Aug. 7, 2012 at 12:17 PM ET
If the Olympics inspires your own London visit, these are the hotels to book — small, homey retreats within central London.
Named after owner Caroline Main, this fashionable Notting Hill hotel discreetly harbors four suites — each one occupying an entire floor of the upmarket Victorian townhouse. Though there is no signage, a brass doorknocker in the shape of a lion's head denotes the entrance to the brick-walled building, which was built in the 1820s. Inside, rooms are furnished with antiques from the neighboring Portobello Road market. Doubles from $203/night.
The rooms in this joyously maximalist hotel in Earl’s Court have hand-carved furniture, overstuffed pillows, tasseled curtains—as well as iPod docking stations. Book the Pasha Suite for a terrace on the square. If you’d like to get outside, you can enjoy an afternoon in the secluded courtyard garden. Doubles from $132/night.
Often lauded as London’s best hotel, Dean Street Townhouse is a haven of serenity and simple elegance in the Soho district. Countless attractions are within walking distance, but given the sumptuousness of the 39 guestrooms, visitors may be tempted to spend the day lounging on plush vintage furniture, relaxing in an antique soaking tub, and napping on luxurious Egyptian cotton linens. Light sleepers should request a room toward the back of the hotel, furthest from lively Dean Street. Doubles from $219/night.
Dating back to 1718, this string of Georgian town houses was once home to essayist William Hazlitt and now welcomes guests to 30 rooms with antique furnishings, including mirrors, chandeliers, and artwork. Enjoy breakfast in your room or in the library by a working fireplace. Hazlitt's elegance and refined hospitality have made it a popular choice among celebrities, including Harry Potter creator J. K. Rowling and Anthony Bourdain, host of the Travel Channel's popular "No Reservations" show. Doubles from $365/night.
Traditional English contemporary-bold patterns and plumped-up pillows meet granite-and-oak bathrooms and sandstone fireplaces at this 44-room hotel on a quiet cul-de-sac in tony Knightsbridge, a stone's throw from Harrods. Snug parlors and a well-stocked honor bar add to the appeal. Each year, two rooms are made over completely by co-owner and designer Kit Kemp, keeping the place feeling fresh. Doubles from $366/night.
A Travel + LeisureWorld's Best Award winner, this stately red-brick Victorian hotel with plush, antiques-filled interiors, opposite Kensington Palace (home to the royal newlyweds), exudes old-fashioned country-house glamour. With 57 rooms and 6 apartments, the property manages to have a residential feel, thanks to its intimate size and personal gestures like English sweets at turndown. Doubles from $638/night.
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