Best for Families: For a high-end break with children, the Langham, 1C Portland Place, W1 (tel. 020/7636-1000), is hard to beat, with its deals on toyshop Hamley's vouchers and entry to London Zoo. At the other end of the price scale, the Hart House Hotel, 51 Gloucester Place, W1 (tel. 020/7935-2288), has such a variety of family rooms that they can accommodate any brood.
Best Value: The rooms at the Dean Street Townhouse, 69-71 Dean St., W1 (tel. 020/7434-1775), aren't huge, but for one of the city's best locations and a buzzing restaurant, it's hard to argue with their value. Out east, the Hoxton, 81 Great Eastern St., EC2 (tel. 020/7550-1000), is regularly booked months in advance, and is as popular with locals as with tourists. You can have a whole floor to yourself in Notting Hill's Main House, 6 Colville Rd., W11 (tel. 020/7221-9691), for the price of a studio elsewhere.
Best Splurge: Recent years have seen major refurbishments at many of the city's top hotels, but our favorite is still Claridge's, Brook St., W1 (tel. 020/7629-8860), where the mix of Art Deco opulence and a 21st-century stylish crowd have made it London's top destination hotel. Old favorite the Savoy, Strand, WC2 (tel. 020/7836-4343), is back too, with riverside views and old-school service.
Most Romantic: A converted pumping station might not sound like the thing to set the pulse racing, but the canopy beds and Georgian elegance of 30 Pavilion Road, 30 Pavilion Rd., SW1 (tel. 020/7584-492), have made it a much sought-after honeymoon location. The open fireplaces and rich fabrics of the 41 Hotel, 41 Buckingham Palace Rd., SW1 (tel. 020/7300-0041), are just part of what's making it the secret treat for traveling couples.
Best Service: Time and again we hear guests raving over the staff members at the Covent Garden Hotel, 10 Monmouth St., WC2 (tel. 020/7806-1000) -- they're always helpful, and knowledgeable about a district with plenty of hidden treats. Service at the Mornington Hotel, 12 Lancaster Gate, W2 (tel. 020/7262-7361), is exceptional for such a reasonably priced place.
Best for Food: Londoners have raved about the modern British "nose to tail" eating of East End caterers St. John for years, so it's no surprise that their new hotel, St. John, 1 Leicester St., WC2 (tel. 020/7251 0848), is proving a foodie nirvana. For more traditional fare, Gordon Ramsay's modern British pub conversion, York & Albany, 127-129 Parkway, NW1 (tel. 020/7387-5700), is our favorite spot for Sunday lunch, although it's run very close by the modern bistro cookery of Bruno Loubet at the Zetter, St. John's Sq., 86-88 Clerkenwell Rd., EC1 (tel. 020/7324-4444).
Best for Business Travelers: Andaz, 40 Liverpool St., EC2 (tel. 020/7961-1234), combines a City location with business-savvy staff, but its elegant setting and top-notch bar and restaurant make it feel more like a cool West End hangout. Film and media types flock to the Soho Hotel, 4 Richmond Mews, W1 (tel. 020/7559-3000), in the heart of London's creative hub.
Best Location: The Royal Horseguards, 2 Whitehall Court, SW1 (tel. 0871/376-9033), is at the heart of royal London, with sweeping views of the Thames and the London Eye from its rooms. If it's the 24-hour city you want, there's no beating the Soho Hotel, 4 Richmond Mews, W1 (tel. 020/7559-3000), with its neat combination of a quiet side-street berth and Soho on the doorstep.
Best Design: Rough Luxe, 1 Birkenhead St., WC1 (tel. 020/7837-5338), typifies the new London style -- a mix of bare walls, ornate wallpaper, quirky antiques, and modern artworks To get a dose of minimalist Manhattan-style chic, we still head to the Sanderson, 50 Berners St., W1 (tel. 020/7300-1400).
Most Quirky: No TV, no phones, no room service. It doesn't seem to matter at 40 Winks, 109 Mile End Rd., E1 (tel. 020/7790-0259), where the two tiny rooms are a kind of fashionable time-machine. If all London pubs had the kind of cozy yet high-tech rooms boasted by the Fox & Anchor, 115 Charterhouse St., EC1 (tel. 020/7550-1000), we'd never stay anywhere else.
Best for the London 2012 Olympic Games & Paralympic Games: With the majority of the events happening out east, the opening of Bethnal Green's grand Town Hall Hotel, 8 Patriot Sq., E2 (tel. 020/7871-0460), was just in time. Visitors who want to combine sports with fine dining will find the Boundary, 2-4 Boundary St., E2 (tel. 020/7729-1051), ticks both boxes with aplomb. Hyde Park also hosts some Olympic action, and there's a smart Georgian boutique hotel close by: The Sumner, 54 Upper Berkeley St., W1 (tel. 020/7723-2244).
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Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.