Price From $161
'Hood Bloomsbury, the neighborhood that gave its name to a group of 20th-century artists and writers that included Virginia Woolf. The British Museum and the Russell Square gardens are nearby.
First Impression Although word-of-mouth referrals have kept the hotel busy for 40 years, the owners decided it needed a new look. Renovations completed in 2006 replaced the frumpy floral wallpaper and dingy burgundy carpets with brightly painted walls and modern furnishings.
Rooms All 43 rooms have built-in blond-wood desks and wardrobes. Some period touches (ornamental fireplaces and moldings) were saved. Bath-rooms, done in jade tile, got thoroughly updated.
Plus There are four tennis courts in Cartwright Gardens, across the street (borrow a racket at the hotel's reception desk). Guests are given keys to the front door, so they can come and go as they please.
Minus The three-story hotel has no elevator (there are four ground-level rooms), and the bathrooms are miniscule.
Details Rooms from $161 (£110), includes breakfast.