London has long been a city with an unusual number of upscale boutique hotels. On this trip, we focused on new or recently renovated properties with 100 rooms or fewer. While we stayed in six, we came away recommending three: a glamorous design hotel, a grand contemporary property and a chic townhouse hotel.
This theatrical, slightly louche 39-room hotel is located in the former London headquarters of the Baptist church. Well-preserved period details lend patina to an otherwise contemporary, glamorous décor by Jacques Garcia. Our sumptuous Junior Suite came embellished with illuminated crystal birds, wall coverings embroidered with butterflies, a $16,000 eiderdown duvet and a red marble bath in the building’s belfry. Highly attentive, intuitive service is attitude-free. This is an ideal choice for guests who enjoy hotels with dramatic flair as well as a high level of comfort.
From the editor: “L’oscar won’t appeal to traditionalists. But I loved its sensuous décor, highly attentive service and dramatic flair.”
Read more about L'oscar.
Set in a landmark Beaux Arts building in the City, this contemporary 100-room hotel is not far from the Tower of London. A 1970s-chic rotunda lounge serves as the hotel’s heart, with a bar and restaurant for breakfast and high tea served by waitstaff in red velvet tuxedo jackets. Also art deco-style Mei Ume for high-end Chinese dishes and one-star La Dame de Pic London for French cuisine. Splendid basement spa with a large swimming pool, relaxation lounge and a variety of treatment rooms, including a spacious white marble hammam for Moroccan-inspired massage-scrubs.
From the editor: “I had a lovely time at the Four Seasons, largely due to the warmth and efficiency of the staff. Its City location also was appealing.”
Read more about Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square.
This recently refurbished 35-room townhouse hotel is on a quiet residential street in fashionable Knightsbridge, a short walk from the Victoria & Albert Museum. New, chic décor by designer Anouska Hempel, makes the upscale Italian restaurant and compact cocktail bar feel like black-and-gray jewel boxes. The room's well-considered layout includes a dinette, narrow sofa, ample closet and a bath with a double rainfall shower and separate tub. This is a discreet and stylish oasis from London’s bustle, with a gracious, helpful staff.
From the editor: “Other townhouses share the green space, punctuated with plane trees, but whenever we sat outside at one of the hotel’s patio tables, we had the gardens entirely to ourselves.”
Read more about The Franklin.