all about location at this hostel for those aged 18 to 40. One of four Astor hostels in the capital, this branch is set within two adjoining Georgian buildings that are literally a stone’s throw (even a chunky ancient one) from the British Museum. Its dorm rooms, which sleep four to 16 people, are simply styled with red metal bunks and eggshell-blue walls; female-only dorms are available, while the private rooms are in the adjacent building. Shared spaces – all with free wifi – include a bright kitchen/dining area, a comfy lounge and an outdoor terrace.
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