Chic boutique hotel in lively Soho, near the tube and ample restaurants
Polished decor with refreshing, unpretentious quirkiness
Rooms have minibars, Frette linens, and some have terraces
Granite bathrooms have flat-screen TVs and plush robes
Contemporary restaurant and bar with luxe lodge details
Smart drawing room for afternoon tea or cocktails
Cozy library with plush sofas and a fireplace
24-hour fitness center with free bottled water and fruit
Gorgeous screening rooms for movies and live performances
Concierge and round-the-clock room service
Special menus, books, and board games for kids
Free Wi-Fi throughout and DVD library on hand
No coffee or tea in rooms or suites
No full-service spa and cramped gym
Some guests note dark rooms and noise on lower floors
Room rate doesn't include breakfast
Steep fee for valet parking
The four-and-a-half-pearl Soho brilliantly fuses high design with British quirkiness. Occupying an industrial warehouse, it's located in -- no surprise -- 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. 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. For a sleeker stay that oozes dramatic decor, travelers could consider the nearby Sanderson London Hotel designed by Philippe Stark.
Snazzy boutique hotel with a touch of whimsy in the heart of Soho
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 high style but swap out anything too slick or stuffy for an irreverent wink. Right from the get-go, a sculpture of a giant sphinxlike tabby greets guests at the entrance offering a modern, cheeky take on opulence. Reception leads to a seating area where an oval table with angular, hot-pink plexiglass legs stands in the center of the room on wide-plank, rustic wood floors. This old/new blend continues, though occasionally to leans toward the more traditional, as it does in the library, with shelves of old hardcovers flanking a fireplace. The formal drawing room is more buttoned up too, with vibrant floral vines embroidered on wingback chairs and scattered potted plants. It's an ideal setting for afternoon tea or a cocktail from the honesty bar tucked in the corner. However, the restaurant and bar puts a contemporary spin on a luxe camp lodge. Plaid wool chairs have adorable pudgy bears on the back, and trellised pantry shelves display vintage toys and metal tins. The hotel's look and location tends to attract posh couples on sightseeing vacations.
Close to the tube, restaurants, bars, shops, and sights but far from quiet
As the city's central spot for entertainment, Soho is far from quiet, but it's super convenient. It's eight minutes or less on foot to two tube stations and within walking distance of Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square. All-night eateries, funky galleries, hip watering holes, and vintage shops are all close at hand.
Seven-minute walk to Tottenham Court Road tube station
Eight-minute walk to Leicester Square Station
Eight-minute walk to Piccadilly Circus
12-minute walk to British Museum
12-minute walk to Trafalgar Square
17 minutes to Notting Hill Gate via tube
18 minutes to London Eye via tube
19 minutes to Buckingham Palace via tube
21 minutes to Westminster Abbey via tube
27 minutes to Tate Modern via tube
31 minutes to Tower of London via tube
40-minute drive to London Heathrow Airport (more with traffic)
Dressed to the nines with fabulous bathrooms and luxe amenities, but missing tea or coffee
The Soho Hotel's look can be summed up as "elegant city townhouse meets English country getaway." It's both refined and homey. All rooms are individually decorated with bold patterns and colors splashed across surfaces. Soaring headboards, Frette linens, tufted seating, and dressforms on pedestals -- a nod to the neighborhood's tailoring history -- are notable highlights. Swank bathrooms are sheathed in gray granite and have dark oak accent paneling. They're outfitted with double sinks, bidets, heated towel racks, attractive bath products, terrycloth robes, and tubs with handheld showerheads.
Amenities include minibars, flat-screen TVs -- including ones facing bathtubs -- iPod docks, CD/DVD players, desks, and safes. Top-floor rooms have terraces with London's skyline views. However, rooms don't have coffee or tea facilities, nor do suites, unless guests purchase special packages. Suites are spacious with separate living rooms and fireplaces. The grandest have retro Crosley turntables and vinyl albums, formal dining areas, and bathrooms with soaking tubs and large, walk-in showers.
Be aware that guests complaint that noise from the bar and restaurant can be heard on lower floors, and that certain rooms are dark.
No spa and cramped gym, but restaurant, bar, and screening rooms exceed expectations
Features at the Soho are a bit uneven: some offer an abundance of unexpected luxury, some barely meet the requirements, and others are absent all together. The hotel's bar and restaurant turn out modern cuisine with a seasonally driven menu. Breakfast is a la carte and isn't included in the room rate, and afternoon tea has add-ons like Champagne and heartier savories. There's a children's menu, and the kitchen accommodates guests with dietary restrictions. The bar has small plates to pair with handcrafted cocktails, and libations are on-offer for purchase in the drawing room's honesty bar.
The 24-hour fitness center is cramped but has updated equipment plus free bottled water and fruit. There's no spa -- perhaps the property's biggest drawback. Services are provided from a third-party company in the gym's body treatment room and in guests' rooms. While spa fanatics may be disappointed, film and theater buffs are sure to be wowed by the hotel's two gorgeous theaters. Tickets for weekly adult and kid programming includes pre- or post-show dining.
Other perks include concierge service, free Wi-Fi throughout, a DVD library, and several books and board games on hand for kids. A steep fee is attached to valet parking.