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The best London hotels

London has so many hotels, it can be hard to know where to begin – the capital’s hospitality scene covers everything, whether you fancy staying somewhere with a long Hollywood-approved history, in a concrete King’s Cross monolith or in a viscount’s lavish former lair. Here’s our shortlist, ready for a luxury London break once lockdown (hopefully) lifts in December…


The Lanesborough, Hyde Park Corner

Perfectly placed for exploring Belgravia, Mayfair and Knightsbridge, the honey-coloured Lanesborough, in a Regency building on the edge of Hyde Park, is one of London’s most unabashedly opulent hotels. From the moment a dapper doorman sweeps you inside, sumptuous serenity pervades, stretching all the way from the pretty pastel walls of Céleste to the indulgent treatments in the vast spa. Michelin-starred magic awaits at the former, where live music serenades the weekend dinner guests as they enjoy dishes such as stone bass with puréed cauliflower and lobster ravioli. The spa is one of the biggest in London, with La Prairie, Tata Harper and Ila treatments to choose from. The hotel has come a long way since its original incarnation as St George’s hospital, having also been Viscount Lanesborough’s edge-of-London dwelling place in the 18th century, but Regency decor prevails – including a Withdrawing Room, perfect for after-dinner cocktails. It’s one of only three hotels in London with a royal entrance, which needs the Queen’s permission to open and close. We’re sure Her Majesty will appreciate the 54 chandeliers that grace the public areas alone. With international travel still compromised, the hotel’s staycation option is even more enticing – guests booking this can choose from a massage for two or a three-course meal at Céleste, and they’ll also have a bottle of champagne, upgrades and breakfast included.

From £635 a room a night ( The Staycation Package starts from £735 a night.


The Connaught, Mayfair

Completing a trinity that includes Claridges and the roof-terrace-toting Berkeley, the Connaught is one of London’s great heritage hotels, having first opened its polished Mayfair doors in 1815. The culinary credentials are impressive: Jean-Georges Vongerichten expanded his empire to include a restaurant here a few years ago, joining Hélène Darroze’s two-Michelin-starred temple to gastronomy. At the former, diners can watch the well-heeled Mount Street buzz through the sweeping circular windows as they feast on tuna tartare and deep-fried salmon sushi, along with perfectly cooked rib-eye served by the kilo with sides such as broccoli with mint and pistachio (and don’t get us started on the savoury croissants lurking in the bread basket). At the latter, expect edible art forms, with whole sections dedicated to white truffle in autumn. Don’t enter either without a trip to the Connaught Bar to watch the theatrical mixologists at work – it’s famous for its martini trolley, but these pros are able to make just about anything else, including celery foam to top your Bloody Mary. There’s also an Aman spa – where you can indulge in treatments that take you on nourishing, purifying or grounding journeys before swims in the subterranean pool – a bakery and entire news houses to hire out if you just can’t bear to leave.

From £550 a room a night (


Ham Yard Hotel, Piccadilly

Choosing your favourite Firmdale hotel is like choosing your favourite child – whether it’s Soho Hotel’s promised celebrity sightings, Covent Garden’s striped awnings and theatre-district-spying terrace, or Charlotte Street’s best-postcode-in-London location, each is equally lovable. If pressed, we’d go for Ham Yard Hotel, for its pattern-clash perfection, impeccable staff and buzzy brasserie, where you can enjoy European classics such as roast chicken with lentils and pancetta, braised ox cheek with mashed potatoes, bacon and cabbage, and lobster cocktail. It’s on a secret peaceful courtyard tucked away in the middle of Piccadilly, with a terrace taking over much of the namesake Ham Yard, and another on the roof. The area is well versed in hospitality – in 1852, Alexis Soyer, considered the first celebrity chef, served up Christmas dinner here for 22,000 of the city’s poor. Today, there’s an original Fifties bowling alley – shipped over from Texas – Crittal windows and a trademark Firmdale screening room, of course. And Kit Kemp’s signature stylish flair extends to the Rik Rak range of toiletries, which are possibly the nicest-smelling hotel bath products we’ve ever encountered.

From £350 a room a night (


The Standard, King’s Cross

Reclaiming a Brutalist office building (once accommodating Camden Council) in King’s Cross and making it a whole lot prettier, the Standard extended its collection outside of America to include this London outpost last year. The hotel pays homage to its dwelling place with tube-seat upholstery, subway-tiled bathrooms, regular glimpses of the red-brick St Pancras spires and Craig Green-designed uniforms for the staff – though we’d argue the outdoor bath tubs come from over the pond and our more risqué neighbours. Take the red-pill-shaped lift to Decimo on the 10th floor for ceviche, vegan paella and mezcal cocktails (and amazing views of both St Pancras and the city skyline), or stick to the ground-floor Double Standard for burgers and Aperol Spritz slush puppies as you watch the formerly shady neighbourhood go by. The lounge bar is in what was once a public library, with a librarian and rows and rows of books intact to make it authentic. Current staycation packages include pampering treats like manicures and blow-dries thrown in (goodness knows we need it), and block bookings for the suites on the eighth floor to allow for rule-abiding bubble parties. We hope the former council workers won’t be too jealous of the transformation (although minimal strip lighting survived).

From £160 a room a night (


Mandarin Oriental, Knightsbridge

Opposite Harvey Nicks and Harrods in Knightsbridge, the London edition of Mandarin Oriental lets you shop and drop within seconds. It’s also handy if you want some of the best food in the capital, without having to wander far from your suite – Dinner by Heston, serving archaic British dishes brought dazzlingly up to date, overlooks Hyde Park, as well as the open fire in the kitchen. Daniel Boulud has also set up camp here, with his namesake Bar Boulud offering towering burgers overflowing with additions such as pulled pork and foie gras. There’s also the refined Rosebery lounge, popular with shopping-bag-laden afternoon-tea fans. The spa has an impressive list of treatments, including combinations of personal training in the park followed by a soothing Aromatherapy Associates massage or slightly more relaxing Oskia facials. And while there hasn’t been a lot of good news this year, here’s some at least: Dinner by Heston is currently offering a takeaway service so you can have all the meat fruit, rice and flesh, and tipsy cake you crave without leaving your front door.

