In London, families can take the giant London Eye for a spin, get dazzled by the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London, and track down locations used in the “Harry Potter” movies. Yes, England’s capital is a family-friendly destination — with scores of family-friendly hotels to choose from. Of our 700-plus in-person hotel visits in London, we’ve come across nearly 200 properties that make sense for travelers with kids in tow. Here are the best of the bunch.
Within walking distance of Hyde Park and Buckingham Palace, The Lanesborough is a luxury hotel with stately, Regency-period interiors. All 93 rooms include premium amenities like free 24-hour butler service, Sony tablets, and free and unlimited movies on demand, and some of the lavish suites come with living rooms, dining rooms, and multiple bedrooms. The Buckingham Suite has a separate dining room, while the four-bedroom Lanesborough Suite has two living rooms, a dining room, and a galley kitchen -- plus guests get the added perk of a chauffeur-driven car. The Lanesborough caters to kids extremely well, with perks like welcome gifts, daily treats, books, toys, games, and child-size bathrobes and slippers.
Located on the exclusive Strand, The Savoy is one of the poshest grande dames in London. In addition to attracting diplomats and celebrities, the iconic luxury property draws families with its special family package (which includes a steeply discounted second room and free breakfast), as well as check-in gifts, in-room games consoles, and mini bathrobes, slippers, and clothes hangers. Items such as bottle warmers, baby bathtubs, strollers, baby cots, rollaway beds, high chairs, and bed rails can all be provided. Family Suites come with two bedrooms, and interconnecting rooms and suites are also available. All rooms here are luxurious but understated, and come with twice-daily housekeeping and on-call butler service (not 24 hours). The hotel will block certain channels on the TVs ahead of time, upon request. Babysitting service is available for a fee.
What child wouldn't love to stay in the very place where "The Jungle Book" was born? Rudyard Kipling penned his literary classic in this historic hotel, a collection of elegant townhouses in prestigious Mayfair. Every one of its 117 rooms is unique, but all have big flat-screen TVs and upscale bathrooms (some have a separate soaking tub and walk-in glass shower) -- rubber ducks, gentle kids' bath products, and mini slippers and robes are provided for families. Some rooms have configurations that are ideal for guests traveling with kids: While Classic Rooms, Executive Rooms, Deluxe Rooms, and Junior Suites all have the option of either one king bed or two twins, Classic Suites, and Deluxe rooms and suites also have the option of adjoining rooms. All rooms offer cribs and rollaway beds, and can come with kid-friendly laundry bags, hangers, bedding, bottle warmers, sterilizers, mobiles, night lights, and play pads. Personalized gingerbread men are set out upon arrival and milk and cookies are included at turndown. Kid-appropriate movies and games (and consoles), as well as 24-hour babysitting, are available on request. Guests also enjoy discounted kids’ meals in the restaurant or through room service.
The Milestone Hotel and Residences is a traditional, art-and-antiques-filled English mansion hotel with unrivaled service and afternoon tea. The hotel extends its famous top-tier service to its younger guests, too: children receive a welcome gift at check-in, and can collect stamps in a hotel-issued "passport" for completing certain activities throughout Milestone, such as making mocktails with the bartender at the bar or decorating cupcakes at the restaurant. Babysitting services are also available, for a fee, and cribs, extra beds, cots, high chairs, and playpens are provided on request. Such truly exceptional service, combined with exquisite traditional English decor and an excellent location near Kensington Palace, means the hotel certainly lives up to its expectations.
The Ritz London is a historic property dressed in opulent Louis XVI neoclassical decor. Located on the edge of lovely Green Park and close to the tube, the hotels offers 136 elegant rooms range from simple to opulent, with well-stocked minibars, fireplaces, and Asprey bath products. Some suites have views of Green Park or Piccadilly and separate drawing rooms, and interconnected rooms are available. Children under 15 can stay in with parents for free in Junior Suites, and any higher room type. Kids also get free ice cream at the Ritz Restaurant or the Palm Court (where the traditional English afternoon tea is as classic as it gets, with cut sandwiches, scones with strawberry preserves and Devonshire cream, teacakes, and mini pastries). In-room game consoles, age-appropriate books and DVDs, and pint-sized bathrobes can all be provided.
