The best hotels near Buckingham Palace

·13-min read
Ham Yard Hotel in Soho, London  (Ham Yard)
Ham Yard Hotel in Soho, London (Ham Yard)

As the UK enters an official period of mourning following the death of Queen Elizabeth II at the age of 96, many people around the country – and, indeed, the world – will be looking to plan a visit to Buckingham Palace in honour of Her Majesty.

For those wanting to stay overnight, there are a whole host of hotels nearby. Here’s our pick of places to check-in, all coveniently located a 25-minute walk or less from the royal residence.

Rubens at the Palace

Rubens at the Palace is ideal for a family-friendly stay (Rubens at The Palace)
Rubens at the Palace is ideal for a family-friendly stay (Rubens at The Palace)

Walking time: 6 minutes

There’s an opulent splendour to this hotel, where the bedrooms have silk wall coverings and chandeliers. Children can expect an activity pack and cookies waiting in their bedrooms, as well as a cuddly corgi that nods to the hotel’s proximity to Buckingham Palace. There’s a “director of fun” who can help to plan activities, and a late 6pm check out on Sundays to make the most of nearby attractions. Children can take part in a Rubens Pastry Experience to decorate and take away their own cupcake.

There are plenty of room options for families. The larger suites accommodate two under 12s, while the many interconnecting rooms in the family wing accommodate up to 11. The next-door South African bar does fun, tasty food for children, while the main restaurant has breakfast options such as pancakes.

Price: Doubles from £400, room only; rubenshotel.com

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Taj 51 Buckingham Gate Suites and Residences

A Junior Suite at The Taj (Taj 51)
A Junior Suite at The Taj (Taj 51)

Walking time: 6 minutes

Indian hospitality group Taj is known for its individual heritage properties, so it’s no surprise its upscale London outpost is housed in three Victorian townhouses in groomed St James, not far from Buckingham Palace. As the name suggests, Taj 51 is an all-suite hotel, aimed at guests after longer stays – suites come with vast living rooms and fully kitted-out kitchens. Decor very much runs along classically elegant lines: think lots of rich golds, red and fat velvet cushions. The grand buildings, in quintessential red London brick, face off a quiet courtyard complete with cherub-decorated fountain. Don’t miss the basement Jiva spa, or a multi-course dinner at Michelin-starred South Indian restaurant Quilon, attached to the hotel: the masala prawns aren’t to be missed.

Price: Doubles from £400; taj51buckinghamgate.co.uk

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The Goring

The Goring is a
The Goring is a

Walking time: 9 minutes

Right around the corner from Westminster Abbey, The Goring’s biggest claim to fame is that it was the hotel that Kate Middleton used as her Royal Wedding ground zero in 2011. The sumptuous hotel, built by the Goring family in 1910, is a “baby grand” – basically an English country house in the middle of the city. The Goring gardens are a particularly lovely spot, and hold their claim as one of the largest private gardens in the capital.

Read our full review of The Goring here.

Price: Doubles from £684; thegoring.com

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Athenaeum Hotel and Residences

Stay at a five-star like the Athenaeum for a fraction of the price (Athenaeum Hotel and Residences)
Stay at a five-star like the Athenaeum for a fraction of the price (Athenaeum Hotel and Residences)

Walking time: 9 minutes

Staff at the Athenaeum Hotel bend over backwards to ensure that guests’ every whim is catered for. This is home-from-home, but of the most luxurious and spoiling kind.

Stay in one of the 18 luxury apartments for practicality and space, with the top-notch housekeeping of a hotel. Cots are beautifully made up in the main bedroom and pop-up bunk beds or sofa beds are made up in the lounge, while interconnecting apartments are ideal for family stays. Luxury bathrooms include organic toiletries, while kitchens are compact but fully equipped with smart mod cons, and there are both dining area and sitting room. You don’t, of course, have to cook; there’s the onsite 116 restaurant or book one of the hotel’s babysitters and head out on the town.

Price: Doubles from £609, room only; athenaeumhotel.com

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Como Metropolitan London

One of the treatment rooms at Como Shambhala Urban Escape (COMO Shambhala Urban Escape)
One of the treatment rooms at Como Shambhala Urban Escape (COMO Shambhala Urban Escape)

Walking time: 12 minutes

Clean and crisp are the watchwords of the Como Metropolitan London, on busy Park Lane overlooking Hyde Park. The design is all brushed wood and white linen, while the London outpost of Nobu sits elegantly on the second floor and continues to attract a loyal clientele. While it might look like an Asian-inspired luxury city hotel, Como is a wellness hotel brand at heart. Its heavenly Como Shambhala Urban Escape is just that: an escape. The spa has six rooms and offers a range of expert therapies from award-winning therapists, including super-luxurious Guinot facials, a well-loved French salon brand that’s unique to Como.

