London’s impressive history provides a wealth of hotels housed in historic buildings.
London is ever changing, and that goes double for its hotels.
Unlike many capital cities, London likes to renovate and repurpose its historic buildings instead of just tearing them down. And this has created some pretty exciting hotel spaces, with a number of major hotels taking over buildings that have had a long and interesting past as something else – from courthouses to hospitals, from government buildings to prisons and banks.
If you fancy a stay in a hotel that has enjoyed an interesting former life – then why not try these historic sleeping places.
NoMad Hotel London
Luxury, on-trend hotel brand NoMad has chosen London for its first international outpost, and they have outdone themselves with the NoMad London. They have painstakingly restored and converted the Grade II-listed Bow Street Magistrates’ Court and Police Station, slap bang opposite the Royal Opera House. Bow Street Court is the most famous in the UK, and over its 266 year history saw a lot of action, including the trial of Oscar Wilde for sodomy.
Designed by New York-based interior design studio, Roman and Williams, the NoMad’s 91 guest rooms include 21 suites, and the hotel includes a world-class collection of art, The NoMad Restaurant housed in the atrium, Side Hustle bar, and the Living Room for tea, coffee and cocktails.
The hotel also manages to include the Bow Street Police Museum, celebrating the building’s colourful past both as a police station and Magistrates’ Court.
28 Bow Street, London, WC2E 7AW. Tel: +44 (0)20 3906 1600 Website
Great Scotland Yard Hotel
The former Metropolitan Police Headquarters on Great Scotland Yard is famous throughout the world, and housed London’s police force from 1829 to 1890. It was rebuilt in the Edwardian style in 1910 and is steeped in history, including being the location where the Jack the Ripper crimes were investigated.
The building is now a lavish five star hotel that is part of the Hyatt Hotels group.
3-5 Great Scotland Yard, London, SW1A 2HN. Tel: +44 (0) 207 9254 700 Website
Sydell Group – owners of NoMad London, have identified London as a hotel opportunity for a while. Ahead of the NoMad, they forged a partnership with the Soho House people, to restore the old Midland Bank head office between Poultry Street and Princes Street in the City into a vast and sumptuous new hotel.
The hotel has beautifully restored Sir Edwin ‘Ned’ Lutyens’s spectacular building, that dates back from 1925. No less than 10 restaurants pretty much cover off every possible food whim you might have. Certain parts of the Ned are only available to hotel guests and members (in true Soho House fashion there is a club that can be joined), including the rooftop and underground Vault Bar. Entry to vault is through the old bank vault door – a 20-tonne circular door, a metre thick.
27 Poultry, London, EC2R 8AJ. Tel: + 44 (0)20 3828 2000 Website
Hazlitt’s Hotel, Soho
Originally the home of William Hazlitt and billed as London’s oldest hotel, the houses that make up the hotel on Soho’s Frith Street date back to 1718.
The group also owns The Rookery in Clerkenwell, also a beautiful boutique hotel in an historic building – this time from 1764.
6 Frith Street, Soho Square, London, W1D 3JA. Tel: +44(0)20 7434 1771 Website
The Courthouse Hotel
Formerly the Great Marlborough Street Magistrates Court, notorious for the place where Oscar Wilde sued Queensbury for libel, Charles Dickens worked as a reporter there for the Morning Chronicle, Christine Keeler was tried during the Profumo scandal and Mick Jagger was fined for drugs charges.
19-21 Great Marlborough Street, London, W1F 7HL Tel: + 44 20 7297 5555 Website
The Marriott County Hall
This grand building alongside the Thames and nearly opposite Parliament was the HQ for the Greater London Council and was opened in 1922 by King George V.
London County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, London, SE1 7PB Tel: +44-207-928 5200 Website
On High Holborn, this extraordinary, ornate building was once the head office of the Pearl Assurance Company, with grand boardrooms, arcades of Pavonazzo marble and a cupola that rises over 50 meters.
Designed by H. Percy Monckton in a (very!) flamboyant Edwardian style, the first part of the building was completed in 1914the arcades of Pavonazzo marble frame a view of the cupola that rises to 50.6 meters (166 feet), the maximum permitted height at the time of construction.
252 High Holborn, London, WC1V 7EN Tel: +44 20 7781 8888 Website
Andre Balazs caused a sensation in London with his Chiltern Firehouse venture, set within an old fire station in Marylebone. It continues to be a favourite celeb hangout and THE place to see and be seen.
Chiltern Street is also an independent shopping destination, packed with cute cafes and boutiques.
1 Chiltern Street, Marylebone, London, W1U 7PA Tel: 020 7073 7653 Website
The Malmaison is in a former nurses quarters for workers at Bart’s hospital, all set within beautiful Charterhouse Square.
18-21 Charterhouse Square, London, EC1M 6AH Tel: +84469 30656 Website
Trendy Shepherd’s Bush hotel that used to house the The Pavilion cinema – a Grade II listed building which overlooks Shepherds Bush Green.
58 Shepherds Bush Green, London, W12 8QE Tel: +44 203 262 1026 Website
From the team behind The Wolseley, the Beaumont Hotel is in a former art deco garage – which isn’t to denigrate this historic, beautiful building from 1926 overlooking Brown Hart Gardens.
Sculptor Antony Gormley created a suite in the hotel called ROOM, which is a huge modular piece made of stainless steel and fumed oak and placed a low-level wing on the south side of the building. The Colony Grill is also a beautiful place to dine.
Brown Hart Gardens, Mayfair, London, W1K 6TF Tel: +44 20 7499 1001 Website
Corinthia Hotel London
Close to the Thames and Trafalgar Square, the Corinthia London is in a grand Victorian building dating from 1885.
Originally the Metropole Hotel, it was commandeered in both World Wars and became a Ministry of Defence building until sold in 2007. A primary choice of Hollywood celebs in town, the spa and vast central lounge are of special note.
Whitehall Place, London SW1A 2BD. Tel: +44 (0) 20 7930 8181 Website
And new hotels coming soon
Hotel at Admiralty Arch. New hotel in the iconic London landmark, to be developed by Rafael Serrano. Website
The Chancery Rosewood. Set to open in 2024 in Mayfair, housed in the U.S. Embassy on Grosvenor Square. The Grade II listed building is being converted bySir David Chipperfield as a new retail destination and hotel. The 139 rooms and suites are being designed by Joseph Dirand, plus a Yabu Pushelberg designed Asaya spa. Website