For some who visit London, the hotel they stay in is purely for sleeping. And that’s totally ok. But for others, perhaps you, the hotel is part of the experience too. It’s another attraction, another activity, another thing to explore during your time in London. So if you’re a design lover and you want your hotel to reflect that, book in to one of these top design hotels in London.
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Image courtesy of Ham Yard
Design lovers might already be familiar with Kit Kemp, who has a distinct style that comes across elegantly in the properties across the Firmdale Hotels brand, with locations in both London and New York.
We chose the Ham Yard property as a top design hotel in London because it has just that little bit more than the other Firmdales. It’s located between Soho and Mayfair, and although those are bustling areas, you almost get a village-like feel at the Ham Yard. This starts with the fact that everything here revolves around a tree-filled garden complete with a bronze sculpture by Tony Cragg.
Once you venture inside, you might not notice when you hunker down in your own room, but you should know that each of Ham Yard’s 91 rooms and suites are individually designed, so no two are the same. Also, within the hotel you’ll find thirteen independent stores, a stunning restaurant and bar, a spa and gym, a drawing room and library, a private rooftop bar, and most uniquely, a bowling alley.
Image courtesy of The Standard Hotel
The Standard Hotel opened in Kings Cross only in 2019 and it’s one of the most unique hotels in the city. In our opinion, design lovers will either appreciate it, or loathe it. But we love how the group took this outdated town hall building of the Brutalist style, and made it into something not only useable but much more special.
Book designer Shawn Hausman is responsible for the 70’s-but-make-it-modern feel to the hotel, which offers guests anything from a standard room up to a spacious suite complete with an impressive terrace and outdoor tub.
If you stay at the Standard (or even if you don’t) design lovers should spend time around the hotel’s public spaces, which are also designed in this unique and not-seen-anywhere-else-in-London aesthetic. Hang out at the rooftop bar and restaurant Decimo, run by Michelin-starred chef Peter Sanchez-Iglesias, or one of their equally-cool ground floor bar-restaurant-lounges.
We’ve actually stayed here, we booked ourselves into a suite with a tub to see what it was like. Have a watch below…
Image courtesy of The Henrietta
The Henrietta was designed by Dorothee Meilichzon from Chzon, who endeavoured to incorporate Henrietta Street’s bold history, dating back to the 1630’s, with the modern stylings that many want from a chic city hotel in the Covent Garden area.
The hotel very much has a French feel to it and it makes sense, as The Henrietta is under the Experimental Group, who hail from France and are also responsible for bringing the speak-easy-esque Experimental Cocktail Club and wine bar Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels to London.
The hotel is host to just eighteen rooms, all of which have luxurious and modern features like pastel-pink-tiled bathrooms, impressive arched headboards, and small details like mid-century style telephones and gold brass taps and door handles.
Make sure you plan at least one meal at the hotel’s restaurant Da Henrietta, which is a new open but if it’s anything like their previous restaurant The Henrietta will have great cocktails and beautiful dishes.
We’ve actually stayed at The Henrietta Hotel, so watch the video below to see our stay at one of the top design hotels in London.
Image courtesy of Bankside Hotel
Bankside Hotel is located near the River Thames and a short walk from the famous Southbank area, where design lovers can pop into creative spots like the Tate Modern, the Marcus Campbell Art Books shop, and the charity-based Bankside Gallery.
The hotel itself is part of the Autograph Collection, which makes sense, considering it was designed by film set producer-turned-interiors architect Dayna Lee of Powerstrip Studios. The look at Bankside is a unique spin on mid-century modern, leaning more on the modern side, while still being aesthetically pleasing and almost… calming. The hotel also touches on sustainability, with features like rooftop beehives and an aim of zero waste to landfill.
Choose from one of the 161 rooms, from a “Modest Double” to the “Biggest Suite” and your stay will leave you hoping to replicate the hotel’s beautiful design back in your own home.
Image courtesy of The London Edition
The London Edition
The London Edition was designed by none other than Studio 54 founder and boutique hotelier Ian Schrager, in collaboration with New York architecture firm Yabu Pushelburg. They restored the property, originally built as multiple Georgian townhouses in 1835-ish, to the glory that it is now. The new design somehow takes old-world grandeur that you’d expect from London and makes it more modern.
The London Edition’s restaurant, Berners Tavern, under Michelin-starred UK chef Jason Atherton, is also a masterpiece. It has serious Victorian palace vibes, probably due to the 18-foot-high walls adorned with incredible artwork. The name of the restaurant is a homage to its own Berner Street, where Charles Dickens’ mother and mistress both lived.
Image courtesy of The Boundary
Londoners know The Boundary for its pretty rooftop bar and restaurant, often booked out for swanky parties and beautiful-yet-intimate wedding celebrations. But The Boundary is a notable London hotel too, converted from a Victorian industrial building and owned by the late Sir Terence Conran, founder of the Design Museum and world-famous shops like Conran and Habitat.
There are just 17 rooms at The Boundary, each individually designed, inspired by a legend in the design world, such as Eileen Grey and the Bauhaus. You really can’t beat the location either, being right in the heart of Shoreditch.
Image courtesy of The Portobello Hotel
The Portobello Hotel
If you long for London’s bohemian vibes of the 60’s, then The Portobello Hotel is where you should stay the next time you’re in town. It’s one of the most famous places to bunk up in the city because it’s known to have been home to many colourful musicians who recorded some of the most iconic albums in history in the recording studios around the corner.
