London’s best budget hotels | The Independent

Our fair capital is known for many things: thriving art and culture, great dining and more old buildings than you can shake a stick at – but it’s not normally heralded for being cheap.

That said, the Big Smoke is stacked with great-value digs if you know where to look – and those looking to save on accommodation don’t need to compromise on style, either.

As someone who’d rather flash their cash on a night on the town – complete with scandalously overpriced cocktails – than a fancy room, here’s my pick of London hotels that won’t break the bank but will give you a fabulous night’s sleep.

The best hotels in London are:

  • Best for sleek style in the heart of the action: Z Hotel Tottenham Court Road,
  • Best for affordable hospitality: Point A Liverpool Street,
  • Best for millennial-friendly luxury: The Hoxton Holborn,
  • Best for shop-til-you-drop convenience: Moxy London Stratford,
  • Best for design-hotel chic away from the crowds: Hotel 55,
  • Best for home-from-home decadence: Rockwell East,
  • Best for booze before bed: The Culpeper,
  • Best for bohemian chic: My Bloomsbury,
  • Best for food and drink: Hoxton Southwark,

The Independent’s hotel reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and book, but we never allow this to affect our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.

Neighbourhood: Soho

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.

Z Hotels offers small but perfectly formed rooms

(Z Hotels)

Price: Doubles from £70, room only

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Neighbourhood: Liverpool Street

With an aim of “putting hospitality back into the budget space”, Point A is a small, family-run chain with six London properties. The Liverpool Street branch is 10 minutes’ walk from Sushi Samba and Duck and Waffle, and just five minutes from nightlife hotspot the Queen of Hoxton. Compact, minimalist rooms (including some with no windows) come with everything a discerning traveller could need – Hypnos bed, power shower, 40-inch Smart TV, hairdryer and mood lighting – and the addition of an ironing room makes it easy to stay smart. Those who join the Point A loyalty scheme also get free access to a high-spec nearby gym during their stay. A full continental breakfast is served until 10.30am – 11am on weekends – for £9.

Point A prioritises great service

(Point A)

Price: Doubles from £59, room only

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Neighbourhood: Holborn

Millennial favourite The Hoxton manages the impossible – providing genuinely cool digs in central London for a decent price. The boutique chain now has five outlets, three of which are in London; the Holborn branch provides an ideal base for exploring Covent Garden and the West End. The décor balances classy with cool in battered, brown leather headboards and armchairs, quirky printed wallpaper and impeccable furnishings. Rooms range from “shoebox” to “roomy”, but all come with an hour’s free international calls and a fridge stocked with free water and fresh milk. Main restaurant Rondo offers all-day dining while La Cave is a wine bar that hosts foodie pop-ups.

The Hoxton combines solid design with affordable rates

(The Hoxton)

Price: Doubles from £149, B&B

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Neighbourhood: Southwark

This Amsterdam-headquartered chain is aimed firmly at the younger generation, and makes a point of promising “absolutely no trouser presses, bellboys, or stupid pillow chocolates”. What it offers instead is an XL king-sized bed, wall-to-wall window, rain shower and free films for every room. There are also free to use iMacs dotted around the lobby, making it an ideal spot for remote working. Guests will find a powerful hairdryer in their room, plus specially tailored am and pm toiletries to suit their body clock. Bedrooms are all minimal chic while the lobby is kitted out with trendy Vitra furniture. Best of all, Citizen M is perfectly located for everything London Bridge has to offer, including Borough Market, the Globe and the Shard. Breakfast, at the 24-hour Canteen M, costs extra.

Citizen M has the perfect lobby for remote working

(Richard Powers)

Price: Doubles from £81, room only

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Neighbourhood: Stratford

Marriott’s cool youth brand Moxy has three UK locations, with the Stratford branch next to the sprawling Westfield shopping centre and Stratford station nearby, to whizz visitors into the city centre. The bar is open 24/7 and rooms come equipped with 42-inch TVs that can sync up with a smart phone to stream your favourite shows, plus upscale bathroom amenities, chairs and desks. The design is contemporary and understated, with grey walls and pale wood panelling – until you get to the lobby, where colour abounds. The front desk and bar is backlit with Moxy’s signature bright purple, and the “living room” is dolled up with a whacky array of objects, squishy sofas and a giant Jenga set. Continental breakfasts cost from £12.50.

