Set on a leafy Knightsbridge side street within a cluster of restored Victorian townhouses, the Franklin (thefranklinlondon.com) is British to the core. Still, the hotel’s old-school ambience does not preclude a modern edge, courtesy of a 19-month renovation led by Anouska Hempel and completed last August. The London designer—whose other local credits include the Grosvenor House and the Blakes Hotel—has perfectly balanced the traditional and the contemporary with details like wrought-iron furnishings and sleek Carrara marble. A residential style pervades throughout: In lieu of a formal lobby, visitors find a host of guest-only retreats, from a plush velvet library to an intimate well-being area with a Turkish hammam. Remaining utterly English, however, is the hotel’s restaurant overlooking the rather secret Egerton Gardens.