Beloved by playwrights, poets and artists throughout the decades, Soho has retained its edge with a swathe of fashionable openings, from Palace Skateboards to Bleach London hair salon, and there is plenty to see and do here. The narrow streets and alleyways are studded with hidden gems, including Berwick Street Market and Soho’s oldest pub, The French House – a favourite of Dylan Thomas and Francis Bacon. Here’s our guide to the best places to stay in Soho.
Soho’s appeal is unwavering – it’s a stalwart destination for good food and raucous bars in the heart of the city. There is a chance any building, corner or lamppost you walk by comes with a story – and a good story at that. Famous faces from Karl Marx and the Sex Pistols have called it home, it’s one of the thriving hearts of the city’s LGBTQ scene, and X-rated shops nod to its past life as London’s red-light district. Stay right in the thick of this energetic neighbourhood at one of these wonderful hotels in Soho.
The best thing about the Soho Hotel is undoubtedly the screening rooms and film club. Film aficionados can beat the crowds and watch the latest blockbuster and arthouse releases from the comfort of their own hotel, and the Refuel Bar & Restaurant offers modern, seasonal cuisine in a lively, colourful setting. The upholstered bed frames and striking designer wallpaper also make this hotel stand out.
Sleek, stylish and minimalist, the Resident Soho (formerly the Nadler Soho) sits in the heart of the area. Its interior will appeal to fashionistas and those with an artistic flair – especially the enormous deluxe rooms that feature towering four-poster beds. White shuttered windows, meanwhile, provide plenty of natural light during the day, but block out the brightness of the city after dark. You can also request to have your fridge filled up before you arrive, allowing you to make the most of the rooms’ mini-kitchens (complete with Nespresso and Brita water taps). Service here is exceptional, and Resident staff go above and beyond to ensure a comfortable stay. Their intricate knowledge of the area is second-to-none, arming you with on-the-pulse recommendations for local spots.
While not technically in Soho, the Mandrake is only a short walk from the heart of this historic neighbourhood. The hotel is oriented around a striking central courtyard with hanging gardens of jasmine and passion flower, evoking the feeling that you’ve stepped into another world. The chaos of the city is replaced with the eerie soundscapes of French music producer Pierre Arnaud and specially designed scents from perfumer Azzi Glasser. Find a quiet corner in the hotel bar Waeska, which is surrounded by the surreal and unsettling artworks of Francesco Clemente, Jonas Burgert and Peter-John de Villiers, and settle in for a cocktail.
Designed to feel like its own little village, Ham Yard Hotel boasts its own theatre, bowling alley, dance floor, library and gym (complete with a hypoxic chamber for altitude training). With so many activities surrounding the central tree-filled courtyard, it’s perfect for those who don’t like to stay still during their down time. Inside the hotel itself, the Kit Kemp-designed interiors are quintessentially British: floral motifs contrast with geometric wallpaper and patterned headboards. The roof terrace is the best-kept secret in the city; only accessible to guests, it is perched among Soho’s Georgian rooftops and the perfect view to accompany a G&T.
Karma Sanctum Soho is a collaboration between the wellness company Karma Group and hoteliers Sanctum Hotels. The hotel somehow seamlessly combines rock ’n’ roll decor with the peace of a Balinese haven. From the Jimi Hendrix-inspired stained-glass windows to the rooftop Jacuzzi, this boutique hotel looks straight from an ’80s glam-rock music video. The party doesn’t stop in the common areas: rooms are full of heady touches like mirrored surfaces, disco-ball-tiled columns and a freestanding bath surrounded by LED lights in the loft suite. The rooftop bar is a thriving space that fits right in with the rest of Soho’s nightlife, while the Wild Heart Bar & Grill serves up modern British cuisine in the way of grilled lobster and mackerel ceviche.
The striking marble staircase with its red lacquer walls might feel as if it’s from another dimension, but the rooms at Mimi’s feel more like stepping back into the 1800s. With wainscot panelling on the walls in shades varying from taffy pink to navy blue, marble bathrooms and stained-wood headboards, the rooms are sultry spaces, evoking the at times tempestuous history of Soho. Henson’s, the boudoir-like bar downstairs, serves up breakfast by the fireplace in the morning, however it is best visited after-dark; sink into the velvet couches for a post-dinner tipple with one of the hotel’s signature cocktails.
This is where the Z budget hotel chain first started, and it’s not hard to see why it grew into such a success. Located on the border of Soho and the theatre district – with the gastronomical heart of the city to one side and the best stage shows in the world on the other – you’re surrounded by everything that makes London so incredible. Rooms make great use of space, including a slot under the bed that’s perfect for suitcase storage, dreamy mattresses and stylish glass-walled en suites.