LondonCity

Cool hotels in London for a stylish weekend in the capital

By , 4th October 2018

Cool hotels in London abound, so whether it’s old-school vintage glamour, contemporary high-rise stays or hipster-chic blocks, London offers it all. With rooftop pools and the highest cocktail bar in Western Europe, London’s eclectic mix of innovative and must-stay hotels are a great way to spend time in the capital. Explore the classic streets of Chelsea or buzzing food markets in East London, witness the globally renowned fashion scene and high-octane nightlife – from morning ’til night the city is a hub of contemporary culture.

Whether you’re a family looking for budget-friendly spots, a couple exploring London’s restaurants and favourite theatre shows, or a solo traveller exploring off the beaten track, select one of these cool hotels in London as your ideal base.


A century-old cool hotel in London with a rooftop pool

The Ned London | City of London

The Ned may have been transformed into a luxurious hotel, but its days as The Midland Bank are proudly remembered. You’ll find opulent historical details gloriously intact, from the golden ‘MB’ Monogram on the Saloon’s coved ceiling to the elegant wrought-iron windows. Its 92 columns, crafted from African verdite, still sit in the former banking hall, while the oversized walnut cupboards that housed canes and top hats sit on the sixth floor, giving a glimpse into London’s bygone era. Even the imposing 25-tonne vault door, which these days protects a high-octane cocktail bar rather than £335 million of deposits, is perfectly preserved.

This hotel is where vintage glamour meets modern décor, and with a rooftop pool overlooking St Paul’s Cathedral, it’s a singular addition to London’s roster of deluxe accommodation. Its 250 rooms have a dash of Roaring Twenties glamour, such as bespoke floral wallpaper and silk lampshades, while in the marble mosaic bathrooms you’ll find modern walk-in rainforest showers and Cowshed toiletries. With no less than 10 restaurants – all showcasing different themes – you could spend weeks here. Try afternoon tea in the parlour-esque Millie’s Lounge featuring traditional finger sandwiches, scones and cakes; feast on Northern Italian cuisine like carpaccio, pizzettes and pasta in Venetian-style Cecconi’s; and share charcuterie at Parisian-themed Café Sou.

The hotel’s spa is similarly conceptual. Book a Shellac manicure in the all-pink Cheeky nail bar; experience an old-school wet shave at speakeasy-influenced Ned’s Barbershop, or opt for a soothing ritual at the marble-clad hammam.

Compare prices

A luxurious hotel in London with a cool slant

The London EDITION | Central London

Cocoon yourself here in rooms with the feel of a luxury yacht – all wood panelled walls and oak floors. These lavish spaces feature bespoke furniture including George Smith chairs or sofas, artwork designed by Dutch visual artist and photographer Hendrik Kerstens, as well as curated art by names such as Tracey Emin. Once unpacked, you can easily pop out to nearby Soho for a coffee or a wander, and it’s just a short 7 minute walk from Oxford Circus tube station. However, the London EDITION has more intriguing spaces to explore inside.

Sample culinary delights from Michelin-starred UK chef Jason Atherton at Berners Tavern, where modern British fare is served under an intricately carved triple-height ceiling. Brunch is a winner here, having been lauded by one renowned magazine as ‘one of the best London breakfasts to try before you die’. Opt for distinctive dishes sourced from local ingredients, such as toast smothered in Colchester crab and classic pork pie with English piccalilli.

A tempting concept, the Punch Room specialises in 30 speciality concoctions (reservation required). Sit and sip on the signature drink, the gin-based EDITION, on teal velvet sofas next to its polished mahogany bar. The cool soundtrack consists of soul, blues, ragtime and doo-wop, plus live performances. Feeling sociable? The Lobby Bar provides a similarly chic backdrop to unwind, you’ll find feathered sofas and snooker tables ideal for making connections with your fellow travellers.

Compare prices

A cool hotel in one of London’s most iconic skyscrapers

Shangri-La at The Shard | Central London

Shangri-La at The Shard is housed in perhaps London’s most recognisable skyscraper. It spans the fourth to 52nd floors of this pyramidic building, designed by the Italian architect and engineer Renzo Piano. The top level features both the highest swimming pool and cocktail bar in Western Europe. From here, you’ll soak up atmospheric vistas of London’s lights glittering beneath your feet.

Make the most of this majestic location by opting for a suite with views across the Tower of London, one of London’s most iconic medieval landmarks built by William Conquerer in the early 1080s. Your suite itself, in keeping with Shangri-La’s opulent theme, is imbued with Eastern elegance. Luxurious materials, from silk to marble, are characteristic of the refined décor. Bathrooms feature toiletries from L’Occitane or Acqua Di Parma, while each space is climate-controlled automatically for comfort. Beds here contour to the body to encourage a good night’s sleep and are lined with 300 thread count Frette sheets.

