For the politician: the Savoy
A Fairmont-operated hotel, the Savoy is now best known to Canadians as the must-stay spot for high-flying International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda. But the Savoy’s real claim to fame – other than a century of hosting royalty and other coveted clients – is its view over the River Thames. Chef Gordon Ramsay headlines the Savoy Grill, and the royal suite comes with its own butler, dining room and exceptionally generous walk-in closet. Strand; 44 (0) 20-7420-2300; fairmont.com; from $665.
For the celebrity: the Corinthia
In its first year, the Corinthia has attracted the likes of Rihanna, Johnny Depp and Kanye West, and shows no sign of abating. It excels in high-impact contemporary elegance, with endless velvets, silks, satins and metallic brocades, a massive Baccarat chandelier, an ESPA spa with a stainless steel pool, sauna and hammam, and so much more. One of the two restaurants, the Northall, is helmed by Michelin-starred chef Garry Hollihead, and Claire Clark’s afternoon tea service is a must. Whitehall Place, London; 44 (0) 20 7930-8181; corinthia.com; 294 rooms, of which 43 are suites; from $700.
For a full review of the Corinthia, click here.
For the business traveller: the Montcalm London City at the Brewery
In the heart of London’s financial district, the Montcalm London City is perfectly located for business travellers, and offers butler service in some suites and rooms, and an executive club lounge. The building was once a brewery, and celebrates that heritage with exposed brick vaults throughout. Rooms are luxurious, with the improbable options of a light show in the shower timed to music, and fragrance dispensers blowing a grapefruit, lavender or fresh grass mist. 52 Chiswell St.; London; montcalm.co.uk; 44-0-207-614-0100. 170 rooms; from $215.
For a full review of the Montcalm, click here.
For the stylish technophile: 45 Park Lane
A Dorchester collection hotel on the edge of Hyde Park, 45 Park Lane is a luxurious gem with the kinds of gadgets technophiles desire (including a television in the bathroom mirror, a Japanese toilet with built-in sprayers and blow-dry functions, an espresso machine and a fully loaded iPad). Wolfgang Puck’s name is on the restaurant, and the rooms (by New York designer Thierry Despont) exude masculinity. 45 Park Lane; 44 (0) 20-7493-4545; 45parklane.com; from $620.
For the foodie: St. John Hotel
Nestled near the theatre district, the St. John is really a foodie destination created by Fergus Henderson, a trained architect and pioneering nose-to-tail chef. The main-floor restaurant is the shining star, but the hotel also offers rooms emphasizing simple glamour, a few small “table-to-bed” rooms (just the bare necessities), and a long room that runs across the top of the building with three bedrooms and a large living area. Fresh-baked bread and wine are available to purchase in the hotel lobby. 1 Leicester St.; 44 (0) 20-3301-8069; stjohnhotellondon.com; from $235.
For the glamour-seeking traditionalist: St. Pancras
It’s almost inevitable your visit to London will involve a train journey, perhaps to one of the lovely seaside towns. It’s quite possible you’ll find yourself at St. Pancras station, at which point you’ll wish you had booked a room at St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel, the stunningly renovated Victorian rail terminal that overlooks the glass-ceilinged station. This five-star Marriott hotel has been lauded for its historical accuracy, generous proportions and the offerings from chef Marcus Wareing in the Gilbert Scott Restaurant. Euston Street; 44 (0) 20 7841-3540; marriott.com; from $438.
For the fashionista: the May Fair
A stone’s throw from Hyde Park, Old Bond Street and Piccadilly, the May Fair – opened by King George V in 1927 – feels like a stop on an early British Monopoly game. From the outside. The interior couldn’t feel more different, with contemporary design that attracts fashion elite and puts this five-star bolthole solidly in the here and now. But, unless you’re booked into a much ballyhooed bespoke suite, the May Fair seems more about the stellar location and the see-and-be-seen scene. Stratton Street; 1-800-333-3333; themayfairhotel.co.uk; from $398.
For a full review of the May Fair, click here.