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Stylish bar called 'The 40 Elephants' inside the Great Scotland Yard Hotel

Hot hotels: luxury London

From nautical-themed rooms to Michelin-starred meals, High Life celebrates London’s luxurious array of hotel escapes to make your first stay back in the capital a truly indulgent experience

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Grand red brick exterior of the Great Scotland Yard hotel
High Life highlight

Great Scotland Yard

Situated immediately adjacent to Whitehall, in the heart of Westminster, stands the newly renovated Great Scotland Yard Hotel. This grand Edwardian building, previously serving as the Central Detective Unit for the Metropolitan Police, is now outfitted with two bars, a tearoom, a restaurant and 152 lavishly decorated rooms and suites. With an overarching cops ’n’ robbers design theme, it’s obvious that no corners were cut in paying homage to the building’s investigative past. There are also more than 150 unique works of art on display throughout, as well as bespoke design details right down to the ‘moustache’ coat hooks. With the Thames and St James’ Park on your doorstep, as well as almost every major London landmark, Great Scotland Yard Hotel is the perfect base from which to explore the capital.

Despite its central location, Great Scotland Yard manages to create a pocket of tranquillity in the heart of the city. This, plus the premium king-size beds, ensures a truly blissful night’s sleep. 

Ask a member of staff to show you to Sibin, the hotel’s secret whisky bar. This private spot, among a sea of crystal and glass, is the perfect environment to enjoy an after-dinner cocktail.

Book a stay at Great Scotland Yard

modern bar with silver colour scheme and a yellow submarine decoration hanging from the ceiling

Sea Containers London

In a winning location on the South Bank, almost slap-bang opposite St Paul’s Cathedral and a brisk walk from the Tate Modern on one side and the National Theatre on the other, this nautical-themed city-centre joint is very appealing. On the site of a former maritime transport company, the Art Deco glamour of 1920s cruise ships informs the seriously classy – and fun – design from Tom Dixon. The scene-stealing reception lobby sets the tone with an imposing copper wall fashioned like a ship’s hull. And subtle seafaring accents abound throughout: porthole mirrors in bathrooms, a rooftop bar with ship’s deck vibes. Dine at Sea Containers Restaurant and enjoy views of the Thames, as well as dishes such as ceviche tacos and pappardelle with rabbit ragù.

One word: cocktails. Dress up and get down to Lyaness, voted one of the World’s 50 Best Bars. Guests can create their own cocktails guided by knowledgeable, super-friendly staff.

Book a stay at Sea Containers
hotel interior with a grand piano and contemporary portrait on the wall

Hyatt Regency London - The Churchill

Comfortably ensconced on Portman Square near Selfridges and the boutiques of Marylebone, this five-star hotel has all you need for an indulgent escape at the heart of things. With marble floors, dazzling chandeliers and a grand piano in the lobby, The Churchill exudes decadent luxury. All of its 440 rooms are furnished with delicious Molton Brown products and most have the derrière delight of high-tech heated loo seats. Head to The Churchill Bar, where velvet sofas, Champagne cocktails (try the Blenheim Fizz) and a cigar menu are on offer (an outside area with blankets and heaters will keep you snug). Treat yourself to a Michelin-starred meal at in-house restaurant Locanda Locatelli before retiring to flop on an enormous and enormously comfortable bed.

For a truly secluded stay, request a corner exec suite that looks out onto the private Portman Square –accessible by a key requested from reception.

Book a stay at The Churchill

Traditional wooden bookcases framing a lit fire

Hotel 41

If you’re looking to spoil yourself after a hectic year, spending the night in Hotel 41’s ultra-luxe Conservatory Suite could be just the ticket. The star attraction of the 28-room boutique property not only features a lounge, living room and double Jacuzzi, but also a sumptuous king bed beneath a panoramic glass roof – ideal for stargazing through the in-room telescope – as well as a cheeky view over the Queen’s Royal Mews in Buckingham Palace just over the road. Inconspicuously situated above its big sister, The Rubens at the Palace, this hideaway is perfectly placed to discover the best of London’s landmarks, with its Champagne welcome, impeccable service and ‘plunder the pantry’ offer (an 8pm-1am spread of sweet and savoury treats – try the hummus and couscous jar) topping off a truly five-star experience.

Don’t turn down a Hotel 41 turndown. Return to your suite to find chocolates on your pillow and a hot-water bottle in the bed.

Book a stay at Hotel 41
minimalist hotel bedroom with grey colour scheme

Nobu, Portman Square

The renowned luxury restaurant and hotel chain brings its heady mix of traditional Japanese design with modern edges to central London in a new opening this year. A vast lobby punctuated by statement artwork – including a huge, kinetic sculpture by Ivan Black – sets the tone for a clean, comfortable and highly indulgent stay. Each of the 249 rooms is a fusion of warm and natural tones accentuated by low lighting and a minimalist touch. Sliding doors, lantern lamps and stylish yukata robes keep the east Asian influence front of mind, while Grown Alchemist bath products, generously-sized Sky-equipped TVs and an on-call service deliver top-notch modern comforts. The icing on an already tasty cake is the presence of London’s flagship Nobu restaurant on the premises (following its move from Berkeley Square).       

It almost goes without saying, but a stay at Nobu without trying the black cod is no stay at all.

Book a stay at Nobu Portman Square
free standing bath set in an alcove of a room

The Kimpton Fitzroy

Rising over leafy Russell Square, this terracotta-fronted grande dame is a first-class affair. Designed by Charles Fitzroy Doll in 1898 (architect of the Titanic’s dining room), the lobby radiates money-no-object opulence, with its glittering chandelier, mosaic floor and marble staircase (the latter guarded by a bronze dragon whose twin went down with the ill-fated ship). In contrast, the hotel’s 344 rooms and signature suites are bright, modern sanctuaries, with calming hues and sprawling four-posters. Nothing is too much trouble for the hotel staff, who will track down almost any amenity you desire, and the hotel’s bars and restaurants are sure to elevate your mood and your Instagram feed – from the accidentally Wes Anderson vibes of seafood restaurant Neptune to Fitz’s Bar, a sultry den serving Negronis by the fireplace.

Book a Corner Suite – a 68sqm haven with an oversized living space and free-standing bathtub set in a bay window overlooking Bloomsbury.

Book at stay at The Kimpton Fitzroy
indoor swimming pool with extravagant scrolling feature on the ceiling

Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard

You may not have flown in a while, but there’s more than one way to experience life in the skies. Preceded by an ear-popping lift journey high above the purling Thames below, Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard delivers dizzying luxury on the 34th to 52nd floors of the Renzo Piano-designed skyscraper. Oozing with small details (think never-ending marble, silky velvets, floor-to-ceiling glass, heated floors…), the hotel’s opulence easily segues into high romance. Here, petal-strewn suites are populated by window side bathtubs – heck, even the infinity pool manages a certain seductiveness. And, if you wisely believe that the quickest route to the heart is via the stomach, these five-star floors are home to London’s most lauded afternoon tea.

Fancy some intimate dining? The hotel has two private rooms where, for £180 per person, you can lap up three courses from flagship TING Restaurant, plus welcome Champagne and wine/water throughout.

Book a stay at Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard

British Airways Holidays is here to help you find your perfect break. From carefully selected hotels to straightforward car hire, all costs are included in the final price, meaning there are no surprise extras. Plus, with a Customer Promise, ATOL protection and a 24-hour helpline, you’ll have total peace of mind when booking your holiday.

Plan your next holiday with British Airways