Whether you want to tour the Royal Tombs at Westminster Abbey, search for treasures at Portobello Road Market, or go boating along the Serpentine in Hyde Park, there’s something for everyone in jolly old London. That’s also true when it comes to London accommodations –boutique hotels, luxury heritage inns, and pleasant bed-and-breakfasts are the norm, not the exception, and there are hundreds of excellent and quintessentially British options. To that end, we visited more than 700 London hotels in person to determine which ones are the best of the best. Take a look at our picks for the best boutique hotels in London.
Hotel 41 is a chic boutique hotel on the border of Buckingham Palace's royal grounds. Its 30 rooms seamlessly blend traditional and contemporary style; for example, you might see Victorian reupholstered with a racy black-and-white zebra-print fabric. Rooms nail more than just aesthetics. All are filled with thoughtful extras, from office accessories in the desks to Penhaligon's toiletries in the inviting marble bathrooms. Other perks include pillow and duvet menus, on-demand butler service, and free snacks like quiche and ice cream.
This exquisite boutique occupies a historical townhouse in upscale Knightsbridge. The scene is set here by rich decor that evokes another time in England's history. Rooms and suites are decorated in a rich, luxurious English style, without being too traditional or stuffy. Rooms here aren't huge, but they're incredibly well-appointed with opulent marble bathrooms, well-stocked minibars (that include vitamins), and free Wi-Fi. Such amenities are topped off with special touches like antique furniture and rare art from prominent painters like Picasso, Matisse, and Chagall. Beyond room details and decor that are worthy of royalty, the staff at the Egerton House hotel are what makes the scene so memorable. Expect Champagne on arrival and personalized treats and candles at turndown.
The Milestone is perhaps the most famous boutique hotel in London, and certainly lives up to its expectations, with exquisitely designed rooms and exceptional service. The service is where the hotel really shines, as each member of staff is superbly trained, which helps ensure guests get the first-rate luxury experience for which The Milestone is known. With a spa, a cozy atmosphere, and a convenient location for London's most exclusive shopping, the Milestone is a great boutique pick.
From the deep crimson walls and gilded ceilings of the bar to the bespoke silk wallpaper of the rooms, the Goring indulges in extravagance. The level of opulence feels warranted, as this is the only hotel in London with a strong royal family legacy. This is where the Duchess of Cambridge -- a.k.a. Princess Kate -- stayed the night before her wedding, and capacity overflow from private events at Buckingham Palace is regularly accommodated. The venue's classic Edwardian architecture, well-functioning original antique lift, and spacious hallways (designed to accommodate voluminous gowns) remind guests of the hotel's history. Pink Panther references and fuzzy sheep mascot, visible throughout the hotel, add humor to otherwise very formal surroundings.
Set in the heart of literary-famed Bloomsbury, the lavish and traditional Montague on the Gardens was one of the first hotels acquired by the Red Carnation Group, whose philosophy of premium hospitality and superior service certainly demonstrates itself with this hotel. Staff are trained at exceptionally high standards, resulting in a hotel that’s both efficiently run and always well-presented. Overall, the place exudes Victorian luxury, and there are abundant spaces in which to relax, including an evening cigar terrace, an intimate conservatory, and a traditional oak and plaid-quilted bar. Each of the 100 charming rooms is individually decorated. For the ultimate upgrade, check out The Guv'nor's Suite, a stunning two-bedroom apartment with a lavish copper tub and a dining table handcrafted from a retired pool table. All rooms feature flat-screen TVs with movies on demand, plush his/her bathrobes and slippers, free mineral water, and beautiful limestone-clad bathrooms. Wi-Fi is free and room service is available around the clock.
Like Montague on the Gardens, the Chesterfield Mayfair is part of the Carnation Group, whose hotels are known for their classic period style. The Chesterfield Mayfair upholds this style with its grand lobby chandelier, leather chairs, and red drapery. Elegant common spaces include a fine-dining restaurant, a conservatory with garden views, and a terrace bar. The 107 rooms and suites are individually decorated in a variety of color schemes, but all have flat-screen TVs, coffee- and tea-making facilities, bathrobes and slippers, and Gilchrist & Soames toiletries. Bottled mineral water and Wi-Fi are free, turndown service is performed in the evenings, and room service is available round the clock. Though most popular with vacationing couples, families, solo travelers, and business professionals all frequent the hotel.
Taj 51 Buckingham Gate Suites and Residences sits in one of London's poshest neighborhoods -- Westminster -- and, as such, an air of exclusivity pervades the property. Built at the turn of the 20th century by the retired Major Charles Pawley, who served in the Royal Engineers, the stunning green-stone and red-brick buildings are full of handcrafted detailing, including what is supposedly the world's longest frieze of carved figures. The hotel centers around the lushly landscaped St. James Courtyard, a quiet space with a fountain that's used as a wedding and special dining venue in the summer months. Modern and stylish interiors include a Michelin-starred restaurant, a cozy and elegant library, an opulent afternoon tea service, and a spa with bespoke treatments. The 85 stunning suites, spread over three Victorian townhouses, have full kitchens with top appliances, living rooms, washers and dryers, Nespresso machines, minibars, and butler service. Mineral water and newspapers are free, and 24-hour room service is available. The ultra-posh hotel draws a mix of wealthy business travelers and tourists seeking all-out luxury.
