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Boutique on a budget: Affordable luxury hotels in London

Budget luxury hotel accommodation in London

One of the biggest shocks I had when I moved out of London after ten years living in the city was how tough it is finding somewhere to stay when you’re visiting. The problem isn’t a shortage of options – there are over 1000 hotels in the city, as well as hundreds of B&Bs and rental apartments. But how do you narrow it down and choose where to stay in London?

My tastes – and my budget – lie somewhere in between dorm rooms and five-star luxury, but with London’s sky-high prices, even an average chain hotel can set you back over £200 a night. So is it possible to get a high-quality experience and a central London location without a scary price tag? It is at these affordable luxury hotels in London, where a stylish boutique-style room in the heart of the city can be yours for not much over £100 a night.

Read more: Visiting London on a budget

Map of budget luxury hotels in London

The Nadler

The Nadler has three locations in London – in Soho, Victoria and Kensington – plus a Covent Garden hotel under development. They offer four-star rooms at a budget price by editing out the hotel extras like bar, restaurant and gym. So the focus is on the room, which come with some added luxury touches like pillow menus, Nespresso machines and Brita water filters.

There’s a choice of room categories – singles, small doubles, standard doubles, king, superior, deluxe and suites. The main difference is the size of the rooms as all come with free wifi, free UK phone calls, air conditioning, cool artworks and Gilchrist & Soames toiletries.

One thing I loved was 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. The hotel has a list of local restaurants, bars and fitness centres with discounts for guests.

We stayed in a small double in the Nadler Kensington, a five-minute walk from Earl’s Court Tube station and 20 minutes from South Kensington and the V&A, Science and Natural History museums. The Nadler Victoria is right opposite Buckingham Palace and 10 minutes’ walk to Victoria Tube and coach stations. And the Nadler Soho is just south of Oxford Street and surrounded by bars, restaurants and West End theatres.

Check prices for The Nadler: Kensington | Victoria | Soho | Covent Garden (coming soon)

The Nadler budget hotel London

The Nadler

Z Hotels

Another smart, central option are Z Hotels. They brand themselves as ‘The Urbanite Stay’ and have seven locations across London. Rooms are compact but smartly designed to make the most of the space and focus on the essentials – quality beds and powerful showers. They’re perfect if you want to be in the heart of things and aren’t planning to spend too much time in your room.

There are singles, small double and larger queen rooms. Cheapest are the inside double rooms which don’t have a window, which start from £50–£70, depending on location. All have glass-walled en-suite wet rooms with Thierry Mugler toiletries, 40″ HD TVs and free Sky TV and wifi.

There’s also an attached Z Café and bar in each hotel which offers a buffet breakfast each morning then serves sandwiches, snacks and drinks later on. Location wise, the Z Hotel Victoria is right opposite Victoria train and Tube station. The Soho and Tottenham Court Road branches are both south of Oxford Street and close to London’s Theatreland. And the Z Hotel Piccadilly is a bit further south, near to Charing Cross station and the National Gallery.

The City hotel is located on Fleet Street close to Temple station and the Inns of Court. The Z Hotel Shoreditch is near Old Street station and surrounded by lots of cool bars. And the Gloucester Place hotel is close to Marylebone and Hyde Park.

Check prices for Z Hotels: Victoria | Soho | Piccadilly | Shoreditch | City | Tottenham Court Road | Gloucester Place | Covent Garden (coming soon)

Z Hotels budget hotel London

Z Hotels

CitizenM

CitizenM is a Dutch hotel brand with three locations spread around central London. They’re are known for their quirky decor, with lots of bright colours, modern artworks and stylish furniture. Hotels have a communal lounge area where you can hang out away from your room with books and computers to borrow, as well as food and drink available at the on-site canteenM.

There’s only one category of room, which comes with a king-sized bed, en-suite shower room with rain shower and wall-to-wall windows to make the most of the view (and blackout blinds if you want to keep it out). The rooms have a high-tech feel with ambient lighting and a touchscreen tablet which can be used to control the lights, room temperature, blinds, music system and TV. There’s free wifi as well as movies on demand.

