The London Art & Architecture Guide
You can’t really walk a block without stumbling across a cultural monument, a great gallery, or one of the world’s best museums—and thanks to its long and storied history, most of its shops and restaurants occupy pretty notable environs, too.
The Connaught HotelCarlos Place, Mayfair | +44.20.7499.7070
The Connaught was revamped in 2008, and the interiors are full of subtle and modern surprises while maintaining the institution's old-world charm. The décor is elegant, the service is top notch, and the Connaught Bar and the Hélène Darroze are tasteful additions. The top floor of the hotel is occupied by an exquisite apartment decorated by the late David Collins in his signature shades of blue and grey. It's available to guests for a luxurious stay, and at the very least worth exploring on the website.
London EDITION10 Berners St., Fitzrovia | +44.20.7781.0000
At Ian Schrager’s latest Central London foray, you'll find a sceney spot where sleek, almost Nordic accommodations contrast with a rococo dining room and lobby. Chef Jason Atherton’s restaurant is worth trying if for no other reason than to see the floor-to-ceiling gallery walls (the food is good, too), and the cocktail bar in the lobby draws a good crowd as well. A stay here is cocoon-like, in that you have everything you need for hours on end from plush bedroom amenities, including in-room TV yoga sessions courtesy of Yoga for Bad People, cocktails and haute cuisine—so much so that coming out to the city streets can be pleasantly disorienting. It's a true escape even for the city's own.
Rough Luxe Hotel1 Birkenhead St., Bloomsbury | +44.20.7837.5338
Ignore the fading yellow 'No Vacancy' sign above the entrance and walk into this painstakingly artful hotel that features small rooms with perfectly cracked paintwork, fading wallpaper, and impressive contemporary art (Rough Luxe features two artists in residence). What the accommodations lack in size, the proprietor, Leo, makes up for in service and exquisite taste: Croissants fresh from famed local brasserie Ottolenghi served at breakfast are just one delicious example.
The BeaumontBrown Hart Gardens, Mayfair | +44.20.7499.1001
The Beaumont is one of those fantastical places you only find in London or Paris. An Art Deco hotel (in what was Selfridges' parking lot back in the twenties), you would be hard-pressed to find a more convenient launch pad to Mayfair, and the rest of Central London for that matter. The (fictional) story is that Jimmy Beaumont, a successful American entrepreneur frustrated by Prohibition, moves to London in the 1920's, and opens up a swanky hotel in London. And though it's fictional, the hotel does ooze that sense of history with Deco furniture, paintings from the period, wood paneling, velvet chairs, a glamorous marble-clad spa, an old-fashioned "Cub Room" just for guests, and an American bar (serving up all those drinks Jimmy couldn't get across the Atlantic). Somewhat anachronistic for the story is the rather grand Antony Gormley sculpture that crowns the hotel—guests can arrange to sleep inside of it. Pro tip: Cancel your reservation and eat your supper in bed—the room service is top notch.
The Ned27 Poultry, Bank | +44.20.3828.2000
Soho House’s Nick Jones has, with his signature pizzazz, created one of the more exciting hotels to hit the capital in recent years. The cavernous lobby of the Ned is totally untraditional—and we dig it. Organized almost like a maze, with Cecconi’s on your right, a huge bar on your left, and a raised platform (often with a full jazz band) in front of you. No walls separate any of these elements, so the entire space booms. The rooms are exquisite, many with wood-paneled walls, enormous beds, and beautifully upholstered furniture. It all feels very Tudor. The minibar is one of the better ones we’ve come across: an antique chest filled with crystal glasses, premium booze, and god this makes us happy, decent tonic. Cowshed products, powerful hair dryers and straighteners, and a deep tub comprise a dream bathroom. Bank Street is, predictably, banker land during the week and a dead zone on the weekend, but given how central it is, it’s a breeze to get around—if you can be bothered to leave the hotel at all. Rooms and lobby aside, the listed, Lutyens-designed building has a hammam-style spa, a gym with a boxing ring and pool, and no fewer than ten restaurants.
L’oscar Hotel2-6 Southampton Row, The Strand | +44.20.7405.5555
Hotel Costes is (if you ask us) the most seductive, decadent place to sleep in Paris, and its newly-opened sibling in London, L’oscar, is no different. It’s all excess. L’oscar is a former Baptist church that hotelier Jacques Garcia stuffed with his signature red velvet everything, Lalique butterfly taps in the bathrooms, and chandeliers aplenty. Guest rooms come with yoga mats, incredible city views, and beautiful mosaic showers. But we especially love the bar, which is swathed in plush navy velvet, wood-paneled walls, and impressively stacked bookshelves.
Four Seasons Ten Trinity Square10 Trinity Sq., City | +44.20.3893.3320
Bank is undergoing a renaissance. Normally, it’s a neighborhood locals avoid because it’s packed with, well, banks and the casual grab-and-go cafes that feed its bankers, that’s all changing. The Ned moved in first, followed by Brigadiers for dinner, and now the Four Seasons have staked their plot at Ten Trinity Square. We love the subtly elegant guest rooms in shades of grey, and the beds are next-level comfy. They’ll let you choose a firm or soft mattress topper; orthopedic or hypo-allergenic pillows; and the most cocooning down duvets. Given the history of the neighborhood, it’s no surprise that the building is positively stately, and with four food and beverage options (including an especially atmospheric rotunda bar that hosts live music acts), there’s no need to leave.