Price: Doubles from £499; comohotels.com

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Brown’s

The beds at Brown’s are comfy enough to jump on (Rocco Forte Hotels)
The beds at Brown’s are comfy enough to jump on (Rocco Forte Hotels)

Walking time: 13 minutes

Since its 1837 opening, Brown’s has welcomed illustrious guests from Winston Churchill to Rudyard Kipling (The Jungle Book was completed here). The decor here is elegant: sage greens in our room and hand-painted walls elsewhere. There is also a beautifully illustrated Albemarle storybook for bedtime reading, and milk and home-baked cookies. A popcorn machine was a fun addition to our room. A VIP membership card allows children to borrow books from the reception’s “library”, while they can also expect their own toiletries and rubber ducks. Parents can request equipment from bottle steriliser to baby monitor, films and games consoles. The concierge will create a bespoke teen itinerary on request. The open spaces of Green Park are a short walk away.

Additional beds and interconnecting rooms are available, as are two-bedroom suites and a five-bedroom townhouse.

Price: Doubles from £880, room only; roccofortehotels.com

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The Lanesborough

The Regency exterior of The Lanesborough (The Lanesborough)
The Regency exterior of The Lanesborough (The Lanesborough)

Walking time: 17 minutes

Smack dab opposite Hyde Park is the grand neoclassical Lanesborough, which, thanks to its stately good looks, has been used often as a stand-in for Buckingham Palace. Today it’s about as close as you can get to feeling like a royal without being born one. Interiors by designer Alberto Pinto recall 18th-century Regency style (which continues into the ultra-plush guestrooms) and fresh flowers are everywhere.

Price: Doubles from £915; oetkercollection.com

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Hotel Cafe Royal

The Regent suite at Hotel Cafe Royal has balconies that look directly over the billboards of Piccadilly Circus (Hotel Cafe Royal)
The Regent suite at Hotel Cafe Royal has balconies that look directly over the billboards of Piccadilly Circus (Hotel Cafe Royal)

Walking time: 17 minutes

Few hotels have as “London” a location as Hotel Cafe Royal, tucked discreetly away in a very indiscreet place: Piccadilly Circus. This gorgeous heritage property has retained its historic features (check out the old-school lifts) as well as some seriously starry guests that have included David Bowie and Sir Winston Churchill.

The suite to ask for is 202 (the Regent suite), a vast space with three (three!) balconies overlooking the flashing billboards of London’s most OTT public space, which make the most wonderful, surreal place to enjoy a drink before shuffling downstairs to sip champagne and nibble a posh dessert at three-Michelin-star chef Albert Adrià’s Cake & Bubbles.

Price: Doubles from £829; hotelcaferoyal.com

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Artist Residence

There are some quirky original works on display in the rooms (Artist Residence)
There are some quirky original works on display in the rooms (Artist Residence)

Walking time: 19 minutes

Occupying a handsome five-storey regency terrace in Pimlico, this hotel’s grand surroundings belie its quirky cool interiors. You’ll find other Artist Residences in Brighton, Penzance and Oxfordshire, but the rakish touches to this London branch – scattered kilner vases and bedside tables made from milking stools – as well as a buzzy cocktail bar downstairs and pop art pieces scattered throughout its 10 rooms, make it a must-visit.

Read our full review of Artist Residence Hotel.

Price: Doubles from £215, room only; artistresidence.co.uk

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Great Scotland Yard hotel

The 40 Elephants bar at Great Scotland Yard (Great Scotland Yard)
The 40 Elephants bar at Great Scotland Yard (Great Scotland Yard)

Walking time: 19 minutes

Tucked discreetly down a side street off Whitehall, you wouldn’t know Great Scotland Yard was there unless you’d been tipped off beforehand.

The arty design couldn’t be further away from the buttoned-up political pomp of the nearby Houses of Parliament, balancing sophistication with madcap quirkiness. The sleek, cream-walled and floored lobby area, for example, is furnished with an oversized, shiny black rhino that doubles as a chair, giant postage stamp artworks and sausage dog cushions to add more playful touches.

