Whether you’re simply looking for a base or in need of some serious luxury, here’s Culture Trip’s guide to the best hotels in central London to make staying in the heart of the ‘Big Smoke’ that little bit easier.
Chiltern Firehouse | Courtesy of Chiltern Firehouse / Expedia
The brainchild of the man behind LA’s Chateau Marmont, hotelier André Balazs has outdone himself with his transformation of this old London fire station. A list of the best hotels in central London wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the Chiltern Firehouse, where the well-heeled and well-known come to play at all hours of the day. Located in the heart of Marylebone just a stone’s throw from Oxford Street, this townhouse-style hotel and brasserie has more velvet-clad corners and opulent fireplaces than you can shake a stick at. Rooms are decorated with a timeless charm, comfortable armchairs and ample drinks bar, making it the perfect retreat from the London chatter.The seasonal menu is presided over by Michelin-starred Chef Nuno Mendes and is best enjoyed in the courtyard after a cocktail or two in the beautiful lounge.
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.
You couldn’t get much more central than the My Bloomsbury London hotel, which sits on Bedford Square just a couple of minutes’ walk from Tottenham Court Road and its neighbouring theatres, such as the Dominion and the Shaftesbury. This a boutique hotel in every sense of the word – it’s close to the shops, offers a unique service and the decor is entirely individual; mixing industrial cool with Art Deco flair and a few modern touchers here and there. If you’re a digital nomad heading to London for a spot of exploring as well as work, you’ll love its downstairs co-working space, Central Working, as well as the attached outpost of Gail’s Bakery (perfect for a morning coffee and croissant).
No prizes for guessing where this hotel is. Though certainly on the luxury end of the spectrum, there’s nothing ostentatious or standoffish about the Covent Garden Hotel, which incorporates the sunny, breezy atmosphere with vibrant interiors you’d expect to find in all of the Firmdale properties. This is the perfect option for those who love to lounge – expect comfy beds, a beautiful in-house spa, the perfect brasserie from which to watch the world go by and an extensive cocktail list perfect for a pre-theatre pick-me-up. Loved by local professionals and visitors alike, look forward to the electric weekend atmosphere you’ll find in the downstairs bar, no matter the day of the week.
The Z Hotel Soho features sleekly designed bedrooms that include all the essentials such as a comfy Hypnos bed, super fast Wi-Fi and a hot, powerful shower. There is a breakfast option here for only a few pounds but we’d recommend exploring the many cafés and restaurants right on the doorstep in bustling Soho. Don’t miss the best part, though – there’s free cheese and wine for each guest from 5-8pm in the evenings.
Named after the 18th-century writer who once lived there, Hazlitt’s is right in the heart of Soho and has developed something of a legendary status over the years thanks to word-of-mouth recommendations. Once you step inside you wouldn’t believe this hotel was right in the thick of city life – the library and bedrooms are perfect pockets of peace and quiet. Around every corner you’ll find new treasures and every room pays homage to the old-fashioned charm of the building’s heritage. Take it easy in front of the drawing room fire with the resident cat, Sir Godfrey, and a book from the hotel’s extensive collection of signed first editions. To top it off, pour yourself a drink from the honesty bar, which is available to all guests.
If you want to be right in the middle of Piccadilly Circus – otherwise known as tourist heaven – you can’t get much closer than the luxurious Hotel Cafe Royal, one of central London’s most beautiful hotels. Renowned for its opulent French decor, it’s home to Alaska – one of the best spas in the city. Choose from hammam or hydrotherapy treatments or simply take a dip in the huge underground pool for the ultimate escape from the busy city outside. Rooms are minimalist and modern with Carrara marble bathrooms, crisp colour palettes and integrated Bang & Olufsen sound systems. If you’ve got time, book in for the champagne afternoon tea which is served in the Oscar Wilde Lounge to the sound of live classical piano music. The interior of the space alone will make it one of the highlights of your stay.
Despite being right between Leicester and Trafalgar Squares, the Assembly Hotel offers one of the quietest stays for miles around – each of the simple and quirky rooms has been soundproofed, meaning you can enjoy both the central location and the peace and quiet. Arriving late yourself? The reception is open 24 hours a day so you can check in whenever you like. What with its contemporary decor (think neon sights oversized cushions and cartoonish sculptures) it certainly appears to the millennial crowd and the superfast Wi-Fi is sure to attract a few digital nomads.
Everthing about The Mandrake is a talking point and a little out of the ordinary – from the name (which comes from a hallucinogenic plant) to the lobby’s living wall and jasmine-filled courtyard you’ll find inside. Though it’s not long been open, it’s already developed a reputation as one of the best boutique properties to book into in central London – you feel as if you’re stepping into a tropical retreat rather than a city hotel. Everything about it is geared towards giving guests an experience. You’ll enter through a dark tunnel and emerge into an urban rainforest – and this is all before you’ve even checked in. Artwork features heavily throughout and the uniquely styled rooms allow you to choose a decor that feels most familiar to you – whether that’s the womb-like cosiness of the Mandrake rooms or the breezy chic of the Newman.