This year’s World’s Best Awards survey was open for voting January 11 through May 10, 2021, as destinations around the world were lifting COVID-19 restrictions. Survey rules have always allowed readers to reflect on their travel experiences over a three-year period. We hope that this year’s honorees will inspire your own travels as you get back out into the world.
When it comes to hotel stays, little things can mean a lot. This year, the properties that T+L readers selected as the best hotels in London set themselves apart by exceeding guests’ expectations, cuing into seemingly minute comments guests had made — or, in some instances, simply predicting what would delight travelers in a given moment. For one of our readers, it was the simple request granted by the staff of the No. 3 Goring: “I’m not a breakfast eater and was asked what I would enjoy. I was brought a bowl filled with ripe and sweet strawberries.” Another of the Goring’s guests recalls another whimsical touch. “Each late afternoon a footman would come to mix a different cocktail.”
Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L invites its readers to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Hotels were rated on their facilities, location, service, food, and overall value. Properties were classified as city or resort based on their locations and amenities.
In a city with as rich a tradition of hospitality as London, visitors are looking for that ineffable impression of feeling more at home at the property than they would back at their actual home. And by all accounts, this year’s London hotels delivered. For one reader, the No. 9 Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane was “the best new hotel in London in 100 years.” Another reader celebrated her 70th birthday at the Milestone: “I’m treated like royalty,” she raved. “I love that they pick me up from Heathrow. The drivers are always polite and have interesting ideas of things to see and do in London outside all the regular tourist attractions.”
But sometimes, all of these perks pale beside the sense of being surrounded by joy. Of the No. 10 Beaumont, a voter writes that “the thing that really makes it is the staff, who are led by an amazing management team. They are all so happy!”
Of course, a great hotel is greater than the sum of its parts, no matter how exquisite those parts may be. For the second year in a row, it’s the Shangri-La at the Shard that garnered the highest marks from T+L readers. Read on to find out why — and which other hotels join its illustrious company.
1. Shangri-La The Shard
This hotel, set in Renzo Piano’s landmark pyramidal tower, has a laundry list of praiseworthy qualities, each of which appeals to a different kind of traveler: the location near London Bridge and Borough Market, the service, the infinity pool, the Chinese breakfast, the cocktails at the Gong Bar. But there’s one quality all of its guests can agree is deserving of accolades: the view. “While hotels in skyscrapers aren’t that special in other parts of the world,” one reader wrote, “in an old city like London, where the government restricts the height of many buildings, the experience of staying at the Shangri-La is quite unlike anything else the city has to offer.” The fan, who is a repeat guest in the past year alone, called it “an ideal staycation getaway during restricted travel times,” and praised the staff for going out of their way to make every guest’s stay memorable. “They created a special romantic anniversary setup for me and my spouse, right in the room.”
More information: shangri-la.com
2. The Lanesborough
More information: oetkercollection.com
3. The Goring
More information: thegoring.com
4. The Stafford London
More information: thestaffordlondon.com
5. The Milestone Hotel & Residences
More information: themilestonehotel.com
6. The Dorchester
More information: dorchestercollection.com
7. Kimpton Fitzroy London
More information: kimptonfitzroylondon.com
8. Flemings Mayfair
More information: flemings-mayfair.co.uk
9. Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane
More information: fourseasons.com
10. The Beaumont
More information: thebeaumont.com
See all of our readers’ favorite hotels, cities, airlines, cruise lines, and more in the World’s Best Awards for 2021.