Food and drink-wise, Ekstedt at The Yard brings Michelin-starred chef Niklas Ekstedt’s signature wood-fired “old Nordic” cooking to London. Elsewhere, The Parlour offers a “distinctly different” afternoon tea inspired by HRH-approved perfumery Floris London’s signature fragrance, “A Rose For”. The 40 Elephants bar is the hotel’s central watering hole, serving up craft beers and thoughtful cocktails (try Smash and Grab: a blend of Pisco, apple, marigold, Vetiver Gris liqueur, lime, sugar and soda), while newly opened Síbín is an in-the-know whisky bar hidden behind a secret door (another faux bookshelf put to good use).

Read our full review of Great Scotland Yard hotel.

Price: Doubles from £295, room only; hyatt.com

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The Berkley

The Berkley's Prêt-à-Portea lunch menu (The Berkley)
The Berkley's Prêt-à-Portea lunch menu (The Berkley)

Walking time: 19 minutes

Sitting grandiose in Knightsbridge on the edge of Hyde Park, a stiletto’s click away from Harrods and Harvey Nichols, The Berkley oozes elegance and Art Deco grandeur. Perhaps it’s because numerous designers have collaborated with the hotel, including Paul Smith, who designed a range of bespoke crockery for the catwalk-inspired afternoon Pret-a-portea. The hotel has 190 rooms, 55 of which are suites, many with terraces overlooking Hyde Park and some bigger than most London flats. Marble bathrooms, wooden panelling and abstract art from the likes of Takahashi Murakami adorn the walls.

It’s old school London with a distinctly modern vibe, from suited and booted doormen and the award-winning David Collins designed Blue Bar that offers over 50 different whiskies, to the Instagrammer’s heaven, the snug at The Berkley Bar, designed by Bryan O’Sullivan with millennial pink walls, mural wallpaper and plush velvet sofa, perfect for an intimate group or romantic nightcap. The Berkley has two restaurants, the Michelin-starred Marcus, from head chef Marcus Wareing – a must for foodies – and The Collins Room, which offers a breakfast of champions.

Price: Doubles from £780; the-berkeley.co.uk

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Haymarket Hotel

The hotel’s hip design follows the popular ‘grandmillennial’ trend (Haymarket hotel)
The hotel’s hip design follows the popular ‘grandmillennial’ trend (Haymarket hotel)

Walking time: 20 minutes

This hip five-star hotel has a bright, friendly atmosphere that matches Kit Kemp’s colourful and quirky interiors. Ideal if you’re seeing a show as a family, the Haymarket is in the heart of Theatreland. The generous welcome amenities for children are highest quality and tasteful: mini bathrobes and slippers, cookies and milk in bottles with striped paper straws at bedtime, a specially chosen gift and book, organic toiletries, plus a voucher to be exchanged for ice cream or a fruity drink tailor-made by the bartender. Children are welcome in the hotel’s lounges where there are games for all ages; smiley staff are happy to provide additional entertainment. The children’s menu in the Brumus restaurant offers the usual chicken goujons and burgers, but with healthy sides of broccoli or salad, and the choice of a fruit bowl for dessert. Don’t miss out on the basement’s funky, pink-lit swimming pool which offers inflatables for water fun.

Price: Doubles from £630, room only; firmdalehotels.com

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The Biltmore

Decor at The Biltmore is neutral and luxurious (LXR Biltmore)
Decor at The Biltmore is neutral and luxurious (LXR Biltmore)

Walking time: 20 minutes

Part of the Hilton’s new upscale LXR brand, The Biltmore on Mayfair’s Grosvenor Square might have borrowed a strong American name, but inside the vibe is all British. Case in point: it was here, at 44 Grosvenor Square, that the Battle of Waterloo was declared a success in 1815. The lobby is a shimmer of gold, bronze and jolly floral soft furnishings, while Jason Atherton’s The Betterment sits just off to the right, serving modern British cuisine (try the signature fried onion flower, which tastes like a posh onion ring) and surprisingly reasonable cocktails. On the topic of cocktails... end your night swilling a whisky in the dim, wood-panelled Pine Bar. Guestrooms are decked in luxurious neutral, if a little bland, tones, but it’s the service that really stands out. Check-in staff will not only remember your name but wave you off with it the next day, but never in a way that feels overpowering or cloying.

