I’ve lived and worked in 60 countries across all seven continents now, and London is the one place I always return to. In fact, I’ve spent 4-6 months every year for the past ten years living in different boroughs all over London. It’s helped me make a hard-won and well-educated conclusion. Namely, that the magical mile between Angel Station and Highbury & Islington Station in North Central London is my favourite place on earth. So I’ve compiled a list of the best luxury places to stay in Islington.

This post code has it all—historic churches, soothing gardens and green spaces, and brilliant shopping along Upper Street and the pedestrian Camden Passage. Furthermore, it has tons of delicious places to eat and drink (including Pera, my favourite Turkish). It has my favourite cinema (Odeon Luxe & Dine Islington) and my favourite float spa (Floatworks Angel). Finally, it has my two favourite theatres in London (The Almeida for drama and Sadler’s Wells for dance).

Some of the best luxury places to stay in Islington are near terrace gardens like this one
One of Islington’s long, linear gardens between rows of terrace houses

Oddly, it’s a luxury hotel desert. 🤷‍♀️ One day when I become a world-renowned international hotelier, I plan to remedy this problem! Until then, here are the ten best luxury places to stay in Islington. I’ve included stays both in and around the Angel/Islington area of North London. So the rest of this article is divided into two sections: hotels around the borders of the area, and short term rental homes right in the middle of it.

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Luxury Hotels Around Islington

In my opinion, the only hotel worth spending money on within the Angel/Islington area is the Citadines Islington London. It’s new, well-rated, and perfectly located right next to the Odeon Luxe & Dine. So you can spend the evening getting tipsy in the cinema and stagger upstairs to bed. 🍸 It’s also an aparthotel, so you get a kitchen.

But it’s just so cookie-cutter. It doesn’t have the character and quality that makes the most soulfully crafted hotels of the world such a joy to stay in. Given that and London’s brilliant, safe, and easy public transportation system, I would much rather spend my money at one of these hotels located just a few minutes away.

For bordering neighborhoods with worthy luxury hotels, you have two main options: (1) King’s Cross to the west and (2) Shoreditch to the southeast. King’s Cross has the lovely Regent’s Canal going for it. Furthermore, it has Granary Square, the site of Google’s London HQ, and all of the posh drinking, dining, and nightlife that surrounds it. Shoreditch has a grittier, more inner city vibe. There is oodles of street art, live music, and all the glass and steel towers of the City. Both areas are fantastic choices.

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London

Photo of St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel by Daniela Paola Alchapar on Unsplash

The imposing façade of this grand Gothic building gives it away from the moment you arrive: you’re in for a serious treat staying here. The building first opened its doors as a hotel in 1873 and Marriott has spared no expense in restoring the interiors to their original Victorian glory. There’s a jaw-dropping staircase that’s famous in its own right, and the hotel is in the same building as the King’s Cross St. Pancras railway station.

I’m a huge fan of the hotel’s “Suite to Seat” partnership with Eurostar, the high-speed rail service to the Continent. It’s complimentary with any stay in a Chambers Suite and gets you a private escort past the checkin queue to your train. All of this without having to lift a finger, since your luggage is taken care of as well.

Kimpton Fitzroy London

Photo of the west face of Kimpton Fitzroy Hotel (formerly Hotel Russell) by Ethan Doyle White courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Technically in Bloomsbury, the Kimpton Fitzroy is one of the best luxury places to stay in Islington if you expand your radius just a smidge. It’s immediately south of King’s Cross and only 1.5 miles from Angel Station, so I had to include it. It’s named after Charles Fitzroy Doll, the architect who designed it. It originally opened in the year 1900 under the name of Hotel Russell, thanks to its prime location on Russell Square.

The ornate lobby is a stunner, and the zodiac mosaic on the floor is original to the building. These days, the rooms are done in a fetching marriage of jazz age glamor and contemporary art. Hotels hardly get more gloriously theatrical than this one.

The Standard, London

The Standard London is one of the best luxury places to stay in Islington
Photo of The Standard London by CrowN on Unsplash

The 1970s Modernist concrete building directly across Euston Road from St. Pancras Station used to be the Camden Town Hall Extension. Now it’s The Standard London and its interiors set the stage for anything but boring bureaucracy.

Even the entry level Cosy Core rooms come with posh Italian sheets, Bang & Olufsen bluetooth speakers, and custom Craig Green robes. Fittingly, the top of the line extends to sprawling suites with outdoor bathtubs on the terraces. If you’ve always wanted an al fresco soak at eye-level with St. Pancras’s magnificent Gothic clocktower, now you know where to go.

Mondrian London Shoreditch

Photo of street art in Shoreditch by John Dancy on Unsplash

Next let’s consider the hotel options in Shoreditch, widely regarded as the most highly concentrated center of arts and technology in London. My first recommendation for the best luxury places to stay in Islington’s southeastern neighbour is Mondrian London Shoreditch.

The building is industrial warehouse-style brick and the interiors were designed to an exceptional specification by the Clerkenwell studio Goddard Littlefair. The rooms feature unique artwork and marble bathrooms with rain and steam showers. Also, there’s a rooftop pool on site, as well as the first London restaurant from Michelin-starred chef Dani García, called BiBo Shoreditch.

Redchurch Townhouse

Photo of Redchurch Street in Shoreditch by Dr Neil Clifton used courtesy of the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

Redchurch Townhouse is an outpost of the Soho House members club. Its 37 bedrooms have 1950s- and 1970s-inspired designs so impeccable you might swear you’ve stepped back in time.

A stay here grants you temporary access to the club and means that you’ll be mixing with the likes of local artists and entrepreneurs. The velvet sofas and freestanding baths in the Large Rooms might make it hard to leave your private quarters. But if you can manage it, head downstairs to the popular Italian restaurant Cecconi’s for dinner.

