London is a city with so much appeal that in 2015 it attracted a record number of visitors, drawing 31.5 million people to marvel at its iconic sights. But the cultural treasures of this city are far from limited to Big Ben, St Paul's Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. With the Royal College of Art topping the league tables as world's best design school, William Morris having had his home here and an estimated 1,500 permanent gallery spaces, London has a reputation for world-leading design with a hint of British eccentricity.
You don't even need to go to a gallery to appreciate the breadth of creativity and talent on display here - in fact, design lovers needn't look further than the room they're staying in if they pick their holiday accommodation wisely. If you want somewhere to stay that isn't only comfortable, but a feast for the eyes, look no further than the expertly-designed options on display here.
The Hideaways Club Bank House Apartment
From a design-lover's perspective, you can't get much better than travel company and property investment fundThe Hideaways Club's luxury apartment. Being set in a period building, on the outside you have everything that's attractive about old London - where the wealth of the city and skill of the architects made for beautiful buildings. However, it's in the interiors that this apartment really comes into its own, with bold choices that somehow never overwhelm the elegant framework.
Created by the design company yoo Furnish, founded by John Hitchcox and titan of the design world, Philippe Starck, the apartment is partially open plan and has a subtle colour palette of white, chocolate and café au lait. This subdued background is lifted by bright splashes and interesting features, such a scarlet furnishings, chrome tables and Philippe Starck Ghost Chairs (a witty take on the classic Louis XVI armchair).
Haymarket Hotel, Suffolk Place
Next to the famous Haymarket Theatre, Haymarket Hotel has a Georgian entrance which gives little hint of the vibrantly colourful interiors that were designed and decorated by Kit Kemp, a hotelier who's internationally acclaimed for her unique creativity. The building itself was created by architect John Nash, who is responsible for much of the layout of Regency London, and Kemp's inclusion of her signature "modern English" design is perfectly suited to this backdrop.
The lobby is home to large stainless steel sculpture by the famous artist Tony Cragg - a sculpture that aims to find new relations between people and the material world - and marigold and oak furniture. Furthermore, the hotel features paintings from the British John Virtue and it's 60-foot basement swimming pool is dreamily lit by the artist Martin Richmann's light installation.
COMO The Halkin, Halkin Street
Located in the upmarket Belgravia district, London luxury hotel The Halkin was built in 1991 in a modern classical style that is sympathetic to the far older mansions around it. The Halkin's biggest claim to fame, however, is that it's considered to be one of the first boutique hotels in London. In contrast to the Georgian-style facade is a contemporary interior that makes up a warm yet minimalist aesthetic. Timber details, curving corridors, subtle lighting and carefully chosen art and sculpture that adds a striking element are all utilised here to create a perfectly designed whole.
The stand out feature may well be the hotel's restaurant, which was designed by Ab Rogers Design and boasts a wave-like ceiling covered in 7,000 spice-filled glass jars.
Shoreditch, the hipster's favourite and perhaps most fashionable part of London, prides itself on its edginess and creativity. This is something Boundary has embraced, with three award-winning restaurants and bars that have become Shoreditch mainstays. Aiming to create the feeling that guests are in fact staying in the private home of a talented designer, the hotel is a restored Victorian warehouse with a metal and glass extension that melds old and new.
As is only appropriate for the young, ethically-minded population of Shoreditch, the bulk of the materials for the hotel were from local suppliers. Over fifty artists and designers contributed bespoke commissions for the interior, with everything overseen by Sir Terence Conran, an English designer and writer who won the Prince Philip Designers Prize in recognition of his achievements in this area.
Town Hall Hotel, Bethnal Green
Rather unsurprisingly, Town Hall Hotel and Apartments began its life as a town hall that opened at the beginning of the 20th century. The council in this borough of London had the wealth to indulge themselves when putting this building together, later adding to it in the 1930's with Art-Deco interiors, with the green and white marble staircase becoming a particularly striking feature. Nowadays, the best of this Edwardian and Art-Deco style is complimented by innovative modern design which has won plaudits from English Heritage.
The Art-Deco features are so attractive that this hotel has even become a famous film location, reflecting the efforts poured into conservation. This isn't to say, however, that the designers have been slavishly devoted to the past, and their imaginative touches have made this a unique and beautiful place to stay.
Number Sixteen, Sumner Place
The Firmdale Hotel's Number Sixteen is another hotel which has been stamped with the bright Kit Kemp aesthetic. Her blend of the classic and contemporary stretches across the spiritedly designed drawing rooms, with one beautifully lit by a driftwood chandelier. There's even a conservatory that gives out onto a perfectly realised private garden, with a quiet pond and fountain adding to the ambience of a calming retreat in this busy city.
The rooms are both comfortable and stylish, while the newly redecorated library is a striking combination of black and white, purple and sunshine yellow. Like the Haymarket Hotel, there's plenty of modern decorative art to admire during your stay.