The Best Luxury 5-Star Hotels in London
So, you’re coming to London and it’s time to pick a hotel and if you are looking at the luxury end of the market, you are spoilt for choice. London literally has hundreds of 5-star hotels and it can be difficult to choose the best.
Working as a private tour guide in London, I often get asked by my guests, “What is the best 5-Star Hotel in London?” or “Which 5-star hotel should I choose?: – here are some of the most notable and what I think of each, including feedback from my discerning guests.
1. Rosewood London
The Rosewood is located in Holborn, just outside the City of London and a 10-minute walk (or 5-minute cab journey from London’s theatre district, the West End including Covent Garden. This is one of my favourite London hotels, feeling very modern inside just having some classic touches throughout. One of the more unique aspects of the hotel is that is has a beautiful Golden Retriever dog called Pearl who can sometimes be seen in the lobby. The dog’s name? That’s because the building was formerly the headquarters of the Pearl Assurance Company. The building itself is from the early 1900s.
Rooms are relatively large by London standards, with the most basic “Executive Room” at 32 square metres in size (multiply roughly by ten for the equivalent size in square feet). If you require a bit more space, suites are also available starting at 68 square metres and going up to 100 square metres. Those who require the ultimate luxury can even opt for one of the signature suites, starting at 60 square metres for the Dome Suite and ranging all the way up to 585 square metres for the Manor House Wing, comprising of 7 bedrooms, a private entrance/elevator and an entire floor for itself.
If you don’t want to venture to the brilliant West End for dining, then you have many options on-site. The intimate Mirror Room serves seasonal food and a contemporary afternoon tea (from £50 per person), the Holborn Dining Room is a grand brasserie, the Holborn Delicatessen serves take-away drinks and light food, and the Scarves Bar rounds off the offerings for anyone who fancies a drink. Warm drinks can also be ordered and consumed in the lobby.
As far as location is concerned this is really a matter of personal taste: you are not as central as at hotels such as The Savoy, but being a bit further out does mean that the area is a lot quieter at night – the courtyard style of the hotel means you are far from the main road in most rooms which is a real benefit in such a busy city. The area is also very safe and ever so slightly off the beaten tourist path. It is also a great location for anyone doing business in the City. Unless you will be spending the majority of your time in the West End, you will find yourself spending quite a lot of time in transport. There is an underground station (Holborn – Piccadilly Line and Central Line) less than a 2-minute walk away.
Harrods, for example, is easily accessible on the Piccadilly Line (9 minutes transfer time), though a taxi ride will take 30-45 minutes. Westminster for Big Ben is 20 minutes away by both car and the underground, and the Tower of London is about 25 minutes away. This is definitely not a place you stay if you wish to walk to most attractions.
The hotel also boasts a spa and fitness suite for those looking for a chance to stay active, though it does not have a pool (these are still a rarity in London).
My guests who have stayed at this hotel have done nothing but rave about the rooms and the service which is excellent throughout.
On TripAdvisor, this hotel gets a solid 5-star rating, with 96% rating it as “Excellent” or “Very Good”. Rates start at approximately £390 per night during the low season.
2. The Goring
Favourite of royalty and Kate Middleton (where she stayed the night before her 2011 Royal Wedding), The Goring combines classic British charm with a great location. One of the often-overlooked advantages is the hotel’s large private garden – outdoor green space is at a real premium in central London (especially in Victoria) and this is the perfect location to relax on a beautiful summer’s day. The fact that the hotel is on a quiet side street is a definite bonus in such a busy part of London. It is also amazingly still family-run over a century after having opened its doors.
Rooms are smaller than at some more modern properties – the Queen Room comes in at 23 square metres, King Rooms are 25 square metres and the largest regular rooms (Most Splendid Garden Rooms) are 37 square metres. Suites are also available starting at 40 square metres for the Junior Suite and go all the way up to the 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom Royal Suite at 138 square metres. Butlers (or “footmen” as they are called here) are on hand at selected suites. Forbes calls this “arguably the most glamorous accommodation option in England”. Please note that rooms do not have a minibar or tea/coffee making facilities.
