London’s hotels have become famous around the world thanks to their intriguing designs, movie cameos and even the odd royal guest. Whether you’re looking for the ultimate in luxury hospitality or a cool new hangout, these famous London hotels will guarantee a memorable stay in the capital.
The cream of the crop, the Savoy is as much a part of London now as Big Ben and Buckingham Palace. First opened in 1889, the institution was impressive from the offset thanks to the installation of electric lights and lifts. Now Grade-II listed, it had a huge refurbishment and reopened in 2010. Thankfully, the designers stuck to the hotel’s traditional roots – with some added comforts.
Sister of the Paris hotel, The Ritz is probably best known in London for its famous afternoon teas, served from 11.30am to 7.30pm each day, featuring a selection of mouthwatering dainty sandwiches, cakes and pastries. It featured heavily in the 1999 film Notting Hill, when Hugh Grant’s character pretended to be a writer for Horse & Hound to interview Julia Roberts. Stay on a Friday night for dinner and dancing, and you’ll feel as though you’ve travelled back in time.
Chiltern Firehouse | Courtesy of Chiltern Firehouse / Expedia
Okay, so Chiltern Firehouse is most famous for its restaurant – a favourite of London’s celebrities and cool kids – but the hotel is equally impressive. A former fire station in Marylebone, the classic exterior hints at things to come inside. Expect top quality service, charming retro decor and a surprisingly relaxed vibe. It goes without saying that you should pay a visit to the Nuno Mendes restaurant.
A truly legendary hotel, The Dorchester has played host to a string of well-known faces, including Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, who often holed up in the Penthouse. Prince Philip also had his stag do at the hotel before marrying Queen Elizabeth, In terms of interiors, things are as you’d expect; traditional, luxurious and vast. Interesting fact – the hotel claims to have the deepest baths in London.
Perched right next to King’s Cross station, the Great Northern Hotel first opened in 1854, but lay derelict for 12 years in the early noughties. After a much-needed revamp it reopened in 2013, and business has been booming since. The iconic curved building looks the same as ever, but the interior features stylish, modern furnishings and artwork that pays homage to the nearby British Library.
The Portobello became infamous in the nineties when Johnny Depp and Kate Moss allegedly filled a bathtub with champagne. But honestly, one look at those gorgeous Victorian tubs and you’ll probably understand why they were tempted. Featuring plenty of original features and actual round beds, this is exactly the kind of hotel you imagine when you think ‘luxury’.
If it’s good enough for royalty… The Goring is famously where Kate Middleton stayed the night before her wedding to Prince William. It’s not hard to see why she chose this hotel. The Westminster location is handy, but it’s the traditionally English interior that has a real charm. Opened by Otto Richard Goring in 1910, The Goring remains in the family to this day.
The former home of essayist William Hazlitt, who died in poverty in 1830, this period building in Soho feels incredibly authentic even to this day. The floorboards still slope, the door frames can be wonky and the rooms are decorated with traditional paintings. Of course, it comes a whole heap of charm, and you’re guaranteed to feel utterly at home.
Opened in 1865, this hotel next to St Pancras used to be known as the Midland Grand. By 1930 it was used as offices after becoming too expensive to heat, before being redeveloped and reopened in 2011. Fans of Bridget Jones’ Diary or Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets will probably recognise it from the movies, but tourists are bound to have noticed the impressive building during their trips. The interior is almost as showstopping as the facade; lots of gold leaf and marble, with an impressive Grand Staircase.
The Langham was considered London’s first grand hotel. Built between 1863 and 1865, at a whopping (at the time) £300,000, the stunning building is London through and through. Today it focuses on experience, and bar Artesian was voted World’s Best Bar four years in a row from 2011-2015. Head for a cocktail here and watch the world go by.
The close proximity of Hyde Park is a selling point, but the Lancaster is best known for its cameo in the Michael Caine film The Italian Job. The decor is a throwback to its heyday, with plenty of 1960s touches and retro furniture. The breakfast here is one of the best in London.