Ultimate luxury: 20 London hotels worth checking into

When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life… but there’s no chance of that with this kaleidoscope of hotels.

By Chris Ashton, September 19 2023
Ultimate luxury: 20 London hotels worth checking into

London is known for its bold architectural statements: the Palaces of Westminster, soaring St Paul’s Cathedral and the Neoclassical excess of Buckingham Palace, to name a few.

The hotel scene is no less impressive – and several recent additions including Raffles London at The OWO and The Peninsula London have only boosted the city’s reputation for premium luxury, with some modern enhancements to boot.

Yet there’s much to be said for staying at the classics. You know the ones: Claridge’s, The Dorchester and the like. Icons that have stood the test of time, attracting both well-heeled connoisseurs and those seeking a taste of how ‘the other half live’.

White-clad bell hops are ready to take your bags at The Peninsula London.
White-clad bell hops are ready to take your bags at The Peninsula London.

The hardest decision is simply picking one place to stay, as there are dozens of properties worthy of your attention. 

In no particular order, and by no means a complete list (we can’t feature them all), these are some of the best hotels London has to offer. 

 

Raffles London at The OWO

The name ‘Raffles’ is synonymous with old-world luxury. When Raffles Singapore opened in 1887, it put the Lion City on the map as a destination worthy of the six weeks it took to reach it from London at the time. However, London itself never had a Raffles to call its own – until now.

A five-year restoration has seen many original elements brought back to their former glory.
A five-year restoration has seen many original elements brought back to their former glory.

Raffles London at The OWO (an abbreviation for the Old War Office) in Whitehall is a show-stopper boasting five restaurants and two bars, plus a sumptuous day spa and indoor swimming pool.

It’s brimming with heritage appeal too, allowing you to spend the night in former offices of political and military leaders including Winston Churchill, David Lloyd George and John Profumo (now converted into luxury suites, naturally). And that’s just the start.

The Guerlain Spa is also home to Pillar Wellbeing health club.
The Guerlain Spa is also home to Pillar Wellbeing health club.

A sprinkling of signature restaurants from Argentine Michelin chef Mauro Colagreco – including a rooftop restaurant and bar with views over Whitehall, The Mall and on to Buckingham Palace – plus a serene Guerlain Spa and indoor pool are also key parts of the experience.

Shangri-La, The Shard

The Shard is London’s tallest tower – a glittering monolith of glass and steel rising 72 floors into the sky. And near its peak? Shangri-La The Shard, a five star sanctuary offering 18 floors of pure indulgence, complemented by divine views from every one of its 202 rooms.

All that glitters is more than likely gold at Shangri-La The Shard.
All that glitters is more than likely gold at Shangri-La The Shard.

When not soaking in a deep bathtub and enjoying the view, guests can treat their taste buds to British-meets-Asian à la carte dining at TING, or sky-high cocktails and champagne at GONG, the highest bar in Western Europe. The sky pool on level 52 is a stunner too!

A bathtub with a view.
A bathtub with a view.

Location-wise, the hotel is perfectly placed for exploration, only a short stroll from Tower Bridge, the HMS Belfast, and bustling Borough Market. Further afield, just hop on the tube and you’ll reach icons such as St Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey and more in no time.

The Peninsula London 

Cut from the same cloth as its siblings in Hong Kong, Tokyo and Istanbul, The Peninsula London is among the newest entrants seeking to make an impression on the city’s hotel scene. Surprisingly, it’s also the first British outpost for the esteemed hotel group.

The hotel commands an enviable position overlooking Marble Arch.
The hotel commands an enviable position overlooking Marble Arch.

Within the classically-inspired address are 190 light-filled rooms and suites, plus noteworthy dining venues including Brooklands from Michelin chef Claude Bosi, and Canton Blue, which celebrates “the spice-trade union of Asian and British cultures”.

Decor will be instantly familiar to anyone who has stayed at a Peninsula in the past. Each highly-textural room is adorned in bespoke furnishings and exquisite artworks, alongside mahogany-panelled dressing rooms and honey onyx bathrooms.

Cocktails and artisanal teas are both on the menu at Little Blue.
Cocktails and artisanal teas are both on the menu at Little Blue.

In case you’re wondering, one of the Peninsula’s iconic green Rolls Royces is definitely parked in the drive of The Peninsula London, with this painstakingly-restored 1935 Phantom flanked by four bespoke hybrid Bentley Bentayga and a zippy electrified 1960 vintage Austin taxi.

