The Best Hotel in London Combines Luxury and History for an Unforgettable Stay
With its range of luxurious hotels steeped in history, London offers travelers a wide array of properties to choose from for an unforgettable stay. Choosing the best is not an easy task.
Each year, as part our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences that range from hotels, resorts, cities, and islands, to cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Hotels are ranked based on facilities, location, service, food, and their overall value, and classified as a city hotel or resort based on their location and amenities.
The Lanesborough, an Oetker Collection hotel, has taken the top spot in the top 10 hotels in downtown London as part of the World's Best Awards survey for the second year in a row, remaining as the only property in the city to offer each guest 24-hour butler service.
The hotel was originally built as Lanesborough House in 1719, with William Wilkins — the architect behind noted buildings like London’s National Gallery — redesigning the space to include touches like the entrance foyer, the first floor gallery, the main corridors, and the stairways that still remain today.
Drawing back to the Regency era, the hotel invites guests to experience what a stay in a grand and luxurious country home in the time would have been like, with long corridors replacing traditional check-in counters and butlers taking care of every need, from packing and unpacking to bringing fresh cups of coffee in the mornings and trays of complimentary popcorn in the evenings.
Original paintings from the period line the corridors, while the designs of renowned interior designer Alberto Pinto can be seen throughout.
Attention to detail can be felt in every corner, including in the rooms, which feature televisions hidden behind Regency paintings, nightly turndown service with fresh pastries, and even a television in the bathroom mirror so guests can enjoy a bath in the utmost comfort.
The hotel's Library Bar is a paradise for history lovers, with a collection of cognacs and spirits that date back to the 1700s. Meanwhile, cocktails come with playful touches and options that range from a deconstructed gin concoction with fresh vegetable crisps to drinks featuring portraits that can be self-customized with edible squid ink.
The hotel’s Michelin-starred Céleste restaurant features dishes celebrating British heritage with modern twists, with options that range from Devon crab served with an avocado puree to a roasted cherry and bitter honey gelato.
The space is also one of several locations where guests can enjoy afternoon tea selections featuring sandwiches, fresh scones stuffed with dried fruits, pastries like a white chocolate cheesecake made with a base of cheddar and blue cheese, and teas ranging from a specialty hotel blend incorporating rose buds and raspberries to chocolate teas and customized holiday blends guests receive as gifts. The hotel's pastry team is even able to create customized, themed goodies for visitors celebrating special occasions.
The new spa and club, which took the title of England’s Best Hotel Spa in 2018 at the World Spa Awards, features a hydro-pool with spa butlers, sauna and steam rooms, a painting room for manicures and pedicures, a gym, a lounge area to relax in after treatments, and a restaurant with fresh juices and healthy selections like charcoal salmon and fresh salad to enjoy all day long.
The hotel also includes the Garden Room, where guests will find cigar sommeliers and a walk-in humidor, cozy spaces like the Withdrawing Room for enjoying afternoon tea and drinks, and seven private dining rooms that are often used for immaculate weddings and civil ceremonies.
Thanks to its location on Hyde Park Corner, next to the grounds of Buckingham Palace, the hotel provides an ideal location to explore many of the city's noted attractions, though the range of comforts and incredible spaces it offers can often make it difficult to leave the room.