London is full to the brim with stunning hotels, yet with exciting new stays popping up all the time, it can be hard to decide where best to lay your head.
Sometimes you want to be blown away by a palatial hotel or the biggest and best rooms, but there's a lot to be said for a quieter, more personalised experience in the city. Which is why boutique hotels combines the best of both worlds: the opulence of a big-name hotel with an extra dash of charm. Plus many of them have brilliant bars for a night cap, or even private dining rooms to book for a night to remember with a close crew of friends.
Here's our pick of the very best boutique hotels in London.
Vintry & Mercer
Best for: A hotel with a story.
Located in the heart of the city and near the Thames, Vintry & Mercer is a hotel with a story to share. Named after the local fine wine and silk trading guilds, the hotel's 92 individually-designed rooms give a nod to the merchants with photographs and maps on the walls, as well as fabrics inspired by tailors of the past. The Mercer Roof Terrace restaurant has impeccable views of the London skyline and this winter is host to festive igloos and cosy cabins. If you want to hunker down without a blanket, DND (that's Do Not Disturb) is inspired by the clandestine bars of 1920's New York with hand-beaded images of Ziegfeld Follies girls lining the walls. Here, house cocktails and fine wines can be enjoyed with tasty small plates.
Rooms from £315, vintryandmercer.com
The Mitre, Hampton Court Palace
Best for: Rooms by the river and a country feel.
Sitting on the bank of the Thames with the lively riverside terrace to match, this Grade-II listed building (it was commissioned in 1665 to host King Henry VII’s courtiers) has a country feel just 30 minutes from central London. Though the rooms are far from dusty; Nicola Harding, who worked on Beaverbrook and The Rose in Deal has woven her magic with a calming palette pepped up with striped upholstery and hand painted wallpaper. Beds are four posters, baths are roll top with river views. The perfect place to soak after a wander in the acres of Bushey Park before refuelling at the Coppernose restaurant on steaks, seafood or a Sunday roast. The hotel even brews its own beer — could it get any more British?Rooms from £194, mitrehamptoncourt.com
Artist’s Residence London, Pimlico
Best for: A home away from home.
One of London’s best-kept secrets, this eclectic and quiet west London enclave has just 10 rooms. The Artist Residence is housed in a pub with a vibrant country-modern aesthetic which gives it a homey feel. Rooms range from compact, cosy 'Smalls' with a writing desk all the way up to the Grand Suite with a four-poster bed and roll top bathtub.
Rooms from £315, artistresidence.co.uk
The Portobello Hotel, Notting Hill
Best for: Opulent interiors.
Located down the road from Soho House’s Electric House and a stone’s throw from Portobello Road, this 21-bedroom boutique hotel is in the thick of it. A converted neo-classical mansion, each of the rooms is uniquely decorated with clever design touches. The 'Best Room' has a tempting round bed, sitting against gold Degournay wallpaper and a Victorian bathtub (where Jonny Depp and Kate Moss famously shared a champagne bath). Do make sure you request a garden view room to soak them in from the charming Georgian windows.
There’s no restaurant to speak of but they do offer light meals in the cosy Sitting Room and there’s an honesty bar to sample local booze. Order breakfast to your room and fuel up for a day out in one of London’s most exciting corners.
Rooms from £220, portobellohotel.com
The Boundary Project, Shoreditch
Best for: Rooftop drinks.
Located within a converted Victorian warehouse, this 17-room hotel also boasts two restaurants, a panoramic rooftop bar, a grocery, a bakery and a deli. The rooftop bar is one of East London’s lushest hangouts, while the individually designed rooms are all spacious. Choose from a regular room or go all-out with a duplex loft suite.
Rooms from £198, boundary.london
11 Cadogan Gardens, Chelsea
Best for: A village vibe.
In a leafy square in Chelsea, just a stone’s throw from Harrods, you’ll find 11 Cadogan Gardens. Behind the traditional Victorian façade expect modern and eclectic interiors, with an elegant restaurant and a cosy bar. Nearly half of the 56 rooms are suites, all kitted out in luxe furnishings, and if you’re after a private dinner opt for the Mirror Room, a miniature hall of mirrors which will be sure to delight.
If you're looking for a long and extra luxe stay, six newly renovated apartments have been added to the hotel's roster, each comprising an entire floor of a beautiful Victorian townhouse just down the road from the main hotel.
Rooms from £310, 11cadogangardens.com
Henrietta Hotel, Covent Garden
Best for: Photo opp lovers.
