London is an undeniable destination, with equally undeniable hotels. The British city is well-known for its expensive luxury properties, many of which have been around for over a century, but it’s also home to some very cool and interesting contemporary hotels. While it can be tough to distill all of London’s potential overnight spots into a list of the best, here are 20 that hit all the marks and will work for travelers on any type of budget. You may not be able to afford a suite that costs the same per night as your used Volvo, but you can dream (and then book into an equally chic hotel at a lesser price point).
Note: The rates listed below can vary and reflect the exchange rate as of May 2019.
Palmers Lodge Swiss Cottage
Located slightly out of central London in Swiss Cottage, Palmers Lodge is a boutique hostel that offers both dorm rooms and private bedrooms. It’s built into an impressive old mansion, and the facilities are top-notch, with several common areas, including a BBQ area, and free Wi-Fi. It’s around the corner from a Tube station that will take you directly to all the sights, and Abbey Road Studios is a short walk down the road (go early for the best picture). London is home to numerous hostels, some of which are dramatically overhyped, so this is a great bet for anyone on a budget.
Starting rate: $52 (for a private room)
Good Hotel London
Not only does the Good Hotel, located in London’s Royal Victoria Dock, actually float, but the property also donates all its profits to charity. That means you can be comfortable and feel good about your booking. The 148 rooms vary in size and all include free Wi-Fi, tea/coffee stations, bike rental and access to the rooftop terrace. Request a water view when booking a Standard Room (it comes included in every Deluxe and Corner room). The location may not be as central as you might expect, but the price can’t be beat.
Starting rate: $115
CitizenM’s well-designed hotels are a surefire way to get a hip room for a low cost. This incarnation of the chain is located near the Tate Modern and the London Eye on London’s South Bank, a bustling area with lots of restaurants and bars (grab a bite at Caravan Bankside). Although the rooms are compact, they have everything you need, including a king-sized bed, and the in-room movies and Wi-Fi are totally free. You can even check in on an iPad, easily avoiding human contact if you’re just off the plane.
Starting rate: $115
Adjacent to Paddington Stadion, The Pilgrm is a relatively new and unknown boutique hotel offering a selection of options for budget travelers. Private bunk rooms are perfect for solo guests, while the medium and large rooms are great for couples or friends. Tea and coffee, filtered water and Wi-Fi are included, and there’s a café with London favorite Workshop Coffee in the lobby (as well as a lounge serving breakfast, brunch and cocktails). Consider this a hidden gem.
Starting rate: $128
The Hoxton, Holborn
U.S. travelers may be familiar with The Hoxton as the hipster brand that has recently begun to make its way into American cities. The Hoxton, Holborn is one of the first properties, ideally located in central London. The lobby is perpetually hopping, so you don’t have to go far for a drink or some social action. The rooms come in several sizes, with sparse, cool decor, and a breakfast bag is delivered to your door every morning. The rooms are also dog-friendly, just in case you’ve brought a furry friend along.
Starting rate: $128
You can’t get any more central than Mimi’s Soho, a boutique property that emphasizes comfort and style over space. Although the rooms are quite compact, the hotel is a great home base for exploring London, especially if you’re interested in nightlife or West End plays. The bar and restaurant scene in the surrounding blocks is intense, so you won’t be without something to eat or drink at any given moment, and the hotel also has its own charming little cocktail bar. It’s the perfect booking if you’re unlikely to spend that much time in your hotel room (and why would you when on vacation in a city with this much to see and do?).
Starting rate: $130
The Lincoln Plaza
The Lincoln Plaza is part of Hilton’s Curio Collection, which means it has chic decor and consistent amenities. It’s situated in Canary Wharf, a busy business district that’s got lots of brand new restaurants and bars, and the hotel is a quick journey on the Tube to London Bridge and Westminster. There’s a 24-hour fitness center, swimming pool, a cocktail bar and several dining options, and the hotel is a solid pick for families traveling with young kids. Be sure to book a room directly with the hotel as it often has special offers (free breakfast!) and packages available.
Starting rate: $167
If you’re familiar with Ace Hotel, you’ll know what to expect from its London outpost, located in the heart of Shoreditch. The rooms are comfortable and well-appointed, and it’s recommended to splurge on a bigger size if you’re staying for a few days. In the lobby, guests will find a restaurant called Hoi Polloi, a lobby bar, a coffee shop and a juicery. Book a table for Sunday brunch at the Rooftop Bar and Terrace, which offers panoramic views of London, or head to the nearby Columbia Road Flower Market.
Starting rate: $220
If big chain hotels are not your style, snag one of the uniquely decorated rooms at the Portobello Hotel, nestled just off the main drag in Notting Hill. The rooms, which include breakfast, range from intimate to grand, and the hotel often runs sales on its website. The best spot in the house is the gold signature room, which features a Victorian bathtub and a circular bed. It’s rumored to be the place where Johnny Depp and Kate Moss once filled the bath with Champagne—and if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for us.
Starting rate: $239
Conrad London St. James
For five-star luxury at a reasonable rate, look at the Conrad London St. James, ideally situated right by Buckingham Palace and Parliament. It’s got a sleek, contemporary vibe with an Executive Lounge for travelers looking for a little something extra. There’s a bar, restaurant and a lounge serving afternoon tea (a must when in London). Every room is well-appointed, with marble bathrooms and seriously comfortable beds, but the suites are worth a splurge if your trip is for a special occasion. Those looking to grab a bite out of the hotel should head to Nova Victoria, a nearby collection of restaurants and markets.
