The Designer's Guide to London


If your trip to London includes an overnight stay, why not head to one of these cool venues to rest your head? For this is not your average list of accommodation - these hotels have been recommended for their quirky and cool designs, rich history and brilliant locations.

40 Winks

  • Location: 109 Mile End Road, Stepney Green E1 4UJ (map)
  • URL:
  • Price: £110pn (single room), £185pn (double room)

On an ordinary row of Queen Anne townhouses, a discreet plaque marks the door of one of London's best-kept secrets. 40 Winks is no conventional hotel; with just two bedrooms, it started off as the home of interior designer David Carter. For over a decade now, the house has also been operating as one of London's top locations for photoshoots. Check this shabby-chic boutique out for a truly unique experience. But book early, the waiting list for this place can be months at a time.

Designer view

James Kirkup

"40 Winks has superbly friendly staff and is a really smart place to stay - beautiful rooms and decor but not too overpriced." - James Kirkup, graphic designer at Poke

Avo Hotel

Meaning welcome in many languages, the Avo Hotel is a family-run boutique located in the vibrant area of Dalston, East London. The stylish accommodation is an ideal base to explore arty East London, such as Shoreditch, Hackney and Hoxton. Monochrome rooms with hints of purple are accompanied by glamourous en-suite bathrooms featuring black tiles, chrome fittings and mirrors sourrounded by LED lights.

Designer view

Tass Johnston

"I've had my eye on the Avo Hotel for a while now. They have lots of chocolates in their windows and do some cool local packages. They also have chocolate Sunday brunch!" - Tass Johnston, designer at SPL Design


Situated in the buzzing South Bank area of London, citizenM is a stylish, contemporary hotel. A stones throw away from Tate Modern and the Millennium Bridge, the modern venue's trendy bedrooms feature ambient lighting and a touchscreen tablet that controls the light, LED TV, music system as well as the blinds and the temperature. And if that wasnt enough to tempt you, the en-suite bathrooms house a luxurious rain shower.

Designer view

Adrian Williams

"The recent citizenM hotel on Southwark is a good place to soak up some design styles." - Adrian Williams, senior designer at MRM Meteorite

Phil Birchall

"New to South Bank, citizenM is a very hip but affordable hotel born out of Amsterdam. Impressive communal interiors and pod style rooms all controlled by tablet." - Phil Birchall, designer and owner of GRIN

Dean Street Townhouse

This 39 bedroom hotel and all-day dining room is located in the popular and buzzing Soho area of central London. Dean Street has a rich past, in the 1700s being home to a number of notable sculptors, architects and artists, including English painter William Hogarth. With the area still attracting a creative crowd today, visitors to the Dean Street Townhouse can enjoy individually designed bedrooms, featuring hand-painted Georgian wallpapers, upholstered vintage seats and sofas, bespoke Egyptian cotton linens and authentic Georgian features.

Designer view

Rebecca Barker

"The Dean Street Townhouse is in a great location and serves great food." - Rebecca Barker, design director at Studio Output

Hoxton Hotel

The award-winning Hoxton Hotel is situated in the heart of Shoreditch, one of London’s most hip and vibrant locations. This surprisingly affordable establishment is a popular choice among creatives. It boasts 208 stylishly designed bedrooms, with luxuries that include rain showers, a free healthy 'brain food' breakfast bag and duck down duvets. The hotel also has seven individual concept rooms; capturing the area's culture and style with furniture, art and lighting all sourced within a 3min walk. A popular venue, be sure to book in advance to ensure availablity and low rates.