The Citizen M Bankside is just south of the Thames, close to the Tate Modern art gallery and Borough Market. The Tower of London hotel is located just behind the tower and just above Tower Hill Tube station, with some rooms with views of the Thames. And the Citizen M Shoreditch is close to Liverpool Street and Shoreditch overground station, with Boxpark Shoreditch and Old Spitalfields Market a few minutes away.

Check prices for Citizen M: Bankside | Tower of London | Shoreditch

Citizen M budget hotel London

CitizenM

Qbic

Qbic is another hotel brand which started in the Netherlands, and they now have a hotel in London as well as their original one in Amsterdam. Their rooms are based around a pod design to make the most of the space, with colourful artwork, specially designed mattresses, eco-friendly showers with organic toiletries, fast wifi, mood lighting and LED TVs included.

There are three different room categories available: smart rooms (which are doubles without a window), cosy rooms (standard doubles) and fun rooms (large doubles which can sleep up to three people). The hotel also has a Bar + Kitchen where you can order food and drinks from the seasonal British menu. The Qbic London City is located between Whitechapel and Algate in the East End, an easy walk to Shoreditch and the Tower of London.

Check prices for Qbic: London City

Qbic budget hotel London

Qbic London City

ibis Styles

ibis Styles is the cooler, designed-focused younger relation of the ibis hotel brand, with branches across the world – including four in central London. The design of each of the hotels is different, using a unique concept which takes inspiration from its location (you can check out my review of their weather-themed Manchester hotel). En-suite rooms come with a queen size or twin bed, and there are also some larger, premium, ‘Works’ rooms with extras like Nespresso machines and sofa beds. They’re also family friendly with family rooms and kids areas.

The Southwark ibis Styles is close to Borough Market and London Bridge. The Gloucester Road hotel is in Kensington, opposite Gloucester Road Tube station and five minutes’ walk to the Natural History Museum. The ibis Styles Kensington is only a few minutes away from that to the west, near to Earl’s Court station. And the Excel hotel is in East London, near to the Excel exhibition centre, the O2 music venue and London City Airport.

Check prices for the ibis Styles: Southwark | Gloucester Road | Kensington | Excel-Docklands

ibis Styles budget hotel London

ibis Styles

Point A

If you don’t need any fancy extras and just want a simple but stylish room for the night, try Point A Hotels. Formerly owned by Asian chain Tune Hotels, they have six hotels in London. There’s a simple choice between doubles or twins (with accessible versions), with or without windows. They make the most of the space with the basics done well – and comfortable beds, underbed storage, a drop-down desk, flatscreen TV, mood lighting, air con and power showers.

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. Their King’s Cross St Pancras, Paddington and Liverpool Street hotels are right next to the stations so they’re perfect if you have an early Eurostar or flight connection. The Point A Westminster is just across the river from the Houses of Parliament. The Shoreditch hotel is near to Old Street station. And the Point A Canary Wharf is close to Docklands and the Museum of London.

Check prices for the Point A: Paddington | King’s Cross St Pancras | Westminster | Shoreditch | Liverpool Street | Canary Wharf

Point A budget hotel London

Point A hotels

So those are my favourite budget luxury hotels in London – have you stayed in any of them, or do you know of any other great, affordable places to stay in London?

Read more London posts

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Where to stay in London – the best budget luxury hotels in London with stylish rooms, central locations and luxurious touches without a huge price tag. #London #hotel #Londonhotel #budgettravel #wheretostayStylish, affordable hotels in London – the best budget luxury hotels in central London #London #hotel #Londonhotel #budgettravel #wheretostay

Note: photos are courtesy of the hotels mentioned, but I booked and paid for my stays myself. This article contains affiliate links, where I’ll get a small commission at no extra cost to you – thanks.

