The first step to navigating London is finding the best place to base yourself. Whether you want to be within sight of Buckingham Palace, right in the financial district or steps from shopping, choosing the right place to stay will set you up for a successful stay in this big city.
Tucked among Pimlico’s imposing Georgian townhouses, Artist Residence is an eclectically stylish, 10-room boutique hotel with a welcoming white-walled lobby bristling with pop-art prints. Each ornately corniced guestroom is uniquely decorated—a clawfoot bathtub here, an iron-framed four-poster bed there—but repeated features like rotary phones, Anglepoise lamps and vintage-looking Roberts radios bring a cohesiveness to the property. Some of the in-room artwork—including oversized romance novel covers with pithy modern-day captions—pay homage to the property’s centuries-old history. Downstairs, an old Victorian-era pub has been skillfully transformed into The Cambridge Street Kitchen, a restaurant serving up seasonal British fare, and the Clarendon Cocktail Cellar, a cave-like cocktail bar that’s perfect for sipping an Old Fashioned or two at a candlelit table. —John Lee
Nearby: A pleasant 15-minute walk takes you to the historically avant-garde Royal Court Theatre and the upscale retail stores along Chelsea’s King’s Road.
Housed in a heritage neo-Georgian building in London’s Theatreland district, The Bloomsbury hotel has recently undergone an extensive, multi-million-dollar renovation. The redesigned, modest reception area and homey, guest-only lounge with fireplace sets the scene for a modern Bloomsbury set, à la Virginia Woolf and Lytton Strachey. The hotel’s new bar, The Coral Room, with its bold, coral-coloured walls, Herringbone parquet flooring and 1920s decor, is the place to go for cocktails and small plates—think Cumberland sausage rolls with relish and short-rib sliders and spiced slaw. —Diane Bolt
Nearby: Dominion Theatre is next door to the hotel, so you may get to see your favourite thespians before or after the show.
Great for a longterm stay
It’s impossible to beat Cheval Thorney Court in southwest London for location. The spacious one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments are decorated in an elegant Georgian style and feature luxurious finishes such as marble tiling in the ensuite bathrooms. Apartments also include separate kitchens with combination washer-dryers. Situated near the corner of Palace Gate and Kensington Road, this hotel is steps away from the boutiques and big-name clothing stores of Kensington High Street. Plus, it’s just across the street from Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park and a mere 10-minute stroll from the boutiques, restaurants and museums of South Kensington. The hotel features a gym and employs a 24-hour concierge to help with everything from restaurant bookings to arranging grocery delivery to your door. —Sara Samson
Check in under the arched brick ceiling of the lobby that was once the horse stables of this historic former brewery. Business or leisure, The Montcalm shines thanks to its central location in the heart of London’s finance district, its award-winning business facilities—including four conference rooms and five private event spaces—and its on-site, game-focused gastropub, the Jugged Hare. After work, explore the elaborate maze of hallways that boast period features at every turn and enjoy luxurious guest-room touches like a pillow menu, customized room aromas such as lavender and marine fresh, and a dedicated butler service on request. —Diane Bolt
Taking up almost half a city block on Buckingham Palace Road, and a five-minute stroll from the world-famous gates of the Queen’s London residence, The Rubens at the Palace has been providing accommodation to high society guests since 1912. Rooms range from comfortably cozy to luxuriously lavish—the spacious Master Suite sports a living area with a Murphy bed and Nespresso machine, and a bedroom with a four-poster bed and marble-decked ensuite. Enjoy a right-royal afternoon tea with a pot of The Royal Jubilee Blend (created in celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012), traditional Royal Scottish smoked salmon sandwiches and the Queen’s Jammy Dodger biscuits. –Diane Bolt
Nearby: Visit Little Ben Clock Tower, a miniature version of Westminster’s Elizabeth Tower, home to Big Ben.