By Susan Harte
By Susan Harte
I don’t think any other city in the world can boast as many hotels as London. There are endless fabulous locations and endless varieties of hotels to choose from. With the help of Mr & Mrs Smith – whom I always turn to for advice – I have narrowed down my top 10 London hotels, from the highly glamorous Claridges to the funky edginess of Ace Hotel in Shoreditch and everything in between.
Pure comfort and a feeling of ‘home’ Kit Kemp of Firmdale Hotel group fame just seems to get better and better with her hotel empire growing all the time. Her latest Ham Yard in the back streets of Soho is even a new build – unlike her normal renovation of old townhouses. This has given her scope for larger rooms, sleeker restaurants and bars and is located perfectly in an area that was once pretty grotty – an oasis just a stone’s throw from Piccadilly Circus.
The courtyard out front has fabulous shops and dining choices, and around the corner for the homesick Australians amongst you, the newly opened Dinosaur Desgins and Jac n Jack. The hotel also comes complete with a bowling alley,cinema and super cool bars and restaurants.
For more of her classic renovation, and in fact her first, is NO. 16, in South Kensington, just around the corner from the Natural History Museum and the V & A. It is a gorgeous hotel, spread over three townhouses with narrow staircases and beautifully comfortable rooms in her stylish eclectic mix of fabrics and colours, that make you feel as if you are in someone’s extremely tasteful home rather than a cookie cutter hotel.
Dorset Square Hotel, just off the busy Euston Road is situated on a quiet garden square that was once an early cricket pitch. The hotel is full of old cricket memorabilia to mark its historical location and adds to the cosy atmosphere. Being around the corner from Baker St and only a five minute walk to the very fashionable Marylebone High St, it is a great location. Rooms are comfortable and tasteful; there is a great breakfast room and, as with NO 16, a small reception room to sit in for a before or after dinner drink – along with honesty bar – just to make you feel even more ‘at home’.
Check out Mr & Mrs Smith special romantic weekend package.
OH SO ENGLISH
You can’t beat walking into Claridges and experience that moment when you expect a group of bejewelled flappers to come racing in, champagne in hand and dapper gentlemen in black tie on their arms …straight out of the 20s. The interior design has changed little over the years and the foyer and bar are testament to its impeccable quality that nothing has changed; even the bathrooms with art deco furniture are original. With 200 or more rooms – this is the ultimate London hotel experience.
The Beaumont is new on the scene but no less English. It is located in the heart of Mayfair in a large and imposing 1930s deco building, close to the shops of Bond Street, the very glam shops and english hunting shops of Mount St and ‘oh so English’ restaurants such as Scotts (where you should head to for Dover Sole of course).
English sculptor and favourite of mine, Antony Gormley, has his sculptures in the entrance, and if you are lucky enough to score a suite, there is the dark, sultry Antony Gormley Room for those needing total relaxation and withdrawal from the world outside. The Colony Grill has fast become a very popular dining spot with all the comfort of the old – spotted dick to shepherds pie. Despite its name, the American Grill serves up very traditional cocktails – expect the classic martini shaken not stirred type of thing.
Check out Mr & Mrs Smiths long weekend package for 3 nights or more.
THE HIP AND FUNKY
No shortage of beards and checked shirts in London and no better place to find them than in the East End. In (now so terribly cool) Shoreditch is Ace Hotel, a sleek oasis of timber-lined walls and hard metal modern lines. The rooms feel like your own East End flat, the common areas are full of folk on their laptops, drinking very good coffee from .The Hoi Polloi restaurant is beautiful, with a mid century feel, serving up modernist British cuisine which is very good indeed. On the day we were there, a cello was playing in the background – a great juxtaposition. Attached to the hotel you will also find one of the best florists in London – Hattie Fox.
Mr & Mrs Smith are currently offering a 20% discount on bookings at the Ace Hotel.
Not far away in Clerkenwell, and on the border of the very trendy Farringdon, you will find Zetter Townhouse, which from the outside, nestled on a cobbled street, might be more Charles Dickens than trendy hotel. Until you step inside that is, and the low celings and mixture of design and antiques exude a very comfortable and eclectic style. With 13 rooms – all very different – the hotel boasts a fabulous bar and room service food, but no restaurant. You don’t need one: on your doorstep is the fantastic Modern Pantry, owned by New Zealand’s Anna Hansen, for breakfast and lunch, and around the corner, my favourite restaurant of all time – Fergus Henderson’s St Johns. There are so many desirable eateries here – this area is a foodie’s paradise.
WON’T BREAK THE BANK
As well as having the most hotels – London also probably has the most expensive. But you can stay in style and comfort without breaking the bank. The Grazing Goat offers a gastropub-cum-hotel experience in a very handy area called Portman Village. It is equi-distant between, what I would say is Liberty (or Oxford Circus if you must) and Marylebone, and then a quick two minute walk to beautiful Regent’s Park – it is a great location. It has only eight rooms and down below a good pub style restaurant and bar, and rooms are simple and stylish.
On the other side of Regent’s Park and not far from the beautiful Nash apartments is the York & Albany. From the outside a glam pub with Gordon Ramsey’s great cooking going on downstairs; upstairs the hotel rooms are elegant and large and you can still afford to eat. Primrose Hill is a five minute walk away but with no hotels close, York & Albany is your best bet to stay in if visiting this wonderful village-like part of London – with not a Boots or Costa in sight!
On the other side of Regent’s Park and not far from the beautiful Nash apartments is the York & Albany. From the outside a glam pub with Gordon Ramsey’s great cooking going on downstairs; upstairs the hotel rooms are elegant and large and you can still afford to eat. Primrose Hill is a five minute walk away but with no hotels close, York & Albany is your best bet to stay in if visiting this wonderful village-like part of London – with not a single chain store or coffee shop in sight!
Ham Yard Hotel: 1 Ham Yard, London, W1D 7DT. T: +44 (0)20 3642 2000, E: firstname.lastname@example.org
No 16: 16 Sumner Pl, London SW7 3EG, United Kingdom, Phone:+44 20 7589 5232
V&A: Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL, United Kingdom
Dorset Square Hotel: 39-40 Dorset Square, London, United Kingdom, +44 20 7723 7874
Claridge: Brook St,, Mayfair, London W1K 4HR, United Kingdom, Phone:+44 20 7629 8860
The Beaumont: The Beaumont, Brown Hart Gardens, Mayfair, London W1K 6TF, email@example.com, Telephone, +44 20 7499 1001
Ace Hotel: 100 Shoreditch High Street, London, United Kingdom. +44 20 7613 9800
Zetter Townhouse: 49-50 St John’s Square, London EC1V 4JJ, United Kingdom, Phone:+44 20 7324 4550
The Grazing Goat: 6 New Quebec St. W1H 7RQ, T: 020 7724 7243, firstname.lastname@example.org
York & Albany: 127-129 Parkway, London, NW17PS, email@example.com
Click HERE or phone the Mr & Mrs Smith Travel team on 1300 89 66 27