The best hotels in London with a pool, from sun-drenched city rooftops to underground bank vaults
These are unusual times, and the state of affairs can change quickly. Please check the latest travel guidance before making your journey. Our writers visited these hotels pre-pandemic.
What makes hotels in London even better? Hotels in London with a swimming pool. Here’s our pick of the best places to stay with gorgeous rooftop pools (read: serviced loungers and cool views of the East’s slick skyscrapers), marble-clad gems in the former vaults of the Midland Bank, indoor pools where swims overlook the pods of the London Eye, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament in one lap, and outdoor pools on the site of the former BBC headquarters. From East to West, North to South, here’s our pick of the best in the city.
Friendly, attentive service, spacious rooms and Park Lane’s only swimming pool, make for a tranquil stay that belies this five-star’s central location at the east end of Oxford Street.
In addition to the pool, which is a definite highlight, there’s a well-equipped gym, steam room and treatment room, to complete your wellness needs. The perks don’t end there: those staying in an Executive, Premier or Family suite, or an Executive room, receive complimentary access to the executive lounge which offers all-inclusive food and drinks throughout the day and a quiet place for reading or work. The hotel is located on the corner of a quiet side road, just off Oxford Street.
The five-star Corinthia continues to be a big success and draws a lively crowd to its grand bars, restaurants and event spaces. This is a hotel that wants to impress – and it succeeds. Get ready for fabulous chandeliers, intriguing modern art, palatial public rooms, a Daniel Galvin hair salon, a mini-branch of Harrods – oh, and there’s also a magnificent four-floor spa with ESPA treatments and dazzlingly indulgent relaxation areas. It also features a steam room, 17 treatment rooms, a private spa suite, nail studio, super-cool indoor swimming pool, vitality pool, an amphitheatre sauna, ice fountain, marble heated loungers and private sleep pods. Bliss.
The Mandarin Oriental, in London’s Knightsbridge, is a luxury hotel with a Heston Blumenthal restaurant, which attracts Londoners in its droves. Bedrooms are, as you would expect, superbly equipped and supremely comfortable, while the spa is a smart den with 13 treatment rooms (plus couples’ suite) in which you can enjoy everything from Nescens facials to decadent signature massages. The new fully equipped fitness centre, along with a sleek 17-metre twin lane, stainless-steel heated swimming pool, mean you can now work off last night’s over-indulgence at the hotel’s stellar restaurants.
One of the most visually appealing hotels in central London with a pool. Haymarket Hotel lives and breathes art and every detail tells its own story. Kit Kemp takes a room and turns it into a living magazine, where you want to read every word and appreciate every stitch of detail, from the fluid stainless steel sculpture by Sir Tony Cragg and the black-and-white painting of the Thames by John Virtue in the lobby, to the Library where old tomes and dog-eared journals bristle against whimsical upholstery. Sleep in rooms imprinted with Kit Kemp’s signature Firmdale features, feast under the gaze of Matisse-like works in Brumus, and take a dip in the mood-lit pool, which puts you straight in the party mood.
Situated on floors 34 to 52 of Renzo Piano’s Shard, the tallest building in Western Europe, Shangri-La at the Shard towers over London offering 360-views from its bedrooms. They’re like glass capsules floating above London with unmissable views. On the 52nd floor, Western Europe’s highest swimming pool offers dual purpose: by day it is a place to paddle and splash; by night a place to party, an extension of the glittering Gong, already one of London’s hottest cocktail bar tickets. Swim overlooking the pods of the London Eye, to the left; and panning right, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, followed by St Paul’s Cathedral and the Tower of London.
Occupying a handsome Edwardian building, once the HQ of The Morning Post newspaper, One Aldwych has been among the capital’s foremost contemporary five-star hotels since it opened in 1998. While the Robert Angell-designed bedrooms are understated, there’s a little more élan in the public areas – thanks in part to the owner Gordon Campbell Gray’s extensive collection of modern art. The airy and seductive Lobby Bar, for example, is guarded by an epic sculpture, Boatman with Oars. A basement spa will take care of your pampering needs, and boasts an 18-metre swimming pool – uncommon in central London.
One of Britain’s most important historic hotels, and a dramatic tribute to the Neo-Gothic obsession with preposterously lavish design that gripped the industrial age. The design pyrotechnics continue inside: coloured marble, intricate stencilling, gold leaf, and stonework so fussy it resembles English broderie. The spa, situated in the hotel’s former steam kitchens, is one of London’s best-kept pampering secrets. In addition to a eucalyptus steam bath, a gym, and several relaxation beds, the hotel boasts an indoor heated pool Step out the door of the bar and you are standing on the St Pancras concourse.
