What makes a great hotel?  Some will say location, others will point to luxury trimmings, while many will insist customer service is the key to a top-class hotel experience.

Much like the award of Michelin stars to restaurants, the hotel rating system is somewhat shrouded in mystery. If we are to assume that the more stars a hotel has, the better the hotel, the logical conclusion is that the ‘best’ hotels in London must all be of the 5-star variety.

So how to test this theory? Well, a hotel can promote itself as much as it wants, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Any hotel can claim to be a cut above its rivals, but the only opinions that matter are those of its guests. And with public voting all the range nowadays thanks to the explosion of reality television, it seems even more fitting to trust the consensus view above all others.

With this in mind, I turned to tripadvisor.com to seek out the top ten hotels in London by guest review. As expected, there was a good sprinkling of 5-star hotels amongst them. But also some 4-stars, and even a 3-star. Which just goes to show, when it comes to hotels, beauty is most definitely in the eye of the beholder.

Here are the top 10 London hotels according to tripadvisor reviews:

Located in the upmarket district of Kensington, on the border of London’s famous Hyde Park, the 5-star Milestone Hotel is London’s best hotel by guest review. Housed in a Grade II Listed building, this boutique hotel is noted for its stunning Victorian decor and prime position in a beautiful part of London, close to several major attractions including the V&A Museum, the Royal Albert Hall, the Natural History and the Science Museums.

Milestone Hotel Kensington

Next up is the 5-star Hotel 41, which overlooks the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace and is adjacent to the Queens Gallery. This intimate, boutique hotel has just 29 rooms and is a world away from some of the glitzy tower-block hotels that feature on this list. Located close to Victoria train station and a short walk from Green Park and Buckingham Palace, the hotel is well position for exploring the city.

Hotel 41

Situated in the heart of London’s bustling Soho district, the 5-star Soho Hotel is known as something of a celebrity and media favourite. Located within walking distance of Covent Garden and numerous other attractions, the hotel features a popular bar that draws hotel residents as well as those looking for a chic hang-out.

Soho Hotel

The 5-star Halkin hotel is located in the exclusive district of Belgravia, just moments from Harrods department store as well as beautiful Hyde Park. Most noticeable in the reviews is the high-praise offered to the staff for their attentiveness and obliging nature.

Halkin

The 5-star Sofitel St James Park is situated in the prestigious St James district of London, a quick walk from attractions including Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square. The hotel’s decor combines contemporary French modernism and traditional British design, and its most distinctive amenity is probably the Rose Tea Room which occasionally features a live Heart Player.

Sofitel St James London

The first and only 3-star hotel to feature on this list is the Covent Garden Hotel, which can be found – as you may expect – in the heart of London’s Covent Garden. The hotel is renowned for its colourful decor and the presence of a top class restaurant next door, the Brasserie Max.

Covent Garden Hotel

Located in London’s literary heartland of Bloomsbury, the 4-star Montague on the Gardens is a historic townhouse hotel that dates back to the mid 19th century. The hotel overlooks private gardens and is close to several attractions including the British Museum (which is actually across the road), Covent Garden and Oxford Street.

Montague on the Gardens

The 4-star City Inn Westminster is situated just 500 metres from one Tate Modern, of London’s most famous museums, in a residential area of Central London close to iconic landmarks including Big Ben and the London Eye.

City Inn Westminster

Located 50 metres from the up-market Sloane Square in west London, the 5-star Draycott Hotel London could be described as a ‘novelty’ hotel, thanks to the 35 guestrooms which are named after famous theatrical figures, including Coward, Sheridan and Ashcroft.

Draycott Hotel

Finally there is the 4-star Chesterfield Mayfair Hotel, the 10th best hotel in London by guest review. Discreetly tucked away in the exclusive residential district of Mayfair, this hotel earns rave reviews for the decor of its rooms, which are decked out with traditional English furnishings.

Chesterfield Mayfair

So there we have it – the top ten best-rated hotels in London. And like with any ‘top ten’ list, many will feel there are some glaring omissions. If you’re one of those, feel free to leave your own suggestion in our comment box!