Budget: Aloft London ExCeL
Best for: High design, low price
The lowdown: The multi-storey, new-build Aloft adds a dash of style to the stiffer hotels that crowd the ExCeL conference centre. There are coloured lighting effects and floor-to-ceiling windows in well-appointed rooms connected by smoothly curving corridors, as well as some high-spec facilities, not least the swimming pool. The nearby Emirates Air Line cable car is a fun way to cross the Thames for blockbuster gigs at the O2 Arena, and the hotel offers a free shuttle service to the Canary Wharf hub.
Stay for: The peaceful location by the Thames. Perfect for a pre-morning meeting jog.
Know this… Aloft's self check-in service – just slot your credit card into the machine to receive your key card – is a boon for unfriendly arrival and departure times.
Book a stay at Aloft London ExCel
Mid-range: The Zetter
Best for: Style seekers
The lowdown: The Zetter was a pioneer in Clerkenwell when it opened in 2004 - the area has since grown into a hub for foodies, architects and designers. A remodelled Victorian factory, the hotel combines quietly tongue-in-cheek design, subtly effective tech and relaxed wining and dining. The rooftop studio has spacious private terraces with view of the Gherkin and St Paul’s Cathedral.
Stay for: The atmosphere – the Zetter is all about friendly touches like hot water bottles in knitted cosies, and eco-friendly touches like bottled water from its own borehole and folding bikes to hire from reception.
Know this… Book through British Airways for guaranteed late checkout (until 13:00) and a complimentary box of homemade truffles. And do nip across the courtyard for inventive cocktails in the Zetter Townhouse.
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Luxury: Rosewood London
Best for: The high life
The lowdown: In the heart of London's legal quarter, this grand building began life in 1912 as the headquarters of an insurance company. Restored in slavish detail (and with English Heritage approval), the public areas are resplendent with marble and mahogany, fires and leather upholstery. The hotel feels calm and exclusive, across a courtyard from its popular restaurant and bar along the busy main road.
Stay for: A drink in Scarfes Bar – book-lined, full of velvet-covered armchairs, and hung with innumerable drawings by scabrous British cartoonist Gerald Scarfe. Order the signature Thyme Out cocktail – Bombay Sapphire gin muddled with yellow chartreuse, fresh lemon, agave nectars, orange bitters and, of course, fresh thyme. Or try one of 400 gins (London’s largest collection) in the newly-opened Gin Bar at Holborn Dining Room.
Know this… For rooms with the highest ceilings, opt for rooms on the lower floors.
Book a stay at Rosewood London