An insider's guide to the top London hotels with pools, including the best for rooftop pools, luxurious spas and top-notch fitness centres.
Hyde Park, London, England
This grand five-star makes a noticeable effort to be seen more as a hotel in its own right than merely another outpost of such a large group with its lighter, more Farrow & Ball-style palette. There are stylish grey armchairs in reception, contemporary art on the walls and brightly coloured fresh flowers throughout. Design is still more plush than cutting-edge, but it suits. The interior theme of the hotel’s public areas continues in the bedrooms with soft neutral tones complemented by jewel-like colour splashes, gold detailing and purple velvet sofas in the suites. The Marriott’s health club boasts the only swimming pool on Park Lane. If lengths aren’t your preferred choice of exercise, there is also a well-equipped gym, or book a bespoke spa treatment.
From £ 319 per night
Charing Cross, London, England
The five-star Corinthia continues to be a big success and draws a lively crowd to its grand bars, restaurants and event spaces. This is a hotel that wants to impress – and it succeeds. Get ready for fabulous chandeliers, intriguing modern art, palatial public rooms, a Daniel Galvin hair salon, a mini-branch of Harrods – oh, and there's also a magnificent four-floor spa with ESPA treatments and dazzlingly indulgent relaxation areas. It's the ESPA's flagship spa; a serious affair spread over four impeccable floors, featuring a steam room, 17 treatment rooms, a private spa suite, nail studio, super-cool indoor swimming pool, vitality pool, an amphitheatre sauna, ice fountain, marble heated loungers and private sleep pods.
Hyde Park, London, England
The Mandarin Oriental, in London's Knightsbridge, is a luxury hotel with a Heston Blumenthal restaurant, which attracts Londoners in its droves, verdant views of Hyde Park and cutting edge in-room entertainment. You’ll find a Far Eastern theme on the easy-going part Edwardian, part contemporary ground floor. The spa here is a smart Asian den, extremely tranquil, with eight treatment rooms in which you can enjoy everything from Linda Meredith facials to decadent massages (including one of the best pregnancy massages anywhere). The new fully-equipped fitness centre, along with a sleek 17m twin lane, stainless-steel heated swimming pool, mean you can now work off last night's over-indulgence at the hotel’s stellar restaurants.
From £ 420 per night
Knightsbridge, London, England
The Berkeley opened as a hotel in 1897. Since then, it’s stayed with the times – it was the one of the first hotels in London to introduce air-conditioning in the Twenties, double-glazing in the Thirties, and one of the city’s only rooftop pools in the Seventies, which remains a coveted spot today. The most atmospheric room by far is The Blue Bar, designed by the late David Collins. The walls are painted in a mix made up from 50 shades of the colour, entitled ‘Lutyens Blue’, named after the original panelled walls designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens. Facilities are excellent for a central London hotel. Alongside the rooftop pool and spa, there’s a gym, concierge, chauffeur service and even a Ferrari atelier, where you can custom-design your own car.
From £ 330 per night
Trafalgar Square, London, England
A lesson in true boutique hoteliery, from the woman who knows best — Firmdale founder Kit Kemp. Design fans will never want for something to gaze at, whether in the grand but intimate public areas or bespoke rooms. Bright colours welcome you as soon as you enter the lobby — sunshine yellow walls and upholstery in rich shades of rouge, interspersed with statement pieces of art like an eye-catching silver sculpture by Tony Cragg that takes centre stage. The main event facilities-wise is the eye-catching pool area, which puts you straight in the party mood. This vast, mood-lit room has a ceiling covered in hundreds of fibre-optic lights, and a sunset-effect panel at one end; when floating in the dark water it's as though you're beneath the soon-to-be-night sky.
From £ 276 per night
London Bridge, London, England
Situated on floors 34 to 52 of Renzo Piano's Shard, the tallest building in Western Europe, Shangri-La at the Shard towers over London offering 360-views from its bedrooms. Décor in the rooms is Singaporean simple. Think glass capsules floating above London with unmissable views. On the 52nd floor, Western Europe's highest swimming pool offers dual purpose: by day it is a place to paddle and splash; by night a place to party, an extension of the glittering Gong, already one of London’s hottest cocktail bar tickets. Swim overlooking the pods of the London Eye, to the left; and panning right, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, followed by St Paul’s Cathedral and the Tower of London.
From £ 362 per night
Covent Garden, London, England
Close to London's theatre district, the hotel is highly popular with theatre-goers. Stylishly updated Edwardian – plain exterior, mightily scaled interior – in an unconventional shape on a corner of the Aldwych. There are 300 contemporary artworks on the walls and the Lobby Bar always bubbles with conversation and bonhomie. Rooms are large for London. Mary Fox Linton’s original design throws in curves to relieve the eye. Calm is the overriding impression, thanks to clam-tight triple glazing and pared-down décor. Don’t miss the dark blue, rectangular basement pool, excellent spa/health club and screening room. The hidden 18-metre swimming pool is chlorine-free and illuminated by mood lighting, with underwater music.
From £ 302 per night
King's Cross, London, England
One of Britain’s most important historic hotels, and a dramatic tribute to the Neo-Gothic obsession with preposterously lavish design that gripped the industrial age. The design pyrotechnics continue inside: coloured marble, intricate stencilling, gold leaf, and stonework so fussy it resembles English broderie. There are 12 categories of rooms in two different wings. The suites in the historic Chambers Wing are appropriate in their ambition — all vaulted ceilings, rose windows, and hefty fabrics. The spa, situated in the hotel’s former steam kitchens, is one of London’s best-kept pampering secrets. In addition to a eucalyptus steam bath, a gym, and several relaxation beds , the hotel boasts an indoor heated pool.
