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Hotels

15 London Hotels We Absolutely Adore

Our favorite stays in London are the epitome of British style and charm. Here are 15 that top our list.

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The Franklin London – Starhotels Collezione

What happens when a former Bond Girl turns her sights to interior decorating? Great things, if you’re talking about Anouska Hempel, a New Zealand-born actress who cashed in on her B-movie laurels to become the ne plus ultra of British designers. Say hello to her most stunning labor of love, The Franklin, a 35-room bijou built in a row of Knightsbridge townhouses overlooking Egerton Gardens where her signature moody yet whimsical interiors feature charcoal walls, mirrored beds, and luxurious Italian silks. Don't miss the nightly sabering ritual in the champagne and martini bar, one of this posh neighborhood's most stylish watering holes.

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Restaurant at The Ned in London
Bathroom at The Ned in London
Rooftop patio at The Ned in London
Bedroom at The Ned in London
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The Ned

Leave it to the combined brains behind the Soho House, Nomad, and Freehand brands to give London one of the edgiest hotels in decades: The Ned. A host of green verdite Corinthian columns is all that remains of the original bank building. Today, the ground floor hall has been transformed into a vast emporium of restaurants and bars including a branch of Cecconi’s and the Californian-inspired Malibu Kitchen, done up with velvet banquettes and antiques sourced from Belgium and France. The 252 upstairs rooms are just as glamorous, with mahogany four-posters, Afghan rugs, and fully stocked drinks cabinets. Along with a barber shop, a boxing gym, and a spa, there’s a killer rooftop (with views of the Gherkin on one side and St. Paul’s Cathedral on another) and a subterranean Vault Bar, where new twists on classic cocktails are served in a high-drama space lined with steel deposit boxes.

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Bar at Claridge’s, London
Outdoor breakfast at Claridge’s, London
Bedroom at Claridge’s, London
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Claridge’s

Nowhere in London lets you play dress up quite like Claridge’s, a ritzy Mayfair sleep that's hosted the likes of Audrey Hepburn and Winston Churchill and whose next-level service, luxuriously spacious rooms and suites, and beautiful Art Deco décor take you right back to the Roaring Twenties. The 203 oversized rooms are split between Art Deco and Victorian décor but all have marble baths stocked with locally sourced Cowshed products. A treatment at the top-floor spa is a must, as is their award-winning Afternoon Tea—though whether you choose to take it in the chandelier-lit Foyer or the cozy Reading Room is entirely up to you.

RELATED: 10 Romantic Hotels in Europe We Can't Stop Dreaming About

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Restaurant at Kettner's Townhouse
Bar at Kettner's Townhouse
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Kettner’s Townhouse

The Georgian townhouses now occupied by Soho House's latest London outpost, Kettner’s Townhouse, were once the home of a famous French restaurant where Napoleon III’s former chef wined and dined guests like Margaret Thatcher and Oscar Wilde. Today, the dining room lives on as a classic bistro that retains its original mirrors, plasterwork, and marble bar; elsewhere, 33 guest rooms are modeled after French boudoirs with floral wallpaper, velvet and damask fabrics, and glittering chandeliers. The property is right across the street from the famous Palace Theatre, but the newly added piano bar offers entertainment of its own in the form of white-jacket-clad bartenders and live jazz.

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5

The Lanesborough

If the 2nd Viscount Lanesborough walked into his classical country retreat today, it's safe to say he'd be impressed. An 18-month renovation, overseen by the late Alberto Pinto, breathed new life into this landmark hotel overlooking Hyde Park, stripping it to the bone before returning it to its Regency-era golden days. Notable additions include patterned pastel drapery and bedspreads, ornamental plasterwork, gold leaf, and trompe l’oeil along with a new French restaurant, Céleste. For one of the more pricey stays in all of London, the Lanesborough is, once again, the embodiment of extravagant British elegance.

RELATED: Check Out the World's Craziest, Over-the-Top Suites

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Bedroom at The Dorchester
Restaurant at The Dorchester
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The Dorchester

Royal ties have long set the prestigious Dorchester Hotel apart from its peers (especially during the early years of Queen Elizabeth's reign with Prince Philip). Stays at this five-star Mayfair grand dame don't come cheap—but who can put a price on this level of luxury? Expect lavish interiors (see: Italian marble bathrooms, a three-Michelin-starred Alain Ducasse restaurant, and an iconic tea lounge dubbed The Promenade, where potted palms and plush turreted sofas set the stage for delicate finger sandwiches, warm scone, elaborate French pastries, and tea, of course—all to the tune of the resident pianist.

