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In the heart of London’s hipster east side, Shoreditch’s Boundary Hotel (2-4 Boundary St., map) is a nice option, with 12 bedrooms inspired by legendary designers or design movements (there are also four duplex suites on the upper floors). The spacious hotel, formerly a Victorian-era warehouse, comprises three good restaurants—including the terrific Albion, a British-food café, bakery, and shop in one (see: kedgeree, cottage/shepherd pie, bread and butter pudding)—one of which includes a sweet rooftop bar. Rooms start at £225 (£170 on a Sunday).
You’ve come here to eat, drink, and be merry—why not stay above a classic restored pub? In Clerkenwell, the Fox & Anchor (115 Charterhouse St., map) has six uniquely designed rooms just upstairs, some boasting gorgeous claw-foot bathtubs. Rates start as low as £115 a night on weekends. Yes, the pub’s food is good (see: real ale, Welsh rarebit)—and yes, it closes at 11pm. Also in this very foodie-friendly area—a short walk to Exmouth Market and around the corner from St. John (see: roast bone marrow)—we’ve heard good things about the Zetter Hotel & Townhouse (St John’s Square, 86-88 Clerkenwell Rd., map); its 59 well-appointed vintage-modern rooms start around £222.
Very close to the Russell Square Tube station is the popular Montague on the Gardens (15 Montague St., Bloomsbury, map), a 100-unit boutique hotel with individually decorated rooms, a nifty evening “Cigar Terrace,” and loads of Victorian charm. The Central London location is excellent, a stone’s throw from the British Museum; easy walking distance to Soho, Covent Garden, and the West End theaters; and well-connected by bus and underground to points further. Doubles are listed to start at £255, but can often be found for less (around £165).
Among the better options for budget travelers are the Alhambra Hotel (17-19 Argyle St., Kings Cross, map), a well-located B&B that offers its guests a free traditional fry-up breakfast (singles from £64; doubles £75), and the Tune Hotel (two locations including 118-120 Westminster Bridge Rd., nr Waterloo, map), a limited-service concept hotel from a Malaysia-based chain. Spartan rooms, some without windows, go for about £45, but everything from towels to wi-fi to TV use is sold à la carte. Be sure to ask yourself: Do you really need that hair dryer?
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