The Metropolitan (Old Park Lane; +44-20-7447-1000 or 800-637-7200, from ?375) is still the coolest hotel in a very cool town, the first new hotel to open on Park Lane in nearly 20 years. Think Philippe Starck, but with more Asian touches. The hotel rooms overlook Hyde Park, with huge windows, and the location is very convenient for getting about the city from east to west and close to the Queen herself in good old Buckingham Palace. The lobby is simple, tasteful and a great place to sit and be seen. There is a private club that after a certain hour is only available to members and hotel guests. The hotel is also home to one of the city's best restaurants, NOBU, famous as the spot where tennis ace Boris Becker allegedly demonstrated his virility in a linen closet.
Blake's Hotel (33 Roland Gardens, SW7; +44-20-7370-6701; from ?175) is the couture address, the creation of London designer Anouska Hempel. Each of the 51 rooms is custom-decorated, reflecting themes that could be right out of a fashion shoot. Luxurious appointments meet high style and a touch or two of attitude at this fashionable address in Chelsea/South Kensington.
Hot on the heels of the fabulous St. Martin's Lane (45 St. Martin's Lane; +44-20-7300-5500; from ?215), Morgans Hotel Group, formerly Ian Schrager Hotels,has opened The Sanderson (50 Berners St., W1; +44-20-7300-1400; from ?235). With its eccentric but elegant Philippe Starck d?cor it's very much in the mold of the group's other hotels (Royalton, Morgans, Delano, Mondrian). Rooms have enormous sleigh beds, there's a clubby resident-only bar and if the famous Long Bar is rather long on bridge-and-tunnel wannabes, there's no denying the celebrity wattage, where rubbernecking the stars is half the fun.
Located in the up-and-coming Clerkenwell district, The Zetter Hotel (St John's Square, 86-88 Clerkenwell Road; +44-20-7324-4444; from ?170) provides a convenient high-tech hideaway with small but well-equipped rooms (ask for a rooftop studio cabana boasting outdoor patios with stunning views) and a high-tech TV-cum-information center with an impressive (and free) CD library, Internet access and links to global radio stations (Qatar Radio, anyone?). The service is friendly and attentive. The Zetter Restaurant, which has wraparound floor-to-ceiling windows, affords an energetic street scene from its calming interior.
A new and intriguing option right at the center of things, West Street (13-15 West Street; +44-20-7010 8700; from ?299-528) isn't a hotel at all but a slick "restaurant with rooms" in the heart of theaterland. Guest rooms are individually styled but all match the metropolitan glamour of the restaurant itself. the Great Eastern Hotel has been transformed into Andaz (40 Liverpool Street, EC1; +44-20-7961-1234; from ?295), a fusion of traditional luxe with contemporary pizzazz -- easily trendy enough for the Ab Fab set if only it weren't situated among the bond traders and bankers near Liverpool Street Station.
London's Soho has a sharp new gay-friendly hotel, the Courthouse (19-21 Great Marlborough St.; +44-20-7297-5555; from ?300). Occupying a former Magistrate's Court (circa 1800), the Courthouse inspires drama queens. Its Silk Restaurant, replete with docks and judges' bench, evokes Marlene Dietrich's big moment in "Witness for the Prosecution." In guest rooms, marble baths, firm beds and soft pillows set the scene for a comforting Act III denouement.