(1) citizenM Bankside (starting from £119 / $190)
We talked at length about the first UK venture of citizenM, walking you through the compact, but well-equipped, rooms and the cool public spaces chock-full of designer furniture. There’s a lot to love here, and it’s one of the first hotels we now recommend when we get asked about an affordable option in town. Its Southbank location puts you right behind the Tate Modern museum, with easy access to all public transport options at Waterloo. In a few years’ time there’ll be even more choice with upcoming locations near St. Paul’s and Tower Hill.
A "Small" room at Dean Street Townhouse
(2) Dean Street Townhouse (starting from £100 - £150 / $160 - $240)
Less full-blown hotel in feel than a fab restaurant with rooms, Dean Street Townhouse (from the same group that’s behind Soho House) puts you right in the heart of Soho’s nightlife. You’ll find the restaurant and bar – a personal favorite of ours – are always buzzing, and a myriad of other options on your doorstep. Rooms come in four categories (Tiny, Small, Medium, Bigger), with the first two indeed being the size you’d expect when you hear the name. What you sacrifice in size, you get back in location, cozy ambiance, and design that hits just the right note of British country chic.
(3) DoubleTree Hotel Westminster / Tower Hill (starting from £90 - £110 / $145 - $176)
We first stayed at what is now the DoubleTree when it was still called CityInn, a name we never understood. A brief stint as The Mint later, these two hotels are now part of the Hilton group. Unlike a lot of DoubleTree properties in the US, you’ll find mostly regular, non-suite, rooms here. Room décor is modern, if slightly more corporate, with light woods and lots of white. The two locations give you a choice between staying east or west, with both being relatively quiet on the weekends.
(4) Hotel Indigo Tower Hill (starting from £140 / $224)
A stone’s throw from the DoubleTree Tower Hill, we recently took you inside a King Room at the Hotel Indigo. While not quite as covet-worthy as its far-east sibling in Shanghai, we’d still say you’re getting a stylish room that’s a good bang for your buck. There’s also an Indigo near Paddington station, with a slightly less appealing immediate environment, as well as a new location near Earl’s Court.
(5) Hoxton Hotel (starting from £1 – if you can get it!)
No affordable and stylish hotel list for London can be really complete without mentioning the Hoxton Hotel, famous for its £1 sales. If Dean Street Townhouse puts you right in the heart of Soho, the Hoxton gives you easy access to all of Shoreditch and east London. The Hoxton Bar & Grill restaurant and lounge are a major draw here, with plenty of locals around. A spot near the fireplace on a cold winter day is not a bad place to spend an afternoon people-watching.
Rates listed indicate a rough starting range we found in January (except for the Hoxton sale). Granted, that’s not peak season for London but we’ve seen similar rates from experience throughout the year. As always, book early for the best rates, and please read the fine print when it comes to changes, cancellation, and what’s included in the rate offered.
[Photos: citizenM, Dean Street Townhouse, DoubleTree Tower Hill, JasonD, Hoxton Hotel]