This 18-bedroom hotel is the first from The Experimental Group (of the cocktail bar of the same name) and has been an influencer favourite ever since it opened, thanks to the hand painted wallpaper, marble details and upholstered headboards in a calming palette of deep greens and plush pinks. The rooms were individually designed by French Interior Designer, Dorothee Meilichzon, with some offering views over the capital’s rooftops to the London Eye. Hospitality here is second to none with 24-hour room service and mini bars stocked with the hotel’s favourite products and bespoke cocktails — ideal for a cheeky nightcap.
Rooms from £250, henriettahotel.comBelmond Cadogan Hotel, Chelsea
Best for: The ultimate night's sleep.
In the heart of Chelsea, this beloved townhouse boasts 54 incredibly chic rooms with luxe bedrooms panelled in muted tones and with gleaming marble bathrooms. Personalised pillow menus guarantee an uninterrupted night’s sleep and add a major touch of luxury.
The Cadogan Place Gardens are reason enough to visit the hotel, so be sure to visit in spring to experience London’s hidden oasis in full bloom. But in colder months, why not hang out in all-day brasserie The LaLee, treat yourself to a bespoke facial by Teresa Tarmey, or enjoy afternoon tea in the lounge.
Rooms from £767, belmond.com
Number Sixteen, Kensington
Best for: Lovers of cottage core.
Just seconds away from the museums of South Kensington, Number Sixteen is part of the Firmdale Hotel group, which all boast amazing interiors by Kit Kemp. Think vibrant clashing prints, classic furniture in modern upholstery and imposingly large headboards. The Orangery offers all-day dining with luxe takes on British classics, and in summer the hydrangeas are something to behold. If you're in need of some pampering, you can book a Soholistic facial to your room. Bliss.
Rooms from £350, firmdalehotels.com
The Zetter Townhouse, Clerkenwell
Best for: A night to remember.
The independently-owned, 13-bedroom restored Georgian townhouse hotel has an award-winning cocktail lounge. Serving from morning coffee up until after-work drinks and small plates, it's a rare gem in the heart of East London. If you want to keep the party going, the opulent dining room is perfect for hosting an intimate bash with friends. When you 're ready to head to bed, the room interiors are plush and quirky, designed by Russell Sage — expect antique furniture and jewel tone schemes. Choose from a deluxe double or indulge with your own apartment.
Rooms from £286.20, thezetter.com
The Mandrake, Fitzrovia
Best for: A unique bar experience.
With jasmine draping down a three-storey wall to create a hidden oasis, no visit to the Mandrake is complete without a drink from its bar, the sleekly designed Waeska. The restaurant, Serge & Le Phoque, is another showstopper with a lively French menu. The 33 rooms, including one penthouse, are dark and cocooning, mixing mid-century pieces, French rugs and chandeliers for maximum grandeur. Yoga and sound healing are inclusive for guests.
Rooms from £447, themandrake.com
The Bloomsbury Hotel, Bloomsbury
Best for: Dinner, drinks and bed.
An influencer’s heaven – The Bloomsbury is beloved for its vibrant bar, The Coral Room, lunch spot the Dalloway Terrace and its ever-changing façade. Yet, this hotel isn’t just a pretty picture. With 153 classic rooms and 11 suites, expect friendly staff, a buzzing atmosphere and some top-notch cultural marvels right on your doorstep, from The British Museum to all the delights of buzzing Soho.
Room prices vary, doylecollection.com
Leman Locke, Shoreditch
Best for: Apartment living.
Locke Living are changing the game for aparthotels, one location at a time. With four UK outposts – Cambridge, Edinburgh, Manchester and London – the Shoreditch-based Leman Locke can be found a stone’s throw from Spitalfields and Brick Lane. With 168 apartments, you’ll be charmed by the pastel hues and intelligent designs of the apartments and, while this isn’t a typical hotel, you can still find an all-day restaurant downstairs and a café-come-bar as well.
Rooms from £156.67, lockeliving.com
Dean Street Townhouse, Soho
Best for: A cosy couples' trip.
One of London’s most romantic hotels, Dean Street Townhouse is a Soho House outpost that perfects old world glam. The super central location makes it an ideal base for exploring followed by delicious cocktails, British fare or a delectable afternoon tea. Positioned over two renovated Georgian buildings, the 39 rooms are individually designed and range from ‘Tiny’ to ‘Bigger’ – with the larger bedrooms including in-room bath tubs and his 'n' hers armchairs.
Rooms from £230 (reduced rates are available for members), sohohouse.com
Chiltern Firehouse, Marylebone
Best for: The A-list experience.
The Chiltern Firehouse was one of the first purpose-built fire stations in London and, after some restoration became a favourite A-List haunt. The hotel was restored by American hotelier André Balazs in 2013 and has 26 elegant bedrooms, lofts and suites, with each room offering a minimalist chic design that you’ll want to emulate in your own home. Be sure to nip down to Nuno Mendes for dinner while staying.
Room from £650, chilternfirehouse.com