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68 Comments

  • Reply
    Anita M
    May 15, 2014 at 10:18 am

    Wow, this is great. I wish I had this guide a few days ago! I’m staying in London at the moment and booking last minute reasonably priced accommodation is a bit of a nightmare. Thanks for the tips.

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      May 15, 2014 at 4:17 pm

      Thanks – I find London quite baffling when it comes to accommodation too and I know the city really well! But I’d recommend any of these when you’re next in London. Have a great trip!

  • Reply
    Global Residence
    May 15, 2014 at 10:20 am

    Great info! Thanks!

  • Reply
    Getaway Journal
    May 15, 2014 at 11:08 am

    ohhh this is great! Let me bookmark it for future reference 🙂

  • Reply
    nylonliving
    May 15, 2014 at 11:20 am

    really helpful info! thanks!

  • Reply
    Jen Seligmann
    May 15, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    These all look perfect and I can’t believe the prices! I’ve always found London so hard to find a decent place to stay and for that reason, I have stayed at the same place everytime (except one when they didn’t have availability). Its called the Caring Hotel located just between Queensway and Lancaster Gate. While its certainly not modern or roomy, it is very clean, central, quiet and the staff are the friendliest I have ever come across.

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      May 15, 2014 at 4:20 pm

      The problem I’ve found with London is there is just too much choice! I have a similar issue with cities like New York too. These are all great though – but as ever the very early or late bookings are the best way to get those super-low prices.

  • Reply
    FatFreeFashion
    May 15, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    How helpful! Definitely bookmarking this list. The prices are amazing. Thanks!
    Lindsay,
    http://www.fatfreefashion.com

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      May 15, 2014 at 4:21 pm

      Thanks Lindsay – hope it comes in useful. The prices vary a lot but I have managed to get quite a few nights under £100 so far.

  • Reply
    Heyjude
    May 15, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    They all look lovely, and very small! And I’d hate a room without a window.But the kitchenette is a great idea 🙂

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      May 15, 2014 at 4:16 pm

      I did the room without window once and did find it a bit weird but if you’re arriving late and leaving early so are just sleeping in the room then it might be ok!

  • Reply
    Rachael
    May 15, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    This is wonderful information. I’m an American who will be traveling alone in October 2014. Would you suggest one location over another? I have no problem with small rooms and/or no windows. I just want a place to sleep for a few nights. I plan on visiting museums so The Nadler seems ideal. Being alone and being my first trip to the UK I am concerned about: getting lost, having a place to leave my luggage (one small suitcase), having choices for eating/drinking and returning to my hotel in relative safety.

    I look forward to reading through more of your blog.

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      May 15, 2014 at 4:27 pm

      Hi Rachael, for museums the Nadler Kensington is a really good option, though the Tune at Westminster is also well located for the river/Parliament etc. All are located near to Tube stations so you should have no problem getting around, you should also be able to store luggage (otherwise the main train stations have baggage storage). You may well be best off doing a price search first to see which comes out best. And if you have any London questions before your trip just let me know!

  • Reply
    Packing my Suitcase
    May 15, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    Amazing tips! I also have trouble finding good hotels in a good price in London, it is normally the most problematic city to find a hotel in this category for a good price. Thank you for sharing, you put on a list for next time 🙂

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      May 15, 2014 at 4:22 pm

      Very true, it always seems easier to find hostels and five-stars than something in the middle – hope the list comes in useful for you!

  • Reply
    i*Kan
    May 15, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    Great post! Awesome value for London. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    Darlene
    May 16, 2014 at 4:32 am

    I’ll keep these in mind for my next visit to London.

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      May 16, 2014 at 10:36 am

      Thanks Darlene, hope that it comes it useful on your next trip!

  • Reply
    Familclub Invitations
    May 16, 2014 at 6:02 am

    I am in Australia and we find $100 a night expensive for accommodation, so to hear you are happy with a $160 a night is scary!

    I am going to the Gold Coast next week to stay at Le Beach luxury Resort on the esplanade at Burleigh voted the Worlds Best Beach in a three bedroom apartment with everything that you could ever need including foxtel fully self contained right down to the dimmer switches and underground secure parking just 50 meters to the beach. need I say more?

