London landmark is small and solid

The best luxury hotels in London, including private butlers, exquisite dining and resplendent interiors

L ondon does Grande Dame hotels better than perhaps any other great capital (though Paris would demur) and they have never been on better form, all of them now having been either comprehensively restored (such as The Savoy and The Connaught) or thoroughly embellished and brought up to date. Only one (The Goring) is still in the hands of the same family that opened it, but all these hotels retain, if not all, then a great deal of the personality that defined them when they first opened their doors in Victorian and Edwardian days, when these flamboyant palaces first made their mark in society and the life of London. Here's our pick of the best luxury hotels in London.

The Savoy

Covent Garden, London, England

9

Telegraph expert rating

The Savoy hotel is set back from the busy Strand and above the river on an island between two busy roads. The style is Edwardian on the river side – see the famous lacquer-and-gilt Red Lift – Art Deco on the Strand side, where Gordon Ramsay’s Savoy Grill is located. The American Bar manages Deco glamour and (just) views of the Thames. Facilities are at a premium as you’d expect, from the wellness area with pool in a light-filled atrium, sauna and steam room, well-equipped gym and two treatment rooms to the availability of chauffeurs and a butler in the suites. There’s even a dedicated Book Butler, who can provide novels selected by the hotel’s grandly titled Literary Ambassador.

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Housed in a landmark Art Deco building dating from 1931 and facing its own tree-filled green, The Dorchester looks like a great ocean going liner, and stands on one of the most prestigious thoroughfares in London, Park Lane. The service across the hotel is second to none, an impressive combination of easy-going but always polite charm and personality and superb efficiency. The spa features top brands such as La Prairie and Valmont and a treatment menu offering a choice of no less than 22 high-powered facials, and the rooms are tasteful: some in an opulent, chintzy style; most with a smart, pampering look using restful prints and hues.

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Brown’s consists of 11 townhouses occupying two parallel streets off Piccadilly. Founded 175 years ago by the former valet to Lord Byron, it was a favourite of Agatha Christie, Alexander Graham Bell made the first ever telephone call, and it was where Rudyard Kipling completed The Jungle Book. Redecorated in 2005, the dark mahogany panelling and fittings on the ground floor were retained, but modern furnishings and notable modern art was added. Rooms are stylish and sophisticated, with cream carpets, cosy sleigh beds, antique dressers, modern lighting and high windows.

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The tone is set the moment you walk through the doors to the impressive lobby and are confronted by the supremely elegant Long Gallery, adorned with fresh flowers, and the sherbet lemon and pink hued Palm Court – home to the hotel’s legendary afternoon teas. The dining room – based on Versailles – is an extraordinary setting with its painted ceiling, marble columns, floor-to-ceiling windows and chandeliers. A timeless elegance pervades the hotel with a pianist both in the Long Gallery and the restaurant. Bedrooms and suites – salmon pink, rose pink, yellow and blue – have been restored in their original XVI style.

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The Langham has had more than 150 years to perfect its winning formula of top-notch service, highly competitive drinking and dining and classically elegant style. You’ll find plenty of marble in this hotel, starting with the stately pillars in the lobby, combined with chandeliers, and tasteful placement of orchids throughout the property. Service is expertly slick and attentive, yet warm, and there’s a small spa with pool. The hotel’s restaurant, Roux at the Landau is a beautiful oval room designed by David Collins (also responsible for the hotel’s romantic cocktail bar, Artesian).

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Step inside and you’ll find dark polished woods, shiny marble floors and pillars, and grey or cream-coloured corniced ceilings alongside airy, contemporary rooms with deep carpets (some swirly, others in coral reds), plush upholstery (pastel-grey tub chairs and sofas) and modern art features. Nothing is too much trouble here and the staff are slick and convivial, from the butler who unpacks your suitcases to the therapists at the svelte Aman spa. With Hélène Darroze (two Michelin stars), Jean-Georges, and two bars (stylish Coburg Bar and American-style Connaught Bar – the latter is famous for its excellent martinis), you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to eating and drinking.

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This luxury Edwardian hotel is brilliantly located in Knightsbridge, overlooking Hyde Park. Spaces feel light and welcoming, and the rooms are superbly equipped and supremely comfortable. Mandarin Oriental has some of the world's best chefs in its hotels, not least here in London where you will find Heston Blumenthal's two Michelin-starred London address, Dinner, while Bar Boulud is the fiefdom of New York based chef Daniel Boulud and provides a bistro-style (if a classy one) alternative. The Queen would surely feel at home; quite right – after all, it was in the dreamy ballroom (where today you can have yoga lessons) in the 1930s that she and Princess Margaret learned to dance.

