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The 10 best hotels in London for all budgets

Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament

Confident, dynamic, ethnically and linguistically diverse, architecturally stunning, ever-changing... London is a city every designer should visit at least once in their lives. So what's the best London hotel?

Whether you're in the big smoke for business or pleasure, wander its streets and you'll be inspired by its history, enthused by its buzzing energy, enthralled by its constant contradictions. 

The 24-hour buses and Tube will take you wherever you need to go, and whatever you're passionate about seeing, whether that be experimental theatre, classical art or the latest rock bands, you'll find a dizzying abundance of choice. And that applies equally to hotels that come in all shapes, sizes and price brackets (see our designer's guide to London for more). 

Unfortunately, given the huge turnover, thin margins and intense competition in London's hotel industry, bad hotels are easier to find than good. So in this guide, we've brought together 10 top-class hotels that consistently deliver, particularly in regards to cleanliness and customer service, at all price points. If you're planning a trip, make sure you also have the best travel accessories for designers.

How to choose a London hotel

Depending on the length of your stay, there are a number of key considerations to bear in mind. Most important is location: London is not only a huge city, but hotels that describe themselves as 'in London' are actually in surrounding counties such as Kent and Essex, and so getting to the centre of town can mean multiple bus and train journeys. 

So before you book, make sure you put the hotel's address into Google Maps or look at app Citymapper and calculate the amount of travel you'll need to get where you want to be. It's a bit of a hassle, but the results may surprise you greatly. As a general rule of thumb, though, if your location is within zones 1-4 on the Tube map you should find it pretty easy to get around the main areas and attractions of the capital.

Price is also an obvious factor. And here there's good news; with such a huge range of hotels and hostels, you'll certainly be able to find somewhere that fits your budget. And given the fierce competition, and with hotels keen to fill all their rooms, you can often find bargains even in the pricier establishments if you shop around enough.

One another thing that's probably going to be important to you is Wi-Fi. We'd see this as must-have in this day and age, but unfortunately it's not something that's always guaranteed in the average London hotel. So do check first; happily, all the hotels featured on this list provide free, reliable Wi-Fi.

Hotel exterior

Mondrian London at Sea Containers offers stunning views of the River Thames

01. Mondrian London at Sea Containers

The best hotel in London

Address: 20 Upper Ground, Southwark, London, SE1 9PD, United Kingdom
Phone number: 020 3747 1000
Rooms from: £165
Reasons to buy
+Award-winning design +Luxurious living
Reasons to avoid
-Larger rooms are very expensive -Restaurant and bar can get busy

Perched on the Thames, next to Blackfriars Bridge, Mondrian London at Sea Containers is in comfortable walking distance from some of London’s biggest cultural highlights: including the Tate Modern, the Globe, the National Theatre and the Southbank Centre, as well as Borough Market and the London Eye. Blackfriars Station, a minute’s walk away, has direct trains to Gatwick Airport and the Tube connecting you to all of London.

The riverside entrance makes you feel like you’re living the high life, and if you can stretch to a balcony suite you really will be: these huge spaces offer an incredible luxury experience. But even if you’re staying in one of the more affordable standard rooms, you’re in for a pretty special time.  

Hotel lobby

Styled on a ship's hull, the receptional area is quite magnificent

Tastefully converted from the original shipping offices, the hotel is designed on a nautical Atlantic theme. It’s a concept that in the wrong hands could have been cheesy, but award-winning British designer Tom Dixon has pulled it all off beautifully, from the bronze cladded walls of the foyer, echoing the design of a ship’s hull, to the giant blue anchor sculptures and ship models dotted throughout, all enhanced by subtle and sultry lighting. Even the quirky elevators are a fun and entrancing treat for the eyes. In short, it’s more like wandering around a gallery or art museum than your average hotel. 

Rumpus room

The Rumpus Room, a bright and verdant riverside rooftop bar

The rooms themselves are beautifully designed too, with bespoke furniture, a drip wall painting by Dixon, and a wonderfully quirky colour palette. But great design isn’t just about form, it’s about function too; and what we love most is that the light switches next to the bed are purposely big and easy to use; the sort of small detail that even the most expensive hotels often fall down on. 

Even if you can’t stretch to a room with a river view, wander up to the rooftop bar, take in the city skyline, from the Shard to St Pauls, and you’ll feel like a million dollars. The bathhouse and spa, British/American restaurant and award-winning cocktail bar also come highly recommended. To top it all, there’s even a 56-seat Curzon cinema.