Sample British cuisine with an Asian spin amid the Chinoiserie furnishings at TĪNG – meaning ‘living room’ – on floor 35. You’ll dine high in the sky surrounded by elegant screens that offer a sense of mystery. Can’t resist a sweet treat? Don’t miss afternoon tea in the lounge, with desserts such as Cherry Blossom Roulade epitomising this multi-award-winning hotel’s fusion of East meets West.

Compare prices

A chic, cheerful – and cool – hotel in London

Qbic Hotel | Whitechapel

Vibrantly coloured in paint-box brights, with its quirky furnishings including lamps engineered from hose pipes, Qbic is a fun hotel particularly suited to Millennial travellers. While the amenities here are relatively simple, it sets itself apart from other options in its price bracket by focusing on thoughtful features. Lighting, for instance, is controlled from a bed with a mattress crafted from recycled denim, organic lambswool and coconut fibre to ensure it is both hypoallergenic and biodegradable.

An eco-friendly concept pervades the rest of Qbic Hotel, too. Note the solar panels on the roof; the organic toiletries in the bathrooms; and the chemical-free cleaning solutions used by staff to keep the place pristine. Furniture throughout is constructed from repurposed materials: the farmyard-animal-shaped storage solution erected from upcycled freight boxes is a case in point.

Food at Qbic is communal in essence, with plenty of sharing plates on the menu, ideal if you’re travelling with friends (or looking to make new ones over some dips). It’s also wholly sourced from butchers, fishmongers and greengrocers within a 50-mile radius of the hotel. Load up your plate with waffles from the buffet breakfast, followed by the strong small-batch house coffee, Pillow Talk, which is couriered in weekly by bicycle. Once ready for the day, borrow a bike yourself – they’re free from reception – to burn off those calories on a ride around the local area.

Compare prices

A cool hotel in London floating on the Thames

The Good Hotel London | Royal Victoria Dock

The Thames has long been known as London’s life source – and experiencing the city from the water puts you right at its beating heart. Which is just where the Good Hotel comes in: a gargantuan floating structure that began life in Amsterdam before all its 8 million kilos were transported to London over the course of several months.

While the concept of this accommodation is, indeed, cool, the décor lives up to its hype, too. “We found luxury in simplicity and originality,” explain Remko Verhaagen and Sikko Valk, the Dutch designers behind the project. The merger of natural and industrial materials here makes for an offbeat and innovative aesthetic. Inside the rooms, you’ll find sumptuous down pillows juxtaposed with blonde woods and Scandi style geo-print bedding – all come with dockside or river views.

The latter riverside location is worth splashing out on, but if you do plump for the dockside spot, you can still soak up panoramas of the water from the rooftop. Sip on a locally made beer here in the crisp city air, and school yourself on the hotel’s social justice background. Another notable feature of this structure is that it’s more than just a hip space – it also reinvests its profits to help charitable organisations and has a staffing scheme that assists the long-term unemployed in returning to work.

Compare prices

A hip hotel hangout in London’s cool east

Leman Locke | Shoreditch

Leman Locke is an apartment hotel with a boutique feel. Its designer reputation is seen in the Scandi-style décor, with soft-pink sofas contrasting against cool-grey throws inside white-walled rooms. From the fully equipped kitchens to the natural Kinsey & Apothecary toiletries (tailor-made for the company), much thought has been put into this trend-led Shoreditch accommodation.

Dubbing itself a ‘lifestyle hotel’, it’s no surprise that Leman Locke highlights the importance of wellbeing and health. Stretch out at the yoga club, join a group of runners for a 5km dash around London, or simply make use of the meditation and mindfulness sessions. Photography classes and artist residences are also organised – reward yourself with a flavoursome matcha-infused cocktail from the seasonally changing menu at on-site café-bar Hyde. Sip it on mid-century-modern furniture under a pastel-pink staircase that could very well have leapt straight out of a magazine spread.

After a wander in nearby hipster hangout Brick Lane to rummage for retro clothing and perhaps snack on a salt-beef bagel, return to the hotel for a meal designed by Head Chef George Tannock. Under the tutelage of Heston Blumenthal, George learned the importance of experimentation – a technique he has carried over into Lemon Locke’s Treves restaurant. Expect dishes like sweet potato, tahini yoghurt & pomegranate and red pesto arancini. Even breakfast has an achingly hip bent at Leman Locke: think healthy start-of-day energy boosters such as chia seeds and passion fruit bowls or highly Instagrammable treats like avocado spread on sourdough toast.

Compare prices