London has always been one of my favourite capitals. Having lived here for two years during my twenties, the city feels like home. From hostels to lodges, apartments and spa hotels, if you're planning a trip to London, I share my favourite places for where to stay in London first time, especially if you are solo.
1. Safestay Holland Park
Safestay is a group of hostels in the UK, all based in gorgeous buildings. Located in London’s Holland Park, the hostel is in a beautiful Jacobean-style building and consists of three buildings with a courtyard garden in the middle. Refurbished with Safestay’s pink and purple interiors, the buildings have lots of places to sit or socialise. The garden is the perfect place to sit and reflect, the pool room to play, and the lounge area has a gorgeous view of the grounds so you can plan the activities for your trip whilst being inspired by nature.
The hostel offers breakfast plus there’s a snack machine if you get peckish. There’s an ATM onsite and Free Wifi is available throughout the buildings.
In a beautiful location. Safestay Holland Park is literally in Holland Park. It’s in an amazing spot and you can really escape the city in this beautiful park. Walk out of the park one way and you’ll reach Holland Park tube station, walk the other and you’ll reach High Street Kensington. It’s easy to reach Portobello Road, Notting Hill and the Royal Albert Hall from here too. Explore the park in the morning and go for a stroll in the Kyoto Garden to absorb the beautiful surroundings.
The hostel is made up of three buildings. Not every dorm has bunk beds either, some have single beds and are ensuite. Some dorm rooms have a balcony so you can look out onto the grounds, and others have triple bunks. Each bed comes with its own power socket and light so you don’t have to disturb others with the large light on at night. Some bunks also have their own curtains for extra privacy. Rooms range from private rooms to standard 6, 10, 13, 15, 21, 27, 30, or 33 beds.
Although the hostel is located in a park, at night you can walk along a lit road then cut through into the park to be within the hostel in less than 2 minutes. Most of the park gates close at 5pm so this is the only entrance. Reception is open 24 hours and you have to buzz to enter the building at night. There are either locked cages kept underneath the bed or purple lockers in the room which you can store and lock your belongings in.
Why is it solo-female friendly?
The buffet breakfast and bar area make it easy to meet others here. The reception staff are beyond friendly and the whole place just feels so homely, even for the size. It’s really clean with modern bathrooms, and has fabulous decor. The pool room is a great way of breaking the ice with someone new too.
Why we love it
The buildings are just gorgeous and the scenery is enough to make you feel relaxed even after one night’s stay. When you book your stay, Safetstay send you all the details you need to find the hostel plus you get 20% off a future stay so you can take advantage of their York or Scotland hostels.
How to Book
Prices from £45 per night for a bed in a 21 bed mixed dormitory room. Check availability for Safestay Holland Park.
2. Safestay Elephant & Castle
Safestay is a group of hostels in the UK, all based in gorgeous buildings with Elephant and Castle as their very first. Located in John Smith House, the hostel used to be the Central Labour Party headquarters in the 18th century. The hostel offers a continental breakfast for an additional £4.00 a day (£3.50 if you prebook) which consists of a buffet of ham, cheese, croissants and cereals, plus there’s a snack machine if you get peckish. Free Wi-Fi is available in all rooms.
Safestay picks some of the best locations in England. Being near the Elephant and Castle tube and overground meant it was only a 7 minute walk to London’s transport. It’s also on a lit main road so it’s easy to find and ideally situated if you are coming back at night alone with traffic passing by. The hostel gives you a free city map so you can navigate your way around.
Safestay Elephant and Castle has a mix of room types across a few floors with a lift taking you to each floor. You’ll find 8 bed dorm rooms some with ensuites and others with shared bathrooms. There are also 4 and 6 bed dorms, all mixed. They also have private rooms either ensuite or with a shared bathroom. If you opt for a private room expect coffee and tea-making facilities (you may even get a chocolate or two). As well as a funky purple towel.
As a guest you get given a swipe card which has access to your room, as well as entrance to each floor and also the lift. You have to swipe your card to enter the building as well. Reception is open 24 hours so there is always someone there if you need anything. Plus they have lockers and CCTV too.
