Great hotels in and near Covent Garden
With stiff competition across the road in the shape of Me Melia, you might expect to find One Aldwych – open as a hotel since 1998 – to be in midlife-crisis mode. Not really. Sure, there’s a more mature feel to the place than its fresh-faced competitors, but it’s stylish and still a top stay on account of its location – great for pretty much all of the West End. Special mention goes to the basement pool with its underwater piped music. Gimmicky, yes, but lots of fun.
If you’ve come to see a show at the Royal Opera House, you’re in luck: this charming, modest and good-value hotel is almost across the road from it. Covent Garden market is also just a five minute stroll away too. Inside, it’s small, homely and characterful, with pretty en suite rooms that come with tea- and coffee- making facilities, free wifi and air conditioning. There is no fitness centre but guests with excess energy can make use of the free passes to the nearby Nuffield gym.
The Strand Palace is another hotel that’s convenient for both the West End’s theatres and Covent Garden market as well as the South Bank, which is just over Waterloo Bridge. It has been welcoming guests for over a century and as such there’s now a bit of bit of a mishmash of styles going on here: rooms are modern (and well equipped with TVs and free wifi), there’s an Art Deco lobby, a carvery downstairs that’s good for a roast, and an Indian restaurant, Daawat.
When Philippe Starck revealed the dramatic interiors of this otherwise uninspiring 1960s office block over a decade ago, it was the talk of the town. A recent renovation has introduced interactive light displays in place of the previous slightly chilly minimalism, but the stunning floor-to-ceiling windows remain and overall it’s still a looker. Ask for a room with a view or one of the garden rooms, which have private flower-filled terraces. Asia de Cuba restaurant and the hotel’s ‘speakeasy’ bar Blind Spot are also popular.
While not strictly a hotel, the rooms at this members’ club merit inclusion for being some of the most convenient in town; perfectly placed for the centre of Covent Garden and its tube. Some of the rooms are ‘Sleepers’, which translates as windowless but with the bonus that they’re actually bigger than the ones with windows. Downstairs there’s a restaurant and two bars, as well as a screening room, meeting rooms and – should you be inspired to do better by the Covent Garden mime artists – a TV and music studio and a performance space.
You’ll find this this branch of the Z Hotel just a few minutes walk from Covent Garden’s boutique thoroughfare on Seven Dials, just over Charing Cross Road off Soho’s gay thoroughfare, Old Compton Street. Rooms are small, and the beds are a squeeze for tall people, and there are no phones or proper wardrobes, but at prices like these you can’t complain. En suite rooms can be had from £69. Icing on the cake? There is free wine and cheese in the evenings.
When you need to escape the tourist scrum that is Covent Garden’s Piazza, head to Foster & Partner’s ME Melia hotel. On its roof you’ll find one London’s best bars: Radio, an oasis of calm high above the Strand and the surrounding theatreland. This slick, modern hotel’s 157 rooms (starting at £290), along with its nine-storey central atrium, are elegant, luxurious and quiet – but, thankfully, not too stuffy: pets are welcome too.
High tech and good value is the name of the game here. Yes, rooms may be mini but for the price (from £69), you’re not likely to complain. As the latest branch of Premier Inn’s offshoot, this Hub continues much in the same vein as the other four branches in town. Rooms are sensibly designed, with beds high enough to fit a (small) suitcase under, and then everything, from booking it to turning off the lights, is controlled via an app on your phone or tablet.
It’s easy to love the Covent Garden Hotel, with its pretty tables out front on the most attractive street in Covent Garden. Inside, this 58-room hotel is equally appealing, showing designer Kit Kemp’s panache for combining comfort with decor that gets guests talking – think pinstripe wallpaper with floral upholstery, oak on the walls and granite in the bathrooms. For film bods, there’s a cinema onsite, for book nerds, a private library and a drawing room in which to enjoy its contents.