Hotel exterior

Hazlitt's is right in the heart of bustling Soho

02. Hazlitt’s

The runner-up best hotel in London

Address: 6 Frith St, Soho, London W1D 3JA
Phone number: 020 7434 1771
Rooms from: £199
Reasons to buy
+Unbeatable location +Historic charm
Reasons to avoid
-Not disabled friendly -No hotel parking

If you want to be in the centre of London’s beating heart, you won’t find a better location than Hazlitt’s. 

It’s situated in Frith Street, just off Soho Square in the West End, within easy walking distance of London’s biggest theatres, tourist centres such as Oxford Street, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Covent Garden, and the creative agency hubs of Soho. Plus you’re just 300m from Tottenham Court Road tube station, for easy access to the whole of greater London and its airports.


Each of the Deluxe Double rooms features either a 17th Century carved oak bed or a Georgian four poster

You may not want to stray all that far, though, because this period hotel, dating back to 1718, is stunningly beautiful. 

The history of the building has been thoughtfully and elegantly incorporated into its contemporary design, combining the best of the Georgian era (antique furniture, silk curtains, wood pannelling, original painting) with modern conveniences like flat-screen TVs (subtly hidden behind cupboard doors), work desk, freestanding bathtubs and rainfall showerheads. 

Statue of a stag

The hotel is full of delightful historic touches

There’s also an honesty bar and a library, both adding to the old-world charm of this delightfully elegant home-from-home. Please note, though, that as a converted period home, this hotel is not disabled friendly.


QBic's budget rooms are basic, but bright, clean and fun 

03. QBic London City

The best budget hotel in London

Address: 42 Adler St, Whitechapel, London E1 1EE
Phone number: 020 3021 1440
Rooms from: £64
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
-Relatively basic -Location not so central

Most of the time, you’ll struggle to find a hotel room in Britain’s capital for less than £100 a night, and if you do, it will probably be pretty awful. But here’s a notable exception.

Qbic Hotel is located in Whitechapel, a short walk from the creative, hipster areas of Shoreditch and Hoxton, and within five minutes’ of both Aldgate East and Aldgate Tube stations, which will get you anywhere else you want to go.


Every room comes with a super-comfortable handmade bed

For a cheap hotel, the quality of accommodation is very comfortable, with all rooms including a large hand-made hypoallergenic NaturalMat mattress, flat-screen TV, UK/ EU and USB sockets, rainshower bathroom, steam-free mirror and complimentary organic toiletries. 

Free water, tea and coffee is offered in the hallways, and the arty, quirky interior design and lively, youthful atmosphere all add up to a laid-back and enjoyable hotel experience. 

Lounge area

The hotel offers great value in what's generally an expensive city 

You can also feel good about yourself, as you’ll be staying in what’s billed as London’s greenest budget hotel. 

For example, they generate part of their own electricity via solar panels, use water-saving technology in the bathrooms, clean with products that are 100% chemical free and make their mattresses using only organic, natural materials. 

There’s an electric vehicle charging station and they’ll even loan you bikes for exploring the area, for free. 


Floor-to-ceiling windows offer unparalleled views of the capital

04. Shangri-La at The Shard

Best luxury hotel in London

Address: 31 St Thomas St, London SE1 9QU
Phone number: 020 7234 8000
Rooms from: £446
Reasons to buy
+Unbeatable views +Luxury living
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive -Reservations for food necessary

If money is no object, there are an array of high-end luxury hotels in London vying for your business. But none of them can offer views quite like Shangri-La at The Shard, occupying floors 34-52 of the vertiginous London landmark. And with huge floor-to-ceiling windows in every room, offering spectacular views of the city below, you’ll feel like you’re in one of those movies about rich and successful people.


The London suite offers the ultimate in luxury

The climate-controlled suites themselves are stunning too, with elegant understated Asian decor, a specially designed ‘body-contouring’ bed, and en suite, marble-clad bathrooms that all come with underfloor heating and mirrors with integrated TV screens. Plus there are lots of luxurious little touches such as pillow menu, cotton kimonos, Nespresso machines, Acqua di Parma toiletries and binoculars to enjoy those fabulous vistas all the more. 


The hotel houses the highest plunge pool in Western Europe

The hotel also features an artisan deli and café, a high-end restaurant, and London's highest champagne and cocktail bar, on the 52nd floor (these fill up quickly and pre-booking is highly recommended). But perhaps the jewel in the crown is Western Europe’s highest infinity pool, also on the 52nd floor, offering unparalleled views of the River Thames. 