Price: Doubles from £505; hilton.com

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The Ham Yard Hotel

The orangery at Ham Yard Hotel is ideal for afternoon tea (Ham Yard)
The orangery at Ham Yard Hotel is ideal for afternoon tea (Ham Yard)

Walking time: 20 minutes

Named after an 18th-century pub called The Ham, “urban village” Ham Yard is found in a quiet (quiet!) courtyard just moments from Piccadilly Circus. The hotel, part of the Firmdale Hotels brand, is all patterned wallpaper and mismatched furniture – very much the MO of its interior designer owners Tim and Kit Kemp. The highlight of the property (if you discount seeing celebs rolling in and out) is the guests-only roof terrace.

Read our full review of Ham Yard Hotel.

Price: Doubles from £900, room only; firmdalehotels.com

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Mandarin Oriental

The Mandarin Oriental is well-placed for Hyde Park (Mandarin Oriental)
The Mandarin Oriental is well-placed for Hyde Park (Mandarin Oriental)

Walking time: 21 minutes

This hotel, first opened in 1908, may be an old dog, but it doesn’t mean it can’t learn new tricks: with a 2019 renovation came new penthouses, an expanded spa created by a New York design firm and guestrooms and suites spruced up under the elegant eye of Hong Kong designer Joyce Wang. Her rooms are the epitome of art deco glamour, with hand-etched mirrors, curved glass and bronze furnishings and muted, spring-like sofas and headboards, which either look over the spoils of Knightsbridge or groomed Hyde Park. If you can’t (afford to) stay, Mandarin Bar is shaped like a catwalk with suspended copper glass light fixtures; while Heston Blumenthal’s two-Michelin-starred Dinner remains one of London’s greatest restaurants.

Read our full review of Mandarin Oriental.

Price: Doubles from £900; mandarinoriental.com

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Victory House

Victory House's rooms are thoughtfully designed with gold lamps and hooks (Victory House)
Victory House's rooms are thoughtfully designed with gold lamps and hooks (Victory House)

Walking time: 22 minutes

Sandwiched between the Prince Charles Cinema and Leicester Square is Victory House, an 86-room boutique overlooking the Odeon cinema. The hotel, housed in a late 19th-century building that was once L’Hôtel de l’Europe, is very much inspired by the area: silent films are projected onto the deep purple walls, while cinematic black-and-white photos everywhere give it a whiff of Parisian glamour. The rooms and suites aren’t deluxe in size, but rather thoughtfully designed with gold lamps and hooks; some suites on the sixth floor, the highest in the hotel, come with characterful round portholes and drooping eaves.

Overlooking Leicester Square might not be everyone’s idea of a good night’s sleep, but there’s an answer for that too. Everything inside the rooms and suites at Victory House is included in the rate, including a set of earplugs.

Price: Doubles from £250; victoryhouselondon.com

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Z Hotel Tottenham Court Road

Z Hotel offers simple, affordable rooms (Z Hotels)
Z Hotel offers simple, affordable rooms (Z Hotels)

Walking time: 24 minutes

Boasting a price that’s more suburban than city centre, this branch of the Z Hotel chain is slap bang in the middle of the action if what you’re looking for is the West End and the shops of Oxford Street. Despite its on-point location, the 120-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. The cheapest rooms have no windows.

Price: Doubles from £120; thezhotels.com

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The Savoy

The Savoy’s entrance driveway provides an elegant welcome to London (The Savoy)
The Savoy’s entrance driveway provides an elegant welcome to London (The Savoy)

Walking time: 25 minutes

Probably the best-known hotel in London, The Savoy has been a firm favourite of the world’s jet-set since it opened in 1889. Everything is suitably regal (think Art Deco meets Edwardian) and the American Bar, the oldest cocktail bar in London is worth a stop if you can’t afford to spend the night here. Quaintly, the hotel entrance is also the only place in the UK where you drive on the right.

Read our full review of The Savoy.

Price: Doubles from £626; thesavoylondon.com

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Henrietta Hotel

The stylish Henrietta Hotel is also close to the West End (Henrietta Hotel)
The stylish Henrietta Hotel is also close to the West End (Henrietta Hotel)

Walking time: 25 minutes

Want to be in the thick of it but don’t want to compromise on style? The Henrietta – the first London outpost from the Paris-based Experimental Group – gives great access to London’s bustling West End, without feeling like a tourist trap. Rooms are a zingy mix of leopard print wallpaper, marble skirting boards and geometric floors, and there’s also an 80-seat restaurant on site for a thoroughly decent pre-theatre dinner.

Price: Doubles from £357; henriettahotel.com

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