As one of the world’s great metropolises, London caters for its visitors with a huge variety of hotels. Among these are a plethora of boutique properties, offering a more intimate taste of luxury than many of their counterparts. These sumptuous, independently-run hotels can be found dotted across the capital, each featuring their own unique character and charm.
Typically housing between 10 and 100 rooms, boutique hotels are particularly popular with those seeking a personalised experience, with the smaller number of guests ensuring that staff are able to dedicate more time and attention to individuals’ needs. This, together with stylish décor and furnishings, are the characteristics that tend to set boutique hotels apart. Here are seven of the best in London.
Fusing the opulence of a conventional luxury hotel with the intimacy of a bed and breakfast, The Levin simply oozes charm. The lobby walls are decked out in striking pistachio green – evoking a sense of the 1930s – while the tiny, antiquated lift offers a chance to step (literally) back in time. Fabrics throughout the hotel are by distinguished designer William Yeoward and international home and lifestyle experts Designer’s Guild, lending the property a suave look and feel. A lavish touch is presented in the guest rooms, which are dotted with pristine paperbacks and a decadent Champagne bar.
28 Basil Street, Knightsbridge
The brainchild of two of London’s most revered restaurateurs, Corbin & King (responsible for The Wolsely brasserie), The Beaumont has all the style and elegance you would expect from such venerated names. Nestled in Marble Arch, the hotel is a towering example of art deco brilliance, whose centrepiece is a unique sculpture-cum-room by Antony Gormley. Among the notable amenities are on-site barber shop and salon, and a spa with a hammam. Meanwhile guest rooms are furnished with Nespresso machines, televisions with Apple AirPlay connectivity, Beaumont brollies and D R Harris bath products.
8 Balderton Street, Brown Hart Gardens, Mayfair
If you’re not a fan of pomp and ceremony, but like the idea of a luxurious, historic hotel in the epicentre of London, then Brown’s certainly fits the bill. Established 175 years ago, it is where Rudyard Kipling completed ‘The Jungle Book’ and Alexander Graham Bell made the first ever phone call. Today it boasts contemporary opulence without ever forgetting its storied past. Dark mahogany panelling and fittings are resplendent on the ground floor, while a collection of over 50 black and white fashion photographs by Terence Donovan and works by Tracy Emin, John Rankin and other notable British artists adorn the walls. Guest rooms are stylish and sophisticated, with cream carpets, cosy sleigh beds, antique dressers, modern lighting and high windows.
Albemarle Street, Mayfair
A 252-room hotel and members’ club spread over eight floors, with nine restaurants, 15 bars, two pools, a spa, a barber shop, a boxing gym, a restored vault from its days as Midland Bank, and a beautiful old cabinet with compartments designed for the storage of bowler hats, this is not your average boutique hotel . Opened in 2017 in the heart of the City, it has rapidly become one of London’s most fashionable hang-outs – and for good reason. Guest rooms range from crash Pads to large-scale suites, each awash with tactile furnishings, classical details and all the sumptuous accessories you could wish for.
Once the private residence of English poet William Hazlitt, this charming hotel features the original sloping, creaking floorboards walked on by the famous bard himself. Guest rooms are uniquely furnished with eye-catching antiques, busts and prints, and each room is named after the numerous notable figures that frequented the property during the tenure of its late, illustrious owner (who died in an adjoining townhouse in 1830). The theme of preservation continues into the private bathrooms which come with original Victorian fittings, along with free-standing bathtubs.
6 Frith St, Soho
Dating back to 1851, Flemings is an achingly warm and welcoming hotel with personal service woven into its DNA. Encompassing 13 townhouses in the well-heeled Mayfair, the property has distinctly Art Deco design flourishes, particularly in the guest rooms and suites which hark back to the graceful, mid-century era, thanks to the distinctive touches of renowned interior designer Tony Filmer. Elsewhere in the hotel, traditional and champagne afternoon tea is served in the opulent Drawing Room and there’s also an on-site restaurant overseen by a Michelin starred chef.
7-12 Half Moon Street, Mayfair
A couple of years ago, the restaurant at the Chiltern Firehouse – located in a Grade II listed former fire station dating from the late 19th century – was the hottest ticket in town, with a veritable conveyor belt of celebrities spilling in and out of its doors every night of the week. It was tempting to forget, however, that upstairs is also a delightful hotel. The former ladder shed is now the guest lobby, the engine house holds the restaurant, and there’s also a newly constructed extension with a horseshoe-shaped bar and a courtyard for outdoor seating. Designed to feel like a guest room in an elegant private home, each Deco-detailed bedroom boasts hand-picked art, vintage photos and a sprinkling of idiosyncratic quirks.
1 Chiltern Street, Marylebone
By Paul Joseph