London’s iconic hotels are part of its identity, but with new visions of what an exciting hotel looks like launching over the last decade, it’s time to add some new contenders to the list of must-visit hotels in the city…

Now, this isn’t to knock the likes of The Dorchester, Claridges or The Langham – these timeless hotels are certainly also worth a visit. With the sweeping marble entrances, impressive festive displays and doormen with impeccable manners wearing impeccable suits and top hats; it’s impossible not to be charmed.

But sprawling London with its diverse cultural landscape is home to much more than the quintessential high-society hotel. There’s the sexy one (Mamma Shelter), the cool one (The Nomad), the one with the most Instagrammably interiors (The Resident) and even the one that will transport you to the middle of the jungle with its inside-outside bar and restaurant (The Mandrake). These are the under-the-radar hotels you need on your list.

Mama Shelter, Shoreditch

Playful, fun and full of character, French-born brand Mamma Shelter knows how to break out of the constraints of the traditional hotel and offer a completely different experience, from its all-you-can-eat brunches to its saucy Mamma Shelter Sexcation package to enjoy as part of a couple or for some pleasure-inducing alone time. The decor is loud and proud, with a homely vibe and an outdoor terrace serving cocktails all day and night. Located just off Hackney Road, in easy reach of Bethnal Green, Cambridge Heath, and Broadway Market, it’s easy to tick off the east London nightlife spots. Oh, and there’s late-night karaoke – need we say more?

The Nomad, Covent Garden

Comparatively relatively new on the hotel scene launching back in 2012, The Nomad has already secured its place as the hotel of the moment for those in the know. Not only is its impressive, almost-other-wordly restaurant one of the top-rated food spots in the city (hello Michelin star), but its snug and sumptuous bar Common Decency begs for long nights spent propping up the (very stylish) bar with a cocktail in hand (also very stylish – we’re talking embossed ice-cubes, flavoured foams and temperature contrasts via the most decadent interpretation of an espresso martini we’ve ever tasted). A far departure from traditional London hotels with their pomp and ceremony, The Nomad manages to impress on a completely different level, its spaces feeling more like a contemporary art gallery than an old-school hotel. This is what luxury looks like in the modern age.

The Resident, Victoria

The Resident manages to be classic and modern all at the same time, fusing its period features with luxe decor straight out of an interiors magazine; think bespoke artwork and special edition Paul Smith Anglepoise lamps, with sumptuous textiles made using natural fibres woven on the Isle of Bute in Scotland. Located just moments away from Buckingham Palace, this hidden gem is tucked away from the crowds in bustling Victoria, but still within easy reach of the action. To really accentuate the home-from-home feel, each of the 73 rooms features a mini-kitchen.

The Mandrake, Soho

Dark and sultry, a visit to the Mandrake is a sensual experience, with dimly lit spaces to enjoy drinks or dinner, atmospheric music and artwork to set the tone and a huge courtyard, Jurema, serving south American dishes in a jungle-like setting. The hotel promises its guests an “immersive” experience – and we’d have to agree that it succeeds. Try the Voodo cocktail and a dozen oysters at Waeska for a truly enlightening experience.

The Pilgrim, Paddington

At The Pilgrim, absolutely every last detail is tastefully done, from its impeccable Lounge to the cosy, comfy rooms decked out with amenities like a Marshall Bluetooth Speaker, refillable water bottle, and a beautiful selection of books and magazines, real plants and feature pieces the hotel’s unique collection of original artwork. It’s stylish, it’s understated and undeniably cool but still manages to feel welcoming and homely, making the Pilgrim an ideal base for exploring West London.

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