Starting rate: $287
Artist Residence, London
The aesthetic of quirky boutique hotel Artist Residence is in the name. The small, ten-room hotel, located out of the hustle and bustle near Victoria, is filled with art, much of it specifically collected by the property. The rooms are luxurious in a cool way and the quiet location is ideal for those who can’t stand throngs of tourists. Grab breakfast at the Cambridge Street Kitchen or cocktails in the basement bar, the Clarendon Cocktail Cellar. While in the area, be sure to browse the collection at the Tate Britain or stroll along the Thames to Chelsea.
Starting rate: $291
Book into The Curtain for its rooftop pool and stay for the in-room steam showers. The hotel, which also acts as a members club, is home to Red Rooster, a Harlem-inspired spot that serves up a delicious gospel brunch on Sundays. The hotel has an ideal location in Shoreditch, perfect for those who want something hip that doesn’t have a massive corporate feel. Be sure to visit The Lido, the rooftop eatery with 360 views of London, for a bite to eat or a few cocktails.
Starting rate: $310
Located in Bloomsbury, the newly opened Kimpton Fitzroy is housed in one of London’s most impressive buildings. The 19th-century landmark building is juxtaposed with contemporary decor and a comfortable vibe. Kimpton is known for its emphasis on amenities, which include a free social hour every evening, coffee and tea service and loaner bikes. Check out Fitz’s Bar for a cocktail or enjoy afternoon tea in Palm Court. While in the area be sure to grab dinner at Noble Rot, an effortlessly cool wine bar with amazing food.
Starting rate: $337
The Goring Hotel
Not only is The Goring Hotel located near Buckingham Palace, but the Edwardian property also has a Royal Warrant for hospitality. It’s a favorite of the queen’s, but non-royal visitors are welcome, too. It’s the sort of elegant place you imagine staying in England and the afternoon tea is unparalleled in sophistication. Dine in the Michelin-starred Dining Room or head out into the local neighborhood, which is near Victoria, Knightsbridge and Belgravia. The best bit is the perfectly manicured gardens, situated behind the hotel, which offer a quiet refuge from the throngs of tourists in the area.
Starting rate: $409
The Soho Hotel
The Soho Hotel, hidden off a main road in the heart of Soho, is a mainstay of London hotels. It’s got a quirky, hip sensibility that extends from the restaurant into its guest rooms and you’ll often spot celebrities having meetings in the bar. The 96 rooms, designed by creative director and owner Kit Kemp, feel like a countryside retreat from the busy streets outside, even if you only want to spring for one of the smaller rooms. It’s truly one of the city’s best hotels, both in design and service, and if you can afford it, you should book it.
Starting rate: $520
11 Cadogan Gardens
11 Cadogan Gardens is an intimate five-star hotel created out of old mansion homes, situated just off Sloane Square. Select from the more budget-friendly petite rooms or splurge on a suite, and be sure to visit Hans’ Bar & Grill for a memorable dinner. The hotel is notably welcoming to families, and will provide beds and breakfast for kids under 16 free of charge. Check the hotel’s website for current deals; it’s usually possible to score a discounted rate when booking directly.
Starting rate: $656 (for a signature suite)
Claridge’s typically gets most of the attention when it comes to historic luxury hotels, but its sister property The Connaught is even more impressive. The five-star hotel, located in a cute corner of Mayfair, has a timeless quality that’s most apparent in its bar, which has an actual martini trolley. There’s also an Aman spa, a restaurant from Jean-Georges and an emphasis on concierge service. The rooms themselves were recently refurbished by designers Guy Oliver and David Collins, and have a peaceful, calming aesthetic. If you can afford it, the unique suites are beyond Instagrammable, particularly The Prince’s Lodge, which was inspired by Kabul’s Peacock Palace.
Starting rate: $741
Milestone Hotel & Residences
What better way to celebrate the royal baby than to book into a fashionable suite named after the Duchess of Sussex herself. The Milestone Hotel & Residences’ recently renovated Meghan Suite, which overlooks Kensington Palace, invites guests into a stately yet cool room with leopard print carpeting and numerous antique furnishings. It’s the perfect spot for an anniversary or honeymoon and a serious level of service comes along with the price. Meghan and Harry have reportedly dined in the hotel’s restaurant on occasion, so you never know who you might see when you head downstairs.
Starting rate: $2,250 (for the Meghan Suite)
Mandarin Oriental London
Located directly on Hyde Park, the recently refurbished Mandarin Oriental London is a top-tier luxury hotel worth the splurge. The spa and indoor swimming pool could keep you occupied all day—if you ever want to leave bed. The hotel is home to Bar Boulud and Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, both of which are worth a dinner booking. Hyde Park, one of London’s best green spaces, is also only a few steps away, as is Harrods. Book into one of the sumptuous suites, which have balconies, opulent living rooms and massive marble bathrooms.
Starting rate: $3,423 (for a suite)
British author Rudyard Kipling famously penned The Jungle Book during one of his stays at Brown’s Hotel, a luxury property that dates back to 1837. The hotel, located in posh Mayfair, has since celebrated Kipling by naming its best suite after him. The expansive suite even features a framed handwritten letter from Kipling, which he wrote and sent during a stay. Brown’s is also home to a lounge for afternoon tea, a high-end cocktail bar and Beck’s at Brown’s restaurant. Although, of course, if you’re springing for the suite, you should probably order room service.
Starting rate: $7,846 (for the Kipling Suite)