The four-and-a-half-pearl Soho Hotel is a snazzy boutique hotel with a touch of whimsy in the heart of Soho -- near a tube station, restaurants, and shops. Its 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. For kids, the hotel provides little bathrobes, kid-friendly toiletries, G-rated DVDs, and turndown milk and cookies. Note that rooms on lower floors might pick up noise from the bar and restaurant. The restaurant has a kids' menu, high chairs, and small cutlery, and the hotel's movie theaters host a weekly Children's Film Club, where tickets includes pre- or post-show dining. Other perks include concierge service, free Wi-Fi, a DVD library, and books and board games on hand for kids. Babysitting can be arranged.
The 306-room Rosewood London is an exceptionally chic five-pearl hotel, located in an Edwardian mansion in central London. Before families arrive, the hotel will happily baby-proof rooms -- which are generally spacious for London standards. Some of the signature suites are downright enormous and have separate lounges and/or dining rooms. Luxury amenities include Nespresso machines, minibars, and parents can request things like wireless baby monitors, baby bathtubs, bed rails, bottle warners, and cribs. Rosewood's lavish marble bathrooms have shower/tub combos or separate showers and tubs, as well as non-slip shower mats, kid-sized bathrobes and slippers, and gentle Cocci Nella bath products for children. Outside of the rooms, the hotel's Rose Buds kids' activity program and special spa menu for children and teens make this ultra-luxurious hotel a great pick for families.
A 41-room boutique hotel with generous amounts of space, the Halkin exudes luxury -- from its distinctive Asian-inspired interior design to its marble bathrooms with deep soaking tubs. Sumptuous and spacious guest rooms literally offer convenience at the touch of a button, as all have wall consoles for calling the butler and other services. Cribs are available in all rooms and suites, and deluxe rooms have space for rollaway beds. Kids get a gift at check-in, and rooms are outfitted with such kid-friendly amenities as teddy bears, baby bathtubs, child-appropriate toiletries, and kiddie bathrobes and slippers. Babysitting services and Playstation and Nintendo Wii consoles and games are available.
The upscale Beaufort House's has 21 spacious and bright apartments in configurations from one to four bedrooms. All units are immaculately clean and well-maintained, and feature dining areas and modern kitchens (complete with stoves, full-size refrigerators, dishwashers, washer/dryers, microwave, and Nespresso coffee machine). Kitchens are thoughtfully stocked with groceries like fresh fruit, bread, butter, jam, chocolates, milk, juice, and water at no extra charge. Housekeeping services are provided daily at no extra cost, an amenity many apartment-style hotels do not offer. Wi-Fi is free throughout the property. The property is located one block from Harrods department store in the heart of posh Knightsbridge, a five- to 10-minute walk from the South Kensington and Knightsbridge tube stations.
There's very little to criticize at this upscale hotel, which is located within walking distance of popular museums and Hyde Park. It offers a generous free breakfast, a somewhat uncommon perk in London. Rooms are airy and elegant; some incorporate lovely Laura Ashley design and have pleasant views of the Victorian-style street below. Expect to see families gathering over a lively breakfast in the hotel's Orchid Room, and more mature travelers enjoying happy hour at the hotel's Checkmate Bar. Wi-Fi is free throughout.
A five-minute walk from the London Eye with views across the River Thames to Big Ben, the Premier Inn London Waterloo is a mid-range chain hotel that brushes shoulders with some of London's most iconic scenery. The 234 guest rooms typify Premier Inn decor with bland decor and wooden furnishings. Free Wi-Fi, Freeview TV, and coffee- and tea-making facilities are available in all rooms, as well as black-out curtains, a choice of soft or firm pillows, and bespoke hypnosis mattresses (the hotel even promises a money back guarantee for guests that don’t experience a good night’s sleep). Single, Double, Triple, or Family Rooms are available, some of which have views of the London Eye. Amenities are limited to an on-site bar and restaurant that serves pub classics, and though breakfast incurs and added charge, it is free for kids under 16.