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Budget-luxe hotel accommodation in London

London budget luxe hotels

One of the biggest shocks I’ve had in going from being a London resident to a visitor is how tough it can be to find somewhere to stay in the city. The problem definitely isn’t a shortage of options – there are over 1000 hotels in central London, and that’s before you get to the B&Bs and rental apartments. So how do you go about narrowing it down and choosing somewhere? My tastes lie somewhere in the middle between dorm rooms and five-star luxury, but with sky-high prices in the capital even an average chain hotel can easily cost £200 a night. Is it possible to get a high-quality experience and central London location without a scary price tag? Recently I’ve been trying out some new budget-luxe hotel chains where a great bed and a few luxury touches in a central London neighbourhood can be yours for not much over £100 a night.

The Nadler

First up is my most recent discovery, The Nadler, with two branches in London – one in Soho and one in Kensington – as well as a hotel in Liverpool. They offer four-star rooms at a budget price by editing out all the hotel extras like bar, restaurant and gym, so the focus is on the most important part – the room. Prices are fully inclusive so you don’t get any surprises on check-out. There’s a wide choice of room types, from singles and compact ‘bijou’ twins and doubles right up to deluxe rooms sleeping four. The rooms all come with fast wifi, air con, cool artworks and Gilchrist & Soames toiletries.

One thing I loved is 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, or if you’re eating out the hotel has a list of local eateries with guest discounts. We stayed in a bijou double in Kensington, an easy five-minute walk from Earl’s Court Tube and close to the museums and a huge array of shops and restaurants. The rack rate for a bijou double is £129 but we paid £97 on a last-minute deal through the hotel’s website.

The Nadler Kensington, London

The Nadler Kensington – one of the standard double rooms, the entrance and lobby

Z Hotels

Another smart and central option are the Z Hotels. They brand themselves as ‘The Urbanite Stay’ and have ultra-central locations, with one branch in Soho and one right next to Victoria station. The rooms are compact but smartly designed with the focus on the essentials – quality beds, linen and powerful showers. There’s a choice between small double or larger queen rooms, with or without a window. Lowest prices range between £75 for an inside double and £100 for a queen room with window. All have glass-walled en-suite wet rooms with Thierry Mugler toiletries and come with 40″ HD TVs with free Sky and wifi access.

Rooms come with the bonus extra of a free cheese and wine buffet for guests each evening. Each hotel has a Z Café and bar attached, offering a buffet breakfast each morning then a selection of baguettes and sharing platters later on. Z Hotels also have branches in Liverpool (which I’ll be checking out in June after winning a night’s stay in a Twitter competition!), with new hotels in Glasgow and London Piccadilly coming soon.

Z Hotels, London

Z Hotels Victoria – outside queen and inside double rooms in a converted Victorian building

Tune Hotels

Or if you don’t need the extras and just want a simple but smart room for the night, try the Tune Hotels. The chain originated in Asia, but they now have four hotels in London – in Westminster, Liverpool Street, Paddington and King’s Cross. 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 (if you’re travelling on an early Eurostar the King’s Cross hotel is perfect as it’s less than five-minutes’ walk from St Pancras).

There’s a simple choice of rooms between doubles or twins (with accessible versions), with or without windows. They make the most of the space with the basics done well – the comfortable beds are made by the same company who supply five-star hotels. Rooms start from a super-low £55, but they use budget airline-style pricing so you pay extra for things like wifi, TV, a hairdryer and even toiletries and towels (though if you don’t want to bring your own they’ll only cost you £2). Outside London, there’s also a Tune Hotel in Edinburgh and many across Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.

Tune Hotels, London

Tune Hotels – outside and accessible rooms and the decking area at Liverpool Street

So those are my top budget-luxe chains in London right now – have you stayed in any of them, or do you have another London favourite place to stay?

Note: all photos used here are courtesy of the hotels mentioned (as I forgot to take any myself), but I booked and paid for all stays myself.

59 Comments Post a comment
  1. 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.

    May 15, 2014
    • 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!

      May 15, 2014
  2. Great info! Thanks!

    May 15, 2014
  3. ohhh this is great! Let me bookmark it for future reference 🙂

    May 15, 2014
    • Great, hope you can get to use it sometime!

      May 15, 2014
  4. really helpful info! thanks!

    May 15, 2014
  5. 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.

    May 15, 2014
    • 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.

      May 15, 2014
  6. How helpful! Definitely bookmarking this list. The prices are amazing. Thanks!

    May 15, 2014
    • 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.

      May 15, 2014
  7. They all look lovely, and very small! And I’d hate a room without a window.But the kitchenette is a great idea 🙂

    May 15, 2014
    • 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!

      May 15, 2014
  8. Rachael #

    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.

    May 15, 2014
    • 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!

      May 15, 2014
  9. 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 🙂

    May 15, 2014
    • 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!

      May 15, 2014
    • Very useful. Thank you!

      May 15, 2014
  10. Great post! Awesome value for London. Thanks for sharing.

    May 15, 2014
  11. I’ll keep these in mind for my next visit to London.

    May 16, 2014
    • Thanks Darlene, hope that it comes it useful on your next trip!

      May 16, 2014
  12. 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

    May 16, 2014
    • 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.

      May 16, 2014
  13. Ben #

    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.

    May 16, 2014
    • 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!

      May 16, 2014
    • Ben #

      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!

      May 19, 2014
  14. 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 ( along Cromwell Road. That section of the road is just lined with hotels, and some of them are quite affordable.

    May 16, 2014
    • 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.

      May 16, 2014
    • 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.

      May 16, 2014
  15. canacasa #

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

    May 17, 2014
  16. maconsultancy #

    Reblogged this on Web Marketing Services London.

    May 18, 2014
    • Thanks for reblogging!

      May 22, 2014
    • maconsultancy #

      No problem.

      May 23, 2014
  17. 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 😉

    May 21, 2014
  18. Great post. Thanks!

    May 22, 2014
    • You’re welcome – hope it comes in useful sometime!

      May 22, 2014
  19. 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.

    May 24, 2014
    • 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.

      May 27, 2014
  20. 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 😀

    June 1, 2014
    • 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!

      June 2, 2014
  21. 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.

    June 2, 2014
    • 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.

      June 3, 2014
  22. 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.

    June 14, 2014
    • 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.

      June 22, 2014
  23. 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.

    July 15, 2014
    • Hope it comes in useful – I feel your pain, London accommodation can be such a nightmare!

      July 22, 2014
  24. Susan Cappello #

    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!

    July 28, 2014
    • 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:

      Hope you have a great trip!

      July 28, 2014
    • Susan Cappello #

      Thank you, Lucy.

      July 28, 2014
  25. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) #

    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!

    August 26, 2014
    • 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.

      August 27, 2014
  26. 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!

    September 12, 2014
    • Hope you manage to find the perfect place – and best of luck for the awards, will keep my fingers crossed for you!

      September 14, 2014
    • Thanks Lucy 🙂

      September 14, 2014

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