The Moxy’s reception desk doubles as a bar


Price: Doubles from £67, room only

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Best for design-hotel chic away from the crowds: Hotel 55

Neighbourhood: Ealing

Just one minute from North Ealing tube station, Hotel 55 is well-connected while being apart from the hustle and bustle of zone one. This non-chain boutique hotel packs a design punch way above its price tag; the rooms have original artwork, trendily mismatched furniture and – unlike so many monochromatic hotels – boldly painted walls in hues of green and blue. The “cozy” room comes with a king size bed, large screen TV, hairdryer, L’Occitane toiletries and complimentary magazines. Restaurant Momo serves up modern Japanese dishes and offers views over the hotel’s landscaped garden.

Hotel 55 has a modern Japanese restaurant

(Hotel 55)

Price: Doubles from £77, room only

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Neighbourhood: Aldgate

Blurring the line between self-catering apartments and a full hotel, this aparthotel offers flexibility, with 57 studios, one-bed and family-sized apartments up for grabs. The décor is chic yet fun, with bold splashes of royal blue and saffron. Each self-contained apartment comes with a fully fitted kitchen, dishwasher, washing machine and dryer and HDTV. But it’s the extra touches that set Rockwell East apart – Merino wool blankets, Egyptian cotton sheets, towelling dressing gowns, White Company toiletries, a Nespresso coffee machine and a welcome breakfast pack by Abel and Cole all come as standard. There’s an all-day café and bar, open from 7am to midnight, and it’s a short walk from Tower Bridge.

Rockwell East provides a home-from-home feel

(Rockwell East)

Price: Apartments from £130, B&B

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Neighbourhood: Aldgate East

The Culpeper is a pub with rooms, rather than a full hotel – but this is no sticky-floored, old man boozer. The pub is all bare brick and flattering lighting, with a drinks list that includes natural wines, local ales and cocktails made using herbs grown on the roof garden. The first-floor kitchen dishes up reassuringly normal pub food – albeit with the ubiquitous gastro twist – including deep fried black pudding balls, aubergine parmigiana and beer-battered haddock. Head up to the second floor and a selection of five beautifully furnished bedrooms awaits, blending the modern – buffed concrete walls – with the more traditional, featuring bespoke wooden headboards, for instance. Aldgate East station is just down the road, making it an ideal springboard for wandering Whitechapel and Shoreditch.

The Culpeper is a trendy pub with rooms


Price: Doubles from £120, B&B

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Neighbourhood: Bloomsbury

My Hotels is an affordable boutique chain with two properties – one in London, one in Brighton – that nails it, on the design front. The Bloomsbury location is bang on, between Goodge Street and Tottenham Court Road stations, and offers 86 rooms plus co-working space, award-winning artisan bakers Gail’s, and a Body Kalm treatment room for guests who want to unwind after a day of sightseeing. Bedrooms are enlivened by an eclectic range of plush furnishings from brands including Conran Design and Heal’s. Modern bathrooms are stocked with eco-conscious Pure Lakes bathroom amenities, and each room boasts a multi-channel flat screen LCD TV and workstation.

My Bloomsbury uses pops of colour to brighten bedrooms

(My Hotel)

Price: Doubles from £112, room only

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Neighbourhood: Southwark

Seabird in the Hoxton Southwark

(Hoxton Southwark)

The Hoxton boutique hotel chain is so good we’ve included it twice. This outpost, on formerly dowdy Blackfriars Road, is a lively addition to the hinterland between Southwark and Blackfriars. It follows the same Hoxton formula of having a vast, buzzy lobby filled with movers and shakers doing anything from working with tiny coffees to ordering after-work cocktails, as well as plenty of mid-century velvet furniture and view-obstructing plants. Pop in on a Friday evening and it’s hard to believe people come here to sleep. Staff greet you at check-in wearing grey marl branded Hoxton sweatshirts as a DJ booms out house music to the cocktail bar and downstairs restaurant, Albie, which serves French-Italian fusion plates. This party vibe continues upstairs, past the art-filled gallery wall on the stairs to the “Apartment”, where parties and non-boring corporate meetings take place. Even further up is the rooftop restaurant Seabird, with a raw bar and oysters to match the views. The (thankfully soundproofed) rooms follow the same pseudo-industrial Hoxton design scheme, with Crittal windows and smooth walnut floors. They’re small but personal, with a selection of books – including great American novels such as Bonfire of the Vanities and Capote’s In Cold Blood, on the shelves. Hoxton signatures such as branded mugs and retro Marshall radios come as standard. This is the hotel to come to if you want to feel 25 again.

Price: Doubles from £169, room only

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