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Beginning life as elegant country house for Viscount Lanesborough in 1719, the Lanesborough was rebuilt in 1827 as St George’s Hospital and only became a hotel in 1990. Perhaps this newness is what has given it probably the most cosmopolitan feel of all London’s Grande Dame hotels, helped by its location overlooking ever-busy Hyde Park Corner. It dazzles with gold-leaf embellishment, ornamental frosting, and a down-to-earth charm that effuses the feel of a private residence. Service (everywhere) is where The Lanesborough triumphs. All rooms come with butlers, and Michelin-starred Céleste and the spa are worth a visit alone.

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Claridge's

Mayfair, London, England

9

Telegraph expert rating

Claridge's hotel is a legendary bolthole for kings, queens, grannies and Barbara Cartland (until she finally expired) now more frequented by those in search of British pomp with a modern twist. Reminders of a more dignified age include the wrought-iron lift with its comfy seat and uniformed attendant. It feels frozen in time, an Art Deco period piece that must never change. Suites, which come with a personal butler, range from Deluxe Studio to the elegant Claridge’s and Terrace suites (fresh flowers, champagne and use of a Burberry trench coat during the stay). Penthouses, with superb roof-top views, have antique furniture and grand pianos. Tea in the Grand Foyer, to the strains of violins, is the real highlight.

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The Goring

Belgravia, London, England

9

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Across the road from Buckingham Palace, The Goring has long been a favourite of dowager duchesses, lords, ladies and assorted gentlefolk. The hotel has the great advantage of a huge private garden, surrounded by flower borders and shrubbery, with a central lawn on which croquet is played in the summer months. Many rooms have been designed by Russell Sage and his bedrooms are glamorous yet homely, decorated with Gainsborough silks on the walls. The Goring was opened by Otto Richard Goring in 1910 and remains in the family to this day.

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With its sleek design, vast subterranean spa, and close proximity to the department stores and boutiques of Knightsbridge, this a popular choice with those seeking the ultimate shop ‘n’ flop experience. Chief among its facilities is the spa, a sprawling yet intimate complex of massage rooms, saunas, steam rooms and relaxation areas, augmented by a lounger-lined swimming pool. Sette, the hotel’s sole restaurant, is a sultry, contemporary space on the ground floor serving flavoursome Italian fare, with service to match. Splash out on one of the signature Bulgari suites for butler service and a separate steam shower.

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Rosewood's London outpost is an elegant retreat offering luxurious and stylish interiors with playful touches, a serene spa, solid dining options and a very popular cocktail bar, Scarfes. Upon entering the hotel, guests are met with effortless elegance, yet the place doesn't take itself too seriously, with cages of fake birds and models of a bulldog and bear by the lifts. Corridors are dark and sultry, with eye-catching touches such as a rose gold mirrored ceiling. Rooms are spacious, and the Holborn Dining Room is an Art Deco, brasserie-esque setting with high-end touches such as oversized flower displays and glam lighting. The bar stocks more than 500 gins; taking a recommendation (including tonic pairing) is your best bet. The sommelier also makes good suggestions.

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This landmark building had one of the most lavish makeovers the UK had ever seen when it opened as the Corinthia – the scale and quality of the fixtures and fittings provided an impressively contemporary wow-factor, as did the aesthetic that David Collins brought to the bar and restaurants – the Bassoon Bar, with its giant piano that doubles as the actual bar itself, is a great beauty. The hotel is palatial but modern, from the soaring ceilings and crystal orb chandelier in the Crystal Moon Lounge to the floral fantasia of the in-house florist.

The flagship ESPA spa, spread over four floors, is definitely one of the best and most pleasingly designed in the city, with acres of black marble and mosaics, hydrotherapy and swimming pools.

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After its inauguration, the Berkeley fast became a hit with debutantes and their beaus – in modern times, it still is, and remains a popular celebrity hangout. While it was at the forefront of the hotel scene in its heyday, today it focuses more on maintaining itself as a luxury pillar of London’s fast-moving hotel scene. This isn’t to its detriment – the hotel epitomises elegance, and is known for its collaborations with revered designers. Service is of the highest order. Top-hatted doorman wish you a good morning; turndown service happens like magic; the waiters in Koffman’s – at all hours of the day – remind you what good restaurant service should be. Facilities are excellent for a central London hotel – there’s even a Ferrari atelier, where you can custom-design your own car.

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