Set on the fringe of the City of London district, the Barbican Centre is a magnet for travellers looking to immerse themselves in the creative arts. Many hotels have popped up around this metropolitan landmark, offering a place to unwind after a night spent relishing the refined delights of this buzzing arts venue.
As one of the capital’s leading centres for art, dance, film, theatre and music, London’s iconic Barbican Centre draws audiences from all over the world – as well as architecture buffs who come to admire the striking Brutalist architecture. It’s located on the cusp of the East End, in the creative neighbourhood of Clerkenwell, which is home to many leading design agencies. Here’s Culture Trip’s pick of the best hotels near the Barbican Centre.
Don’t mistake South Place Hotel’s sleek minimalism for simplicity. Bedrooms are sleekly understated with subtle sci-fi details such as webbed orb chandeliers, touch-panel mood lighting and smooth tulip chairs. There is also plenty of flair at this East London hotel, including a spa with soothing holistic treatments and Michelin-star restaurant Angler. Spend your evenings in one of three bars and lounges, like the suave Le Chiffre that exudes the same sleek sophistication as its Bond villain namesake with a black marble bar and slate grey pool table. The real show-stopper however, is definitely the Secret Garden Bar – an Eden of overhanging foliage, glowing lights and botanical cocktails. It’s got ‘date night’ written all over it.
Just 10 minutes from the Barbican Centre, this undeniably luxurious hotel has been pulling in fans of the finer things in life for years. Expect to find elegant Georgian decor oozing out of every gilded fibre – rooms are furnished with pillowy sofas, antique tables and 17th-century carved oak beds with a palette of deep emeralds and rich violets adding an aristocratic backdrop. Take a long soak in a cavernous freestanding tub or grab a good book and make the most of the well-stocked honesty bar down in the vintage setting of the conservatory.
The Apex London Wall Hotel may be corporate but still manages to feel boutique thanks to its friendly staff and hearty all-day menu. A true reflection of the surrounding city, rooms stick to a clean-cut aesthetic – restrained neutral tones are complemented by pops of bold blue, and amenities like 49-inch Smart TVs and walk-in showers add a luxury edge. If you plump for one of the top-floor rooms, you’ll also be rewarded with a rooftop view and a balcony from which to enjoy it. Close to the Financial District, it’s also perfect for those in town on business, and a nifty 10-minute walk from the Barbican Centre through the City.
Besides being a 10-minute walk from the Barbican Centre, the Malmaison is within strolling distance of the endlessly fascinating Smithfield Market. Inside, you’ll find a dynamic mix of warm colours and textures, from velvet-clad headboards and marble tabletops to retro armchairs. The restaurant Chez Mal Brasserie offers up an enticing à la carte menu – any dedicated carnivore will relish their signature self-titled burger with gruyere cheese, while vegetarians can dig into the beetroot and chickpea alternative. Finish off the day in the Chez Mal bar, lounging on tangerine seating and sipping on a tangy Mais Smash cocktail – an effervescent mix of lemon sherbet, gin and IPA.
The Zetter is a reflection of the talent that resides in Clerkenwell, which is said to be home to more creative businesses per square mile than anywhere else in the world. Overlooking St John’s Square, the boutique hotel was fashioned from an old Victorian warehouse. Bedrooms bring together the warmth of country style and the edge of modern design to create supremely comfortable spaces to hang out in. Fill up at the restaurant – a casual brasserie that serves contemporary takes on classic British cuisine.