Luxury Homes

A fantastic option if you want to stay in the heart of Islington itself is to rent a home from a local. One thing to watch out for is that most homes in London are not air conditioned. This wasn’t a big deal to me when I first started spending my summers in the city. However, that was back in 2014, and now, climate change is here. The hot spells when it’s hard to sleep without cooling have grown longer and more frequent. So I’ve gone to the trouble of specifying which of the following homes have air conditioning and which do not.

30 Thornhill Road

This gorgeous 2-bedroom, 2-bath terrace house right in N1 is a stone’s throw from the elegant Georgian neighborhood pub The Albion. You can pop over to Milner Square on foot, duck through The Almeida passage, and be at The Almeida Theatre in 10 minutes flat.

The Almeida Passage in N1

The Almeida is my favourite theatre in London because it only seats about 300 people. In contrast, the big theatres in the West End that can seat thousands. Yet some of the most celebrated actors, directors, and designers work at The Almeida. So the venue by nature gets you up close and personal with the best talent in the business. I’ve seen Saorsie Ronan play Lady Macbeth there, for example, and I’ve seen Ben Whishaw play Dionysus.

The house at 30 Thornhill Road has three private terraces and looks like it sprung from the pages of Architectural Digest. It also has a full kitchen, a washing machine, and even a tumble dryer (not all that common in London). So you’ll have plenty of space to stretch out and all the amenities you need to get very comfortable. One notable exception is air conditioning, so this would not be my first choice of a place to stay from June-September.

Heart of London Luxury Apartment

This one-bedroom, one-bath stunner off Essex Road in N1 is one of the most fabulous luxury places to stay in Islington. It does indeed have air conditioning, and it’s beautifully decorated in pale pinks, saturated teals, and demure champagnes. You’ll have access to a community rooftop garden staying here. You’ll also be a ten-minute walk to my favourite float spa in London, Floatworks Angel.

A private float pod at Floatworks Angel

Stunning 2-bed Apartment + Gorgeous Roof Terrace

This impeccably designed 2-bedroom, 2-bath apartment is a five minute walk from Holloway Road underground station. Holloway Road is served by the Piccadilly Line, so you’ll have direct access to King’s Cross St. Pancras and the shops and theatres of Covent Garden. Other Piccadilly line stops include Leicester Square, Knightsbridge (for Harrod’s & Hyde Park), and Heathrow Airport.

Photo by Phillip Perry / Holloway Road Underground Station, N7 / CC BY-SA 2.0

It’s another home, like most in London, that isn’t air conditioned. However, it does have a private rooftop terrace with comfy furniture for lounging. In addition, there’s a 65-inch smart TV in the living room and 300-thread count Egyptian cotton sheets on both beds. And remember, you definitely won’t miss the air conditioning from October-May.

Unique Light-Filled Three-Bedroom Mews House

I am of the opinion that you haven’t really lived in London until you’ve lived in a mews house in London. A mews is more or less a Victorian garage, as in a row of stables for horses. These were built behind the taller and grander terrace homes lining the main thoroughfares. These days, mews have been converted into quaint little rows of cottages tucked away down charming cobblestone lanes. And yes—the word ‘mews’ is both the singular and the plural.

This unique light-filled mews house is one of the best luxury places to stay in Islington
Photo of the kitchen and dining area inside the unique light-filled 3-bedroom mews house in Islington, used with permission from the property owner, Rish Shah

This mews house is among the very best luxury places to stay in Islington, London. It stands out for the gigantic windows everywhere, including in the ceiling. It also comes with spectacular floating beds and rainfall showers. But again, there’s no air conditioning, so it’s best reserved for fall, winter, and spring stays—which is most of the year! I will also be saving it for last minute summer stays when the forecast is already available and no heat wave is coming.

It’s located directly opposite Highbury & Islington Station (a 3-minute walk) in a mews called Swan Yard. From there, you can stroll past the late 19th-century Union Chapel (a church, live music venue, and charity drop-in center for the homeless). Continue down Compton Terrace Gardens, one of those long, linear garden oases tucked between the busy streets of Islington. You can easily stroll all the way to Almeida Street for a night at the theater. Or walk to Odeon Luxe & Dine for an evening at the cinema.

Central London Flat, 5 Minutes to Angel Station

This historic one-bedroom flat was built in 1876 and is retrofitted with air conditioning as well as heating. This makes it a more-than-comfortable stay year round. The flat is beautifully decorated in buffs and jewel-tones and it can sleep up to four, thanks to the double sofa bed in the living room.

It’s on the south end of our target area, which means it’s closer to gems like Shoreditch, Clerkenwell, and Marylebone. Also, the flat is a 5-minute walk to Angel underground station (served by the Bank branch of the Northern Line). That means it’s only a 10-minute walk to Sadler’s Wells Theatre for world class dance performances of every imaginable persuasion. No matter what’s on at Sadler’s Wells, it’s always worth the money.

Sadler's Wells, shown in this 1809 drawing, is near some of the best luxury places to stay in Islington
Drawing of Sadler’s Wells by Thomas Rowlandson in 1809, courtesy of New York Public Library
(CCO 1.0 Dedication)

Sadler’s Wells also has some incredible history. It’s still located on the site of an actual well where vagabonds, artists, and believers-in-magic have been gathering in the name of creativity since the 1600s. This site in modern day zone two was formerly just a waypoint on the road to London-proper from the Northeastern reaches. That was long before all the villages grew together to become an incomparably global 600-square-mile metropolis. You can still see the well, now covered in glass, near the back entrance to the stalls.

I’ve spent years getting to know North London, so I know you’ll love these luxury places to stay in Islington.

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