From £ 215 per night
Hackney, London, England
The Shoreditch Rooms are private sanctuaries within the trendy Shoreditch House members' club, just off the top of Brick Lane in London’s East End within a stone's throw of the City. Laid back, expansive, chilled, buzzing, creative. The 6th floor Rooftop pool, lounge and restaurant, and garden, has had a revamp, as well as the 5th floor Square Bar, Games Room, Snug and Sitting Room. There’s also a gym, sauna, mini Cowshed spa, bowling alley and more, all yours for the price of a room. Nick Jones knows how to make a hotel room a success: even in this industrial, hard-edged former biscuit factory he has created rooms that though small are cosy, with humorous touches and a New England style charm.
From £ 125 per night
Marylebone, London, England
One of London's oldest grand hotels, located off Regent Street. It was built in 1865 to cater for the vast crowds the railways were bringing into London. As such it is self assured, everything feels as if it has been running the way it should for a long time. Interiors boast understated elegance - icicle-like chandeliers and enormous vases of fresh flowers. Roux at the Landau is one of the city's finest hotel restaurants, offering dinner in an elegant rotunda and menus from Michel Roux Jr and his father Albert. A Chinese day spa in the basement offers hot stone treatments, massages and facials, alongside a Himalayan rock salt sauna, steam rooms, a hydro-massage tub and small swimming pool.
From £ 324 per night
Mayfair, London, England
Two minutes from Piccadilly Circus this is a prime position for walking to West End shopping. Le Méridien is a Starwood Hotel brand, pitched towards the top end of the market, which aims to distinguish itself with an emphasis on art and design. This building began life as the Piccadilly Hotel, with a grand colonnaded front designed by Norman Shaw in 1908, the classical features have been offset by contemporary decoration, with the generally muted colour-scheme regularly punctuated with bright reds. The 280 rooms vary widely in size and shape, but have been organised into six categories. An unusual feature is the smart 50ft x 35ft indoor swimming pool on the lower ground floor.
From £ 230 per night
Mayfair, London, England
Thanks to The Connaught, Carlos Place has been transformed by the beautiful and enigmatic Tadao Ando water feature, ‘Silence’, also visible from the hotel’s curving Espelette restaurant. The Connaught feels right, a successful mix of traditional and contemporary. The staircase makes the place, of course, and the shoe-shine chair on the first landing shows how tradition is still important, with service at its core. The spa is secret den of decadence with a black granite swimming pool, powerhouse gym, back-lit timber lattice screens and gorgeous wafting scents. The steam room is infused with essential oils that are rotated according to the seasons. There’s also reflexology, osteopathy, traditional Chinese medicine and a handy hairdressing salon.
Marylebone, London, England
This grand five-star hotel next to Marylebone station is an attractive base, conveniently located for attractions including Madam Tussauds and London Zoo. At the centre of the hotel is its unique Winter Garden, a huge glass-roofed atrium with dizzyingly high palm trees. It feels like a luxurious greenhouse and sets an almost tropical tone that permeates throughout the hotel. Look out for the stained-glass windows that evidence its past as the Great Central Hotel, dating back to when it first opened in 1899. The hotel has 300 bedrooms (including 51 suites), many of which benefit from looking onto the Winter Garden. Pleasingly, the decent-sized spa – a calming, open-plan space with pool surrounded by sauna, steam room and hot tub – is open to all guests, not just those having treatments.
From £ 248 per night
Knightsbridge, London, England
This central London hotel is a superb choice for weekend shopping breaks, sitting between Knightsbridge, Sloane Street and the Kings Road. Slick and shiny, on the right side of ostentatious, this hotel is not for those embarrassed about their wealth. There are 216 guest rooms including 58 suites. All are plush, with pleasing numbers of 1930s-style glass-framed mirrors, although other décor is in slightly boring tones of beige, white, grey and purple. REN toiletries in the sleek bathrooms and COCO-MAT natural fibre mattresses show the designer’s efforts to think about modern hotel guests’ needs. The hotel has an excellent range of facilities for a central London hotel — more akin to what one might expect in a resort with several acres at hand and includes a 20-metre pool and spa.
From £ 306 per night
South Bank, London, England
Opened in 1922, County Hall sits on the south bank of the Thames next to Westminster Bridge. Being a landmark listed building, the hotel has an engaging historic character. Old photographs showing its construction hang in the lobby and it is easy to imagine top brass bureaucrats convening amidst its wood-panelled splendour. There are 200 rooms including 14 suites, set on six floors. Many of them look out towards the river or the London Eye and a few have balconies – and you'll awake to the chimes of Big Ben. Within this all the amenities you would expect from a five-star Marriott hotel have been deftly inserted, including 11 meeting rooms and a 6th-floor spa and health club with a 25-metre indoor pool adorned with artificial palm trees.
From £ 236 per night
Battersea, London, England
Just south of Chelsea Bridge in what’s now known as Chelsea Bridge Wharf - it’s within easy walking distance of Sloane Square and the King’s Road. Interiors are contemporary with a spacious lobby, which leads off onto the bar and the restaurant. Unfussy, friendly and cosmopolitan, the Pestana ticks all the boxes you might expect from a four-star hotel. Rooms are a very good size, decorated in a bright modern style with neutral colours with contemporary furniture such as a white leather sofa and swivel chair in the one-bed suite. The well-appointed spa is in the basement and has a small, green-lit pool, sauna and steam room. Therapists offer a variety of massage and facial and body treatments and there’s a relaxing area too with lounge beds.
From £ 128 per night