London: Sleep

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BAYSWATER

Vancouver Studios 30 Prince's Sq., 20/7243-1270, vancouverstudios.co.uk
The large but simple rooms are self-contained apartments, with full kitchens and antique-style decor, but the real draw is the secluded, leafy garden out back--a fountain-filled oasis away from the bustle of the streets nearby. Friendly staff, doubles from £90.

BLOOMSBURY

Harlingford Hotel 61-63 Cartwright Gardens, 20/7387-1551, harlingfordhotel.com
Recently spruced-up budget hotel with a vaguely heraldic vibe (and even a roaring fire in the lounge). Bedrooms are smart but small, while the snazzy bathrooms boast brand-new, hyper-designed fixtures. Breakfast includes a full English fry-up. Doubles from £99.

BLOOMSBURY

The Jenkins Hotel 45 Cartwright Gardens, 20/7387-2067, jenkinshotel.demon.co.uk
Comfy, traditional B&B in a Georgian town house with a low-key, friendly vibe; large, if overly floral bedrooms; and an affable owner who'll happily help with tips on London. Doubles from £85.

CLERKENWELL

The Zetter Restaurant & Rooms 86-88 Clerkenwell Rd., 20/7324-4444, thezetter.com
London's trendiest hotel du jour, the Zetter was fashioned from a disused warehouse, so think minimalist, industrial chic in the smallish rooms. But it's smart touches, like vending machines dispensing gin and tonics in the corridors, that really count. Rooms from £158.

EARL'S COURT

Rushmore Hotel 11 Trebovir Rd., 20/7370-3839, rushmore-hotel.co.uk
Gorgeous, gloriously over the top, and like the boudoir of an Italian princess: Walls are covered with trompe l'oeil paintings, while beds are festooned with heavy drapes. Great fun and great value. Doubles from £79.

HYDE PARK

Pavilion Hotel 34-36 Sussex Gardens, 20/7262-0905, pavilionhoteluk.com
Release your inner rock star at this kitschy hotel. Rooms have different names and themes--try the Honky Tonk Afro (disco ball, heart-shaped headboards) or the Highland Fling (tartan, tartan, and more tartan). Doubles from £100.

MARYLEBONE

Sherlock Holmes Hotel 108 Baker St., 20/7486-6161, sherlockholmeshotel.com
Rooms look like a Savile Row tailor's pied-a-terre: pin-striped sheets, plenty of leather, and a neutral color scheme--Sherlock Holmes would be proud. The snazzy on-site bar is a great place for a drink or two. Doubles from £133.

SOUTH BANK

The Mad Hatter Hotel 3-7 Stamford St., 20/7401-9222, fullershotels.com
This no-fuss, homey spot close to the Tate Modern is owned by a brewery and pub chain. Rooms are large, if a little too reliant on chintz. Prices often drop on weekends. Doubles from £95.

SOUTH KENSINGTON

Hotel 167 167 Old Brompton Rd., 20/7373-0672, hotel167.com
Stashed in a Victorian town house, this artsy, offbeat hotel combines modern touches--black-and-white tiling, contemporary art--with ramshackle pine-and-wicker furniture for a Sloaney, boho vibe. Doubles from £99.

HOT GOSSIP

Forget Us Weekly and People: The real home of celebrity gossip is London. A raft of celeb-tastic weeklies documents the loves, lives, and misbehaviors of every B- and C-list star imaginable. Pick up a copy or two to learn about England's celebrity obsession.

Heat is the granddaddy of them all, with a mischievous sense of fun and a witty, ironic take on even the most sacrosanct movie stars--its "Celebrities Uncensored" section spotlights unflattering and revealing paparazzi shots.

With page after page of "at home with..." celebrity photo spreads, Hello! and OK! are like valentines to the stars they feature: adoring, uncritical, and soft-focused. Most Brits, though, read them for the unintentionally hilarious interviews.

Zoo and Nuts are both aimed at men--an unusual target for celeb weeklies. Soft-core photo shoots and sports coverage are standard fare.

As for Closer and Now, they're by far the trashiest options, usually packed with D-list TV stars and reality-show types.

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