11 Cadogan Gardens
11 Cadogan Gardens, Chelsea
Near the posh shopping area of Sloane Square and occupying a series of Victorian townhouses, this small hotel in Chelsea offers some truly attractive communal areas. And you don’t have to be a guest to use them. There’s a small, clubby bar full of leather chairs and dark, moody lighting for an early-evening drink (or to escape the London drizzle). Our favorite spot, though, is the library. Dreamily quiet, its walls lined with old books and its tables stacked with newspapers, it’s a proper oasis for the freelancer or aspiring novelist—especially with a pot (and then another) of English breakfast tea. For those looking to sleepover, guestrooms are a lesson in English elegance, many with roomy, four-poster beds and picturesque views of the leafy park on the adjacent quiet square.
Ace Hotel Shoreditch
100 Shoreditch High St., Shoreditch
On any given weekday, the lobby here is packed with freelancers perched on every couch and at every communal table in the sprawling, lo-fi industrial space. It makes sense that this would be one of the area's main hubs of activity: There's Wi-Fi on tap, a coffee and snack bar, cold-pressed juices out the door at the hotel's own juice and mylk bar, and a small but well-selected menu of breakfast and lunch items from the hotel restaurant, Hoi Polloi. Meanwhile, upstairs, the rooms, designed by Barber & Osgerby's Universal Design Studio, are decked out in vintage furniture with a slightly industrial edge. Slightly spare, they're planned for travelers who plan to spend more time exploring the city than indoors. Photo: Andrew Meredith
Belmond Cadogan Hotel
75 Sloane St., Knightsbridge
Currently undergoing a renovation (it's part of the Belmond family), and reset to open in 2017, this is one of London's great hotels. While we love it for the luxurious and cozy rooms, booking at this small, longstanding boutique hotel in Knightsbridge will also grant you access to the lush and private Cadogan Gardens and tennis courts. Lit fans should request room 118, Oscar Wilde's old room and the site of his infamous arrest.
Blakes Hotel London
33 Roland Gardens, Chelsea
For a while, Blakes was GP's home away from home in London. Touted as the "original boutique hotel," it has style and sex appeal for days while maintaining all the creature comforts (Bang & Olufsen tech, free-standing tubs) of a luxury establishment. The décor in the rooms is plush—expect lots of crushed velvet and jewel tones—and even a little bit escapist, making them ideal for a romantic night or weekend getaway. Plus, the main floor now boasts a sunny dining room, while the bar downstairs has undergone a classy refurb. This spot is as much of a sleek hideaway as it ever was.
33 Albemarle St., Mayfair
Brown's has epitomized British luxury since the Victorian era. And after its recent top-to-bottom revamp, it started racking up accolades for its elegant, amenity-packed rooms (there's even cookies-and-milk turndown service for kids) and classically British HIX restaurant at lightning speed. Request the Kipling Suite: Legend has it this is where The Jungle Book was written.
Charlotte Street Hotel
15-17 Charlotte St., Soho
Part of a larger group of wonderfully homey, modern and totally English hotels, one of the highlights here is high tea. What's truly thoughtful is that you don't have to rush to make tea time (a tough ask when sightseeing with little ones) since here, it's served all day. Kids go bonkers for the three-tiered trays of scones, cakes, and sandwiches while parents appreciate the quiet respite (and lengthy cocktail menu) of the hotel bistro, Oscar. This is the sister hotel to The Crosby in NYC.
1 Chiltern St., Marylebone
The décor comes courtesy of the French Studio Ko, who seamlessly integrated original features like the fireman's pole, brick and tilework, and fire doors with velvet seating, glitzy marble bars, and old-fashioned, flower-print carpeting. The rooms, too, offer that fun mix of plush comfort and architectural detail—all meticulously thought through.
Brook St., Mayfair
It's a great place to stay, and it's also a wonderful spot to duck into for an afternoon tea. Live piano and violin (sometimes even a double bass) accompany the much-acclaimed menus here. You'll find a variety of small-batch Tregothnan English Estate blends, which are the perfect companion to the finger sandwiches, warm scones, and clotted cream. Their famous Marco Polo jelly is not to be missed, neither is a walk through the Art Deco lobby to check out the stunning sweeping staircase.
10 Whitehall Pl., Covent Garden
Tastefully decorated and full of fresh-cut flowers, The Corinthia is all about understated glamour. The hotel boasts a superb spa, a speakeasy-inspired bar, and great Italian food at their Massimo Restaurant. They also have a large selection of penthouses if you’re looking to indulge. It’s a great pick if you’re looking to stay near Trafalgar Square and the theater district.
Covent Garden Hotel
10 Monmouth St., Covent Garden
In keeping with the Firmdale theme, this 58-room boutique hotel is brimming with character, from the individually designed rooms, to the screening room and film club, to the great seasonal-produce-focused Brasserie Max.
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