All great cities of the world have grand hotels — and London arguably has more than its fair share. There are plenty of properties known for their hush and patina, for hosting royalty in their tearooms and dignitaries in their bars. They offer refined service as well as a plush spot to lay your head.
And yet a few rise above the rest, leading the way in design, hospitality, and class.
Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise lines, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated cities on their sights/landmarks, culture, food, friendliness, shopping, and overall value.
This year, the London story was largely about rebirth. Take the Savoy: a fixture in London since 1889 that has hosted everyone from Claude Monet to Marilyn Monroe in its Edwardian and Art Deco spaces. It's recently emerged from a $350 million top-to-toe restoration, and has now landed at No. 8 on our list. The Lanesborough also saw a major renovation last year, with crystal chandeliers to match the opulence of its large collection of 18th-century paintings. “The Queen herself would feel right at home,” as one T+L reader put it.
Another trend: smaller, less well-known establishments taking the spotlight. They offer posh surroundings, proximity to storied sights, and refined service, but are more intimate in scale. Case in point: the 56-room Milestone Hotel, a red-brick mansion opposite Kensington Palace with themed suites, fireplaces, and twice as many staff as guests. The Goring, minutes from Buckingham Palace, has rooms done up with silks from royal state carriages, award-winning afternoon tea, and footmen who aim to please.
Then there’s this year’s winner, 41, tucked behind Buckingham Palace and with all the intimacy and warmth of an exclusive London club, but without any snobbery. “By far the best guest services out of all the hotels I've ever been to,” said one reader. “They make you feel like royalty!” And in this town, that’s really saying something.