The 85-room Gari is a swank modern hotel with trendy, artsy atmosphere, located in London’s upmarket Belgravia neighborhood, between Buckingham Palace and Harrods. There's plenty to explore in the area, and hotel also has an excellent restaurant on-site, as well as a cigar terrace and a bar. Chic room decor includes hardwood floors, neutral color schemes in muted grays and taupe, and walls adorned with large Ralph Lauren mirrors and printed pieces by Tracey Emin, Mario Testino, and Juergen Teller. The largest and most luxurious is the Hari Suite, which has two bathrooms, a living room with a bar area, a marble fireplace, and fantastic views over the London skyline. All rooms have satellite flat-screen TVs, bathrobes and slippers, tea/coffee facilities, minibars, and free Wi-Fi. The bathrooms are decked out in stunning gray and white Italian marble.
From the outside, the seven Georgian townhouses and two mews homes that enclose The Arch London appear stately and traditional. The inside, however, is awash in handsomely modern sex appeal. The Arch's overall emphasis is on sophisticated design and luxury, paired with high-tech features. Throughout the rest of the public spaces (The Martini Library, restaurant, Champagne Lounge, and lounge areas) guests will find designer chic style at every turn -- original chairs custom designed by Tom Dixon, a graffiti ceiling, dazzling light fixtures, and vibrant installations and art pieces commissioned by emerging British artists. The 82 rooms are stylish and sophisticated and full of luxury amenities, such as Nespresso machines, plush terrycloth bathrobes, and bathtubs with built-in TVs and bath pillows.
Renowned interior designer Kit Kemp creates spaces that are inimitably chic with a playful edge -- and The Soho Hotel is a prime example. Public spaces here are a wonderful mix of high style and irreverent whimsy. Right from the get-go, a sculpture of a giant sphinxlike tabby greets guests at the entrance offering a modern, cheeky take on opulence. The 96 stylish rooms are given individual treatment with a deft hand, outfitted with minibars, Frette linens, and swank bathrooms with flat-screen TVs by the tubs. But they skip freebies like coffee and tea. There's no spa, and the fitness center is cramped, but aside from those shortcomings, the hotel offers ample amenities including a restaurant, bar, and even movie theaters for weekly films.
The Stafford London is a polished, five-pearl boutique hotel set in Westminster, one of central London's swankiest neighborhoods. Its 107 rooms and suites follow the quintessentially English interior design with dark wood furnishings, homey patterned fabrics, and gilt-framed etchings. All rooms have free Wi-Fi and satellite TVs as well as Nespresso coffeemakers and minibars with free soft drinks. Bathrooms are done in floor-to-ceiling gray marble and include Floris high-end toiletries and bathrobes -- though some bathrooms are on the small size. The Mews Suites are a touch more modern, while the Carriage House rooms, renovated in 2017, have a contemporary country house vibe. The fine-dining Game Bird serves all meals, as well as afternoon tea, in particularly refined surroundings. The American Bar, however, provides a more informal space decorated with thousands of pieces of customer-donated memorabilia. Drinks can be enjoyed in the cobbled courtyard during warmer weather. Underneath the hotel is a four-century old wine cellar, also used for private dining and events, which includes a preserved bomb shelter with relics from WWII.
The single most distinguishing factor of COMO the Halkin, London is its distinctive design, which is characterized by a mixture of Italian and East Asian elements infused with understated luxury. Even the hallways are unique, thanks to corrugated, slate-colored wood paneling that sweeps in a single curve along the length of the hotel. The hotel promotes an "expansion of space" concept that extends into its 41 airy rooms, where pleasant neutral tones are paired with wools, silks, and linen textiles to create an elegant, homey feel. Luxury is offered on all levels, from the sumptuous marble bathrooms with deep soaking tubs and anti-mist mirrors to the wall consoles for calling the butler and controlling the lighting and controlling the temperate and lighting. Even the location is upscale, as the property stands in the tony Belgravia district and is just a two-minute walk from Buckingham Palace. Guests also have access to the spa at famed sister hotel The Metropolitan, since the Halkin does lack amenities such as a spa and pool.
Set in prestigious Mayfair, Brown's Hotel is a sophisticated and refined property with a buzzing scene that draws locals and visitors alike. The classic lobby has oak-paneled walls, intricate sculpted ceilings, and period fireplaces. The vibe is different in the Donovan Bar, the cocktail bar, where frisky photographs on olive-toned walls. Traditional afternoon tea is served in the bright and cozy English Tea Room, and the menu focuses on local and seasonal ingredients at HIX Mayfair, Brown's upscale restaurant run by a celebrated chef. The hotel is made up of 11 historic Georgian townhouses and no two of the 117 rooms are the same. Spacious, elegant rooms have a soft, soothing color scheme along with stocked minibars, big flat-screen TVs, and upscale bathrooms (some have a separate soaking tub and walk-in glass shower). The hotel, part of the luxurious Rocco Forte Collection, has a reputation for its historic significance: it's where Rudyard Kipling wrote "The Jungle Book" and where Winston Churchill met frequently with diplomats.