In terms of location, Buckingham Palace is just across the road whereas Westminster Abbey and Big Ben can be reached in under 20 minutes walk. Hyde Park is just a 15-minute stroll away. A 5-minute taxi ride will take you to Harrods and the West End and Trafalgar Square are less than 10 minutes away by car. For those wanting to use the London underground, Victoria Station is around the corner and features 3 underground lines (District Line, Circle Line and Victoria Line) and the Gatwick Express comes into the National Rail station. There is also a major coach station just 10 minutes walk away where many excursions run from and to and even international coaches.
The Goring also has one of the best renowned afternoon teas in the city. The Dining Room, the hotel’s only fully-fledged restaurant, boasts a Michelin star. There is also a very popular and happening bar and lounge which is frequented by some of the country’s most well-known politicians. The Goring also features a fitness room, but no pool.
The hotel also proudly holds a Royal Warrant awarded by Her Majesty The Queen for hospitality services in 2013 – this is the only hotel in the world to hold this. TripAdvisor users seem to agree, with the hotel getting a 5-star rating overall, with 96% of reviews rating it as “Excellent” or “Very Good”.
Rates start at approximately £500 per night.
3. The Savoy
The Savoy Hotel lobby
Perhaps the best located 5-star hotel in London is The Savoy, with Trafalgar Square and Covent Garden mere minutes away, and even Parliament Square and Buckingham Palace can be reached with a slightly longer walk. The almost-riverside location means that some rooms even have a fantastic view of the London Eye (also a short walk away). If you don’t fancy walking, there are several London Underground stations within a 5-minute radius and taxis are in plenty of supply in this area of London too. For those who don’t want to leave the hotel grounds, the Savoy Theatre is right next door and is currently playing Dreamgirls.
The Savoy is one of the most well-known hotels across the country and a revamp in the early 2000s brought it firmly into the 21st century – it still has a classic British feel yet has more modern touches that don’t it feel too “stuffy”.
Rooms are relatively large for central London with the smallest Superior Queen room clocking in at a modest 30 square metres. A variety of other rooms are on offer, including a 2-bedroom family room at 55 square metres, Junior Suites start at 40 square metres, the Savoy Suite is 130 square metres and the Royal suite stretches over 325 square metres. The suites offer a 24-hour butler service.
The dining selection is renowned around London and includes Kaspar’s Seafood Bar and Grill, the American Bar (rated best in Europe and second-best in the world), the Thames Foyer serves a delightful afternoon tea, the Beaufort Bar, Simpsons’s in the Strand, The Savoy Grill and the delightful patisserie called Savoy Tea.
A business centre, fitness suite with pool, gym, spa and sauna and some of the amenities on offer. There is also an outlet of Boodles (fine jeweller) in the main lobby. The service is exceptional throughout the hotel.
Room rates start at £450. TripAdvisor users rate the hotel 4.5/5 stars overall – 92% of reviews rate it as Excellent or Very Good.
Claridge’s Hotel Lobby
Claridge’s is undoubtedly one of the best-known hotels in London and usually referred to as being in the same league as The Ritz or The Savoy.
Claridge’s location is magnificent (and perhaps the best of all the hotels in this section), being in the heart of Mayfair – London’s most fashionable, affluent and upper-class neighbourhood. The neighbourhoods itself is quiet and residential, but each edge of Mayfair is filled with one of London’s highlights – to the north and east sides you have Oxford Street and Regent Street for shopping, to the West you have the beautiful Hyde Park and to the south you have Piccadilly, and just beyond is Buckingham Palace. Plus, running through the centre of London is the city’s main luxury shopping road – Bond Street and the more secret Mount Street is certainly worth a visit if you like luxury shopping. The neighbourhood has many restaurants to choose from as well, and the theatre district and Piccadilly Circus are all nearby as well. You could, if you chose to do so, walk to almost every location you wanted during your trip.
