4 superb London luxury boutique hotels

London is a favorite city to visit, both as the main destination and as part of an extended European trip. And for Europeans, it’s a great long weekend break (or even a staycation, for Londoners). Tastes often diverge when it comes to where to stay, even in the luxury hotel market, but fortunately London offers superb choices that appeal to very different guests. Here are my recommendations on where to stay, depending on what you value in a London luxury hotel.

1. The Milestone Hotel – cosy elegance with personalized service

For those who enjoy the cozy elegance of a historical English mansion, with friendly and personalized service to match, The Milestone Hotel at 1 Kensington Court is an excellent choice. Of the 44 Deluxe Rooms and 12 Suites, no two are alike. Rooms are welcoming, with fresh flowers and fresh fruit or homemade cookies, depending on guest preference. Some of the suites enjoy views of Kensington Gardens or have private balconies, and all suites include complimentary canapes delivered each evening. Staying in the winter or a chilly autumn night? Hot water bottles are available on request to warm up your bed.

Milestone Hotel-London

Another advantage of The Milestone Hotel is that if you don’t feel like going out for dinner, the hotel’s Cheneston’s Restaurant (the name derives from an early spelling of Kensington) is excellent. My son relished his Pasta Primavera, while I enjoyed the Piri Piri Chicken, though for heartier appetites the Kobe Steak with Black Truffle Hollandaise and the Gressingham Duck with Fondant Potatoes, Spring Vegetables and Rhubarb and Green Apple Puree also looked tempting. After dinner, don’t miss the chance for a nightcap or tea in the Drawing Room (where Afternoon Tea is offered), with live piano music providing the perfect way to relax at the end of the day.

You wouldn’t think that a historical building would have a pool of any kind, but The Milestone Hotel does have a clever resistance pool, with jets that can be turned on so that you can get in a work out (although my son simply enjoyed frolicking there, since there was no one else in the pool area at the time).

The Milestone Hotel also welcomes families, and a true highlight for my 8-year old was being taken on a Back of the House Tour to meet the friendly staff essential to running The Milestone – everyone from the Bellman to the gentleman at Reception, the Concierge, the Chef, Chief Housekeeper, and more.

2. Shangri-La Hotel, At the Shard – sleek with stunning views

Would you like a commanding view of the London skyline from the 35th floor or higher? Sleek and modern rooms and bathrooms, including a Japanese Toto toilet, and Acqua di Parma bath amenities? Look no further than the Shangri-La Hotel, At the Shard. I recommend at least reserving a Deluxe City View Room, but ideally a Premier City View or Iconic City View Room to enjoy the best possible views of London landmarks such as Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the London Eye, Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament.

Shangri-La At The Shard London Hotel

Rooms are spacious although they vary in size due to the unique architecture of The Shard, so realize that in many cases, the higher the floor, the smaller the room, even within a given room or suite category. The Shangri-La bed is comfortably swathed in Frette linens, and at the end of the day, you’ll appreciate that with a tap, you can control the automatic blackout blind on all the windows for truly restful night.

One of the true highlights of the Shangri-La, At the Shard, is that in addition to the views from your room, you can enjoy a spectacular panorama from hotel’s infinity pool on the 52nd floor, where the fitness center is also located. This is easily the most exhilarating place to work out in London.

Make sure to book the hotel in such a way as to have breakfast included in your rate, since there’s a buffet with everything from dim sum to fresh fruit, yogurt, pastries, cheeses, and the option of eggs cooked to order. And since this is the Shangri-La, tea lovers can rejoice in one of the most extensive tea menus in the city.

3. Brown’s Hotel – tranquillity in posh Mayfair

Often guests want to stay in the posh Mayfair area, near Hyde Park and Green Park, but want a more residential style ambience, and of course a peaceful night’s rest. I recommend Brown’s Hotel, part of Rocco Forte, where the Olga Polizzi designed rooms are done up in soothing neutral tones, and even entry level Classic Rooms start at 322 square feet. I recommend reserving a Deluxe Room–ours had high ceilings, making the over 400 square feet room feel even more spacious. The marble bathroom featured both a bathtub and separate glass enclosed shower, with bath products by Heeley.

Browns Hotel-London

For a family, a Classic Suite can accommodate a family of three, with an extra bed, or can be interconnected with another room to create a two bedroom suite. Suite guests are offered additional amenities, including in-suite check-in, two half hour treatments in the Spa, breakfast served either in the Suite or at HIX Mayfair, personalized Concierge services during the stay, complimentary in-house movies, and complimentary pressing of one garment.

4. The Rosewood London – stylish and perfect for culture buffs

If you’re looking forward to exploring the Elgin Marbles and other marvels of The British Museum or have tickets to the opera or ballet at The Royal Opera House, and want a stylish base nearby, The Rosewood London in High Holborn is a perfect base. And if you enjoy walking (and London is a great walking city) West End theaters are a comfortable 20 minute walk away. Set in a beautiful Belle Epoque building, you enter off of busy High Holborn into a peaceful inner courtyard, and then step into the stylish design of Tony Chi.

Rosewood Hotel London-460

We loved our Premier Suite, which offers 753 square feet of living space, including a separate bedroom, spacious living room (with ample room for an extra bed for a child or third adult), marble bathroom with both a soaking tub and walk-in shower, and the special touches that make a stay here so memorable: two types of fresh flowers in the room, white hydrangeas and elegant calla lilies; a cuddly plush bear for my son; and one of the best dark chocolate tarts I’ve ever eaten, together with some cookies and milk at turndown service for my son. The hotel has its own Jaguar XJ Saloon and Range Rover that can be booked with its luxury chauffeur service, so you can arrive in style for dinner or a show.

Hilary Stockton is the CEO at TravelSort.

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