Whether you're a student, leisure or business traveler, London offers diverse lodging options that range from budget-friendly chains to luxury suites replete with private butlers. Central London and West End accommodations are traditionally on the pricey side but offer convenient proximity to shops, theaters and popular sightseeing attractions. Across the board, room rates are also highest during the summer months and Christmas.
Pack a posh wardrobe if you stay at The Ritz, a London icon for well over a century. In addition to its legendary butler services, The Ritz has a salon to pamper you from head to toe, personal trainers, a private club for entertaining, afternoon tea, full concierge services and sumptuous decor. A formal dress code is enforced in all public areas of the hotel. The Dorchester, located in the heart of London's theater district, features Art Deco decor, 24/7 valet, laundry and room service, a world-class spa and fitness center, free Internet and Wi-Fi, a private bar, and heated bathroom towel racks. Special packages include weekend escapes for romantics, spa treatments and London sightseeing excursions. If high-end shopping is on your agenda, the Sheraton Park Tower Hotel in Knightsbridge is where you'll likely encounter the rich and famous dropping their bags before high tea. Harrods, Hyde Park and Harvey Nichols are only a short walk from the front door. In addition to its high-tech business center, in-room spa services, casino and on-site restaurants, this Starwood facility accommodates pampered pooches free of charge with beds, bowls, treats and a "dog in room" sign.
The 20's and 30's crowd have no shortage of venues when it comes to hip and cool addresses to hang their hats for a London stay. The Bentley London is tucked into the Chelsea/Kensington residential district and offers large, en-suite bathrooms with Jacuzzi tubs, high-tech entertainment and communications access, 24/7 concierge service, a gym and luxury spa, a cocktail lounge, and a brasserie open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and afternoon tea. Specials include spa packages and holiday-themed parties. Claridges in Mayfair is a hot spot for English weddings, conferences and romantic getaways. On-site indulgences include a Gordon Ramsay restaurant, Claridge's Bar, 1930s-inspired cocktails at The Fumoir, master classes in culinary arts, flowering arranging and wine appreciation, and a beauty and fitness center. Threadneedles dates from the 1850s, when it was originally a banking hall in the heart of London. With only 70 rooms, it has the intimate feel of a private home and offers free Wi-Fi, bathrobes and slippers, private bar, complimentary coffee, tea and daily newspaper, and an on-site restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and tapas. Christmas and New Year's specials are available as well as spa and romance packages.
Bed and Breakfast Inns
The residential district of Belgravia is replete with restaurants, shops and theaters. The B+B Belgravia is a blend of Georgian architecture and modern minimalism. In addition to its pet-friendly policy, a full English or continental breakfast is included with your room, along with daily newspapers, free bike loans, free Wi-Fi, and access to the inn's book and DVD library. St. David's near Paddington Station is a family-owned B&B with 60 rooms that range from singles to family rooms. Rates include a full English breakfast, and the hotel's central location is a good anchor point for visiting Hyde Park, Harrod's, Regent Street and attractions such as Buckingham Palace, Parliament and Kensington Gardens. As if the gardens and tennis courts weren't enough of a draw for the George Hotel, this B&B's location is just two Tube stops from the shopping, pubs and restaurants of Covent Garden. These converted townhouses date from the early 1800s. Free Wi-Fi, full breakfasts, plasma TVs, and a free Skype webcam in the lounge round out the amenities.
London's proliferation of chain hotels are well suited to budget-minded travelers and students. Best Western, Comfort Inn, Holiday Inn, Hilton and Marriott are among the familiar names that offer smoke-free rooms, free Wi-Fi, in-room coffeemakers, complimentary newspapers, business centers, free breakfasts, and proximity to Tube stations and sightseeing attractions. Other budget choices include Boston Manor Hotel, which provides an English breakfast, car storage and laundry facilities; and Leisure Inn, which has refrigerators in most rooms, satellite TV and the quiet surroundings of a residential neighborhood.
- "Cool Hotels London"; Martin Nichols Kunz; 2007
- "Michelin Guide 2009 London: Restaurants and Hotels"; Michelin Travel Publications; 2009
- "Rick Steves' London 2010"; Rick Steves, Gene Openshaw; 2009
- The Rtiz Hotel London: Contact Us
- The Dorchester: Contact Us
- The Bentley London: Location
- Claridges: Contact Us
- Threadneedles: Hotel Location
- B+B Belgravia: Getting Here
- St. David's Hotels: Enquiries
- George Hotel
- London Hotels: Budget Hotels in London
- Boston Manor Hotel: Contact Us
- Lesire Inn: Primary Contacts
- London Rush image by Ktulu from Fotolia.com