Many luxury travellers are willing to pay premium prices for a unique experience at one of the royal-themed suites at The Rubens (this one is clearly dedicated to Henry VIII!)
For many of us a room in a luxury hotel is already an indulgence. But for some, even that's not enough - they want a suite.
Sometimes the reason is tangible - an entourage or a large family. A suite is required for entertaining; it's difficult to hold a dinner in a bedroom, after all. A suite offers business people a chance to hold meetings in the reception room instead of booking a separate room and ensures confidentiality. Other guests just hate the claustrophobia of a single room and prefer to spread themselves over a couple of rooms.
London hotels have a huge variety of suites, many with unique themes. While media comment often focuses on the most expensive and luxurious, some hotels have suites available in the £300-400 price range, an affordable upgrade. MyHotel Bloomsbury's attractive central London penthouse suite is a notch above available for around £700 per night.
The Guvnor's Suite in The Stafford is more luxurious: a split-level suite full of character carved out of the old stable block that overlooks the hotel's cobbled courtyard. With its own kitchen, a dining area and two bathrooms, it's practically a house on St James's for £2,250 a night. We've also written a review of a Master Suite at The Stafford - available for a bit less.
Some suites are very old-style, even chintzy, or look back to the great days of Edwardian hospitality. The Hyatt Regency Churchill's Royal Suite has swagged curtains, oak banisters, a gleaming satinwood dining table (for up to ten for some serious entertaining) - it could be a stately home, except that it's too well maintained for most of our impecunious aristos. It even has a grand piano, though you'll have to provide your own talent if you want to hear anything better than Chopsticks. You get your own gym, study and terraces too, if you can afford the £7,000 or so price tag.
The Lanesborough's eponymous Lanesborough Suite is just too chintzy for me with a very Louis XVI feel, a lot of pink, all swags and pelmets and counterpanes. But it has a serious amount of space: four bedrooms, five bathrooms, two living rooms, and a kitchen and dining room, making guests really feel like royalty. You don't want to know the price.
The Lanesborough Suite's luxury is reflected in its prize. But Lady Gaga could afford it, of course.
Some suites at central London hotels are practically art works in their own right. I can hardly describe the Schiaparelli Suite at the May Fair Hotel - opulent, luxurious, baroque, luscious - it's all purple and gilt and a huge style statement. Or the Oliver Messel Suite at The Dorchester, created by the theatre designer who gave it his name - though its floral decor and extravagant feel are theatrical it's also too comfy to be a stage set.
The Schiaparelli suite at the 5 star May Fair Hotel
There are also numerous options in a more modern style. For example, a stripped-down feel and private balconies make some of the loft suites at the Sanderson very appealing, at least in a London summer - I'm not sure whether they're quite as welcoming in a typical London winter.
There's also a gorgeous, hidden-away Guv'nor Suite at The Montague on the Gardens (no relation to The Stafford's one!). It was listed in our top 5 champagne suites on a prosecco budget and proves that a decadent luxury experience needn't break the bank.
Wilder and more way out options abound. The Lioness Den in the Hempel is perhaps the wildest, with wicker furniture, a suspended platform bed and view of the Zen garden, for about £800 a night. It's luxury ideal for an intimate occasion rather than for showing off, despite the name.
Suites at Mercer Street Hotel have special edition SMEG fridges
Finally, the Sanctum Soho's suite has a very rock-star feel - all twinkling mirrors, a monochrome palette of grey, shiny black and clean white, with a freestanding bath as a centrepiece to the room. If I were a rock star I'd be sorely tempted to do all my interviews from the bath...