Fed up with the usual touristy side of London and looking for something a bit more hipster and raw? Hilton have you covered with the Bankside in London; just a stone’s throw away from Tate Modern.
This place happens to be a short stroll over the bridge from my office in St Paul’s, so one Friday afternoon I popped down to check in around 3pm. The nearest tube station is on the Jubilee Line, Southwark, and is around a 7minute walk from the hotel.
The building is very conspicuous from the outside, with just a the modern art in the pull in area and Bankside in flowers to give the game away. Once inside the ambiance and scent of the lobby is fantastic. Whoever was the interior designer on this one completely nailed it.
A warm greeting from reception and the holy grail news for a Diamond member, a one bedroom suite upgrade. A glass of sparkling wine was also a nice touch, whilst being briefed on the hours of breakfast, lounge and leisure facilities.
The dark and hipster theme continues through to the guest rooms and corridors. My suite was well proportioned and had a view complete with The Shard. You do have to be careful with room choice as some face onto the semi-busy main road and others into a dark courtyard.
The one bedroom suite had a sofa area with large Samsung TV. Below the TV was a unit containing the mini bar (complimentary in a exec room or above) which was stocked with suitably trendy items such as locally made cola, lemonade, fruit crisps and seeds. The tea tray was a little more standard but well stocked and containing an enjoyable shortbread biscuit. A pod style coffee machine takes up a good chunk of the unit top too.
Into the bedroom with a huge king bed, adorned with your standard but lovely Hilton linen and a cute little card introducing your housekeeper. The bed faces another large Samsung TV with an identical unit below – albeit without the treats.
The bathroom was well proportioned with two sets of toiletries – always a winner for me – but in the majority of rooms here the shower is over a tub. I am a shower snob and this is always a little disappointing but the water pressure and funky shower head made up for it. A large well-lit heated mirror was above a very nice nice sink unit with the towels below.
The Diamond welcome gift made me giggle somewhat, a plate with two apples on with a message announcing it was ‘specially prepared by chef’. I am sure he slaved over polishing those apples for some time!
I visited the lounge for the canapé hours, 5.30pm to 8.30pm. There is an excellent selection of alcoholic delights here, including sparkling wine (somewhat of a rarity these days in Hilton Lounges). A very drinkable red and white, along with a selection of branded spirits. A full range of mixers was also available in the fridges, alongside Peroni as a beer choice.
One thing to note is that they take the food away half an hour before the booze so make sure you stock up on vegetable gyoza at 8pm. Other items included salad cold cuts, rolls, dips, crisps and small cold canapés.
A particular highlight in the lounge was a guest asking for a different beer brand, and the staff member going out of their way to provide his beer of choice and also ensure he had a few more in the fridge.
After a delightful and quiet sleep, I decided to take advantage of the 11am breakfast finish and visit the pool. It’s in the basement and is a really nice facility, helped by the having the whole place to myself. There is also a gym room with some machines and stretching space.
The pool is a rectangle with a small area to the right which acts as a jacuzzi; but its the same temperature as the main pool. It’s still a dark and relaxing space to have a float about or do some laps.
Feeling refreshing I ate a hearty full (diamond included) breakfast in the main dining room. The selection and quality was excellent, everything tasted fresh and beautifully cooked. Two chefs were keen to offer eggs your way, but I was distracted by the cheese and bakery section. The chocolate muffins really were moist and tasty.
After breakfast I checked out, a professional and friendly experience with offers of both a taxi and bag storage.
When it comes to London, this hotel offers excellent service and a slightly different location away from the tourist masses, check it out next time you are in town.
Top Tip: Go completely on-trend and check out Tibits just down the road, its a plant based restaurant with some amazingly tasty dishes. Great as a snack!