It’s no surprise that London remains one of the most popular destinations to visit from all around the world, as the bustling city is replete with fantastic restaurants, chic shops and exciting activations, no matter the time of year. It also happens to be one of the more convenient locations to visit from around the world, with tons of flights available—from New York City, for example, there are usually around 28 daily direct flights.
If you’re heading to London, you’ll want to make sure you’ve booked a stay at one of the English capital’s best luxury hotels. It can be rather overwhelming, considering the sheer number of lavish five-star accommodations in London, but those planning a luxe trip to the city want to experience the best of the best, and certain high-end spots do stand a step above the rest.
With so much inventory, how do you decide which luxury hotel to try out on your next jaunt across the pond? Well, there are a few different factors at play here. The best hotels are luxurious and comfortable, with attentive service and an advantageous location, since you’ll want to be centrally situated and within walking distance of cute areas, but not in a total tourist trap. Hotels within the general central London area are often a reliable favorite, though all neighborhoods have their advantages, from Covent Garden’s proximity to the West End theaters and Mayfair’s upscale allure to Soho’s bustling streets and Kensington’s historical attractions. Marylebone, Chelsea and Knightsbridge all have great shopping and upscale restaurants, Belgravia has beautiful Regency-era architecture and Shoreditch is perfect for trendy and artsy markets and bars.
Of course, it’s always important to take your personal preferences and plans for a trip into account when selecting the best hotel for that particular getaway, including if you’re traveling for work or on vacation, and whether you’re interested in an exclusive boutique hotel, a townhouse vibe, a historic Georgian-era building or anything in between—the city of London has it all.
Below, see the best hotels to book for your next trip to London.
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The Most Luxurious Hotels in London to Book for Your Next Trip to the City
All the best and most luxe London hotels if you’re heading to the U.K. capital.
London is replete with elegant accommodations, but there’s something special about the unapologetically lavish Lanesborough. The Regency-style hotel in Knightsbridge is perched right by Hyde Park, less than a 20-minute walk to Buckingham Palace. From the second the top-notch staff ushers you inside the marble-clad lobby with a “welcome home,” it’s clear this place is a standout in luxury, comfort and service, right down to the carpets that happen to be the same as those that outfit Buckingham Palace. Indeed, it’s a rather regal place—just ask to see the doors in St. George’s Room area, also known as the royal entrance because the doors were only ever opened for Princess Diana.
The Oetker Collection hotel is composed of just 93 plushly furnished guest rooms and suites, and every single one of the suites has the services of a private butler. It’s also home to a private members’ club, the Lanesborough Club & Spa. The newly revamped Lanesborough Grill opened less than a year ago, with a focus on modern British cuisine that’s served in a sophisticated, chandelier-filled room. Pro tip—book a reservation on Friday or Saturday, when there’s live music. And don’t forget about the iconic wood-paneled Library Bar, which really does feel like hanging out in a (very well-heeled) friend’s home, with fantastic cocktails. It’s also where you’ll find the famed cognac collection, including one that dates back to the French Revolution and costs approximately £7,000 per shot. Afternoon tea is a must in London, and The Lanesborough always launches new, themed seasonal variety.
It’s the service that really sets The Lanesborough above and beyond. After a recent stay at at the London hotel, I’m fully convinced it’s home to the best concierge in the city, which is no small feat—no request is out of reach. Oh, and make sure you say hi to Lilibet, The Lanesborough’s resident cat (yes, there’s also an angelic hotel kitten at the Bristol in Paris, too!) and also one of the most perfect creatures I’ve ever laid eyes on.
The Connaught, right in the heart of Mayfair, is known for its superb service and polished interiors. The 121-room five-star hotel is classic, cozy and elegant, and is particularly lovely during the holiday season. You can’t talk about this hotel without giving honorable mention to the famous Connaught Bar and its iconic martini trolley—even if you’re not staying here, try and make the time to experience a drink. The hotel is also home to two fine dining restaurants (the Connaught Grill and the Michelin star-awarded Hélène Darroze at the Connaught), but don’t forget to indulge in the beloved London pastime that is afternoon tea, served in the Jean-Georges at the Connaught dining area. For extra pampering, head to the Aman Spa, which is the first one ever built outside of an Aman resort.
The Milestone Hotel and Residences
The charming Milestone Hotel is right across the street (well, and a few gardens away) from Kensington Palace, with a gorgeous view. The Milestone, a part of Red Carnation Collection, was originally built as a private house, and the welcoming ambiance still has the feel of spending time in a lovely English home. The property is composed of 62 rooms (including 12 suites and six long-stay apartments); it’s sure to appeal to those who prefer unique accommodations, with options like the Noel Coward Suite, which is outfitted with a whole lot of animal print and an enormous mirrored bathroom, plus Floris toiletries. There’s one main fine dining restaurant, Cheneston’s, with classic British dishes, as well as the cozy Stables Bar, where you’re sure to be impressed with the bartender’s imaginative cocktails, all to be enjoyed while nestled in the comfy leather upholstered seats.
