A clash of artistic minds and tech money has carved out East London‘s reputation as one of the city’s most diverse and eclectic areas. Discover some of the best hotels that reflect the East’s bold character.
Historic, edgy and more than a little bit hip, East London has claimed its spot as the coolest area of the city. Home to Shoreditch, Hackney, Dalston and Whitechapel, it’s a hub of multiculturalism, great food and boundary-pushing creatives. But despite what you think you know about London’s edgy East, its boroughs are bound to surprise you. Here’s Culture Trip’s pick of the best hotels to book for your visit.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Located close to Aldgate Station, this pet-friendly 340 room recent addition to East London is an excellent option if you want to set up for a few days to explore the city. Canopy by Hilton London City has a great all-day cafe serving great food and a superb rooftop bar. Florattica has views stretching across London landmarks from St Pauls, to Canary Wharf and the Thames. On the edge of The City, Florattica boasts seating that flows from the inside to an expansive heated and covered outdoor terrace, providing a wonderful spot for cocktails and small plates throughout the winter, high above the fast-paced city workers below. The ambience in all parts of the hotel are relaxing and surprisingly quiet meaning you get a great nights sleep within easy reach of some of the best nightspots in Shoreditch.
In the heart of Bethnal Green, Town Hall Hotel is a beautiful Edwardian building that has featured in such films as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Rooms range from simple double rooms with casual retro furnishings to the cavernous De Montfort Suite – perfect for private parties – where barrel-vaulted ceilings and arched windows let in floods of natural light onto the glass-partitioned space, complete with a vintage piano and earth-toned ’70s-style furniture. Head down to the Gatsby-esque indoor pool for a refreshing morning swim in its aquamarine-tiled depths, or try the Atlantic cod at the Michelin-star, in-house restaurant Da Terra.
The Hoxton leads the way for boutique hotels and collaborative working spaces in East London, and remains a favourite among professionals, who love to descend on the open-plan lobby and dining area for dynamic meetings or multiple negronis. Up in the rooms, you’ll appreciate the crisp, white sheets, leather chesterfield sofas and signature backlit mirrors that throw out some of the most flattering selfie lighting in the whole of London. Art lovers should opt for one of the nine concept rooms, each of which has been designed by a local artist.
This eccentric addition to Shoreditch – which takes its name from an 18th-century interiors writer – is perfect for those seeking to experience the quirkier side of London. Guests can live out their own Sherlock Holmes fantasy by roaming the wood-panelled halls, reclining on the antique sofas with a stiff drink and rifling through the rich collection of first editions that line the bookshelves. It’s worth a stay for the bathrooms alone, which feature restored period fittings such as vintage copper showers and cast-iron roll-top baths. Whether you’re taking afternoon tea in the drawing room or breakfast in the walled garden, the hospitality shown by the staff is certain to make you feel like an aristocrat.
If you’re a regular traveller in search of something a little more homely than a simple bed-and-bath situation, look no further than Leman Locke, a luxury aparthotel in the heart of Aldgate. There’s a whole programme that’s designed to make you feel like part of the family, including a running club, artist-in-residence, and yoga and meditation classes. This sense of serenity and community continues up in the mini-apartments, where simple Scandi design makes for a calming atmosphere. Fully equipped kitchens, smart TVs and washer/dryers add a sense of convenience, while the calm palette of pinks and greys turns the rooms into little peaceful havens – a rarity in such a busy area of London.
Bright, playful and a little bit cheeky, Mama Shelter is a boutique hotel with bags of personality. Tongue-in-cheek bedroom features like Looney Tunes masks and curious quotes on bathroom items hint at what Mama Shelter is all about – not taking yourself, or life, too seriously. In this spirit, leave your inhibitions at the door and belt out your favourite songs in the karaoke rooms – the vintage microphones (and one or two cocktails) will have you unleashing your inner pop star in no time.
Painted with a dappled terracotta finish and adorned in luxurious woollen throws, shearling rugs and roughly hewn carpentry, there’s a rustic feel to the Culpeper that you wouldn’t expect to find in this salt-of-the-earth East End neighbourhood. Rather more like a farmhouse than a townhouse, the rooms here are just as cosy and welcoming as the ground floor pub, where a central bar, exposed brickwork and an abundance of comfortable seating and greenery make it a huge hit with the after-work crowd.
