The West End makes up the heart of what most visitors remember about London: its thriving arts scene, diverse residents and endless food and shopping options. Here’s Culture Trip’s pick of the best hotels in London’s West End.
Covent Garden Hotel
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Covent Garden Hotel | Courtesy of Covent Garden Hotel / Hotels.com
As with all Firmdale Hotels, the Covent Garden incorporates a sunny, breezy atmosphere with vibrant interiors: expect bold prints, bright colour schemes and the signature dressmaker’s mannequin in every room. This is the perfect option for those who love to lounge – you can watch the world go by from the downstairs brasserie, which offers a fresh, seasonal menu and is perfect for a spot of lunch or pre-theatre cocktail. Loved as much by local professionals as by visitors, you can soak up the electric after-work buzz in the bar, where the champagne and weekend vibes are always flowing.
The light-filled rooms of Victory House are the real draw of this hotel, which mixes art deco simplicity with luxe detailing – think charcoal bathroom fittings, burnished gold lights, crisp white linens and smooth wood panelling. Contemporary and central, Victory House’s location is stellar – it’s right on the doorstep of Leicester Square, which makes it perfect for theatre-hopping. Enjoy a hearty breakfast down in the bistro before heading out for the day.
Chiltern Firehouse | Courtesy of Chiltern Firehouse / Expedia
Given that it’s the brainchild of famous hotelier André Balazs (the man behind Hollywood’s infamous Chateau Marmont) it’s not surprising that the Chiltern Firehouse – tucked away on a leafy Marylebone street inside a former fire station – has been such a huge hit with London’s elite. With the air of a sprawling Georgian townhouse, this hotel and brasserie has more velvet clad corners and opulent fireplaces than you can shake a stick at and enough seasonal, Anglo-American plates (created by Michelin starred chef, Nuno Mendes) to satisfy even the most ravenous customers. Rooms are decorated with a timeless charm, comfortable armchairs and ample drinks bar, making it the perfect retreat from the London chatter.
A neon sign in the bar of the W Hotel Leicester Square states that ‘normal gets you nowhere’ and this ideology is certainly exemplified in the design of the hotel, with disco balls, regular DJs and a thriving party scene all drawing in a hip, city crowd. Managing to hit the sweet spot between modern flair and luxury minimalism, mirrored walls, window drapes and colourful prints feature in all the rooms, giving them a bright, open feel. If you’re hitting the London party scene, this is the perfect spot to stay – sitting right in the heart of Soho among some of London’s most notorious clubs and bars. Be sure to book the Megabar service, where a mixologist will bring a mobile bar directly to your suite to kickstart your night.
Those looking for a home-from-home should check in to No. 5 Maddox Street – a luxury collection of fully serviced suites just minutes from Bond Street. Available with one, two or three bedrooms, each suite comprises a fully fitted kitchen, rainforest showers and large windows. Personal touches are dotted throughout, adding to the feeling of comfort, from the linen kimonos to yoga mats and Phaidon art books. The 24-hour concierge service is available at the touch of a telephone button; helping to connect you with theatre tickets, massage therapists and restaurants.
Named for the 18th-century writer who lived there, Hazlitt’s is something of a Soho institution and has built its impeccable reputation on word-of-mouth endorsements. You’d never guess the hotel was right in the thick of city life – the library and bedrooms are gloriously peaceful and every corner pays homage to the old-fashioned charm of the building’s heritage. Curl up in front of the fire with Sir Godfrey – the resident cat – a book from the hotel’s collection of signed first editions and a drink from the honesty bar, which is available to all guests. Upstairs, each bedroom is slightly different but all feature a cushy four-poster bed, velvet armchair and roll-top bath. For special occasions, book into the Duke of Monmouth suite, which boasts its own private terrace.
