If you want to have a more local experience, consider staying in up-and-coming East London. The Ace Hotel opened its London outpost in the trendy Shoreditch neighborhood (the equivalent of Williamsburg in Brooklyn), while the new Hotel RE is a good bargain in the Bethnal Green area. Not only are the lodgings less expensive, but so are the restaurants and shops.
The Great Bath, built by the Romans on the site of present-day Bath, England, is fed by a thermal spring that was sacred to the Celts. Today, the pool is open to the sky, but in Roman times it was covered by a vaulted ceiling more than a hundred feet high.
45a Cloth Fair is a basic but functional Georgian apartment steeped in history. The two-bedroom flat, which sleeps four, overlooks the ancient Church of St. Bartholomew the Great and features period architectural details and antiques as well as a thoroughly modern kitchen and bathroom. Book through the Landmark Trust. Strengths: Close to Smithfield Market, the Museum of London, and St. Paul