The Shoreditch Rooms are private sanctuaries within the trendy Shoreditch House members’ club, just off the top of Brick Lane in London’s East End within a stone’s throw of the City. The fact that hotel guests have full access to the Shoreditch House facilities is the real draw. Dine in the two restaurants, play ping pong in the games room, relax in the various lounges, head up to the rooftop pool, or use the gym, sauna and spa. The Library Bar often plays host to DJs and live bands in the evenings and there are also regular film screenings. Have a good explore as there is always something going on in what is arguably one of the coolest London hotels with an outdoor pool.
The Langham has had more than 150 years to perfect its winning formula of top-notch service, highly competitive drinking and dining (including Artesian), and classically elegant style. Interiors boast understated elegance, with icicle-like chandeliers and enormous vases of fresh flowers. Roux at the Landau is one of the city’s finest hotel restaurants, and you can burn off the calories with a trip to the spa – there’s no lounging space in the pool area but this means it’s better for doing laps. The slate-tiled walls with bonsai tree motif at the end make for an attractive backdrop while you swim. There’s a small sauna and steam room in the changing rooms, as well as a gym.
The family-friendly five star on the periphery of Piccadilly Circus has excellent facilities, with a club lounge with refreshments served throughout the day (including high tea and evening drinks), comfortable rooms, and a great location. One of the most impressive things about this hotel, though, is its wellness facilities. The Piccadilly Health Club & Spa, open to all guests as well as day visitors, has a lovely large pool; multiple exercise rooms with the latest equipment; a spa with treatment rooms, relaxation room and steam room; classes galore – from dance to yoga; personal trainers and even a resident osteopath.
Thanks to The Connaught, Carlos Place has been transformed by the beautiful and enigmatic Tadao Ando water feature, ‘Silence’, also visible from the hotel’s curving Espelette restaurant. The Connaught feels right, a successful mix of traditional and contemporary. The staircase makes the place, of course, and the shoe-shine chair on the first landing shows how tradition is still important, with service at its core. The spa is secret den of decadence with a black granite swimming pool, powerhouse gym, back-lit timber lattice screens and gorgeous wafting scents. The steam room is infused with essential oils that are rotated according to the seasons.
This grand five-star hotel next to Marylebone station is an attractive base, conveniently located for attractions including Madame Tussauds and London Zoo. At the centre of the hotel is its unique Winter Garden, a huge glass-roofed atrium with dizzyingly high palm trees. It feels like a luxurious greenhouse and sets an almost tropical tone that permeates throughout the hotel. Look out for the stained-glass windows that evidence its past as the Great Central Hotel, dating back to when it first opened in 1899. Pleasingly, the decent-sized spa – a calming, open-plan space with pool surrounded by sauna, steam room and hot tub – is open to all guests, not just those having treatments.
Just south of Chelsea Bridge in what’s now known as Chelsea Bridge Wharf, the Pestana is within easy walking distance of Sloane Square and the King’s Road. Interiors are contemporary with a spacious lobby, which leads off onto the bar and the restaurant. Unfussy, friendly and cosmopolitan, the Pestana ticks all the boxes you might expect from a four-star hotel. Rooms are a very good size, decorated in a bright modern style with neutral colours with contemporary furniture such as a white leather sofa and swivel chair in the one-bed suite. The well-appointed spa is in the basement and has a small, green-lit pool, sauna and steam room. Therapists offer a variety of massage and facial and body treatments and there’s a relaxing area too with lounge beds.
This humungous bank turned hipster hotel reflects Dalston in style and Dubai in scale. Original features have been preserved: queue African malachite Art Deco pillars, polished walnut walls, Jazz Age crystal chandeliers and old banking counters reinvented as room dividers. Interiors are urban loft meets granny bungalow. The beautiful wellness centre is just as grandiose. Occupying the former bank vaults, there’s a stunning swimming pool (open until late), hammam, sauna and steam room, nail bar and Cowshed spa where anything from massages to Vitamin IV drips are offered. Other musts include the rooftop pool with views of St Paul’s.
The 19th Soho House is located in the former BBC headquarters and is a contender for one of the top rooftop swimming pools in London. The facilities in general, for a mid-price hotel, are second to none and rival those of Shoreditch House with two huge pools – one heated on the rooftop and one in the massive gym – which also has a sauna and hammam and its own café. Hotel guests who are not members have access to all of them, including any events such as talks or live music that happen to take place during their stay. Elsewhere, expect a mid-century feel to its decoration – including fabrics by Tibor, who designed patterns for the BBC.
If you’re looking for a super-central London location with iconic views of the capital, this one would be hard to beat. The hotel sits squarely on the South Bank, just to the right of Westminster Bridge, and so the restaurant (and your bedroom if you’re lucky), offers front-row seats to the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, the Thames and the London Eye. In addition to the main restaurant, Gillray’s Steakhouse and Bar, there’s The Library for traditional afternoon teas and the M-Club Lounge, which serves complimentary breakfast, snacks, canapés and drinks for guests staying in premium rooms and suites. A fitness centre with sauna and large indoor pool is an added bonus.