One of London’s latest “it” hotels, Zetter’s dizzying five-story atrium, soaring art deco staircase, and chic restaurant set the scene for the 59 big(ish) rooms upstairs. Rooms are tastefully done up in dove gray and vanilla fabrics, creating a soothing feel, aided by the warm mood lighting. Since this is a warehouse conversion, rooms have huge windows, and the higher the floor the better the view of the lights of London. Most rooms have flat-screen TVs, free wireless broadband and DVD players. Prices start at $295. www.thezetter.com.
Neighborhood: Bloomsbury and Holborne, near the Barbican Centre and Chancery Lane tube stop.
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Insider Tip: The cocktail bar is a cozy place to unwind, and the talented mixers have a long list of temptations. We loved the Tennessee Tart (£8), a combination of Jack Daniels, passion fruit, apple juice, and muddled physalis.
For those who want the full “London nobility” experience, hang your hat at the stately Chesterfield Mayfair, deep in wealthy — nay, snobby — Mayfair. This is the former home of the Earl of Chesterfield, don’t ya know. The rich smell of wood and leather fill the elegant but manly lounges, while the 101 modestly sized (some would say small) rooms exude a masculine feel. Prices start around $300. www.chesterfieldmayfair.com.
Neighborhood: Mayfair is close to Buckingham Palace, the Royal Academy, Hyde Park, Berkeley Square, Bond Street, and St. James’s Park.
Insider Tip: Butler’s Restaurant has an old-world feel that is just right for a cold winter night. If it’s on the menu, try the seared red snapper, followed by a delicious serving of sticky toffee pudding.
A world of pleasure awaits you at myhotel chelsea. This charmer hides down a quiet Chelsea side street. Its 45 rooms are definitely small, but nicely done up with mauve satin throws atop crisp white down comforters, and up-to-the-minute amenities — flat-screen plasma TVs, DVD players, and in-room Wi-Fi. The tiny bathrooms are brightened with pale pink granite countertops and Aveda products. Room service runs 24/7 and the charming Mybar is a great place to sip a cocktail. Prices start at $300, but you can get better deals by booking in advance online. www.myhotels.com.
Neighborhood: Chelsea and Belgravia, near Brompton Cross District, South Kensington and King’s Road, Harrods, Harvey Nichols, the Natural History Museum, and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Insider Tip: A great place to escape from the London hub-bub is the hotel’s Library, a white minimalist pad with skylights, plants, and comfortable sofas and chairs. Grab a book, make a cup of tea, and flop down for a relaxing read. (There are also CDs and DVDs.)
Number Sixteen lounges elegantly in a creamy Edwardian row house in Kensington. The 42 bedrooms are all individually decorated, although all share subtle, soothing color schemes, luxurious fabrics, and marble- and oak-clad bathrooms. The staff is friendly and the mood relaxing. Come summer, a drink in the lush garden is a real pleasure. Rooms start at $300. www.firmdale.com.
Neighborhood: Kensington, near South Kensington, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Natural History Museum, Harrods, Hyde Park, and Knightsbridge Shopping.
Insider Tip: The hotel has several private screening rooms where guests can see classic films and new releases in a clean and quiet state-of-the art theatre.
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