One of the mainstays of Piccadilly Circus, Hotel Café Royal is famed for its opulence and nod to French neoclassicism. It also just happens to be home to one of the best spas in the city. Akasha is cavernous – incorporating a 60-foot pool and nine treatment rooms – with a menu of hammam and hydrotherapy. Those looking to make the most of London’s theatre will love the hotel’s central location and though it sits right in the middle of one of the city’s busiest areas, once you’re inside, the quiet and calm of this luxury bolthole takes over. Rooms are minimalist and modern, with Carrara marble bathrooms and an integrated Bang & Olufsen entertainment system and downstairs you can enjoy an afternoon tea fit for royalty in the Oscar Wilde Lounge.
Right in the heart of – you guessed it – Bloomsbury, this hotel perfectly reflects the neighbourhood. My Bloomsbury is bookish, understated and smart. A hub for the nearby literati, the bar area’s slouchy leather sofas, angle poise lights and ample foliage all make for a relaxed working atmosphere, while the guest rooms offer up design details in the form of marble bathrooms, cool carpentry and bold colours. A great spot for romantic getaways, you can enjoy a room service breakfast from neighbouring Gail’s bakery or an express facial from Jinja, the mini-spa, before hitting the surrounding streets.
If you’re worried that the super busy location of Assembly – right in the middle of Leicester and Trafalgar Squares – will lead to sleepless nights, don’t be: each of the simple and quirky rooms at this new 24-hour hotel has been soundproofed, meaning you can enjoy both the central location and peace and quiet. What with its contemporary décor (think neon signs, oversized cushions and cartoonish sculptures) there’s an undeniably youthful atmosphere, with young travellers making up most of the clientele. Egyptian cotton sheets, power showers and super speedy Wi-Fi all add to the feeling of luxury but without the hefty price tag of other urban hotels.
The best way to describe The Nadler in Soho is cool, calm and collected – everything from its monochromatic colour palette to its demure and professional staff give off an energy of calm efficiency. This is the hotel you need when you’ve got serious work to do or are looking to escape the chaos that churns up the streets in the city. Cold nights are made warmer by the signature sheepskin-style throws you’ll find on every bed and the generous bathtubs in each bathroom. Breakfast is provided by neighbouring brasserie, Scarlett Green, for an extra cost and can either be brought to you in bed or enjoyed in the restaurant’s dining room. If you’re not sure what to go for, the Fancy Bacon Roll is the breakfast that hungover dreams are made of.
The Piccadilly London is right on Shaftesbury Avenue, so if you’ve come to London with theatre tickets in hand you couldn’t get much closer to the action than here. Rooms are decorated in a plush combination of gold and black, with some even featuring star-studded four-poster beds. Though perfectly placed for exploring the West End, there are plenty of reasons to stay indoors – the extensive treatment list, indoor jacuzzi and sauna to name but a few. With knowledgeable, multilingual staff on hand to advise and a cracking breakfast buffet, it’s got all the right ingredients to have you raring to explore the city around you.
One of the trailblazers when it comes to modern, centrally located budget hotels, the Z group delivers exactly what the adventurous tourist is after: a comfortable room in a great location at a reasonable price. Impressive from the get-go, the lobby at the Z Hotel Soho contains a spectacular multi storey spiral staircase that leads to the sleekly designed bedrooms where you’ll find all the essentials such as a comfy bed, fast wifi and hot shower. Though there’s a breakfast on offer every morning for a small change, it would be a crime not to explore neighbouring Soho’s thriving coffee and brunch scene. The best part, aside from its prime location on Moor Street? The free cheese and wine on offer every night between 5 and 8pm.
Nestled between Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road, this charming boutique hotel offers rooms that are modern, compact and quirkily decorated. Each one features a different theme and pays whimsical homage to nature, whether that be through an animal-themed cushion or floral wallpaper. A basic breakfast of toast and cereal is on offer to all, but you can choose to upgrade to something heartier should you so wish – there’s a Full English and Eggs Benedict for the seriously hungry. Whatever your plans for your stay, you’re certainly well placed here – St Paul’s Cathedral, Big Ben and Buckingham Palace are all within a 30-minute stroll.