The UK capital shares its space with 20 million overnight guests each year, which can lead to some very full hotels. However, if you want to stay somewhere more interesting than a budget lodge, and not too far from the madding crowds – this list might be just what you're after.
See London in a night in one of these boutique bolt holes, hidden in plain sight.
West End gem: Kettner's town house
The bar of the Kettner's has been supporting Soho and the theatre district's late night crowd since 1876. Though it was only officially opened as an hotel last year, the rooms upstairs are said to have housed Edward VII's liaisons with actress Lillie Langtry while she performed in the nearby shows.
But this is no seedy Soho boarding house – rather a boutique hotel with a grand piano bar and good food that doesn't cost a fortune.
A mishmash of uproarious 1920s and Victorian style - tucked away for just £190 ($360) a night kettnerstownhouse.com
Prize London pile – Hotel 41
The low-key appearance of the Hotel 41 is deceptively popular – it was voted Trip Advisor's top UK hotel last year. Though it's still very much tucked away.
Opposite the Royal Mews (and neighbours to the Queen) the great location is shared with other famous establishments such as the Rubens next door.
It fits just 30 rooms and suites into this prime London location, from £347 ($660) a night
Town House – The Laslett
Across the threshold of this Notting Hill hotel is an immersive experience into the exclusive London address. Step out into London's most desirable districts as a local.
Decorated with homely touches and generously stacked bookshelves, you could be in the Hugh Grant film which shares its name with the London district.
The Henderson Bar, which is named after the Notting Hill Carnival founder, is a comfortable cocktail bar which serves up favourites – to bring in a flavour of Europe's favourite street party.
From £220 ($415) per night living-rooms.co.uk
Wynd back time – Dukes
Tucked away in the passageways between the bustling Piccadilly and St James' Palace is a time capsule otherwise known as Dukes.
The old-fashioned bolthole dates back to 1908 – but doesn't feel a day over 100.
The white silk coated bartenders are custodians of an establishment that has served the likes of Ian Fleming and his other James Bond associates. Unsurprisingly, it is only stumbling distance from the Royal Household of Buck House and the Foreign Office.
This top secret discovery for master spies is from £320 ($620), breakfast and board. dukeshotel.com
Divine settings - L'Oscar
Near Holborn, situated in the former headquarters of the Baptist Church, is a boutique hotel with a saintly past. The unassuming exterior betrays nothing of the lavish interiors.
With riotous designs of red silks and purple velvets, the balconies of the newly-added top floor provide godly views over London below.
The converted chapel is the most miraculous thing about it. The domed room has been transubstantiated into The Baptist Grill.
From £297 ($565) a night. loscar.com
Space for the family – Ampersand South Kensington
In the museum district the Ampersand is an overlooked treasure. Perfect for larger groups, the interconnected suites and kitchenettes make for a great retreat from the crowded exhibitions across the road.
Kids are kitted out with mini bathrobes and an assortment of sweet sci-fi treats at the children's science themed tea.
From £216 ($409) ampersandhotel.com
Jack in town – Belmond Cadogan
This quiet Chelsea address was made infamous for Oscar Wilde's arrest in room 118 in 1895.
In spite of this historic connection, it hasn't always been known as the most fashionable of hotels, though last year's renovation has sought to fix this.
After 134 years of further crimes against artistic sensibilities – namely the chintzey décor – it seeks to redeem itself as a high-end hotel.
Also a modernising touch is Adam Handling's new restaurant, with its zero-waste ethic and menu of refreshing takes on British classics.
Guests also have access to the Cadogan Palace gardens – normally reserved only for local homeowners.
From £470 ($890) a night belmond.com/uk
High style - Boundary Project, Shoreditch
Sir Terence Conran's reimagined hotel has been perched atop of Shoreditch's Redchurch Street. Guests can lord it over the most design-conscious London districts from the rooftop terrace or climb down into the subterranean TraTa Restuarant.
One of the 12 rooms cost from £171 ($325) a night