The BoTree London

Opened in September 2023, The BoTree is a chic hotel at the crossroads of Marylebone and Mayfair. However, rather than falling back on a heritage look befitting its neighbourhood, designers have taken it in a decidedly more exciting direction.

Peruse a curated selection of cocktails and light bites at The BoTree Bar.
Peruse a curated selection of cocktails and light bites at The BoTree Bar.

t’s quirky and colourful, with each of its 199 personality-filled rooms and suites adorned in bold artworks, eclectic textiles and marble bathrooms. This same vibe echoes through its two restaurants, one of which boasts a fabulous rooftop.

This Junior Suite is brimming with personality and flair.
This Junior Suite is brimming with personality and flair.

Part of the Preferred Hotels ‘Legend’ portfolio, it’s surrounded by a bevy of independent cafes, book shops and boutiques – all mere steps away from iconic Bond and Regent Streets.

Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London

It’s a group renowned for exceptional service and quality, yet Mandarin Oriental raised the bar even higher in London. Opened at the turn of the century, the Edwardian building was reborn into a 21st century destination, feeling both modern and a throwback to days of old.

The grand façade of Mandarin Oriental London is a thing of beauty.
The grand façade of Mandarin Oriental London is a thing of beauty.

Refurbished in 2019, its opulent rooms and public spaces now sport a more contemporary feel thanks to designer Joyce Wang. Dining options range from fantastical Dinner by Heston Blumenthal (home of the ‘meat fruit’) to The Rosebery, where it’s never too early for champagne.

Have a taste for the finer things? The Two Bedroom Hyde Park Suite is the one for you.
Have a taste for the finer things? The Two Bedroom Hyde Park Suite is the one for you.

It wouldn’t be a Mandarin Oriental without a little pampering relaxation. The Spa delivers in the form of 13 luxurious treatment rooms, and a couple’s suite with Rasul water temple, where guests can enjoy skin conditioning treatments involving mud, heat and steam.

There's marble for days in the hotel lobby.
There's marble for days in the hotel lobby.

The London Edition

Edition Hotels is a brand to watch. Each property is wildly different, both a product of its location and playground for designers to unleash their creativity. The London Edition, on the edge of Soho in historic Fitzrovia, is the perfect meeting of the past and present.

Rooms are surprisingly restrained amid the flamboyance of the rest of the hotel.
Rooms are surprisingly restrained amid the flamboyance of the rest of the hotel.

For starters, it’s housed within a row of Georgian townhouses, with their grand architectural details inspiring the decor, yet it has a free-spirited modern feel too. Each of its 173 guest rooms and suites is surprisingly understated, a light and bright space of oak floors, wood-panelled walls and custom furnishings. Not unlike a private yacht.

Berners Tavern is the culinary playground of Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton .
Berners Tavern is the culinary playground of Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton .

The hotel’s three bar and dining options, on the other hand, are the opposite. The artwork-heavy Berners Tavern, newly-revamped and private club-esque Punch Room, and opulent Lobby Bar have taken a ‘more is more’ approach, with moody lighting and furnishings that fill all available space. 

InterContinental London Park Lane

As a tourist, navigating London is like exploring the Monopoly board, with names like Bond Street, Liverpool Street Station, and Mayfair all triggering our nostalgia. One of the game’s other premium addresses is Park Lane, where InterContinental Park Lane is right at home.

The Palace Suite gazes out across the Royal Parks and London monuments.
The Palace Suite gazes out across the Royal Parks and London monuments.

A magnet for well-heeled travellers since 1975, the flagship is all about timeless elegance, with crisp lines and tactile finishes that make you want to run a hand along them. And the views? Stunning.

Guests staying in Club level rooms can take advantage of Club InterContinental.
Guests staying in Club level rooms can take advantage of Club InterContinental.

Club InterContinental, open exclusively to members and guests in Club level rooms, affords perhaps the greatest view of all, across the Royal Parks to Buckingham Palace beyond. While in the lounge, guests can enjoy an exquisite afternoon tea, evening tipples and more.

The Hari

Velvet banquette seating, glossy cabinetry, marble bathrooms, and cowhide rugs. On paper, The Hari in Belgravia probably shouldn’t work, yet the finished result is actually quite stunning – a hotel brimming with personality.

Grab a book and find yourself a comfy nook in the hotel's highly-social lobby.
Grab a book and find yourself a comfy nook in the hotel's highly-social lobby.

An easy way from Knightsbridge, Hyde Park and Buckingham Palace, the 85-room hideaway is entered via a two storey lobby tailor-made for socialising and relaxation, with multiple nooks where you can chat or read a book lifted from its well-stocked library.

