Hilton London, Bankside
THE HOTEL: Open since October 2015, this four-star property in the heart of Bankside (almost equidistant from London Bridge and Waterloo) sprung from the remains of a former perfume distillery. The 292-room hotel (plus 25 suites) is designed in a chic post-industrial style, making impressive use of the existing exposed brickwork. There’s a penny press in the lobby, which is a nod to another former use of the building – it was once the vault of a bank.
THE CHECK-IN: I visited a week after the hotel opened. It was a Sunday afternoon and the large, open (and a little funky) lobby area was quiet. I was welcomed with a smile, quickly checked in and shown to the elevator – efficient and courteous.
THE ROOM: My entry-level ‘King Guest Room’ was stylish, contemporary, spacious and spotlessly clean. It felt luxurious but in an understated and non-fussy way. Features included a work desk and chair, complimentary wifi and water, a fabulously comfy bed, blackout curtains, fluffy robes and an oversized bathroom with a ‘rain shower’. There were complimentary soft drinks and snacks in the minibar and a handwritten welcome card.
THE BUSINESS: There are eight meeting rooms, of various sizes, and a ballroom that can take up to 700 people. Executive rooms have access to the Executive Lounge, which serves breakfast, afternoon tea and evening snacks. There’s also a business centre.
THE FACILITIES: The ‘speakeasy’- style Distillery bar, which specialises in its own craft beer and 'Prohibition era' gin and bourbon cocktails, features low-slung leather couches tucked into cubicles. The OXBO Bankside restaurant is a casual but impressive (and large) open-plan eatery. A battery of chefs prepare meals that place a premium on English produce, such as Newhaven hake and reared shoulder of New Romney lamb. There's a fitness facility, an onsite swimming pool and a treatment room.
THE VERDICT: Close to Waterloo and London Bridge stations, the hotel is centrally located. Its style, all urban ‘grittiness’ with bare brickwork, deconstructed iron features and reprocessed tube station tiles, is certainly eye-catching.
THE DETAILS: Hilton London Bankside Hilton, 2-8 Suffolk Street, London SE1 OUG. Rates start from £244 for a midweek King Guest Room with breakfast. See: www. Hilton.com.
Reviewed by Steve Hartridge (2016)