Brown's Hotel, A Rocco Forte Hotel
The historic Brown’s Hotel, a part of the Rocco Forte collection, first opened its doors in 1837, at the start of the Victorian Era—in fact, the very same year Queen Victoria ascended the throne. Located in Mayfair, Brown’s has a quintessentially British feel from the moment you step inside, with a luxurious yet understated vibe. Brown’s, a member of Leading Hotels of the World, is made up of 88 rooms, and received a complete renovation courtesy of Olga Polizzi in 2016. The hotel has welcomed famed guests including Oscar Wilde, Agatha Christie and Rudyard Kipling; there’s even a suite named in Kipling’s honor. For dining, there’s Charlie’s, though for a more casual bite or afternoon tea, stop by the drawing room, and don’t forget to get a drink at the Donovan Bar.
Hotel Café Royal
The Hotel Café Royal is all about glamour and glitz, and while the opulent Regent Street property only opened as a hotel in 2012 (after a four-year, multimillion-dollar renovation), its history goes back to the 1860s, when it functioned as a meeting place, restaurant and bar. Over the years, everyone from Princess Diana and Elizabeth Taylor to Mick Jagger and Brigitte Bardot has visited the Piccadilly locale, and the Café Royal pays tribute to a few of their famous guests; the Oscar Wilde Lounge is named in honor of the famous writer, while Ziggy’s Cocktail Bar is an homage to David Bowie, as it’s where the late music icon celebrated retiring his alter ego in 1973.
For dining, check out the newly opened Alex Dilling restaurant, as well as Brasserie Saint-Germain. Afternoon tea is held in the Grill Room, and happens to be one of my personal favorites in the city.
It’s a bumbling atmosphere outside, with Piccadilly Circus right beyond the doors, and is located less than a 10-minute walk from Leicester Square.
The Berkeley Hotel
The sleek Berkeley Hotel, conveniently located in Knightsbridge, is comprised of 190 rooms. There are two main restaurants; the Michelin starred-Marcus, and the more casual Collins Room. A drink at the Berkeley Bar and Terrace, with a cozy fireplace and intimate feel, should definitely be on your list, and there’s always the classic Blue Bar, too. And, of course, there’s the Berkeley’s Prêt-à-Portea, a fashion-focused afternoon tea that changes with the seasons—right now, it’s The Couture Catwalk.
The Stafford is an utterly charming hotel nestled on a lovely little street right in St. James. It’s a much more residential neighborhood, which adds to the allure of this property, which was originally built in the 17th century as a private residence. It’s ideal for those who prefer the feel of an adorable townhouse, with zero cookie cutter atmosphere.
The Stafford is composed of 107 uniquely designed suites, which are found in three separate areas: the Mews, the Carriage House and the Main House. There’s one main restaurant, The Game Bird, and the cozy American Bar, of which Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother was reportedly a fan.
Shangri-La The Shard
Shangri-La at The Shard occupies the 34th through 52nd floors of the sleek building, designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano—it’s the tallest building in western Europe. The sleek and modern hotel is in the Southwark neighborhood, positioned just off the south banks of the Thames, and visitors are in for a true treat when looking out the windows—it’s one of the most impressive, Insta-worthy views in London, including a peek at the London Eye. Every single one of the 202 rooms and suites is outfitted with contemporary, Asian-inspired interior furnishings, as well as floor-to-ceiling windows, luxe Frette linens and marble-bedecked bathrooms. There are a few different dining options at the hotel, including the main restaurant, Ting, as well as the Sky Lounge, which is good for snacks and cocktails. And because Shangri-La The Shard is all about the superlatives, it’s also home to the tallest hotel infinity swimming pool in London.
Claridge’s is another classic gem in Mayfair that’s long been a favorite of luxury-loving jetsetters. The 190-room hotel received a major renovation during the COVID-19 lockdown, and upon its reopening in 2021, revealed additions like a chic new rooftop suite and a freshly restored ballroom. There’s no shortage of elegant bar spots within the hotel, including the iconic Art Deco-esque Claridge’s Bar, glamorous (and hard to find) Fumoir and the more contemporary Painter’s Room, a perfectly pink space with modern custom cocktails. The Foyer and Reading Room is the main restaurant right now, where guests can dine for breakfast, lunch, dinner or afternoon tea.
The hotel isn’t just about old world glamour, though, as there are plenty of luxurious new additions, like the John Pawson-designed Claridge’s Art Space, which hosts two-month rotating artist exhibitions, as well as L’Epicerie, the recently debuted, interactive dining space with just 14 seats.
For some relaxing self-care, look no further than the palatial 7,000-square-foot Andre Fu-designed spa, which just opened last year and includes a swimming pool, sauna, steam room and seven treatment rooms.
One Aldwych is perfect for those who want to be close to Covent Garden and all that it offers, like the many theaters nearby. The 105-key property occupies a historic Edwardian building, with hotel rooms that are classic with a modern edge—think neutral furnishings and sleek marble bathrooms. It is right on the Strand, so it’s definitely on the more crowded side when you head outdoors, though you leave that hustle and bustle behind once you head inside. The Lobby Bar is a fun spot for a drink, while Indigo, the hotel restaurant, is perfect for unpretentious British cuisine.
One Hundred Shoreditch
One Hundred Shoreditch is a relatively new addition to the London hotel scene; it opened less than a year ago. It’s located in the trendy, hipster-adored East End neighborhood of Shoreditch, with 258 rooms. It’s definitely on the more modern side, and has plenty of food and beverage options, including four bars and restaurants. The impressive rooftop bar with floor-to-ceiling windows and sweeping views of East London is a major draw, as well as the Mr. Lyan-led Seed Library.