The City of London (the capital’s central business district) offers some of the most convenient places to stay, thanks to its proximity to Covent Garden, Liverpool Street and St Paul’s. Despite what you might think, hotels in the so-called Square Mile aren’t all corporate bores; these eight hotels, at least, come with plenty of character, style and uniqueness.
The Rookery Hotel
The Rookery Hotel sits in a trendy area with lots of restaurants and bars nearby | Courtesy of The Rookery Hotel / Booking.com
The Rookery Hotel’s stylish and characterful bathrooms always wow guests. But if you can bring yourself to leave comfort behind and head outside, you’ll find an array of great restaurants and bars in this trendy pocket of East London. The rooms feature a luxury eccentricity that pays loving homage to the building’s historic roots, exciting guests with antique furniture and quirky design features such as the Edwardian bathing machines.
Right in the heart of Temple, the Apex has made its home inside a set of unassuming office buildings that surround an inner courtyard and offers guests a much more opulent experience than its exterior might suggest. Rooms are modern but plush and cosy, and several have a balcony or roof terrace. Just down the road from Covent Garden, this is an excellent choice if you’re heading to the theatre while in town. Just make sure you give yourself enough time for a drink at Lazy Ballerinas, the on-site, easy-going wine bar that pulls in an eclectic but lively crowd of bankers, lawyers, and performers from the nearby Royal Opera House.
CitizenM offers the amenities you might expect in a luxury hotel, but at a fraction of the cost. Here, you’ll find king-size beds, rain showers and flat-screen TVs in each of the rooms despite the diminutive price tag. It’s the co-working spaces, cool bars and travel-inspired decor that really stand out. Aimed at digital nomads and world travellers, it sits close to the north bank of the river, right next to Tower Hill, making it ideal for hopping into the city for a quick meeting or plans with friends.
A favourite of Bank’s well-heeled professionals, this hotel and private members’ club offers one of the most exciting places to stay in the City. It’s part of the Soho House group, so, as you’d expect, it comes with perfectly pitched interiors and a laid-back charm. The original features of this Edwardian bank have been slammed up and no longer appear so austere, thanks to the feminine touch of the decor. Take a trip to the Roof Bar for views across London or down to the Vault Bar (for guests and members only) through a safe-style circular door.
This hotels prides itself on its eco-friendly credentials, and its name stems from the rooms’ cube-like design; though they’re small, the brightly coloured furnishings stop them from feeling oppressive. With fast Wi-Fi, hot showers and marshmallow-soft beds, it offers a comfortable place to recharge after a day of sightseeing. Whether you’re a breakfast person or not, the full English and cappuccinos down in the restaurant will set you up for the day ahead.
If you’re in the city on business for an extended period, you might prefer somewhere with more home comforts. SACO The Cannon offers simple, modern apartments without any frills. You’ll find fully equipped kitchens and living areas as well as spacious beds and en-suite bathrooms. This aparthotel sits on Cannon Street, so it is ideally located for meetings in the City. Got work to finish? There’s super fast Wi-Fi, and the reception is open 24 hours should you need anything else.
As part of the Hyatt group, you might expect the Andaz on Liverpool Street to have a corporate sheen and be somewhat lacking in character – this couldn’t be further from the truth. Neon artwork and brightly coloured retro furnishings perfectly offset the dove grey walls of the bedrooms, paying homage to the hotel’s colourful past as a railway hotel. If you’re looking to dine in style, head down to 1901 Restaurant, a Grade II-listed ballroom that’s been given a new lease of life as a grand dining space. Breakfast, consisting of a full English buffet, fresh shakes as well as American classics such as pancakes and eggs benedict, is the best meal to enjoy here.
Among the historic buildings of Moorgate, South Place Hotel hits the nail on the head when it comes to relaxed luxury. It’s home to the Michelin-star Angler restaurant where you can expect to be served some of the best seafood of your life from a chef whose food is so good he’s reportedly after a second star. If you’re after something a little more low-key, there’s also the Chop House, an edgier brasserie-style affair serving up hunks of rare meat with bowls of doorstop chips and glasses of hearty red wine. Of course, all this food might have you hankering for a little exercise, so it’s good there’s a 24-hour gym on-site. When you’re ready for bed, head up to the effortlessly chic bedrooms where you’ll find showers big enough to dance in and beds so comfy you’ll have a hard time getting out of them.