Book your next stay at one of these hotels—they’re the best in London.
The 2012 Olympics put London in the spotlight and inspired a building boom, meaning there’s more to experience in the British capital than ever—and that includes accommodation options.
You can unpack your bags in an intimate Victorian hotel opposite Kensington Palace, or settle into the recently redesigned theater district hotel that hosted Elizabeth II’s coronation ball.
No. 1 Stafford London by Kempinski
With three very distinct buildings, this refined property offers something for everyone: the main house, fresh from a renovation, offers tastefully appointed rooms with a traditional decor; rooms in the Carriage House have a country house flair, and Stafford Mews houses modern suites that sprawl over seemingly endless square feet. There’s also plenty of choice at the newly launched Lyttelton which focuses on rustic, British cuisine: summer truffle pappardelle, and wild sea bass with heirloom tomatoes. At the American bar, 3,000 memorabilia items (knick-knacks, photographs, airplane models, ties) hang from the walls, and the in-house wine cellar specializes in Burgundy and Bordeaux.
No. 2 The Milestone Hotel
This stately red-brick Victorian hotel with plush, antiques-filled interiors, opposite Kensington Palace has 57 rooms, 6 apartments, 1 restaurant, and 1 bar, all perfectly refined and with the best service around. The property has a residential feel, thanks to its intimate size and personal gestures like English sweets at turndown. The top pick for service in the 2008 Worlds Best Service awards, the Milestone Hotel is so much better than being at home. All of the rooms are individually decorated.
No. 3 The Langham, London
The 380-room Victorian-era landmark (unveiled by the Prince of Wales in 1865 and still a royal favorite) has recently been restored to its storied grandeur and brought into the 21st century with flat-screen TVs and wireless Internet in every room. British-style afternoon tea—voted London’s best in one recent poll—is served daily in the posh Palm Court off the lobby (try the tomato-and-cream-cheese sandwiches and the lemon posset cups). But the real culinary treat is the Roux at The Landau restaurant, a collaboration between legendary chefs (and father and son) Albert and Michel Roux Jr., for roasted wild sea bass and free-range Gloucester Old Spot pork loin. Langham’s new Asian owners have added subtle Eastern touches, too. At the Chuan Spa, Asian healing arts take center stage; holistic revitalizing treatments are grounded in traditional Chinese medicine. And the Langham’s central location, across from the Art Deco masterpiece BBC Building, makes it perfect for exploring Soho, Mayfair, and the funky Fitzrovia neighborhood.
No. 4 The Lanesborough
A Georgian-style building overlooking Hyde Park, the Lanesborough maintains the elegance of an 18th-century private residence. The 93 rooms blend Regency period details—parquetry inlaid furnishings and wood veneers—with state-of-the-art tech amenities (complimentary laptops, Mac mini entertainment systems), ensuring that you’ll never have to compromise on either convenience or style. 24-hour butler service means that you’ll never have to unpack or press your clothes, and that tea and coffee will be served with your wake-up call. The oak-paneled Library Bar stocks hard-to-find whiskeys and Cognacs (including some dating back to 1770).
No. 5 Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park
Zen is the mantra at this luxurious, Asian-influenced haven that’s consistently regarded as one of the world’s best hotels. Its location, opposite Harvey Nichols and adjacent to Hyde Park, doesn’t hurt, nor do onsite restaurants Bar Boulud and Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. The hotel is also home to London’s best state-of-the-art spa, a deeply cosseting and stylish basement space offering ESPA treatments, a small vitality pool, steam room, dry sauna, and a gym. Health-conscious guests can take advantage of complimentary tai chi classes in the park before breakfast. Bedrooms are large, decadent, and comfortable, with gold-hued drapes, marble-topped tables, and sumptuous bathrooms with Jo Malone or Aromatherapy Associates products—plus slick service. No wonder the hotel draws hordes of celebrity guests.
No. 6 The Savoy
When the Savoy opened in the heart of the theater district in 1889, it introduced many hotel firsts: the use of electricity, en-suite bathrooms, and elevators. That’s why, ever since, the property has played host to members of the royal family, world leaders, and celebrities of the stage and screen. The 268 rooms follow in the line of the original Edwardian and Art Deco aesthetic even after a 3-year Pierre Yves Rochon redesign. Legendary is the kitchen where Escoffier reigned, and the halls that hosted Elizabeth II’s coronation ball. To relive it all, visit the Savoy’s own on-site museum for displays commemorating the property’s storied past.
No. 7 The Goring
This 69-room family-run hotel deftly balances glitz and English charm. Minutes walk from Buckingham Palace, the century-old pile has long been royally favored: it’s where King George VI (and a teen Elizabeth II) came for breakfast to celebrate the end of WWII. Guest rooms layer thoughtful touches with the best of British design. Nina Campbell, Tim Gosling, and Russell Sage recently revamped six suites using historic silk, some originally commissioned for state carriages of the Royal Mews. In the David Linley-designed Dining Room, guests can feast on British traditional dishes (steak and kidney pie, Lincolnshire rabbit stew) under scintillating Swarovski chandeliers.
No. 8 Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane
In 2010, the Four Seasons reopened its 11-story tower near Hyde Park Corner after a two-year, head-to-toe renovation by Pierre Yves Rochon. Rooms were redesigned (and expanded) with sycamore panels and tartan draperies; dressing room closets and bathrooms redone with walnut and brushed steel cabinetry, and vanity mirrors with integrated televisions. The Amaranto restaurant was introduced to grand applause—a trio of connecting spaces (an atrium, club lounge, and conservatory) featuring Italian-inspired creations, including London’s first Italian tea. The hotel’s crowning achievement: the rooftop spa, an oak and stone sanctuary with glass-walled treatment rooms, water sculptures, and birds-eye views of the leafy treetops of Hyde Park.
No. 9 Chesterfield Mayfair
This boutique property near Green Park brings to the table two important features hard to come by at many grand London hotels: personalized service and an intimate setting. Upon arrival, the capable staff will not only ensure that you have the pillows and duvet you desire but, if you choose, that your dog has a comfy bed, too. Each of the 107 guestrooms is decorated according to themes such as Savile Row or African Savannah. The flora and fountain in the Conservatory provide the background for afternoon tea, and a live pianist plays nightly at the laid-back Butlers restaurant.
No. 10 Brown’s Hotel
Luxury hotelier Rocco Forte restored this historic treasure beyond its former glory, and his sister, Olga Polizzi, transformed the public spaces and 117 bedrooms within these 11 Georgian townhouses. It all fits perfectly into today’s London. The Donovan Bar displays black-and-white portraits of city stars from the 50’s and 60’s to great effect. Scottish tartan banquettes and British racing-green woolen armchairs abound, while the wood-paneled lounge evokes elegance without feeling old-fashioned. Guest rooms are a snazzier affair, with reproduction antique furnishings juxtaposed with soft colored textiles and walls of modern art. Its impressive basement spa performs Carita, Aromatherapy Associates, and Dr. Sebagh treatments.