Budget-luxe hotel accommodation in London

Budget-luxe accommodation in London

One of the biggest shocks I’ve had in going from being a London resident to a visitor is how tough it can be to find somewhere to stay in the city. The problem definitely isn’t a shortage of options – there are over 1000 hotels in central London, and that’s before you get to the B&Bs and rental apartments. So how do you go about narrowing it down and choosing somewhere? My tastes lie somewhere in the middle between dorm rooms and five-star luxury, but with sky-high prices in the capital even an average chain hotel can easily cost £200 a night. Is it possible to get a high-quality experience and central London location without a scary price tag? Recently I’ve been trying out some new budget-luxe hotel chains where a great bed and a few luxury touches in a central London neighbourhood can be yours for not much over £100 a night.

The Nadler

First up is my most recent discovery, The Nadler, with three branches in London – in Soho, Victoria and Kensington – as well as a hotel in Liverpool. They offer four-star rooms at a budget price by editing out all the hotel extras like bar, restaurant and gym, so the focus is on the most important part – the room. Prices are fully inclusive so you don’t get any surprises on check-out. There’s a wide choice of room types, from singles and small twins and doubles right up to deluxe rooms which sleep four. The rooms all come with fast wifi, air con, cool artworks and Gilchrist & Soames toiletries.

One thing I loved is the mini kitchenette in each room, with microwave, sink, kettle, fridge and cutlery and crockery. So you can easily get your own breakfast or a takeway, or if you’re eating out the hotel has a list of local eateries which offer discounts to guests. We stayed in a small double in Kensington, an easy five-minute walk from Earl’s Court Tube and close to the museums and a huge array of shops and restaurants. The rack rate for a small double is £152 but we paid £97 for a last-minute deal.

The Nadler Kensington, London

Standard double room, entrance and lobby at the Nadler Kensington

Z Hotels

Another smart and central option are the Z Hotels. They brand themselves as ‘The Urbanite Stay’ and have central London locations, with hotels in Soho, Piccadilly, Shoreditch, Victoria, Gloucester Place and the City. The rooms are compact but smartly designed and focus on the essentials – quality beds, linen and powerful showers. There’s a choice between small double or larger queen rooms, with or without a window. Lowest prices range from £60 (for an inside double) to £100 (for a queen with window). All have glass-walled en-suite wet rooms with Thierry Mugler toiletries and come with 40″ HD TVs with free Sky and wifi access.

Rooms come with the bonus extra of a free cheese and wine buffet each evening. Each hotel has a Z Café and bar attached, offering a buffet breakfast each morning then a selection of baguettes and sharing platters later on. Z Hotels also have branches in Liverpool (which I got to try out after winning a night’s stay in a competition on Twitter) and Glasgow.

Z Hotels, London

Outside queen and inside double rooms at Z Hotels Victoria

Tune Hotels

Or if you don’t need the extras and just want a simple but smart room for the night, try the Tune Hotels. The chain originated in Asia, but now has five hotels in London – in Westminster, Liverpool Street, Paddington, King’s Cross and Canary Wharf. I’ve stayed in a couple of their hotels and they make a great place to crash if you are out exploring London, with really convenient locations (if you’re travelling on an early Eurostar the King’s Cross hotel is less than five-minutes’ walk from St Pancras station).

There’s a simple choice of rooms between doubles or twins (with accessible versions), with or without windows. They make the most of the space with the basics done well – the comfortable beds are made by the same company who supply five-star hotels. Rooms start from £55, but they use budget airline-style pricing so you pay extra for things like wifi, TV, a hairdryer and even toiletries and towels (though if you don’t want to bring your own they’ll only cost you £2). Outside London, there are also Tune Hotels in Edinburgh, Newcastle and Liverpool, as well as in Indonesia, India and lots across Malaysia.

Outside and inside doubles and the garden at Tune Liverpool Street

Outside and inside doubles and the garden at Tune Liverpool Street

So those are my top budget-luxe chains in London right now – have you stayed in any of them, or do you have another London favourite place to stay?

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Where to stay if you're looking for budget-luxe accommodation in London, with good value hotels that come with luxurious touches – ontheluce.com

Note: all photos courtesy of the hotels mentioned (as I forgot to take any myself), but I booked and paid for all stays myself. This article contains some affiliate links, where I’ll get a small commission at no extra cost to you, but I’ll only recommend products or sites I genuinely recommend and use myself – thanks.


  1. says

    I absolutely love Tune hotels. We stayed in a bunch of them in Asia and it was so nice being able to stay in a spotless, air conditioned but tiny room for such a bargain price. Will have to check out the London options next time we’re down there.

  2. says

    Great post. Having to find somewhere to lay my head for the first time ever in all my trips to London, looking for a place has been a real trauma. lol.

  3. Susan Cappello says

    Hi Lucy, thanks for the great info. I’ve never been to London before nor have I traveled other than a guided tour All the budget hotels sounded great. Would any of the hotels/locations be better for getting to and from Hethrow Airpot and attractions.
    What do you think about the London Pass with travel? It sounded like a good deal to me?
    Thank you and God Bless You!

    • says

      Hi Susan, all the hotels are in areas where there is plenty to do and the tube system in London is pretty comprehensive. But for a combination of ease to get from the airport and being near attractions I would recommend either the Nadler South Kensington (South Kensington is on a tube line from Heathrow and an easy walk to a lot of the main museums – Natural History, Science, V&A – and Hyde Park) or the Z Hotels Victoria (there are direct buses from Heathrow to Victoria Station which is a main transport hub, and also within walking distance of Hyde Park and Buckingham Palace).

      The Travelcards that come with the London Pass with travel are a good idea as they will get you unlimited bus/tube access. You can also buy them separately if you don’t want to get the pass – it will depend on how many of the attractions covered you want to see. I did a London budget post which explain about what you can do for free in London or other discounts, which might be useful: http://ontheluce.com/2013/02/27/london-on-a-budget/

      Hope you have a great trip!

  4. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) says

    Great tips here – I live in London so not really in need of hotels usually but it’s always embarrassing when friends from abroad ask me for tips on good value London hotels and I never know any!! I’ll have to forward them this link and keep a note of these should I ever need one myself!

    • says

      Thanks, I used to have the same problem when I lived in London – a local resident is probably the worst person to ask for a hotel recommendation! Hope it comes in useful for your friends.

  5. says

    I’m so glad I stumbled across this on your blog, Lucy! I’ve been hunting for somewhere nice (but budget-friendly) to stay when I visit London for the Cosmo Blog Awards, and these ideas are awesome – thank you!

  6. Julie Togonon says

    This is so helpful. I got a lot of tips from your site, my favorite is “Visiting London on a Budget”. Thanks!

  7. says

    Thank you! I’ve heard of a few of these, but I really appreciate all the details. Also, you can add Every Hotel. I’ve stayed in their Piccadilly location. They also have Bloomsbury. Coming soon are Hyde Park and Leicester Square. They’re designed for ‘electronic travellers’ and don’t focus on posh lobbies, restaurants, etc. However, the room has every possible thing you could want as a blogger or business person who is ‘totally plugged in.’ 🙂

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