London’s hotels have long been much more than a simple place to rest your head, housing some of the capital’s best restaurants, top chefs, and incredible cocktail bars. Still tempted to leave your digs? Hit the last button in the lift and you might just find views over the city, sky-high swimming pools and a teensy tiny garden; these are our favourite hotels with beautiful rooftops in London.
The Hoxton Southwark & Seabird
It’s quickly becoming one of the world’s coolest chains and The Hoxton’s latest opening in Southwark has cemented its place in Londoner’s hearts. While the Shoreditch site is abuzz with freelancers and late-night party-goers, south of the river, things are more chilled. Olive greens and framed prints set the tone for bedrooms, while rooftop space Seabird is a nod to NYC thanks to designers from the city’s Maison Premiere. Potted plants sway next to exposed brick walls, while rattan chairs and roughly painted floorboards give the rooftop a boho vibe. The real deal breaker, however, has got to be the raw bar - piled with seafood - and London’s longest oyster list.
Save up your pennies and wait until the sun is high in the sky for a stay at The Curtain. Set in East London’s Shoreditch, the behemoth is home to a members club, Red Rooster restaurant, and most importantly, a Moroccan-inspired rooftop swimming pool and bar. If you’re a guest, access to the pool is included in your stay, and if you’re not, you’ll have to make do with views over London at the adjacent restaurant, the latter serving up a seriously decent roast dinner every Sunday.
More a pub with rooms than a hotel, The Culpeper is four floors of absolute cuteness a stone’s throw from Spitalfields Market. Start at its toes, where hanging plants and wall-to-wall sash windows create a light and airy pub; next up, a restaurant specialising in seasonal set menus. Five simple and stripped back bedrooms fill the second floor, each with fireplaces and oak headboards. At its very top, the roof has been transformed into a garden, with a firepit for chilly nights and beds of spices and flowers. Keep an eye out for their events calendar, which includes nights of stargazing and whisky-fuelled dinners.
Does Shoreditch have all the best hotels and rooftop bars? Boundary is certainly helping to solidify the area’s slick reputation with its combination of bakery, restaurant, rooftop, rooms and deli just off Redchurch Street. If you’re planning a stay, the boutique hotel has 17 crisp white rooms, each with individual quirks which range from a New York cityscape in the bathroom through to the OTT suite designed by David Tang (think Chintz wallpaper and velvet armchairs). Schedule time for the rooftop restaurant; fondue is their speciality - need we say more?
The clue is in the title with this swell Shoreditch spot; from string quartets soundtracking weekend brunches at restaurant Hoi Polloi through to East London cool hotel rooms with wraparound terraces, everything is, well, ace. Drag yourself away from the fun on the bottom floor (there’s also a slick basement bar, Miranda, and a streetlevel florist) and head up to the laid-back rooftop, a chilled space with indoor and outdoor seating, along with a giant purple telescope for spying on the hubbub of London’s coolest area.
Booking a room has never felt quite so satisfying as when hitting reserve at Good Hotel, the game-changing venue that ploughs its profits back into helping the local community. Built in Amsterdam, the floating structure was towed over to East London where it now bobs in Royal Victoria Dock, providing employment and training schemes for unemployed locals as well as supporting school children in Guatemala. Interiors are modern and industrial; think concrete floors, geometric-patterned bedspreads and black metal shelves, while upstairs the rooftop is open over spring and summer, with views of the Thames and a simple cafe menu.
Despite its Soho location, Ham Yard Hotel has got all the charm and grandeur of a country pile thanks to designer and owner Kit Kemp’s dab hand. More is more at this quintessentially British space; huge patterned headboards frame pillow-soft double beds, lime green striped wallpaper can be found in one suite, and patterned sewer’s mannequins hold court in bedroom corners. The sense of fun extends to the amenities, which includes what could potentially be London’s plushest bowling alley, and an onsite theatre. Upstairs, the covered rooftop is generally only open to hotel guests, homing two beehives and a herb garden; keep an eye out on their events, however, with gin tastings and cocktail sessions open to all.
Set on the desirable Southbank stretch, Sea Containers is inspired by 1920s Transatlantic sea travel. Head straight up to rooftop bar 12th Knot for views across some of London’s most famous sites, including St Paul’s and the Gherkin. While one of the world’s best bars can be found downstairs (Lyaness), that hasn’t stopped this sky-high space mixing up some serious concoctions using seasonal produce. Grab a space on a velvet sofa and slurp your way through themed travel cocktails; The Orient Express gets our vote with a blend of Silent Pool Gin, Cocchi American, Cacao Blanc and Sekforde Rum Mixer. If you’ve indulged in one too many punchy mixes, rest your head in a series of cabin-like rooms, with British designer Tom Dixon utilising grey shades, golden edged mirrors and splashes of pink.
The home of the world's largest corporate institutions might not strike you as the first place to find a homely boutique hotel, but that's exactly where Vintry & Mercer opened in 2019. Inspired by their City of London location, the space is influenced by the area's trader past, with prints of navigation maps on walls nodding to merchants. It's also thoroughly modern, using 100% renewable energy and a combined heating and power system to help the plot's environmental output. Even if you're not parking your bones for the night, the expansive Mercer rooftop is worth a visit, with a large, open terrace, views of the Shard, and a British inspired menu beefed up with plenty of steak and seafood options.
A two-minute walk from the melee of Oxford Street, Treehouse Hotel is a haven for big kids who still dream of cuddling up in a snug den. Part of the world-renowned SH Hotel Group, the latest London opening is all about cosy spaces made from repurposed materials; chalked blackboards with handwritten messages are dotted throughout, teddybears sit amongst brightly patterned cushions, and wooden pallets strung with fairy lights dominate the lobby. The stunning view across the city also lends itself to the idea of a treehouse, take in the sights at Madera, a buzzy, LA-style restaurant serving up Mexican-inspired dishes and masses of margaritas. Or go to the very top where The Nest is perched, a low-key bar serving cocktails inspired by birds.
After more views? Check out our list of London's best rooftops right here.