The Hari Penthouse features four step-out balconies for you to soak up the city views.
The Hari Penthouse features four step-out balconies for you to soak up the city views.

Hari Bar and the Garden Terrace are your go-to options for cocktails and light eats, while il Pampero Italian restaurant is also on hand to take you on a seasonal culinary adventure. When it’s time to work off those meals, the onsite gym with Peloton bikes is also available.

The Londoner Leicester Square

Billed as ‘the world’s first super boutique hotel’, The Londoner takes hearty inspiration from its theatrical West End location. With 350 spacious rooms and 35 suites, plus a quirky array of dining options (check out the rooftop izakaya), it’s eccentric in all the places.

The Londoner is inspired by its theatrical West End location.
The Londoner is inspired by its theatrical West End location.

Rich timber panelling plucked from a country manor, a blush pink chaise lounge to recline on, an illuminated Hollywood-style vanity mirror – it’s vintage luxe with personality. Even the basement is impressive, with a serene, subterranean spa complete with poolside cabanas.

Glitz and glamour are on the menu at The Stage.
Glitz and glamour are on the menu at The Stage.

Above ground, there’s a total of eight venues to taste your way through, including Joshua’s Tavern, a crowd-pleaser for gin lovers; The Stage, serving petit fours, oysters, champagne, and caviar; and signature venues 8 at The Londoner Japanese Izakaya and Whitcomb’s Mediterranean.

Bulgari London

A hop, skip and a few fashionable steps from the department stores of Knightsbridge, Bulgari Hotel London is a rare diamond. Cut from the same cloth as its sister properties in Dubai and Paris, the chic 85-room establishment is all about effortless service, matched by a sparkling flair for design.

Bulgari London's flair for design is matched by exceptional service.
Bulgari London's flair for design is matched by exceptional service.

While every room is worth unpacking your case in, the seven Bulgari Suites are a perfectly-tailored cut above. Each one is vast, with its own distinct character; some have toasty open fireplaces, others terrace views across the expanse of Hyde Park and trendy Knightsbridge.

One of seven beautifully-styled Bulgari Suites.
One of seven beautifully-styled Bulgari Suites.

After a friendly greeting by two dapper doormen, guests enter a haven of style, complete with a cool private spa, 47-seat cinema, and even a cigar shop and samping room. Dining is equally stellar, with the New York Italian of Sette by Scarpetta, and Nolita Social Bar and Lounge.

The Dorchester

Ask anyone to name London’s best hotels, and there’s a good chance The Dorchester will be among the first to fall from their lips. It’s iconic. A property which has welcomed countless dignitaries, celebrities and even members of the Royal Family since 1931.

The Dorchester is an integral part of London's history - and a destination in itself.
The Dorchester is an integral part of London's history - and a destination in itself.

A fun fact, it was also the world’s first hotel to be constructed of reinforced concrete. But it’s the interior that truly sets it apart: this is palatial grandeur with a penchant for florals. Every room is over the top: rich wallpapers, elegant sitting areas, and enough marble to rival The Vatican.

The Dorchester's Belgravia Suite is the picture of elegance and refinement.
The Dorchester's Belgravia Suite is the picture of elegance and refinement.

The dining front does not disappoint either. Three Michelin star haute cuisine at Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, award-winning high tea in the Orchid Room, The Grill at The Dorchester from rising star Tom Booton. And The Dorchester Rooftop? Spectacular.

The Grill at The Dorchester is led by talented young chef Tom Booton.
The Grill at The Dorchester is led by talented young chef Tom Booton.

Even if you don’t intend to stay the night, a visit to The Dorchester is an absolute must.

COMO Metropolitan London

‘Modern vintage’ is an apt description of COMO Metropolitan London – a five star Mayfair hotel which revels in the mid-century styling of the 1960s, but with a more contemporary sensibility.

The COMO Suite enjoys a stunning outlook across Hyde Park.
The COMO Suite enjoys a stunning outlook across Hyde Park.

It’s pared back in all the right places, yet still packs plenty of personality and pizazz in its guest rooms – particularly in the higher room categories – and public spaces. Nobu restaurant is also on hand to send your taste buds on a journey to Japan, as well as the COMO Shambhala Spa.

Hertford Street Residences combines hotel perks with the charm of a classic Mayfair townhouse.
Hertford Street Residences combines hotel perks with the charm of a classic Mayfair townhouse.