    At $100 per night or 60 pounds many of my friends think I am made of money spending $1000 for ten days because believe it or not you can still get luxury in Australia for $60 per night that’s less than 40 quid per night or the cost of 5 big macs or 7 beers at the top end 5 star hotels can charge $400 plus for a single room and en-suite but that’s the rack rate compared to 700 pounds or a $1000 a night in London

    And just about every Aussie hotel room comes with phones Tea and coffee and most with wifi and a fridge plus airconditioning

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      May 16, 2014 at 10:32 am

      London is very different to the rest of the UK – the locations of these hotels would be equivalent to a central Sydney hotel so the prices are a lot higher than the average. In the rest of the UK you can easily find good accommodation at a much lower price, and apartment rentals like the one you mention are especially good value if you don’t need the full hotel facilities – I usually stay in rental places these days for anything more than one night.

  • Reply
    Ben
    May 16, 2014 at 8:52 am

    Such a fantastic post Lucy, thanks! Accommodation is so expensive in London, and generally not great value. These look like some great, affordable alternatives. I’ll definitely be looking at them next time I need a place to stay in the capital.

    Interesting to read about the hotel that is charging more for extras (tv, toiletries etc.) Do you think this will become a trend much like in the airline industry? I’ve not heard of it before.

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      May 16, 2014 at 10:36 am

      Thanks Ben, yes it’s interesting with the airline-style pricing. The Tune Hotels originated in Asia so I don’t know if it’s more common out there. I can see the benefits if you’re on a quick stay and want to save as much as possible, as you normally pay for the TV, hairdyer etc whether you use it or not. Don’t think it’ll ever be worth me carting around a wet towel to save a couple of pounds though!

      • Reply
        Ben
        May 19, 2014 at 8:27 am

        That’s interesting it originated in Asia, maybe that model will become more popular in the western market over the coming years. Great point about the towel, I’m with you on that one!

  • Reply
    Steven
    May 16, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    Good tips! Tune Hotel sounds a bit like the maxHotel in Brussels; very no frills but the nightly rate is dirt cheap as a result.

    Last summer, I wanted a hotel reasonably close to the Royal Albert Hall, and I stayed at The Rockwell (http://www.therockwell.com/single-room) along Cromwell Road. That section of the road is just lined with hotels, and some of them are quite affordable.

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      May 16, 2014 at 6:07 pm

      There are a lot of hotels in the Cromwell Road area and also around Paddington, I find it a bit tough to find which ones are decent but this sounds good so one to remember. I’d not heard of the maxHotel either so may give that a go next time I’m in Brussels.

      • Reply
        Steven
        May 16, 2014 at 6:23 pm

        maxHotel is so no-frills that you check in and out via an automated kiosk. It’s a comfortable quiet place to sleep, but that’s about it.

  • Reply
    canacasa
    May 17, 2014 at 3:50 am

    very helpful post. please allow me to reblog, thank you 🙂

  • Reply
    maconsultancy
    May 18, 2014 at 10:54 am

    Reblogged this on Web Marketing Services London.

  • Reply
    beeape
    May 21, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    Thank you for this article! I will be in London soon and still need a hotel… so check my blog out for an article soon 😉

  • Reply
    gerryann
    May 22, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    Great post. Thanks!

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      May 22, 2014 at 9:40 pm

      You’re welcome – hope it comes in useful sometime!

  • Reply
    thebritishberliner
    May 24, 2014 at 7:06 am

    These are lovely hotels that I will definately be checking out if I go to London with husband only or by myself. 🙂
    I went to a lovely bed and breakfast in Kensington a few years ago and a family room was £120 pounds I think for 2 adults and 1 growing child per night. I can’t remember the name (not very useful I know!), but apparently, it was best B&B of the year in 2010 which was when I went. It was lovely and was very close to Hyde Park.
    Lovely tips Lucy.