From £740 a room a night, including breakfast and afternoon tea (


Claridges, Mayfair

Claridges needs no introduction – the iconic London establishment has been offering refuge to kings fleeing war, weary world leaders and film stars since the mid 19th century. These days, its eternal elegance is undiminished, thanks to its art deco ballroom, graceful lobby and discreet staff, who treat you like a returning friend. The afternoon tea is flawless and the hotel sure knows how to throw a party in its legendary state rooms – just ask the Queen, who held her Ruby wedding anniversary here, following an unofficial royal decree awarded by Queen Victoria. It fares well with Hollywood royalty, too – Spencer Tracy loved it so much, he shunned a place in heaven, saying he’d rather go to Claridges. We’d have to agree.

From £550 a room a night (


Henrietta Hotel, Covent Garden

Having conquered the global cocktail scene, the French friends behind the Experimental Cocktail Club decided to bring their hipster flavour to a Covent Garden townhouse, close to their original London speakeasy in Chinatown. The 18-bedroom hotel has lashings of millennial pink, cute bedrooms with views out across London rooftops and, naturally, cocktail-making kits in the minibar. The new restaurant is a partnership with another equally trendy outfit, Italian Supper Club – Da Henrietta whisks diners from the West End to the west coast of Italy. Travel from Liguria to Calabria by way of Roman guanciale and pecorino, pumpkin ravioli with bergamot and hazelnuts, and chickpea pancakes, with lots of different olive oils to try along the way. And yes, those glorious ECC cocktails are there to wash it all down with.

From £250 a room a night (


Rosewood London, Holborn

Within easy walking distance of the West End and most of central London, the capital’s Rosewood outpost enjoys a handy location close to but still a little away from the action. There’s a Sense Spa where you can book an LA-favourite Face Place facial, and plenty of bars and restaurants to choose from, including Scarfes Bar, named for the cartoonist whose works adorn its walls – a dreamily dimly lit, wood-panelled destination for cocktails and no fewer than 500 types of whisky by the fire. The Holborn Dining Room invites you to get comfortable on its red banquettes before indulging in classic British cuisine; and there’s even a whole room dedicated to pies.

From £350 a room a night (


The Kensington

The sibling to the Bloomsbury and the Marylebone, the Kensington proves yet again that the Doyle Collection knows how to pick its London neighbourhoods wisely. Staying here puts you within strolling distance of the Royal Albert Hall, the V&A and Kensington Gardens, as well as the department stores of Knightsbridge and the boutiques of Sloane Street. The traditional design will please Anglophiles – fireplaces, high ceilings and antiques form the perfect backdrop for eating afternoon tea. For something stronger, head to the wood-panelled K Bar to commence working your way through the expansive wine list.

From £270 a room a night (


The Corinthia, Embankment

At the Corinthia on leafy Northumberland Avenue, guests can enjoy a pianist tinkling away during afternoon tea, some of the best penthouse views in the city and a Daniel Galvin salon, along with an Espa spa. Tom Kerridge has brought his beloved British pub fare to one of the restaurants, too – expect some serious fish and chips, along with dishes such as pig cheek’s pie with clotted cream mash (it’s as good as it sounds) and fillet of beef with gherkin ketchup. Or you can sit out for cocktails in the garden courtyard, open-air but sheltered enough to deal with the London weather.

From £594 a room a night (


The Savoy, the Strand

This London icon – open since 1889 and most famous for its art deco American Bar, which regularly tops best-bar-in-the-world lists – underwent a huge, £200-million facelift a decade ago and these days it’s as stylish as ever. Set on the north bank of the Thames along the Strand, the hotel has several river-facing suites, some of which can currently be booked out for romantic dinners, thanks to the new Suite Dining Experience which lets you borrow a £2,000 suite for a few hours. It’s also offering a staycation package that includes a handy early check-in and late check-out (since no one really has to be anywhere these days), a parking space and a £100 (£250 for suites) credit.

From £520 a room a night (


Sofitel London St James

In the Queen’s back yard, Sofitel London St James brings a Buckingham Palace-rivalling facade to its royal neighbourhood. The listed neoclassical building has St James Park as its playground, with the Burlington Arcade also within walking distance. Staycation seekers can make the most of the Weekend Retreat package, which includes a 50-minute spa treatment and £75 dinner credit, along with a free parking space to make your arrival into central London even easier. Meals at the French-focused Wild Honey include farmhouse terrine with sourdough and pickles, slow-baked beetroot and black pudding, and mackerel with fennel and sea vegetables.

From £295 a room a night (


Chiltern Firehouse, Marylebone

André Balazs has a knack for creating instantly in-demand hotels and his arrival onto the London scene back in 2014 was no exception – joining its hallowed sibling the Chateau Marmont in LA, the Firehouse was an immediate hit. The listed Marylebone fire station was transformed into 26 bedrooms, each with a fireplace that the Emilia Wickstead-outfitted staff light for you at turndown (the same elves who’ll leave salted caramels, a jazz soundtrack and a hot-water bottle in wait). The Nuno Mendes-helmed restaurant garnered its reputation mostly around its crab doughnuts, but the burrata with Cantabrian anchovies, steak tartare and grilled Iberico pork are just as good.

From £450 a room a night (

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