Our fair capital, replete with historic landmarks, iconic neighbourhoods and that big ol’ river, boasts some unparalleled views – which can always be enjoyed from one of London’s many viewpoints.
Those viewpoints, however, tend to involve 1) being outside, and 2) not being in a king-sized bed with Egyptian cotton sheets and a room service cart within arm’s reach.
Happily, London also plays host to a whole bunch of extremely desirable hotels, from which said views can be observed in great comfort. So if you’re celebrating a big day, treating a loved one or just plotting a city escape for the sheer hell of it (in which case – good for you! You deserve it!), take note. With this selection of distinctive-but-luxurious London hotels with amazing views, you’ll feel like a kid in a suite shop…
Hotel Café Royal | Piccadilly Circus
It simply doesn’t get more central than HCR. Since it first opened as a restaurant in 1865, the Café Royal has been at the heart – both geographically and socially – of London life. Oscar Wilde was a regular, and the venue has since played host to all the movers and shakers of the day – including Muhammad Ali, Elizabeth Taylor, Mick Jagger, Kate Moss and Cara Delevingne.
So, once you’ve finished craning your neck to see who else is checking in, treat yourself to a stay in their Grand Regent Suite, notable for its absurdly-intimate view of the bustle of Piccadilly Circus. Seriously, with the curtains open, your room will be illuminated by the glow of the iconic LED billboard outside (luckily, the blackout blinds mean this isn’t a constant). Service is characteristically warm and discreet, and the suite is somehow entirely soundproof (quintuple-glazed, surely?!) – a haven of calm in the very centre of the capital.
Details: 10 Air St, W1B 4DY | Find out more here
The Savoy | The Strand
Perhaps London’s most elegant grand hotel, the mighty Savoy, which holds court at the heart of the Strand, is the place to enjoy unparalleled views looking out over the Thames, whilst essentially pretending you’re Noël Coward. Whilst you’re there, head down to the Beaufort Bar; here, hospitality industry legend Anna Sebastian (previously the driving force behind the Langham’s iconic Artesian bar), has relaunched the menu, and given the room a naughtier, late-night-hideaway feel. In terms of rooms, take your pick – a host of them look out onto the river. But, if the planets align, a stay in the Savoy Suite – replete with floor-to-ceiling views across the entire city – will be a memory you cherish for the rest of your life.
Details: Strand, WC2R 0EZ | Find out more here
Sea Containers | Southbank
Formerly the Mondrian, the distinctive Sea Containers hotel near Blackfriars Bridge is a hugely satisfying answer to the question ‘What would it look like if Tom Dixon designed a luxury hotel?’. The results are, predictably, immensely desirable. The design is inspired by the golden age of cruise liners, and the 1920s-art-deco-through-a-modern-lens sensibility permeates the whole hotel, from the rooftop bar, 12th Knot, (top notch) to the spa (likewise), through to the eponymous Sea Containers restaurant and the beautifully-appointed rooms. It’ll be a Riverview Deluxe Room you’re after, of course, with its outrageous views – you’ll feel as though you’re literally floating over the Thames, with all of buzzing, bustling, central London at your feet.
Details: 20 Upper Ground, South Bank, SE1 9PD | Find out more here
Shangri-La The Shard | London Bridge
Yes, OK, fine, it’s difficult to escape the notion that the Shard is somehow sliiiightly sinister. There’s its passing resemblance to the Dark Tower of Mordor, its embodiment of the at-times-terrifying gentrification of the city, its utter dominance of the skyline. But, look, if it’s beautiful views of London you’re after, they really don’t come much better than those visible from the Shangri-La.
Floor 34 is where the hotel starts (starts!), so you’re guaranteed a breath-taking vantage-point, and none more so than the view from the Shangri-La Suite – when booked alongside the connecting Premier City View Room, one is afforded a ludicrously-spectacular 270° view of London, from the London Eye to Canary Wharf. That, coupled with the suite’s butler service, marble bathrooms, and king-size bed mean that a stay at the Shard is very difficult to look down on (but a blast to look down from).
Details: 31 St Thomas St, SE1 9QU | Find out more here
The Petersham | Richmond
Richmond! Home to beautiful parks and gardens, frolicking deer, and beloved fictional sports team AFC Richmond. London’s leafy, relaxing quasi-village is easy on the eye from more or less wherever you look at it – but it’s particularly appealing when you’re gazing out from your Deluxe Riverview Double Bedroom at the Petersham Hotel.
The gorgeous Victorian hotel was bought by the Dare family in the 1970s, who still run the place, and the retreat is a welcoming home-from-home for new guests and its many regulars. And that view from your room? As relaxing and nourishing as bingeing a full season of Ted Lasso.
Details: Nightingale Lane, Richmond, Surrey, TW10 6UZ | Find out more here
Intercontinental London – The O2 | Greenwich
A quick glance at the very road The Intercontinental can be found on – Waterview Drive, for goodness’ sake! – lets you know that you’ll be in for a visual treat once you’ve checked in. And whether you’re catching a concert at the O2, or simply want to ensure you’ve got all the charming things to do in Greenwich on your doorstep, you’ll have an impressive – and unusual – view of London from your hotel room. London’s Docklands might be a little dystopian, but there’s a strange beauty to the district: as well as the vast buildings of Canary Wharf’s banking district, and industrial East London, you’ll see all sorts of unusual public art, the constant trundling of boats (including the mighty Thames Clipper), and the often-mocked-but-actually-extremely-good-fun Emirates ‘Air Line’ (it’s a cable car).
Whilst checking into a Suite will guarantee you an impeccably-luxurious stay, you can get just as jazzy a view by dropping by the Clipper bar for a drink – here, you’ll get 270° views (whilst drinking the hotel’s own Clipper Gin, if you’re so inclined). Waterview? What-a-view indeed.
Details: 1 Waterview Drive, SE10 0TW | Find out more here
Monkey Island Estate | Maidenhead
Venture just beyond the reaches of greater London and you’ll find there are a host of alternative spectacular views to be had. In the historic village of Bray (of Fat Duck fame), the Monkey Island Estate offers an entire world for you to look out on – the entire seven acre estate it sits on its very own island in the Thames. Originally commissioned as the Duke of Marlborough’s angling retreat in the 1700s, today the venue has been lavishly restored to its Palladian glory, and offers 40 beautiful rooms (if you can, bag a night in the Grade 1-listed Wedgewood Suite) looking out onto the estate’s beautifully landscaped gardens and manicured lawns, with the river beyond. Good work, the-Duke-of-Marlborough-in-the-1700s, good work.
Details: Bray, Maidenhead SL6 2EE | Find out more here
Want to know what you’re looking at? Check out our run-down of the most iconic landmarks on London’s skyline
The Nudge is an independent, searchable and highly-curated guide to the most interesting places to go and things to do in London, giving members unrestricted access to our full compendium of continually-updated restaurants, bars, events, exhibitions, date ideas, itineraries, member perks, weekend guides, monthly agendas and more – all delivered via our website, email newsletters & members’ app.
Join us to see what’s hot in London this week; to explore all of the recommendations & ideas stored within The Nudge’s website and members’ app; and to start making the most of life in London today. Start Free One Week Trial