Dorm room

12- and 14-bed dorm rooms have unisex bathroom facilities, and there is an allocated storage locker for each guest

05. Green Rooms

The best hostel in London

Address: 13-27 Station Road Wood Green, London, N22 6UW
Phone number: 020 8888 5317
Beds from: £24
Reasons to buy
+Cheap +Fun, artsy crowd
Reasons to avoid
-Very basic -No hotel parking

Youth hostelling in central London can be a rough and ready experience, both in the quality and hygiene of the accomodation and the class of clientele; don’t be surprised to be woken in the early hours by large groups of drunken revellers. Venture a bit further out, though, and it’s a differerent story, particularly at our favourite London youth hostel.

Green Rooms is in Haringey; not a particularly exciting part of north London apart from the iconic Alexandra Palace, which is nearby. But there is a Tube station right across the street, so it’s easy to get anywhere you need to. 

There are two basic dormitories, with 12 and 14 bunk beds respectively, as well as very basic standard rooms. It’s housed in an art-deco former showroom that’s been thoughtfully converted by the architectural design practice SODA in a coolly minimalist style. 

Bar and lobby

The bar and lobby area is bright, colourful and relaxing

This is a youth hostel, and so both the design and the facilities are pretty basic, as you’d expect. But what really sets this hostel apart is the philosophy and atmosphere surrounding it. 

Run by a not-for-profit organisation, Green Rooms specifically aims to attract artists and people working in the creative industries. In fact, it’s even putting its money where it’s mouth is, offering preferential rates to these groups (you need to give some info about yourself, plus relevant URLs, when you apply for a discount on the website). 

Standard room

Standard rooms feature a three-quarter bed, original wood flooring and simple but stylish furniture

There are also rooms and studio apartments in the building that are recommended for longer-term artist residencies, plus regular events such as gigs, art exhibitions and comedy nights. And even if you’re not a creative yourself, this means (depending on the will of the Gods) you’ll find usually find a nicer, gentler vibe at the Green Rooms than the average hostel.

Hotel exterior

This boutique hotel is perfect for spending quality time with the love of your life

06. Blakes Hotel

Best hotel for a romantic getaway in London

Address: 42 Adler St, Whitechapel, London E1 1EE
Phone number: 020 3021 1440
Rooms from: £235
Reasons to buy
+Unique interior design +Luxury living 
Reasons to avoid
-No parking -Not disabled friendly

If you want to treat your better half to a romantic stay in London, you can’t go far wrong with Blakes. A London institution, often frequented by celebrities and society figures, rooms in this boutique hotel have been designed to get you in the mood by actress-turned-designed and society figure Anouska Hempel, and she’s done an impressive job.

The Cardinal Suite

The Cardinal Suite

Each room is decorated in a different style, with influences from Italy, India, Turkey and China, and many feature four-poster beds and original beds. Throughout the hotel, the overall vibe hits the sweet spot between bohemian chic and olde world charm, with sweeping drapes, quirky antiques, elegantly carved beds, rich fabrics and exotic scents coming together to evoke a quite uniquely English atmosphere. It also features an Asian-style restaurant and a cocktail bar.

Hotel courtyard

The unique interior blends contemporary design with ecletic antiques and a bohemian feel

Located in the affluent West London district of South Kensington, with its high class bars and restaurants, Blakes is 10 minutes' walk from both the museum district and South Kensington and Gloucester Road London Tube Station. 

Please note, though, that as a conversion of a period building, this hotel is not disabled friendly.

Hotel exterior

The hotel is within walking distance of many top attractions

07. Park Plaza County Hall

Best hotel for families in London

Address: 1 Addington Street, Lambeth, London, SE1 7RY, United Kingdom
Phone number: T: 0333 400 6116
Rooms from: £167
Reasons to buy
+Central location +Family-friendly ethos 
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive -Environment can be noisy

If you’re taking your kids on your trip the capital, then Park Plaza is our best recommendation for a family-friendly hotel. 

That’s partly down to its central location. Situated on the South Bank, opposite the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, the hotel is a few minutes walk from many of the city’s child-friendly attractions, including the London Eye, The Sea Life Aquarium, Shrek’s Adventure and the National Theatre. And if you want to head further afield, Westminster and Waterloo Tube stations are just a five-minute walk away. 


The junior suite offers impressive views

Another consideration is space. With the best will in the world, cramped rooms made for tension and frustration, especially when everyone’s spent all day walking around London. So Park Plaza’s generously-sized guest rooms are designed with families in mind, including pull-out sofa beds, and additional TV in the living area and kitchenettes to give everyone a little breathing space.

Balcony view

The hotel has won awards for its family friendliness

Plus more broadly, the whole ethos of the hotel is geared towards making life easier for families and putting children front and centre. So kids get a special goody bag on check in, including an activity book, fun quizzes, pencils, a yo-yo and more, as well a wristband with the name and telephone number of the hotel to give parents peace of mind. 

