This hotel was a trailblazer of the budget-boutique trend that emerged in the late 1990’s, and it’s still one of the best, offering stylish, comfortable accommodations with luxurious touches (but without an equivalent tariff). Historic Clerkenwell square houses this lodging in a converted Victorian mansion block, which is convenient to the city and great nightlife. Sensuous plum and red tones fill the 97 guest rooms, as do large beds, free Wi-Fi, tea- and coffee-making facilities, swanky TV’s, and generous- size toiletries (from the isle of Arran), including massage oil. Its restaurant and bar hum with a mix of locals and guests who come for top-notch French brasserie food (products are bought from farmers within 30 miles of London)—and a wine list to match.
Insider Tip: Don’t expect turndown service.
Room to Book: Spacious superior rooms have king-size beds and extra-large toiletries.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.