Rain or shine, London knows the way to our hearts. If you find yourself seeking shelter from the storm, we won’t judge if you retreat to your hotel. Some of the best London hotels double as tea rooms, greenhouses, pubs and even bowling alleys. Not only is it a great way to wait out the storm, you’ll get a taste of British culture as well. Here are five of our favorites.
The Hoxton Holborn for start-up culture
Don’t be surprised if this hipster hotel has you considering a permanent move across the pond. Rooms, while snug, feature bespoke wallpaper with scenes from Charles Dickens novels as well as artwork created by students of Central St. Martins.
Then there’s the extended lobby, where dozens of Londoners set up shop for the workday. While the cafe and restaurant are busy by day with folks on their laptops, come happy hour, the space shifts from co-working space to craft cocktail bar.
The Ham Yard Hotel for midnight bowling
Soho hotspot The Ham Yard Hotel is full of surprises. From a private rooftop terrace and upscale spa to a (secret) bowling alley, it’s like an adult playground here.
The Croc Bowling Alley is playfully decorated, with back-lit bowling balls, vintage bowling shoes, bowling pin lamps, and Howard Hodgkin artwork. The creators brought in a silver baby grand piano and South African-made sofas for a loungy feel.
The Soho Hotel for weekend film screenings
Another Firmdale hotel (Ham Yard Hotel being one), Kit Kemp went full-on urban when designing The Soho Hotel. All rooms feature floor-to-ceiling, warehouse-style windows paired with her signature print-heavy designs, most notably the bed linens that tout bold patterns and prints.
Film nights are open to the general public, as well as guests, with an option to indulge on a three-course lunch, dinner, or afternoon tea (or Champagne?!!) beforehand.
The Culpepper for pub culture
What started out as a pub and restaurant is now one of London’s smallest hotels. All five rooms are well priced, tastefully decorated and include all the amenities you need for a weekend away.
The pub is almost always packed with city workers sipping craft-ales as they recap their day. With a wooden bar, green plants hanging from the walls, and floor-to-ceiling windows, it’s no wonder this welcoming watering hole draws such a crowd.
The Berkeley for a fashion-themed High Tea
There’s no shortage of London hotels serving afternoon tea, but there’s something extra special about The Berkeley’s Prêt-à-Portea. It’s inspired by the world of fashion and as such, their sweets—think bikini-shaped cookies and sponge cakes that look like designer totes—rotate every six months to reflect the latest trends.
A few months back, The Berkeley even had a royal wedding themed plate of cookies and cakes in anticipation for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s nuptials. As for the hotel itself, expect nothing less than the royal treatment: Champagne chilling in your room, fresh flowers, the works.