A strikingly futuristic-industrial structure, Nobu Hotel Shoreditch combines an exposed concrete and glass exterior with a bamboo lined courtyard that pays homage to the brand’s Japanese roots. Overseen by Nobu Matsuhisa, the in-house restaurant needs little introduction, and you’d be remiss to check out without trying a few of his celebrated delicacies such as miso black cod and toro sashimi. Japanese-inspired rooms stick to neutral tones and midnight blues with gold accents, complemented by orb lights, floral flourishes and a traditional tea set – perfect for a morning beverage in bed. Spend the day exploring neighbouring Brick Lane and the Barbican before heading back to the spa for one of Nobu’s signature massages.
In an unlikely East London neighbourhood, New Road Hotel is a garment factory-turned-boutique hotel. Its exposed brick walls and vintage Hollywood-style lighting may not be novel, but the hotel puts its own spin on industrial decor – with booth-like beds upholstered in brightly coloured leather sitting cinematically opposite 49in flat-screen TVs. On the top floor, the lofts offer up luxury extras: you can relax in the hot tub with views of the jagged city skyline, have a tipple on the terrace or sprawl out on the king-size beds. Head downstairs for top-tier steak at Marco Pierre White’s restaurant and daiquiris at the neon-lit bar, which updates the warehouse aesthetic with raw metal surfaces and glossy teal tiles.
This towering high-rise hotel has put a bold stamp on the skyline of Stratford. Overlooking Olympic Park, rooms embody city slicker sophistication with muted grey tones punctuated by rust-orange blankets and coral armchairs. Bathrooms have rainforest showers and are stocked with eco-conscious organic toiletries by Ren, while the Dualit coffee machine means you can whip up your own espresso. Splash out for a night in the 65sqm (700sqft) Manhattan Studio to view impressive city vistas through floor-to-ceiling windows from the comfort of the super king-size bed.
Moments from Liverpool Street station and the suit-and-ties of the financial district, 196 Bishopsgate boasts a comparatively homely interior. Exposed wooden beams, chocolate chesterfield sofas and blood-red velvet accents add a cosy farmhouse feel to rooms and stand out against the immaculate white walls. Well suited to longer stays, the expansive spaces are fitted with fully equipped kitchens, made all the more convenient by a grocery delivery service and 24-hour reception that you can call for the inside track on the surrounding area. Across the road, Spitalfields Market promises a plethora of curious treasures, while a craft ale at 19th-century staple Dirty Dicks is practically a requirement.
The sprawling lobby of this eclectic hotel is a Dalí-esque kaleidoscope of colours, full of expressive wall art and retro furniture. Deeper in you’ll find a tropicana-meets-Banksy style breakfast bar, Grecian-style meeting rooms with grand coved ceilings and the mahogany-panelled Victorian gastropub. Rooms are more restrained, with subdued tones and pops of pink providing the perfect setting for in-room spa treatments like manicures and facials. Fans of brunch should indulge in bottomless spritzers in the plant-filled setting of Rake’s Café Bar, while sushi-lovers cannot miss the fresh fish at minimalist restaurant Miyako.
The Good Hotel is a floating marvel that has travelled from its previous spot in Amsterdam to the Royal Victorian Docks. Living up to its name, the establishment promotes goodness in every form, with charitable donations going towards educating Guatemalan children from low-income families and training for the unemployed. Sanctuary is found in the minimalist interior of the rooms, using natural light, greenery and wooden furniture for a clean, natural aesthetic. Check out the roof for an aptly nautical setting where you can sit on beachy white furniture – bubbles in hand – and check out sweeping views of the Thames and the O2 arena.
The newest addition to the Locke aparthotel family, Kingsland Locke strikes an industrial tone with moody hues, exposed concrete and geometric tiles, the better to match its Dalston location. Thoughtful details include bedside charging stations and whisper-quiet soundproofing; there’s a full suite of kitchenware for longer stays, and Kinsey Apothecary toiletries in the rainfall shower. Downstairs, you’ll find a foliage-filled co-working space with a vegan-friendly cafe – come nightfall, this transforms into the imaginative Le Bab kebab restaurant and a bar serving German-style beers. In-house brewery tours with Bavarian beer sommelier Helen come highly recommended.
Why not treat yourself and stay in one of the best spa hotels in Old Street, or discover London’s most famous hotels, now bookable on Culture Trip. On a budget? Check out the best hotels in Whitechapel for all budgets, bookable on Culture Trip.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.