Why is it Solo-Female Friendly?
As well as being very clean, it is also really safe with the key card access. The staff are friendly and are available 24 hours a day. Having a bar and lounge means that it is easy to meet others during your stay.
Why We Love It
The building is simply fab with pink and purple decor that is Safestay’s branding. There are so many places to either chill out or meet others, including the bar area. You can do your laundry there, iron your clothes and buy any toiletries that you may have forgotten. It’s really affordable for London, and if you take a private room, you get free hot chocolate and a biscuit. Perfect.
How to Book
Prices start from £45 per night for a bed in an 8-bed dormitory. * Check here for availability for Safestay Elephant & Castle.
3. K West Hotel & Spa
If you're searching for a vibrant hotel in London, then you may like the K West Hotel & Spa. There are so many hotels out there that it can make it even more challenging to stand apart. Formerly BBC office and recording studios, this building is uber cool and definitely an urban legend within the city of London.
It’s called K West Hotel & Spa for a reason because it has a spa! And not just any old spa. There are twinkling lights on the ceiling and a cool, modern arty design that will leave you feeling pampered and beyond relaxed. Plus there is a nail bar to get those travelling nails looking as bright as new whether you need a quick fix or a full-on treatment. Perfect for us girly girls.
With the staff describing themselves as “wearing Converse and there’s a whisky-soaked music heritage running through our veins,” you can expect a fun, vibrant stay.
There are 219 guest rooms here with a Rock ’n’ Roll influence. The smallest room is over 200sq ft so you don’t need to worry about not having enough floor space. All rooms have been freshly painted, with funky wallpaper on a feature wall and cosy bedding. One of the best things about the rooms is the large wardrobes where you can hang all of your clothes and not just a selected few.
Rooms vary from a Superior Room to a Deluxe or Executive room. There is a kettle and a fridge in the Deluxe as well as an ironing board to iron out those creases in your favourite party dress.
Or choose from an Embassy or K Suite if you’re feeling flush. These come with hoards of floor space, a plasma screen, and a minibar so you can spend some time relaxing on a super kingsize bed with a Gin and Tonic or two. Then pamper yourself in the huge bathtub before hanging out in your cosy bathrobe.
They also have the added touch of in-room tablets and smartphones with unlimited data browsing and complimentary calls to certain destinations.
- Prices from £149 per night for a junior double
- To book, check prices or availability for K West Hotel & Spa
Why we love it!
You can become a friend of K West, a free club that comes with benefits such as room upgrades, breakfast always included and 10% of the rates. You even save 20% off spa treatments – perfect for after a long day of sightseeing (not available on the weekends though).
Near Richmond Way, London near to Westfield, you only have to walk five minutes down the road and you’re in a cosmopolitan shopping oasis. Shepherd’s Bush Empire is also nearby which is perfect if you’re planning on seeing a gig during your stay. There is parking available if you are hiring a car or are bringing your own. Shepherd’s Bush tube station is the closest metro. Consider buying a London Pass if you plan to take a few journeys within London whilst sightseeing.
The spa of course! With a sauna, steam room, foot bath and a Hydrotherapy pool to get a few laps in the early morning or unwind in the evening. If you get up early enough you can get a discount on the spa’s entrance fee. The gym is complimentary and is open 24 hours if you feel the desire to work up a sweat in the middle of the night. If you are lucky enough you may even find a spinning or Pilates class whilst you are here.
If you don’t have time to venture outside, their restaurant called the ‘Studio Kitchen,’ has a gourmet menu and sophisticated decor. Being quintessentially British, you can take part in a typical English tradition – a Festival Glam Rock Afternoon Tea that is served between 2-6 pm every day. There’s a midnight tea served in the Studio Bar. If you like cocktails (and which girl doesn’t), head down to the Studio Bar, a black granite bar with posh chandeliers hanging from its ceiling. This is the place to wear your party dress and mingle the night away.
4. Palmers Lodge
Next time you visit London, make sure that you choose a Palmers Lodge to stay in. For the younger crowd opt for Palmers Lodge in Hillspring, voted as one of London's best youth hostels with a sociable bar and lounge. In Swiss Cottage you'll find the award winning boutique hostel.