For those who do not fancy the walk, there are no tube stations within Mayfair but the peripheries are dotted with them – you are no more than an 8-minute walk from at least one tube station. Your options include Marble Arch, Hyde Park Corner, Green Park, Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Circus and Bond Street.
As to the hotel itself, service and a feeling of old Britain exemplify Claridge’s. Perfect their most famous product is the afternoon tea which is renowned as one of the best anywhere. Rooms start at 32 square metres for the Superior Queen Room and range up to 50 square metres for the deluxe king or twin rooms. The suites are larger with the smallest ‘Deluxe Studio’ coming in at 56 square metres, there are many intermediate suites including the Royal Suite coming in at 223 square metres with 2 bedrooms, but the crowning gem goes to the 2 two-bedroom penthouses which are available with the largest (the Brook Penthouse) at 264 square metres. Signature suites include a butler.
The hotel has a fully kitted out gym and spa, but no swimming pool (Claridge’s is working on a mega-basement gym/pool complex for the future). As for dining, on-site you can enjoy Fera, Fera Development Kitchen, the Foyer and Reading Room (home to that famous afternoon tea), Claridge’s Bar and The Fumoir (another bar).
On TripAdvisor, Claridge’s gets an overall rating from guests of 4.5/5 stars, with 90% of reviews rating the hotel as ‘Very Good’ or ‘Excellent’. Prices start at about £600 per night.
5. Hotel 41
Hotel 41 Lobby
Of all the hotels on this list, this is perhaps the least well known. However, that is not a reason to ignore it – in fact at the time of writing, Hotel 41 is rated as the #1 hotel in London on TripAdvisor.
Hotel 41 is unlike the other hotels on this list as it is a boutique hotel that focuses on customer service. There are two members of staff for every guest, only 30 suites, butlers available and a great selection of amenities.
Each room is unique so unfortunately, I am not able to provide you with sizing for the rooms like with the other selections.
Dining is a unique affair and dining locations are at the partner hotel next door – Rubens at the Palace – which provides two restaurants, including The English Grill for fine dining, bar and Restaurant, the Library Restaurant and the Leopard Champagne. Afternoon tea is also an option here.
However, the standout dining feature at Hotel 41 is the in-house Executive Lounge which feels more like a private members club. There’s even an honesty bar.
The cherry on the cake is the “Plunder the Panty” feature at the hotel which features complimentary snacks all day long – including complimentary snacks from 11:00am to 8:30pm such as “fresh fruit, crisps, and a tempting choice of dried fruit & nuts, sweets, chocolates and toffees”. There is also ice cream, an afternoon tea selection and even evening canapés. Then from 8:30pm to 1:00am there are late-night snacks such as salads, English pies, freshly baked bread, desserts and even cheese boards. All this is complimentary and you might just never want to leave the hotel.
As far as location, you could not be any closer to Buckingham Palace with the Royal Mews just across the road. Westminster is a 15-minute stroll away from Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, and for those who wish to use public transport, Victoria Station is a mere 3 minute walk away, with access to 3 underground lines and the direct Gatwick Express National Rail service. There is also a major coach station further up the road and countless bus connections.
Please note that the hotel does not have a lobby to relax in and the entry foyer is a simple concierge/check-in desk.
The comments from when I pick up guests from this location is that they could not envisage staying anywhere else on a future visit. On TripAdvisor, 97% of reviews rate the hotel as ‘Very Good’ or ‘Excellent’ – higher than any other location in London. Prices start at £350 per night.
Of course, this is only a tiny selection of the countless 5-star hotels in the city and you will find plenty of options to suit your taste if none of these appeals or if you prefer to go for a big name hotel such as a Hilton, Marriott or Hyatt.