If self-contained luxury is more your style, try the newly-relaunched Hertford Street Residences, just a stone’s throw from the COMO. The two- and three-bedroom apartments enjoy access to all the facilities of the hotel, with benefits of a full kitchen, open living and private patio.

The Goring

Opened in 1910 (and still run by the same family), The Goring has long been associated with British Royalty. Though Buckingham Palace is just down the road, the hotel has welcomed every reigning monarch since its debut, not to mention countless prime ministers.

There's no question which country you're in with the British flag waving proudly outside.
There's no question which country you're in with the British flag waving proudly outside.

But what makes it stand out? It’s the grandeur – the pomp and ceremony flowing from arrival, where a sharply-dressed footman greets you at the door, to afternoon tea time on the verandah and Michelin-starred fare plated up in The Dining Room.

With 69 rooms and suites lined with rich silks and adorned in all manner of plush furnishings, even non-Royals will feel like a King or Queen for the duration of their stay. The Royal Suite penthouse, in particular, is a cut above.

Opulence from top to bottom in the Royal Suite.
Opulence from top to bottom in the Royal Suite.

Short on time but still want The Goring experience? A visit to its rather-regal cocktail bar is the next best thing – try the Rosehip Royale or The Goring Cup.

The Savoy

A fusion of Edwardian and Art Deco style, The Savoy in central London has been a fixture of the local hotel scene for 130 years. Rather than remaining a throwback to the past, it has kept up with times, giving its dining and public spaces a dramatic, modern twist.

A statue of Peter II, Count of Savoy, overlooks the hotel's entrance.
A statue of Peter II, Count of Savoy, overlooks the hotel's entrance.

From cocktails in the jet-black Beaufort Bar to a celebration of British cuisine in Savoy Grill by Gordon Ramsay, not to mention the newly-opened 26-seat 1890 by Gordon Ramsey, this is a hotel that will keep foodies in their element from dawn till longer after dusk.

The dramatic Beaufort Bar is not what you'd expect in a hotel of this vintage.
The dramatic Beaufort Bar is not what you'd expect in a hotel of this vintage.

Many of the hotel’s 267 rooms and suites overlook the River Thames, the London Eye and beyond to Big Ben, reminding you that you are indeed in one of the world’s greatest cities.

The Connaught

Variety is the spice of life. At The Connaught in Mayfair, suites are adorned in an almost kaleidoscopic variety of architectural styles, including the maritime feel of The Prince’s Suite, the contemporary flair of the Mews, and majesty of the Connaught.

Jean-Georges plates up an eclectic menu, from divine breakfasts to late night dinners.
Jean-Georges plates up an eclectic menu, from divine breakfasts to late night dinners.

The rest of the hotel is similarly eclectic. There’s the conservatory dining room of Jean-Georges at The Connaught, cocooning lounges and armchairs in Michelin starred Hélène Darroze at The Connaught, and the almost punk-Deco of the Red Room cocktail bar. It works though.

The rustic Princes Suite is one of the hotel's more unique rooms.
The rustic Princes Suite is one of the hotel's more unique rooms.

Aman Spa is also onsite for nourishing treatments such as a grounding massage ritual (that features actual Peruvian mud), and a purifying body polish and wrap. All treatments feature all-natural skincare products from Aman.

Claridge’s

Welcoming travellers since the 1850s, Claridge’s has evolved considerably over the years, with a transformation into an Art Deco gem in the 1920s and 30s the most significant. It soon became the talk of the town, and its shine – like the sparkle in its chandeliers – has not faded.

High tea is an essential part of the day at Claridge's.
High tea is an essential part of the day at Claridge's.

Within this five star hotel are 190 beautiful rooms and suites, many of them featuring a modern take on the Art Deco style. Restaurants and bars follow suit, with the rose pink Painters Room cocktail bar, degustation dining of L’Epicurie, and The Foyer a taste of what’s on offer.

Claridge's has welcomed well-heeled travellers since the 1850s.
Claridge's has welcomed well-heeled travellers since the 1850s.

As with almost every London hotel, afternoon tea is an essential tradition. Claridge’s offers a sumptuous affair, with dishes from Smoked Scottish salmon sandwiches to freshly baked scones and almond and hazelnut éclairs. Luckily, there’s also a gym onsite.

The Biltmore

Impeccable styling? Check. Michelin chef? Check. Marble for days? Of course! The Biltmore Mayfair is a luxury London hotel designed for travellers with a taste for the finer things. There’s even a Bentley you can take for a spin, or be chauffeured around in, if you’d prefer.

