London’s best budget hotels

Our fair capital is known for many things – thriving art and culture, great dining and more old buildings than you can shake a stick at – but it’s not normally heralded for being cheap.

That said, the big smoke is stacked with great-value digs if you know where to look – and those looking to save on accommodation don’t need to compromise on style, either.

As someone who’d rather flash their cash on a night on the town (complete with scandalously overpriced cocktails) than on a fancy room, here’s my pick of London hotels that won’t break the bank, but will give you a fabulous night’s sleep.

Best for sleek style in the heart of the action: Z Hotel Tottenham Court Road

Neighbourhood: Soho

Boasting a price that’s more suburban than city centre, the latest branch of Z Hotels, which opened in August 2018, is slap bang in the middle of the action in the West End and the shops of Oxford Street. Despite its on-point location, the 121-room former office block hasn’t sacrificed style, with chic, contemporary rooms furnished in white and charcoal. Although on the cosy side, all rooms come with an ensuite shower room, crisp bed linen and a Samsung 49 inch HD Smart TV with a full selection of Sky channels and BT Sport. Food and drink come courtesy of Z Café, which serves a buffet breakfast until 11am (11.30am on weekends) and costs £9.50pp.

Doubles from £70, room only

Best for affordable hospitality: Point A Liverpool Street

Neighbourhood: Liverpool Street

With an aim of “putting hospitality back into the budget space”, Point A is a small, family-run chain with six London properties. The Liverpool Street branch is 10 minutes’ walk from Sushi Samba and Duck and Waffle, and just five minutes from nightlife hotspot the Queen of Hoxton. Compact, minimalist rooms come with everything the discerning traveller could need – Hypnos beds, power shower, 40 inch Smart TV, hairdryer and mood lighting – and the addition of an ironing room makes it easy to stay smart. Those who join the Point A loyalty scheme also get free access to a high-spec local gym for the duration of their stay. A full continental breakfast is served until 10.30am (11am on weekends) for £9.

Doubles from £69, room only

Best for cutting edge cool in hipsterville: Ace Hotel

Neighbourhood: Shoreditch

This hip outpost of Ace Hotels, whose other properties can be found in destinations including Portland, Downtown LA and Kyoto, hosts regular events, many of them free, in its lobby and rooftop bar. Enjoying a plum position on Shoreditch High Street within spitting distance of a staggering range of bars and restaurants and permanent pop-up shopping concept Box Park, Ace Hotel offers seven different room types. But even the standard comes with vintage furniture, original artwork, flatscreen TV and a Revo radio with Ace-curated radio stations.

Doubles from £152, B&B

Best for millennial-friendly luxury: The Hoxton Holborn

Neighbourhood: Holborn

Millennial favourite The Hoxton manages the impossible – providing genuinely cool digs in central London for a decent price. The boutique chain now boasts five outlets, two of which are in London; the Holborn branch provides an ideal base for exploring Covent Garden and the West End. Décor balances classy and cool, with battered, brown leather headboards and armchairs, quirky printed wallpaper and impeccable furnishings. Rooms range from Shoebox to Roomy, but all come with an hour’s free international calls and a light breakfast bag delivered to your door, plus a fridge stocked with free water and fresh milk. Main restaurant Hubbard & Bell offers all-day dining, while casual eatery Chicken Shop does “Dirty Burgers” for £6.

Doubles from £99, B&B

Best for mixing business with pleasure: Citizen M London Bankside

Neighbourhood: Southwark

This Amsterdam-based chain is aimed firmly at the younger generation, making a point of promising “absolutely no trouser presses, bellboys, or stupid pillow chocolates”. What it offers instead is an XL king-sized bed, wall-to-wall window, rain shower and free films for every room. There are also iMacs dotted around the lobby, free to use, making it an ideal spot for remote working. Guests will find a powerful hairdryer in their room, plus specially tailored am and pm toiletries to suit their body clock. Bedrooms are all minimal chic, while the lobby is kitted out with trendy Vitra furniture. Best of all, Citizen M is perfectly located for everything London Bridge has to offer, including Borough Market, the Globe and the Shard. Breakfast at Canteen M, open 24 hours a day, costs extra. 

