Six of the best funky new London hotels


Fancy gazing over the dreamy neo-Gothic spires of London St Pancras while enjoying a soothing bath? This is possible in some of the 266 rooms and terraced suites at The Standard, which is tucked inside a 1974 Brutalist tower directly opposite that grandiose railway station and neighbouring terminus, King's Cross. Melding mod-cons with a stylised 1970s-esque vibe, this groovy hotel has an ambient lounge-library and a buzzy bar and restaurant by renowned London chef Adam Rawson. Guests can also take "the red pill" - an exterior lift that zooms up to the 10th floor - for 360-degree views of London, and Mexican-Spanish cuisine by Michelin-feted chef Peter Sanchez-Iglesias. Rooms from £199.



Set up in 2008 by ace designer Philippe Starck and the Trigano family (which launched Club Med in the 1950s), this French brand has found a winning formula: opening funky hotels in lesser-known big-city neighbourhoods. This Mama Shelter borders the gritty-hip east London districts of Bethnal Green and Hackney and is within walking distance of Brick Lane, Colombia Road Flower Market and the Regent's Canal. The hotel has fun vibes, with basement karaoke booths and a flamboyant street-level bar-restaurant-hang out with vintage arcade machines, sombrero-shaped lamp-shades and Darth Vader helmets clad in vibrant Huichol-style beads. The 194 bedrooms are more minimalist, but have perks such as smart TVs with free movies. Rooms from £79.



A gorgeous lobby with restored Edwardian decor and colourful contemporary artwork welcomes you to this elegant yet hip hotel which occupies a former magistrates court and police station about 200 metres south of Tower Bridge. The old courtroom is now a bar, with mug-shots of ex-cons on the walls and imaginative cocktails crafted by the judge's bench. Old jail cells stud the hotel's all-day restaurant and coffee bar (Shakedown coffee is roasted in-house). The Dixon has 193 rooms and suites in the original 1905 building and a new annex, some with views of iconic landmarks: the Tower of London and The Shard. Rooms from £141.



Also south of the River Thames is this latest offering from a boutique chain that first mushroomed in Shoreditch, east London, in 2006, and has since spread to mainland Europe and the USA. The 192 rooms here come in signature Hoxton categories – 'Shoebox', 'Snug', 'Cosy', 'Roomy' and 'Biggy' - with parquet floors, exposed brick and warehouse-style windows. There's a trendy lobby-bar-eatery, where you're as likely to see creatives tapping away on lap-tops as suited business types nursing after-work tipples. Seabird, the 14th floor rooftop seafood restaurant, promises London's longest oyster list and stunning city panoramas. Rooms from £80.



This discerning boutique affair is hidden down one of the City of London's historic, sloping cobbled streets, its name inspired by the ancient trading guilds that flourished locally. The Vintry ward was the hub for London wine merchants and Mercer the area for traders of fine silks and damasks. Bespoke fabrics grace the hotel's 92 chic rooms and suites. There's a speakeasy-style basement bar, Asian tapas at Vintry Izakaya and a roof terrace restaurant where you can dine on modern British fare and cast your eye towards the magnificent dome of nearby St Paul's Cathedral. Rooms from £175. See



A Kirkwood piano that Freddie Mercury practiced on as a youngster, David Bowie's "Relax" T-shirt and one of Paul McCartney's trademark Beatles suits. Nostalgia-inducing memorabilia like this dots Britain's first Hard Rock Hotel, which has revived and refurbished the old Cumberland Hotel in Marble Arch where many rock and pop legends stayed (among them Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Buddy Holly and Diana Ross). Music-themed artwork enlivens the 900 rooms and suites, you can play vinyls on Crosley turntables, drink at a stylish lobby bar and watch live bands at the hotel's Hard Rock Cafe. Incidentally, the original Hard Rock Cafe, founded by two Americans in 1971, is just down the road in Mayfair. Rooms from £160.


Steve McKenna was a guest of Visit Britain. See