The Luxury Guide to London

See London... in style.


Once upon a time visitors to London seeking the finer things in life had it easier, as it wasn’t necessary to look much further than Chelsea, Knightsbridge and Mayfair. Now this has all changed, with neighbourhoods like Shoreditch climbing up the ladder, and shopping centres like Westfield having their own “designer villages”. So this is where we come in, with a round-up of hotels, restaurants, bars and other experiences for only the most discerning (and expensive) of tastes.

Where to stay

London boasts too many luxury hotels to list, but while the Dorchester and the Ritz may spring to mind immediately, often the chicest options are the slightly less obvious ones.

Blakes is the creation of designer Anouska Hempel, and the hotel’s décor takes much of its inspiration from the Far East and South East Asia. Rooms are individually styled, some with antiques and all with Bang & Olufsen TVs and iPod docking stations. The Directors Doubles have Bidermeier furniture and French gilded swan beds; sheer decadence.

Splurge at the Lanesborough, London’s most expensive hotel. The epitome of old money, guests benefit from 24-hour butler service. The most luxurious suite is £18,000 a night, a price tag that includes a chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce.

The Portobello Hotel is famous for being where Kate Moss and Johnny Depp allegedly enjoyed a champagne bath. Located in a converted neo-classical mansion block, the rooms are individually styled (Colonial and Japanese-inspired interiors are just two examples) and have unique features like antique standalone bathtubs big enough for two and washbasins made out of jade. There really is no better place for a romantic getaway.

At the Arch Hotel they really know how to pamper their guests. Details like flat screen TVs above the bathtubs, complimentary soft drinks and use of the state of the art gym, and even the clever positioning of lighting in the rooms have all been thought through to make visitors feel as comfortable as possible. The Juniper suite which boasts a private patio with heaters costs up to £1,005 a night; it’s a steal for such extravagance. \n\nShopping

For everything under one roof, there’s Harvey Nichols or Selfridges. Otherwise head to old favourites like Sloane Street or new kid on the block Redchurch Street.

Tous le celebres of the fashion world are on Sloane Street: Cavalli, Armani, Marni, Gucci, Prada, etc. The same goes for New Bond Street and Old Bond Street, which have the added benefit of fine jewellers, stationery and accessories.

West London’s Ledbury Road is home to boutiques by designers like Anya Hindmarch and Dianne Von Fusternberg. Matches stocks a plethora of high fashion brands.

Head to Marylebone High Street for Dyptyque perfumes, leather goods from Aspinal of London, homewares from the White Company and the Conran Shop, and confectionery from Rococo Chocolates.

You’ll find bespoke men’s tailoring on Jermyn Street and Savile Row, the former with classics like Hawes & Curtis, while the latter favours Ozwald Boateng and Alexander McQueen.

For cutting edge fashion try Dover Street Market, a six floor emporium by Comme Des Garçons designer Rei Kawakubo. As well as her own label there’s plenty of McQueen, Celine and Junya Watanabe gear for fashionistas to lose themselves in for a few hours.

Redchurch Street in E2 has trendy independent labels galore, and scouts from top fashion houses are known to prowl the shops here looking for inspiration. The opening of Shoreditch House and the Boundary (not to mention the imminent of arrival of Nobu, set to unveil their first hotel here) have cemented this area as a hipper, younger sibling to Sloane Street.

Alternatively, get someone to do the shopping for you. Quintessentially offer personalised 24 hour concierge services and will take care of pretty much anything you don’t have time for.


There is a multitude of fine dining restaurants to choose from, so you can start with this list of award-winning eateries.

Hobnob with the stars at Nobu, Scott’s and Locanda Locatelli, all known for hosting the A-List. Currently the hardest places to get a table are Dabbous, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal and Le Gavroche, and for good reason. For spectacular views, to the west there is Galvin at Windows on the 28th floor of the Hilton on Park Lane, in the east there’s the City’s Sushisamba and Duck & Waffle at the top of the Heron Tower, and Hutong is on the 33rd floor of London’s newest skyscraper, the Shard. And of course, there’s our Ultimate Restaurant winner two years in a row, The Ledbury.

For champagne in particular, we recommend Claridge’s Bar and the Beaufort Bar at the Savoy. Artesian at the Langham also do a fine line in bubbly, but their cocktails are just as tempting. Fizz aside, here there are other chic options.

The Long Bar at the Sanderson is where people go to see and be seen while sipping killer martinis. Other hotel bars worth a visit are the Connaught, with its opulent marble floors and mirrored walls, the David Collins-designed Blue Bar at the Berkeley, and Refuelat the Soho Hotel.

The various restaurants and bars within Sketch are visual treats, not forgetting those egg cubicles and the Swarovski toilets. Basement bar Nightjar in Shoreditch is a refined speakeasy with a large selection of absinthe. For late night debauchery, the Box in Soho has risqué performances, a strict door policy, and counts supermodels and a certain Prince Harry as fans.

Other things to do

Before you leave the capital, try these things too:

The champagne brunch at Aqua Nueva, preferably on the terrace overlooking the West End.

The indulgent spa treatments at Ushvani in Chelsea, which has a private room for couples complete with steam room and sunken stone bath with hydrotherapy jets.

Catch a film at the Lounge at the Odeon in Whiteleys, where you can order food from the menu devised by acclaimed chef Rowley Leigh, and eat while the movie plays.

Book a private London Eye capsule and get a bird’s eye view of London while a host pours you Pommery Brut champagne.

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