Looking for somewhere to stay in London? Our pick of the best affordable hotels in London for boutique on a budget, with stylish rooms, central locations and luxury touches without a huge price tag.
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When I moved out of London after 10 years, one of the biggest shocks I had was how tough it is finding somewhere to stay as a visitor. The problem isn’t a shortage of options – there are over 1000 hotels in the city plus hundreds of B&Bs and apartments. But how do you narrow it down, particularly when you’re looking for affordable hotels in London?
Like many visitors, my tastes – and my budget – lie somewhere in the middle between hostel rooms and five-star luxury. But with London’s sky-high prices, even an basic chain hotel can set you back over £200 a night. So is it possible to find a hotel with a central London location and a high-quality experience 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. Each of these hotel brands – often small chains with a few locations around the city – have stripped back unnecessary feature like gyms or business centres, and concentrated on offering good-value rooms.
But you don’t have to sacrifice style if you want an affordable hotel in London, with high-quality beds, contemporary furniture and artworks, as well as a few luxurious extras. Which makes them my go-to choices for somewhere to stay in London.
Map of affordable hotels in London
Formerly known as the Nadler, the Resident has four locations in London – Soho, Victoria, Kensington and Covent Garden. They offer four-star rooms at an affordable price by editing out the hotel extras. So the focus is on the rooms, which come with some added luxury touches like Nespresso machines, Brita water filters and a local discount card.
There’s a choice of room categories, which vary slightly in the different locations but include single, small double, standard double, king, superior, deluxe and suites. The main difference between them is the size of the rooms as all come with free wifi, free UK phone calls, air conditioning, custom artworks and Gilchrist & Soames toiletries.
One thing I loved was the mini kitchen in every room, with a microwave, sink, kettle, fridge and cutlery and crockery. So you can easily make your own breakfast or get a takeway. You can also get drinks, snacks or groceries delivered to your room.
I stayed at the Resident Kensington, a five-minute walk from Earl’s Court Tube station and 20 minutes from the V&A, Science and Natural History museums. The Resident Victoria is opposite Buckingham Palace and 10 minutes’ walk to Victoria Tube and coach stations.
The Resident Soho is just south of Oxford Street, surrounded by Soho’s bars and restaurants. And the Resident Covent Garden is close to the Royal Opera House and West End theatres. All hotels have a 24-hour reception desk where their ‘Resident Insiders’ can give guests suggestions on places to eat and drink, and book tours and travel.
Another smart, central option are Z Hotels. They brand themselves as ‘The Urbanite Stay’ and have 11 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.
These affordable hotels in London are perfect if you want to be in the heart of things and won’t be spending too much time in your room. There are singles, small double and larger queen rooms plus wheelchair-accessible rooms. Cheapest are the inside double rooms which don’t have a window and start from £60–£70, depending on location.
All rooms 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 opposite Victoria train and Tube station. The Z Hotel Holborn is on Kingsway near Holborn Tube station. The Soho and Tottenham Court Road branches are south of Oxford Street surrounded by Soho bars and West End theatres.
The Covent Garden, Strand and Trafalgar branches are located within a few minutes’ walk of each other, close to the Strand, Covent Garden market and Charing Cross. And the Z Hotel Piccadilly is close to Leicester Square 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 station and Hyde Park.
CitizenM is a Dutch hotel brand with three locations in central London. They’re known for their quirky decor, with 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, with a king-sized bed, en-suite with rain shower and wall-to-wall windows to make the most of the view (or blackout blinds to keep it out). Rooms have a high-tech feel with ambient lighting and an app which controls the lights, temperature, blinds and TV. There’s free wifi as well as movies on demand.
The CitizenM Bankside lies just south of the Thames, close to Southwark station, the Tate Modern art gallery and Borough Market. The Tower of London hotel is located just behind the tower and a short walk from Tower Hill Tube station. Some rooms have views of the Thames and the Shard, and there’s a rooftop bar with balcony and panoramic views.
The CitizenM Shoreditch is close to Liverpool Street and Shoreditch overground station, with Boxpark Shoreditch and Old Spitalfields Market a few minutes away. And there’s a fourth CitizenM hotel due to open next to Victoria station in 2022.
Formerly run by Dutch brand Qbic, The Corner hotel in East London focuses on sustainability and claims to be London’s greenest hotel. They’ve cut water and power usage through low-water shower heads, LED lighting and solar panels, and use organic mattresses and toiletries, and sustainably sourced and reclaimed furniture.
Rooms are based around a pod design to make the most of the space and come with colourful artworks, king-sized beds, desks with storage, mood lighting and high-speed wifi.
There are three different room categories: snug rooms (doubles without a window), comfy rooms (standard doubles) and plush rooms (large doubles with a sofa bed which can sleep three adults or two adults and two kids). Accessible rooms are also available.
The hotel has a Bar + Kitchen serving sustainably sourced dishes and drinks. There’s also free tea and coffee on each floor. The Qbic London City is located between Whitechapel and Algate in the East End, and is an easy walk to Shoreditch and the Tower of London.
Check prices for The Corner*: London City
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.
Rooms at these stylish, affordable hotels in London come with a queen size or twin bed. There are also some single rooms and some larger, premium rooms with perks like Nespresso machines and sofa beds. And they’re family friendly with family suites which sleep four, kids’ areas in the lobby and extra like bottle warmers and high chairs.
Each hotel has a bar and the Southwark and Excel branches also have a restaurant. The ibis Styles Southwark is close to Borough Market and London Bridge. And the Excel hotel is in East London near the Excel exhibition centre, O2 music venue and London City Airport.
The Gloucester Road hotel is in Kensington, opposite Gloucester Road Tube station and five minutes’ walk to the Natural History Museum. And the ibis Styles Kensington is only a few minutes away from that to the west, near to Earl’s Court station.
If you don’t need fancy extras and just want an affordable but smart room for the night, try Point A Hotels, who have seven hotels across London, with rooms starting from £59 a night. There’s a simple choice between double or twin rooms (with accessible versions with adapted bathrooms and room for a wheelchair), either with or without a window.
Rooms make the most of the space with the basics done well – comfortable Hypnos beds, underbed storage, a drop-down desk, smart 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 and about exploring London, with really convenient locations.
Their King’s Cross St Pancras, Paddington and Liverpool Street hotels are right next to the respective stations so they’re perfect if you have an early train, Eurostar or flight to catch.
The Point A Westminster is across the river from the Houses of Parliament. The Kensington branch is close to Earl’s Court and Olympia. The Point A Shoreditch is near to Old Street station. And the Canary Wharf hotel is close to Docklands and the Museum of London.
Tips for finding affordable hotels in London
Book in advance: London’s always busy and there’s a limited number of affordable hotels, so book in advance to get the best deals. Though not too far in advance – research has shown that around 30 days before your stay is the sweet spot for the lowest prices.
Sign up for mailing lists: If you have a particular hotel or chain you want to stay in, sign up for their mailing list to get news of discounts or special offers. Some offer memberships where you can save money by registering – like The Resident which gives members a 15% discount on stays. Or you can get extra perks like free drinks or late checkout.
Shop around: You can often find the same hotel room for totally different prices on different booking sites, so try a few different sites – or comparison sites like Trivago or TripAdvisor – as well as checking prices with the hotels directly.
Note: Hotel photos courtesy of hotels mentioned, but I paid for all stays myself.