Native Bankside, London

THE APARTHOTEL: This apartment-style property, which opened in summer 2018, occupies a converted Victorian tea warehouse in the heart of ‘Shakespeare’s London’. It has stayed true to its history, with exposed brick walls and arched factory windows. It is comprised of 75 studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments, stylishly furnished by Conran Contracts, originally started by Sir Terence Conran to source furniture for his restaurant ventures. It’s ideally located on London’s South Bank, just a 10-minute walk to the City and Monument, Bank and St Paul’s Tube Stations. It’s about the same distance from London Bridge Station or Blackfriars Station.

THE CHECK-IN: The quick check-in experience, which is available 24 hours, was speedy and done with a smile. The building is close to a lot of passing passenger traffic, but security is front of mind, with the apartments’ key cards doubling up to provide access to the lift.

THE ROOM: My stay was in a premium studio, a larger room that offered plenty of living and workspace. The rooms are stylishly furnished, with a bright colour palette of vibrant blues, reds and yellows. It features a kitchen with cookware, dishware and utensils, a stovetop, microwave, a freezer and fridge with water, milk and wine. Other practical amenities included dishwater, a kettle and coffee machine, an ironing board and iron, clotheshorse, hair dryer, and USB charging ports. The bathroom area was ultra-modern - all chrome, stainless steel with streamlined sinks and taps – and with a powerful shower.

THE FACILITIES: There’s no restaurant but there is a complimentary common area ‘pantry’ on the first floor, with items like pasta (in a jar), jams, fruits, popcorn, cereal, milk and coffee. Its location means there are plenty of bars and restaurants nearby. There is also a fitness room. Wifi access is free. There are no meeting rooms onsite, but the aforementioned pantry area has plenty of space for a business hook-up.

THE VERDICT: This was a highly comfortable and cosy stay in a building with plenty of history. The term ‘home from home’ is overused but I could imagine spending an extended stay here. Its location, on a cobblestone street, feels like a step back in time, and I liked the mix of ‘historic’ London and all mod cons. Its location – 10 to 15 minutes from The City and key train stations – makes it a great choice for short or long-stay corporates.

THE DETAILS: Empire Warehouse, 1-2 Bear Garden, London, SE1 9ED. Nightly rates start from £160 a night (plus VAT). Tel: 020 7313 3886; see:

Reviewed by Steve Hartridge (2018)