Whether you’re looking for a place to rest your head after a long work conference or a full-on day sightseeing, one thing is for sure – the City can provide.
London’s oldest district is packed with boutique stays with good transport links, delicious food and feather-soft beds.
But in this day and age, as well as comfort, we also need to think about sustainability when considering where to put up our feet. The travel sector can have a massive impact on the environment, with many hotels creating massive amounts of food and packaging waste, as well as large energy outputs.
So, where should you stay next time you need a bed for the night? Read on to discover some of our favourite sustainable stays in and around the City.
Vintry and Mercer
Nestled in the heart of the City, among the livery halls, guilds and narrow streets that line the Thames, you’ll find five-star hotel Vintry and Mercer. Set in a building where past and present intersect, the contemporary hotel holds 92 bespoke rooms and suites. It’s the perfect base for history buffs, culture seekers and shoppers alike, with nearby sites including Tower Bridge, Leadenhall Market and Shakespeare’s Globe.
Vintry and Mercer’s rooms and suites are ideal for lovers of comfort and style, all featuring plush velvet curtains and soft carpets, as well as complimentary slippers and bathrobes.
Quite often, you’ll find that luxury hotels put luxury first, leaving sustainability to the wayside, but at Vintry and Mercer that is not the case. A member of the Considerate Group, the hotel prides itself on its efforts for the environment. Most commendable, is that Vintry and Mercer runs on 100 percent renewable energy, all of which is sourced from wind, solar and biomass generators. The hotel also uses solar panelling and heat pump technology in its air-conditioning system, and a ‘Combined Heating and Power’ system to ensure minimal environmental output.
On top of this, Vintry and Mercer strive for at least 30 percent of their staff to be living in neighbouring London boroughs to minimise emissions caused by travel to work, favour local producers and suppliers with up to 85 percent of their meat, fish, fruit and vegetables coming from British producers, and the hotel is committed to ensuring that waste does not go to landfill.
Luxury? Check. Sustainability? Double check!
20 Garlick Hill ECV4 2AU
When you walk into any room at One Aldwych hotel, the first thing you’ll note is how very light and open it feels. Neutral but bright décor and furnishings create a modern but calming environment with art nouveau vibes – one in which you’ll want to linger.
Aside from the superb suites and rooms, One Aldwych has a desirable location – the Edwardian building is a short walk from the City in the beating heart of Covent Garden. It’s the ideal location for brunching, catching a West End play and doing a spot of shopping.
Since its inception in 1998, One Aldwych has held the environment close to its heart, incorporating sustainability practices throughout all aspects of the hotel’s building and management. One of One Aldwych’s most admirable features is the innovative EVAC drainage system which enables water efficiency and heat reclaim.
As well as this, One Aldwych possesses a chlorine-free swimming pool (which uses a mineral-based cleaning system), a sustainable food-sourcing policy (with produce sourced direct), new rooftop beehives and a bee-friendly garden, plus a food waste composting partnership with a Kent farm. The farm also grows vegetables for the hotel’s restaurants, giving farm-to-table dining! These efforts and many more have resulted in One Aldwych being awarded the Luxury Hotel Eco Certification Standard in association with The Leading Hotels of the World.
With a superb location and excellent ethics, One Aldwych hotel is the ideal stay for a sustainable weekend away.
1 Aldwych WC2B 4BZ
The Zetter, Clerkenwell
For rooftop rooms with floor to ceiling windows and views across London, you can’t get much better than The Zetter, a converted 19th-century warehouse based in fashionable Clerkenwell. The hotel pairs original features with stylish, contemporary design and chic home comforts.
But that’s not the only reason you should visit the boutique hotel – The Zetter was built with sustainability and environmental awareness at the heart of every decision. Crafted from sustainably sourced and environmentally sensitive building materials, it is energy efficient and controlled by an intelligent building management system and eco-tech galore.
The Zetter also has a ‘Green Team’, who meet once a month to make sure that the hotel and its staff maintain standards and implement new initiatives as they are developed.
Sustainable systems are rife in the hotel: water is pumped from a 1,500ft borehole, which means the building is self-sustaining, while an energy loop system simultaneously heats rooms and cools refrigerators. There’s even an energy-saving occupancy detection system in bedrooms (so when guests are not in their rooms, minimal energy is burned!) and all timber and paints are eco-friendly. Likewise, all bath and shower products have been chosen for their environmentally-friendly accreditations, whilst the restaurant only uses seasonal ingredients sourced from local suppliers.
As well as all of this, The Zetter is also a founder member of the Sustainable Restaurant Association, which supports restaurants to purchase from sustainable and local suppliers as well as advising on waste reduction, energy efficiency and Fairtrade suppliers.
86-88 Clerkenwell Road EC1M 5RJ
Step into London EDITION and you’ll be greeted by a luxury hotel experience – all rooms and suites possess beautiful oak floors, wood-panelled walls, custom furnishings and wonderful photography from Hendrik Karstens to create a cabin-like feel akin to that of a private yacht. Stylish in their simplicity and decadent in their details, all 173 guest rooms make the perfect accommodation for a stay in the capital, with the hotel based in Fitzrovia on the edge of Soho.
In 2019, the stunning hotel enacted a major transformation, and went single-use plastic-free. All plastic items were replaced with those made from eco-friendly materials, like bamboo guest toothbrushes, canned soft drinks, paper straws and cork coasters, and the team also introduced water fountains (to encourage both guests and staff to refill reusable bottles).
With so much thought amongst so much style, the London EDITION proves that luxury doesn’t need to lack substance. The hotel remains as charming and sleek as it always has been but does it all whilst being kinder to the planet.
10 Berners Street W1T3NP
Hilton London Bankside – The Vegan Suite
Located a stone’s throw from the Shakespeare’s Globe, the Millenium Bridge and the Tate Modern art gallery, you’ll find the forward-thinking Hilton Hotel London Bankside. As well as having a number of fantastic Hilton sustainability goals and initiatives underway, Bankside hosts an impressive feature that is ideal for particularly eco-minded travellers – Vegan Suites.
In the urban chic Vegan Suites, everything has been designed with the planet in mind – from the pineapple leaf headboards, seating and cushions to the Moso Bamboo floors and organic cotton carpets. There’s even a vegan mini bar and in-room dining menu, as well as luxury plant-based bathroom products.
Alongside the Vegan Suites, the Hilton London Bankside has its own kitchen garden to combat food waste, plus, the Hotel chain were the first major hotel company to set science-based carbon targets aligned with the Paris Climate Agreement. With initiatives to reduce water usage and waste, improve energy efficiency, minimise food waste and create a circular economy, the Hilton Hotel Group, and Bankside in particular with their low-impact Vegan Suites and kitchen garden, is leading the hospitality industry towards a net-zero economy.
2-8 Great Suffolk Street SE1 0UG