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Bedroom at Ham Yard
Lounge at Ham Yard
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Ham Yard

The Ham Yard Hotel is a feast for the eyes for fans of Kit Kemp, that British-born designer whose signature whimsy has made it into every nook and cranny of this 91-room Soho stunner. Along with the hotel's eye-popping guest rooms (a mix of spring colors, textiles, textures, and art), you'll find a row of indie boutique shops lining the interior courtyard, private residences, a rooftop garden and bar, and a cinema and 1950s bowling alley in the basement. Do like the locals do and hit the restaurant for modern British flavors (smoked haddock with chorizo and pepper; crab and salmon fishcake) and afternoon tea.

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The Laslett

Live out your own Julia Roberts love story at this Notting Hill bolt hole. Five connected Victorian townhouses, within walking distance of trendy Portobello Road, house 51 rooms featuring bedside paperback novels and clustered wall art, along with a full lending library, a quaint breakfast room, and a public space that transforms from a coffee shop to a bar to a gallery. For an afternoon pick-me-up, keep an eye out for the roaming cocktail cart (and get the signature, a rum-based drink inspired by the area's Caribbean communities).

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9

Hotel 41

It's easy to find this boutique hideaway—if you know where to look. Sequestered behind Buckingham Palace, Hotel 41 is more like an old-world British club, all rich mahogany, antique leather armchairs, glittering chandeliers, and a roaring fireplace where one might curl up with brandy in hand. A chic, black-and-white aesthetic carries from the lobby to the 30 individually designed rooms that look out over the Royal Mews. While full English breakfasts and afternoon tea are held in a glass-topped executive lounge, the most lauded amenity is undoubtedly the stellar service—unsurprising, perhaps, since staff outnumber guests here.

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The Ampersand

It may seem like a tall order to make a mark in one of London’s most established neighborhoods—South Kensington is, after all, home to Hyde Park, Harrods, and Royal Albert Hall—but this Edwardian townhouse hotel fits in perfectly. The hotel's tasteful mismatch of eclectic patterns and motifs (astronomy, botany, geometry) is inspired by nearby landmarks like the Natural History Museum and the V&A: there are armchairs sporting colorful prints of herons, flora-covered pillowcases, and various objets d’art, while velvet tufted headboards and silk curtains keep the luxury in check.

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The Beaumont

The art world was aflutter when this Art Deco hotel debuted in Mayfair, thanks in no small part to the Antony Gormley-designed cuboid suite that protrudes from the building's front façade. The rest of the 73-room hotel, borrowing from styles of the 1920s and 30s, is masculine and refined: there's checkerboard flooring in the lobby, early 20th-century paintings, marble and chrome bathrooms, an equally sleek basement spa, and a Corbin & King restaurant, Colony Grill Room, that quickly made a name for itself among London's dining elite.

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The Goring

We would be remiss if we excluded this century-old, family-run charmer minutes from the gates of Buckingham Palace, bestowed with a Royal Warrant by the Queen a year after Kate Middleton famously spent the night here before her royal wedding. Like the Duchess herself, this hotel is the epitome of English grace and style—there's fine glassware, country-house antiques, and woven drapery from the same textile mill used by the royal palace. A top-to-toe renovation in 2015 brought in archival wall silks and a fleet of footmen for the suites, while the level of service and hospitality remains as top dollar as ever.

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The London EDITION

The design at the EDITION, in a landmark Georgian building just off Oxford Street, is expectedly edgy—exactly what we'd expect from hotelier Ian Schrager. The show begins in the lobby, which features a giant stainless steel egg overhead that reflects the room's flanking columns, green velvet sofas, and Art Deco flair. At the center of it all, you'll find Jason Atherton’s lauded Berners Tavern, where the city's style set come to nosh on contemporary British fare before sequestering themselves in see-and-be-seen basement club. Upstairs, 170 slick rooms are quiet escapes from the din below.

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St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London

King's Cross was once an industrial, forgettable section of London seen only on one's way to and from the train station—but now there's reasons to stay, including a handful of new hip restaurants, interactive art installations, and the restored St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel. Along with 245 rooms, a spa, a barber shop, and one of the most convenient locations in all of London, the hotel is itself a pristine example of Neo-Gothic architecture and train hotel history. Everywhere you turn is another study in intricate stonework and colored marble, while the spiraling Grand Staircase, topped by a sky-blue dome studded with stars, is something out of a Victorian fairytale.

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Photo by Richard Powers

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citizenM Tower of London

The Dutch hotel chain’s second opening in London (and its biggest, at 370 rooms) is everything we love about the brand—quirky yet sophisticated interiors are rife with digital art, coffee table books, vintage sporting paraphernalia, and standout furniture pieces by Eames and Prouvé—but with the added bonus of being smack in the middle of the city. Just head to the top-floor cloudM bar for sweeping terrace views of skyline landmarks like the Shard, Tower Bridge, Canary Wharf, and—you guessed it—the Tower of London. Other new additions found only at this branch: a coffeeM bar for all your caffeine and pastry needs and a shop, dubbed collectionM, if your needs are more along the lines of Bakelite radios or vintage telephones.

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