The owners of the hotel say they want it to live and breathe all things Notting Hill as much as possible, so they continuously update its design with antiques and special items scoured from local markets and antique shops.
The hotel has just 21 rooms, in fact it was apparently the first boutique hotel in London. Each room is styled differently, from bold and colourful to more subdued and charming. Be sure to also spend time in The Sitting Room, sipping a coffee or a cocktail from the Honesty Bar while you celeb spot… VERY discreetly, of course.
Image courtesy of The Zetter Townhouse
The Zetter Townhouse
Take two Georgian townhouses in quiet-but-creative Clerkenwell (an area that features in our Areas to Stay in for Local Vibes guide), add the Russell Sage Studio, and you’ll get Zetter Townhouse, a 13-bedroom hotel which won 2012 London Hotel of the Year. Design lovers will love the location, as it has the highest concentration of creative businesses in the world, so you can expect to be wowed by the hotels, restaurants and bars nearby.
The Zetter Townhouse might be small but its loved by both tourists and Londoners as one of the top design hotels in London. The design vibe is “your crazy aunt’s palatial home”, so you’ll find luxuriously deep colours, lots of impressive antique-like furniture, plenty of velvet, taxidermy abound, and overall maximalist features. This bleeds into the ZSH Cocktail Lounge, which won the Spirit Awards Best Cocktail Bar in the World in 2013. We do love a hotel where world-class cocktails are just down the hall. FYI – There’s also another location in Marylebone.
Image courtesy of The Corner Hotel
The Corner Hotel
Probably the most affordable hotel on this list, that doesn’t mean The Corner Hotel London City is boring or understated. The heads of the group started this hotel with a vision of taking empty real estate and turning it into a stylish and affordable hotel that also does good in the community. Over 50% of the hotel’s staff live in the immediate area, and the hotel is part of ongoing charity partnerships that help local people to get much-needed work.
The Corner is also one of the most environmentally sustainable hotels in London through various initiatives and design features. Guests can even opt for less room cleanings and get a free drink at the bar as a thanks for doing so.
Back to the design… it’s bright, colourful, and eclectic, despite rates being budget-friendly. You can even count on features like a wardrobe and desk created by Sander Bokkinga, steam-free mirrors in the bathroom, and functional-but-cool sofas that turn into extra beds. All while being just a 10-minute walk away from popular, buzzy Shoreditch and other parts of east London, this is one of the best value design hotels in London.
Image courtesy of Locke
If you are avoiding Airbnbs (recommended) but still like the idea of staying somewhere that’s more than just a room, look past the clinical-looking Residence Inn-types and book into one of Locke’s stunning apart-hotel locations around London.
New York designers Grzywinski+Pons are behind the quite frankly very Instagrammable interiors of not only the rooms at Locke but the impressive commons areas as well. Grab a room and you’ll have pastel walls and decor, brass fixtures, leather sofas, and overall interiors worthy of filling up the gigabytes of memory on your phone.
Image courtesy of The Laslett
The Laslett is what happens when you take five Grade II listed Victorian townhouses and turn them into 51 stunning rooms and suites fit for the most design-oriented of London tourists.
A pretty impressive team put together this hotel, with the likes of British architects Waldo Works, Pinch and Race Furniture, local queen Barbara Hulanicki (she founded Biba of all things) and finally Jerome Dodd of antiques and oddities haven Les Couilles du Chien on nearby Golborne Road.
We also appreciate the nod to the local (often white-washed, unfortunately) area history, as the name for the hotel comes from Rhaune Laslett, the founder of Notting Hill Carnival.
Image courtesy of The Mandrake
Designed by Manolo and White Architects, this incredibly luxurious boutique hotel in Fitzrovia is unlike any other in London. Book into one of the hotel’s 34 rooms and suites and you’ll first be greeted by the three-story-high surrounding walls of jasmine and passionflower as you enter the building. Then, head to your room, which has been individually designed, to relax and sleep in opulent fabrics and luxurious features, including a unique, exclusive art piece created and curated for your space only. Opt for the Mandrake Suite and you’ll have pure King and Queen vibes.
The hotel is also known for its award-winning terrace, Jurema, which feels like you’re lounging in a gorgeous plant sanctuary, where you’ll have sun pouring in at certain points of the day. You’ll also spot pieces by Salvador Dali, Francesco Clemente and Jonas Burgert across the hotel.
The unique Mandrake Hotel is absolutely one of the top design hotels in London.
Image courtesy of Good Hotel
Have you ever slept in a building that was transported to its location via barge? Well, The Good Hotel’s repurposed structure made it to London’s River Thames on a submersible barge that came from Amsterdam (where the hotel first launched) and navigated through the North Sea Canal to the Royal Victoria Docks. Pretty cool.
The Good Hotel is not just a well-designed, minimalistic place to sleep however, it’s also a social enterprise, so excess profits go to good causes around the world, and each night you stay there, you’re helping a disadvantaged child go to school for a week.
As The Good Hotel originated in The Netherlands, you can expect functional, simple, yet appealing design. Each room is designed to make the most of the space, and some rooms even have a waterfront view. While the location isn’t great, as there’s not much to check out in the immediate area, the prices make up for it with rooms starting from just £95 a night, and your money is put to good use when you stay here.
Book into one of these design hotels in London and you’ll feel like you’ve walked into your favourite design magazine.
For more help with booking a hotel in London, have a look at these articles:
- 13 Cool London Hotels With Rooftop Bars
- 8 Stylish London Hotels That Cost Less Than £150 Per Night
- Top Areas To Stay In London For A Local Experience
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