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      May 27, 2014 at 12:13 pm

      Kensington’s a good area to be in – there are so many different neighbourhoods of London that it can be a nightmare to narrow it down! Hope these come in useful when you’re next in London though.

  • Reply
    Surya Bhattacharya
    June 1, 2014 at 7:09 am

    Oh this is gooood! I went to London twice last winter and once stayed in a hostel dorm with my sister. I’m okay with hostels, but my sister has classier taste. She cried 😛 And it’s not even like the hostel was that cheap (my sister found B&B accommodation in the same are where rooms cost the same as two dorm beds, oops, and rubbed it in my face). Next time, I’m going to treat her to one of these. Z Hotels looks particularly lovely. Thanks for this 😀

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      June 2, 2014 at 3:16 pm

      You’re welcome! Hope you get to try them out soon – I just stayed at the Z Hotel in Liverpool last weekend and that was lovely too. Definitely beats a hostel!

  • Reply
    Maddie
    June 2, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    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.

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      June 3, 2014 at 9:59 pm

      If you’re out and about all day then they’re perfect – the London ones are in really good locations too right by Tube stations.

  • Reply
    Taylor Hearts Travel
    June 14, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    Great post. I stayed in The Nadler in Soho (London) not too long ago and really rated it. The location was amazing and the room was lovely. I’d definitely recommend it.

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      June 22, 2014 at 1:19 pm

      Thanks! I haven’t tried the Soho branch of the Nadler yet but it looked lovely in your post so will have to try it out next time.

  • Reply
    trininista
    July 15, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    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.

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      July 22, 2014 at 3:22 pm

      Hope it comes in useful – I feel your pain, London accommodation can be such a nightmare!

  • Reply
    Susan Cappello
    July 28, 2014 at 3:22 am

    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!

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      July 28, 2014 at 10:39 am

      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: https://www.ontheluce.com/2013/02/27/london-on-a-budget/

      Hope you have a great trip!

      • Reply
        Susan Cappello
        July 28, 2014 at 5:24 pm

        Thank you, Lucy.

  • Reply
    Shikha (whywasteannualleave)
    August 26, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    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!

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      August 27, 2014 at 4:05 pm

      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.

  • Reply
    Katie MacLeod
    September 12, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    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!

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      September 14, 2014 at 10:47 am

      Hope you manage to find the perfect place – and best of luck for the awards, will keep my fingers crossed for you!

  • Reply
    dame DJ
    November 30, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    excellent well done. I’m a londoner but I learnt alot form your article and am grateful.

    • Reply
      Lucy
      December 1, 2014 at 3:47 pm

      Thanks great to hear, thanks!

  • Reply
    Julie Togonon
    April 29, 2015 at 10:34 am

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

  • Reply
    Sunny London
    January 9, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    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.’ 🙂

    • Reply
      Lucy
      January 11, 2016 at 3:11 pm

      Ooh thanks for the tip, I will have to try them out – am always looking for somewhere good to stay in London!

  • Reply
    Revé
    May 31, 2018 at 7:25 pm

    Which hotel is the first picture of? I love the patio!

    • Reply
      Lucy
      June 6, 2018 at 11:11 am

      Hi, that’s the Nadler Kensington.

  • Reply
    Ava
    October 24, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    I have stayed in Z hotel twice now – purely because I had to find something in central London at short notice and everything else was eye-wateringly expensive. But the rooms here are absolutely tiny (beware as some don’t even have windows!), the bathrooms are ‘carved out’ of the room’s footprint, and there aren’t even bedside lights. And you check in in the bar/canteen. If all you need is a place to sleep for one night, this is OK. But if you can book early and pay the same for a bigger room elsewhere.

    • Reply
      Lucy
      October 25, 2018 at 7:22 am

      Hi, there’s a range of different room types so if you do want to minimise costs you can go for one without a window – I’ve stayed in a couple and the room size does vary but it’s been fine for a city break when you’re not spending too much time in the room. I’d always advise booking early if you can though as that’ll cut your costs wherever you choose to stay.

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