The Biltmore is a member of Hilton's LXR Hotels and Resorts family.
The Biltmore is a member of Hilton's LXR Hotels and Resorts family.

Facing prestigious Grosvenor Square, only five minutes stroll from Oxford Street, The Biltmore is a member of Hilton’s independent LXR Hotels & Resorts family, designed to offer a unique experience native to its location and history. And does it ever.

The ultra-stylish John Adams Suite also has a spacious living room for entertaining.
The ultra-stylish John Adams Suite also has a spacious living room for entertaining.

Behind its imposing red brick façade are 250 rooms, 49 suites, and eight signature suites enjoying views of the city and private butler service. Brunch at Café Biltmore, featuring a menu overseen by Michelin chef Jason Atherton, and a lavish afternoon tea are both must-tries.

W London

Soho is London’s cultural heart, a colourful district home to an eclectic mix of bars, pubs, clubs and people. W London fits right in, with its playful decor, high-tech gadgetry, and in-house cocktail bar ‘The Perception’ meaning you don’t have to venture far for a good time.

Personality-filled guests rooms is a staple of the W brand.
Personality-filled guests rooms is a staple of the W brand.

Each of its 192 rooms and suites, including the Austin Powers-like Extreme WOW Suite, feature iPad-controlled lighting, temperature, music, room service and streaming entertainment. There’s also a fully-stocked MixBar with wine, snacks and cocktails.

The Perception Bar is a regular haunt for those who wish to see and be seen.
The Perception Bar is a regular haunt for those who wish to see and be seen.

Positioned on the edge of the West End theatre district, the hotel boasts the energising Away Spa and well-equipped Fit gymnasium, plus three meeting and events spaces (including a 3D cinema) for when you need to get down to business.

The Ritz

Hotels always sound better when you add ‘the’ to their name, don’t they? The Ritz London in Piccadilly, on the edge of leafy Green Park, is one such hotel, a British icon steeped in 115 years of history.

The Ritz is more than a hotel, it's an experience.
The Ritz is more than a hotel, it's an experience.

Within its plush confines are an extravagant array of rooms and suites, each not unlike those found in Buckingham Palace. Think chandeliers and canopied bedheads. While its regal splendour may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it certainly has a lot of fans.

Booked into a signature suite? You can be ferried from the airport in style, with a complimentary transfer in an extended wheelbase Rolls-Royce Phantom in bespoke Ritz blue.

The Ritz Restaurant has taken a 'more is more' approach to interior design.
The Ritz Restaurant has taken a 'more is more' approach to interior design.

When it’s time to dine, you can enjoy freshly baked scones with clotted cream and strawberry preserve in the Ballroom, or treat yourself to Michelin starred fare at The Ritz Restaurant.

Nobu Hotel London Portman

A delicious fusion of British charm and Japanese elegance, Nobu Hotel London Portman builds upon the legacy of Nobu Matsuhisa – the acclaimed celebrity chef and restaurateur, known for blending traditional Japanese dishes with Peruvian ingredients.

The Zen Suite at Nobu Hotel London Portman is a fusion of British and Japanese style.
The Zen Suite at Nobu Hotel London Portman is a fusion of British and Japanese style.

It goes without saying food is a substantial element of the experience, with Nobu Restaurant plating up tantalising dishes such as Rock Shrimp Tempura, Miso Black Cod, and Yellowtail Sashimi with thinly sliced jalapeño peppers, complemented by exclusive sakés.

High tea is a little different at the Nobu Hotel.
High tea is a little different at the Nobu Hotel.

Guest rooms, from Superior to the Saijoukai Suite and Nobu Penthouse, all follow the Japanese ‘wabi sabi’ design philosophy, which finds beauty in imperfect simplicity and asymmetry.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 706

This was a great read Chris, thank-you.  Inciteful and has given me ideas.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2016

Total posts 28

Great read, however having stayed at a couple of these, both Savoy and The Ritz - was most disappointed in the Ritz! This may have been due to having stayed 4days prior, at the one missing from your list… The Rosewood London! 

Personally I think it trumps a couple of these, as it is newer, has a sophisticated offering; being it is far more contemporary sense of place in its design. 

Rosewood will have a second hotel soon in London, so enjoy the visit if you like @Chris. 

……Look forward to your thoughts 😊  enjoy! 

19 Mar 2018

Total posts 6

Totally agree with Shannorbarry51...Rosewood, formerly Renaissance, in Holborn is stunning. Right next to the tube too.


Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Ultimate luxury: 20 London hotels worth checking into