Designer views

Mike Lythgoe

"I've only ever stayed in one hotel in London before and that was The Hoxton. It's slap bang in the middle of Shoreditch, which is a great base to discover the more design-friendly side of London. It's basically a lower budget boutique style hotel, founded by the guy behind Pret A Manger. And I can confirm that his hotels are as good as his sarnies!" - Mike Lythgoe, designer at Studio Output

James Kirkup

"I've always found the Hoxton Hotel to be really affordable and the staff are superbly friendly whenever I've been or sent friends there." - James Kirkup, graphic designer at Poke

Marriot Hotel, West India Quay

With 301 stylish guest rooms and suites, a stay at the London Marriott West India Quay Hotel provides a great base from which to explore the attractions of Canary Wharf, Docklands and Greenwich. The building is also within 10mins of London City Airport and Westfield Stratford City, Europe’s largest indoor shopping centre. This area is home to an array of chic shops, restaurants, pubs, and wine bars.

Designer view

Alex Brooke

"A short walk from canary wharf with its tall modern buildings and city workers, this hotel is right by the Thames and is generally a lovely modern place that I imagine any creative would like to visit on a trip to London." - Alex Brooke, web designer and developer at Gamaroff Digital

Park Plaza

  • Location: 200 Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7UT (map)
  • URL:
  • Price: From £180pn

If you want all of the city's most iconic attractions within walking distance, the Park Plaza offers just that. Situated on London's South Bank, the hotel is a stone's throw away from Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, London Eye, London Aquarium and the National Theatre. Park Plaza describes itself as a "contemporary, design-led hotel", which features spacious suites, penthouses and over 500 studio rooms.

Designer view

Neil McFarland

"It goes without saying to try and stay near a London landmark. There are Travelodges everywhere offering cheaper rates so you don’t need to spend stupid money staying in London. I’d recommend trying to get a river view or try to locate yourself in walking distance to something worth visiting. Park Plaza by Westminster Bridge is great. Living around this area I enjoyed watching a terrifying '70s concrete office on a roundabout yield and transform into this actually pretty good-looking hotel. The location is perfect for the South Bank and also offers views of the Houses of Parliament." - Neil McFarland, lead visual designer at ustwo

The Rookery Hotel

  • Location: 12 Peter's Lane, London EC1M 6DS (map)
  • URL:
  • Price: £210pn (single room), £264pn (double room)

Between the West End and London's central business district, in the fashionable area of Clerkenwell, lies The Rookery Hotel. Full of period charm, it features polished wood paneling, stone flagged floors, open fires and genuine antique furniture to give the place a warm, homely atmosphere. This 18th century-inspired hotel is also located a short distance from the Barbican, St Paul's Cathedral and The Tate Modern.

Designer view

Rebecca Barker

"Step back in to old London with this Farringdon based unique hotel." - Rebecca Barker, design director at Studio Ouput

Town Hall Hotel & Apartments

The year 2010 marked the opening of the Town Hall Hotel & Apartments in the East End of London. Once Bethnal Green's old council hall, the building was beautifully restored, bringing the its orginal marbled staircases and art deco modelled meeting rooms back to their former glory. Fusing new with old, the hotel incorporates a contemporary interior into the elegant period property. It boasts 98 guestrooms and apartments, all individually designed with one-off vintage furniture.

Designer view

Carl Addy

"An original 1910 East London town hall that's now a boutique hotel with many of the original fittings. Not only that, it houses the Viajante and Corner Room restaurants, both contrasting, exceptional culinary destinations.... oh, and then there's the cocktail bar!" - Carl Addy, creative director at The Mill

Zetter Townhouse

The Zetter Townhouse

A 13-bedroom Georgian townhouse and cocktail lounge, the Zetter Townhouse is located just across the cobbles of St John Square, Clerkenwell. This converted Victorian building has an eccentric interior design, filled with all manner of lamps, pottery, framed portraits, ironmongery, vintage furniture, statues, and taxidermy. It also houses what has come to be regarded as one of London's best cocktail bars.

Designer view

Jonathan Denby

"For those of you with a keen eye for excellent accomodation and bottomless pockets, try a night at the Zetter Townhouse based on Clerkenwell Road, Farringdon. Great relaxed atmosphere and the perfect location for various bits and pieces." - Jonathan Denby, creative professional at Digital Annexe

We'll be updating this post regularly, so let us know if we've missed anywhere out - and tell us about your London experiences in the comments below!

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