Staying in central London can be cheap – if you know where to stay. Sure, the city is home to some of the most expensive hotels in the world, but it can also be enjoyed if you’re on a tighter budget. Get acquainted with the capital without breaking the bank with Culture Trip’s selection of the best bargain hotels in central London.
Hotel prices in Central London are often eye-watering, and for the frugal traveller that generally means a stay in Zone 1 is off the table. But with a little research, it is possible to get a slice of the high life at a wallet-friendly price. Below, we round up our favourite places to stay in London that prove that hotels low in cost no longer have to be low in personality.
This budget hotel in the West End is fast becoming one of the the city’s most talked-about places to stay; this is unsurprising when you consider the price, and the minimalistic decor with its pops of neon and millennial pink (inspired by London’s fashion icons, including Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney and Gareth Pugh). There’s a youthful, fun vibe throughout, thanks to quirky touches such as bunny rabbit chairs, and the orange tree-lined Bourne & Hollingsworth restaurant up on the roof terrace is exceptional, both for its food and for the Instagram potential of its lush “living bar”.
Liverpool Street is one of London’s most accessible areas thanks to its mainline train and Tube stations, so it makes sense to base yourself here if this is your first visit to the city. Point A is a basic, affordable hotel that still manages to be cool – in part thanks to its hip location near to Brick Lane and the Old Spitalfields Market.
The name Rough Luxe is a wonderful foreword on what to expect from this hotel. Shabby-chic in style, the rooms have been beautifully restored but intentionally left a little raw around the edges. Wander inside and look around: exposed concrete, stripped back walls and plush textiles are staple features. This budget-friendly hotel also puts you in the midst of London’s hustle and bustle – King’s Cross St Pancras Station is across the road, and nearby Coal Drops Yard has established itself as a gastronomical hub within the city. Home to some of London’s most loved eateries – both new and old – such as Barrafina and Morty & Bob’s, it is well worth a visit.
Housed in an old textile factory, New Road Hotel is a chic budget accommodation option that retains all its former industrial glory. Different size rooms flaunt exposed brickwork, Crittall windows and deep-stained parquet flooring. One, simply called Loft, features a balcony complete with sweeping views and an al fresco hot tub – perfect for a sunset soak. The hotel eschews mini bars and coffee-making kits in favour of free vending machines on every floor – each one offers unlimited tea, coffee and hot chocolate. But the in-house restaurant, Chophouse, is what really sets this place apart. Helmed by legendary chef Marco Pierre White (the first British chef to achieve three Michelin stars), it boasts a menu of steaks dripping in garlic butter and gnocchi gratin covered in bubbling emmental cheese and truffle sauce.
Z Hotels specialise in pared-down luxury at affordable prices across the city of London. The Covent Garden iteration is no different. Rooms focus on space maximisation – this means high-tech arrangements where no inch goes to waste. Blackout blinds and big comfy beds ensure a deep night’s sleep – exactly what you’ll need to prepare you for a packed day of exploring. Located in Covent Garden, the hotel is within strolling distance of hidden alleyways with historical pubs, and some of the city’s best restaurants.
Sleek design and impeccable service are the key assets of the California Hotel. Inside, bright and geometric wallpapered walls give the rooms an arty look and feel, while the common areas stick to a more vintage vibe. And if your super-soft double bed doesn’t tempt you enough, you can always upgrade to a floating bed – the first of its kind in the UK – in one of the California Rooms. Next door, sister hotel The Megaro is locally renowned for its spongy buns and buttery pastries, while the hidden basement speakeasy is the go-to for a sneaky nightcap.
Anywhere that endeavours to be both a hotel and hostel is at risk of failing on both counts. But at Meininger London, the gamble has well and truly paid off – to the extent that even Her Majesty The Queen has popped in for a visit. It’s no Buckingham Palace, but those that opt for a shared room will feel a heightened sense of luxury nonetheless, thanks to blonde wooden floors and smart TVs. The building comes with an in-house bar and café, a games area with pool and table football, and a terrace with views over the neighbouring Natural History Museum.
The whitewashed rooms of Point A give the feeling of sleeping in a cloud – think white plush beds, mirrored walls and wide windows that fill the rooms with natural light. In addition to all this, you’ve got high-tech features such as mood lighting, power showers and plasma TVs to enjoy, too. Based just a minute’s walk from King’s Cross train station, the hotel gives you easy access to all of London’s top attractions as well as other locations further afield.
Minimalist all-black furniture and wooden shutters give the rooms at La Suite West the air of a zen Japanese apartment – a deliberate effect masterminded by renowned interior designer Anouska Hempel. Outside, the verdant landscaped terrace feels more like a Parisian boulevard than a Central London street, and is the perfect place to sip tea and eat vegan scones in the British sunshine. If you’re after something a little more substantial, there’s a vegetarian restaurant inside that offers more vegan choices, including a full English breakfast.
Housed in a Victorian building, The Pilrgm strikes the perfect balance between old and new London. It has been meticulously renovated, keeping many of the original elements in place while ensuring it spares no expense on top-notch modern facilities. The reception is built around a grand mahogany staircase, lit up by brushed brass modernist lighting – a taste of what’s to come inside the rooms. Monochrome in style with olde-worlde touches, the rooms wouldn’t look out of place on a dreamy interior design Pinterest board. Subtle touches such as Marshall speakers, indie magazines and popular novels add a sense of personality. Meanwhile, the in-house eatery will kick-start your day with freshly brewed coffee and burrata on toast for breakfast – and set the tone for a memorable night out with a dirty martini or two.