11 Dreamy Places To Stay in London for Budget or Blowout Trips
The Henrietta Hotel | Courtesy of The Henrietta / Expedia
Looking for a great London hotel? This Culture Trip-curated list of the city’s best accommodation options features everything from a hip East End private members’ club to a boat hotel with a good heart, and they’re all within easy reach of the best things the capital has to offer.
In a city the size of London, finding a dreamy hotel with distinct character can be tricky. But the 11 hotels listed here, all hand-picked by local experts at Culture Trip, take in everything from high-end hot spots to brilliantly located budget boltholes. Though diverse when it comes to design – everything from offbeat and industrial to lavish Art Deco – they have a few things in common: Instagrammable interiors and locations right in the heart of the city.
While not strictly a hotel, Generator London deserves a mention for its sleek design, exceptional location and buzzy vibe. This great budget option in Bloomsbury has the likes of the British Museum, Regent’s Park and Granary Square on its doorstep. Occupying a 1930s police station, the hostel has an industrial-design aesthetic with a hint of the futuristic. Hang out in the lively lounge/bar area, which hosts a happy hour and various gigs and DJ events, as well as offering pool tables, a piano and karaoke for the youthful clientele. Funky rooms range from doubles to triples, quads and dorms.
Filled with eye-catching references to the building’s former life as a textile factory, the well-priced New Road Hotel echoes the vibrancy of its multicultural East London environs, while offering an oasis of calm in the city. Exposed brickwork and striking upholstery are something of a style signature here, and the smaller, stylish rooms feature cute booth-style beds. If you’re feeling flush, however, we recommend splashing out on a Loft suite for more space and views across the city – not to mention the option of a private rooftop hot tub. Free tea and coffee, a pool room and a terrace add to the appeal, and you can set yourself up for the day at the hotel’s ultra-trendy Cereal Grind café which serves sugary cereal ‘cocktails’.
This chic shipping container floating on the Thames has the message “Create beauty, do good” emblazoned on its wall, and it aims to do both those things with chic design and a community-minded business that trains unemployed locals, sources materials and labour locally and funds education for the children of low-income families in Guatemala. Rooms are small, but the prices are reasonable, and the minimalist design is punctuated by geometric throws and bright artworks. Many of the cool, airy rooms look out onto the river, and the rooftop terrace has wonderful views of the city skyline.
With room tiers labelled snug, nest, pad and den, the Assembly provides for guests who favour keen prices and location over space, but aren’t willing to scrimp on style. The low-key hotel is dotted with kitsch millennial-pink furniture and fluorescent lighting, subtly inspired by the work of Central Saint Martins fashion alumni Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney and Gareth Pugh. To stretch out, head up to B&H Garden Room, the pretty, orange tree-lined rooftop bar and restaurant, which offers great views of the city and a menu of fresh, summery cocktails.
This well-priced City hotel takes its inspiration from the trades guilds that once populated the Dickensian alleys around it; think plush velvets, rich fabrics, leather door handles and navigation-map wallcoverings along with more modern luxuries like Nespresso machines and Marshall speakers. The basement cocktail bar Do Not Disturb is a take on a 1920s Manhattan speakeasy, and the Mercer Roof Terrace offers al fresco dining from a menu celebrating the best of British produce.
As befits a mid-range hotel steps away from London’s arty enclave of the Southbank Centre and Tate Modern, Bankside is a riot of vivid colours, patterns and textures. The whole hotel is filled with commissioned artworks – everything from abstract paintings to unusual photography and thought-provoking typography – and the pretty plates of food that come out of the Art Yard Kitchen & Bar are just as creative. Its eco credentials are strong too, including water stations instead of bottled water, paper keycards and a zero-to-landfill policy.
Plush, neutral rooms, jewel-toned velvet sofas in designer bars, a heated rooftop terrace with a pool and pretty brasserie, American soul food, work spaces, a gym and a spa… this five-star hotel has it all. It has a hipster-Shoreditch-meets-classy-Manhattan vibe, elegant rooms with steam-shower bathrooms and a bevy of social spaces, including a sofa-stuffed screening room and a live events space that often hosts gigs. And, as a private members’ club, you can expect an air of exclusivity.
With just 10 rooms, this boutique Pimlico hotel in a former Victorian pub feels decidedly bohemian. Exposed and whitewashed brickwork, vintage furniture and limited-edition prints give each of the rooms an individual feel, and the basement cocktail cellar serves an expert aperitivo and drinks inspired by cult classic films. It’s also well positioned for top sights like Westminster Abbey and Tate Britain, and very close to Victoria station for travels further afield.
You’re spoilt for choice in Covent Garden, but if you want to be properly spoilt (at a price), the obvious choice is this little beauty. Set across two Victorian townhouses, 18 individual bedrooms are designed with a maximalist Art Deco feel, and the pink or blue-hued spaces are dotted with statement elements like dramatic domed headboards; plus even the smallest rooms have double walk-in showers. Make time to dine at Henrietta Bistro, which has a fresh, seafood-heavy menu inspired by southwest France, Corsica and Basque Country. Relax in the bright mezzanine bar area with a drink or snack.
With its artist-in-residence programme and a sumptuously extravagant decor, this top-range, four-storey Fitzrovia hotel was an instant hit with the glitterati when it opened in 2017. Quirky features abound across opulent social spaces and 34 rooms and suites, many of them set around the beautiful courtyard planted with a hanging garden. Of the elegant communal areas, the place to head is the jaw-dropping Jurema, an outdoor terrace set in a lush garden.
If you’re after a sleek, swanky Belgravia hideaway, make a beeline for COMO The Halkin. Airy white and neutral spaces with luxe wooden marquetry give the 41 rooms and suites, some of which have balconies, a spare but warm, minimalist look. There’s a Michelin-starred restaurant serving stunning Basque tapas, and a gorgeous bar, gym, and easy access to Harrods, Bond Street and St James’s Park complete the top-price package.