Doubles from £99, room only

Best for shop-til-you-drop convenience: Moxy London Stratford

Neighbourhood: Stratford

Marriott’s cool youth brand Moxy currently has three UK offerings, with the Stratford branch located right next to the sprawling Westfield shopping centre and Stratford station to whizz visitors into the city centre. The bar is open 24/7 and rooms come equipped with 42 inch TVs that can sync up with a smart phone to stream your favourite shows, plus upscale bathroom amenities and chairs and desks. Design is contemporary and understated, with grey walls and pale wood panelling – until you get to the lobby, where colour abounds. The front desk/bar is backlit with Moxy’s signature bright purple, and the “living room” is dolled up with a whacky array of objects, squishy sofas and a giant Jenga set. Continental breakfasts cost from £12pp.

Doubles from £80, room only

Best for design-hotel chic away from the crowds: Hotel 55 

Neighbourhood: Ealing

Just one minute from North Ealing tube station, Hotel 55 is well-connected while being apart from the hustle and bustle of zone one. This non-chain boutique hotel packs a design punch way above its price tag; rooms have original artwork, trendily mismatching furniture and, unlike so many monochromatic hotels, boldly painted walls in hues of green and blue. The Cozy room comes with a king size bed, large screen TV, hairdryer, L’Occitane toiletries and complimentary magazines – plus a continental breakfast is included when you book direct through the website. Onsite restaurant Momo serves up modern Japanese dishes with views over the hotel’s landscaped garden.

Doubles from £99, B&B

Best for home-from-home decadence: Rockwell East

Neighbourhood: Aldgate

Blurring the line between self-catering apartments and a full hotel, this brand new aparthotel, open from September 2018, offers flexibility, with 57 studios, one-bed and family-sized apartments up for grabs. Décor is chic yet fun, with bold splashes of royal blue and saffron. Each self-contained apartment comes with a fully fitted kitchen, dishwasher, washing machine/dryer and HDTV, but it’s the extra touches that set Rockwell East apart – Merino wool blankets, Egyptian cotton sheets, towelling dressing gowns, White Company toiletries, a Nespresso coffee machine and a welcome breakfast pack by Abel and Cole all come as standard. There’s an all-day café and bar onsite, open from 7am-midnight, and location-wise it’s a short walk from Tower Bridge.   

Apartments from £150, including breakfast pack.

Best for booze before bed: the Culpeper

Neighbourhood: Aldgate East

The Culpeper is a pub with rooms, rather than a full hotel – but this is no sticky-floored old man boozer. The pub itself is all bare brick and flattering lighting, with a drinks list that includes natural wines, local ales and cocktails made using herbs grown on the roof garden. The first-floor kitchen dishes up reassuringly normal pub food with the ubiquitous gastro twist, including deep fried black pudding balls, aubergine parmigiana and beer-battered haddock. Head up to the second floor and a selection of five beautifully furnished bedrooms awaits, blending the modern (buffed concrete walls) with the more traditional (bespoke wooden headboards). Aldgate East station is just down the road, making it an ideal springboard for wandering Whitechapel and Shoreditch.

Doubles from £120, B&B

Best for bohemian chic: My Hotel Bloomsbury

Neighbourhood: Bloomsbury

My Hotels is an affordable boutique chain with three properties – two in London, one in Brighton – that nails it on the design front. The Bloomsbury offering is in plum position smack bang between Goodge Street and Tottenham Court Road stations, with 86 rooms offset by co-working space Central Working, award-winning artisan bakers Gail’s and Gail’s Kitchen, plus a Body Kalm treatment room for guests who want to unwind after a day of sightseeing. Bedrooms are enlivened by an eclectic range of plush furnishings from brands including Conran Design and Heal’s, rather than being identikit pods. Modern bathrooms are stocked with eco-conscious Anyah bathroom amenities, plus each room boasts a multi-channel flatscreen LCD TV and work station.

Doubles from £119, room only

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