As well as a kitchen to cook your own food and laundry, there is car parking on each site. There is free Wifi in every room so you can always be connected, and if you don't have your smart phone, there's a desktop available to use. Plus there are 24 hour transport links.
Palmers Lodge in Swiss Cottage is a boutique hostel in a historic building near central London, with easy to access to the rest of the city being just two minutes from the London Underground. Or choose Hillspring in Willesden Green, North London – a friendly and safe neighbourhood also near the Underground.
You don't have to leave the premises to search for a bar or restaurant either as each site has its own and serves a continental brekkie each morning for just £4.50.
With safety and security being one of Palmers Lodges' key focus, each lodge is open 24 hours with a manned reception and security gates. Bedrooms are keycard access and there are safe boxes and lockers for each bed and you can also store your luggage safely if you need to explore. Having a 24 hour reception means that there's someone on hand whenever you need anything.
You'll find 4 bed to 28 bed dorm rooms but you can have as much privacy as you like in a comfy wooden bunk bed with your own curtain and reading light. And there's no need to worry about sharing with guys either as 40% of the building are female only dormitories. If you prefer more privacy, there's the option for en-suite double rooms too.
Why are they solo female friendly?
Because each property has its own unique and stylish building full of history and antiques. All showers and ensuites have hair dryers and preparation space which is just perfect for getting ready for a days's sightseeing or night in the West End. The staff are really friendly and offer great customer service, perfect for those of us who need some help with things to do in the city. There's a lounge and reading room with comfy seating so that you can research what to do in the city and meet others to explore with.
Why we love it!
Palmers Lodges are an award winning chain of hostels in Central London. Plus there's a Palmers Lodge in Croatia too! Voted London's Most popular Hostel by Hostelworld in 2011 and 2014, plus awards for the Best Customer Service, we think that Palmers Lodges know a thing or two about hostels. Palmers Lodge has also been awarded a 5 star hostel by Hostel Geeks.
How to Book
Prices start from £49 per person for a bed in a 28-bed mixed dorm room. Check availability for other rooms at Palmers Lodge Swiss Cottage through Booking.com.
5. Go Native London
London is known as being expensive for accommodation but a good alternative is a serviced apartment. Go Native offers over 25,000 serviced apartments as a home away from home and Monument is a new addition to their stylish portfolio. The apartments are aimed at people aged 28 to 45 years old and are situated alongside businesses.
I stayed in a Native apartment in Monument, a fifteen minute walk away from St Paul’s Cathedral where the event was due to be held. In Lovat Lane with an old style London pub on the corner and up a cobbled lane was my home for the night.
Travelling solo as a woman in London, safety is always a concern but the apartment was really secure, and I had my own security key to let myself in after 10pm. The area was quiet with just the comforting noise of distant background, and as I checked in, I immediately felt at home.
Maybe it was the huge double bed, the built in wardrobe where I could hang my dress for the evening, the comfy sofa or the stylish bathroom with a rain shower and posh toiletries that made me settle in quickly.
Within just a few minutes, I was completely at ease and enjoying a fresh cup of tea (they’d even placed a pint of milk in the fridge) and a glass of sparkling water until I found the complimentary bottle of wine and was faced with a decision upon which beverage to consume.
They seemed to think of everything: hot towel rails, free Wifi, light sensors that lit up rooms as you walked through, eliminating the confusion at night when you couldn’t find a light switch, and the added comfort of a 24 hour security number – if you needed anything at night.
To stay in an apartment here for the night costs from £124 and I definitely recommend staying at Go Native in Monument if you’re in London although there’s plenty of other areas to choose from. The apartment was tucked away in a cobbled lane with an Olde London pub on the corner, and a view of the shard in the distance.
Just yards away was the Monument to the Great Fire of London (the reason the area has its name) and a short walk to the tube station. St Paul’s Cathedral is just twenty minutes away and having never been so close before, I didn’t realise how spectacular the building was.
My conclusion – amazing! My only regret was just staying one night.