The kids can also enjoy the hotel swimming pool, and there are even events for them held in the hotel itself, such as weekly movie nights, to give parents a bit of time off.

Bar area

The decor is eclectic and quirky

08. Artist Residence

The best boutique hotel in London

Address: 52 Cambridge St, Pimlico, London SW1V 4QQ
Phone number: 020 3019 8610
Rooms from: £135
Reasons to buy
+Delightful design +Quiet street 
Reasons to avoid
-No hotel parking -Not disabled friendly

If aesthetic appeal is at the top of your list when it comes to booking a hotel, then we’d like to point you towards Artist Residence. 

Part of a chain that originated in Brighton, this charming art hotel set in a lovingly converted Victorian townhouse is full of ecletic decor, quirky artwork, exposed brick and lovely retro touches. 

Each room showcases work by a local artist, vintage furniture mingles with cool contemporary creations, and basically, everywhere you wander in this bijou building screams effortless style.


Each room showcases work by a local artist

But this 10-room hotel is not just about good looks. Located in quiet Pimlico, Buckingham Palace, Tate Britain and Victoria Tube, railway and coach station are all in walking distance. Its downstairs restaurant, the Cambridge Cafe, is an attraction in its own right, and there’s also a ping pong room and a buzzing cellar bar.


Bathrooms are stylish and luxurious

Staff are informal and friendly, and the diverse crowd this boutique hotel attracts makes for a truly unique experience. Rooms start at £135.

Hotel exterior

The Boundary lies at the nexus of buzzy Shoreditch

09. The Boundary Project

Best design-led hotel in London

Address: 2-4 Boundary St, London E2 7DD
Phone number: 020 7729 1051
Rooms from: £230
Reasons to buy
+Unique interior design +Central Shoreditch location 
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive -No hotel parking

Shoreditch is one of the trendiest, most creative parts of London, and is packed with cutting-edge design agencies, award-winning bars and restaurants, quirky pop-up stores and elaborately moustachioed hipsters. Our favourite place to stay here has to be the Boundary Project on Redchurch Street, which is nothing less a monument to design. 


The Eileen Gray Room, inspired by the architect and furniture designer, a pioneer of the Modern Movement

A conversion of a former Victorian printworks by Terence Conran, each of the rooms and suites is inspired by a legendary designer or design movement, from the Bauhaus to Young British designers; Heath Robinson to André Putman. 

Over 50 artists and designers contributed bespoke commissions for the interior, with everything overseen by Sir Terence Conran. With huge windows and incredible attention to detail throughout, the overall effect is quite stunning and unlike anything you’ll see in any other hotel.

Rooftop dining area

The rooftop bar and grill offers stunning views of East London

Guests can also beat the lines to the hugely popular bar and grill, set in a rooftop orangery with panoramic views of the city, plus there’s a bar, coffee house and even a bakery. 

Hotel exterior

The Good Hotel offers spectacular river views at a budget price

10. Good Hotel London

Best floating hotel in London

Address: Royal Victoria Dock, Western Gateway, London E16 1FA
Phone number: 020 3637 7401
Rooms from: £58
Reasons to buy
+Cheap +River views in every room 
Reasons to avoid
-Not so central location -Small rooms

A river view is one thing, but actually staying on the river is another. That’s what’s on offer from this not-for-profit floating hotel, which offers a unique experience at very affordable rates. 

It’s located in Newham in East London, which is not a particularly interesting area, although it is walking distance from both the ExCeL Convention Centre and the Emirates Air Line cable-car ride. Plus the Royal Victoria railway station is just five minutes’ walk away, and you’re a 15 minute walk to Canning Town tube station on the Jubilee line.


Rooms are small but attractive and well-organised

The interior of this Dutch-designed hotel blends minimalism with industrial in a stylish manner that’s punctuated with quirky, humorous elements. As you’d expect, there are spectacular views of the River Thames from every room, while watching dock workers by day and the O2 arena across the river lit up at night add extra interest. 

Dining area

Locally sourced comfort food, healthy salads and tasty sweets are served in the 'Living Room' dining area

Best of all, the Good Hotel reinvests its profits to support its charity partners, providing education for some of the world’s poorest communities to break the cycle of unemployment, and provides new opportunities for locals in need.

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Tom May

Tom May is a freelance writer and editor specialising in design, photography and tech. He is author of Great TED Talks: Creativity, published by Pavilion Books. He has previously been editor of Professional Photography magazine, associate editor at Creative Bloq, and deputy editor at net magazine.