Bankside Hotel, Autograph Collection
BACKGROUND Open since October last year, this new-build property is located on the south side of the Thames, close to the Sea Containers hotel (formerly the Mondrian). It is part of a development that includes the striking 50-storey One Blackfriars and is a member of Marriott International’s Autograph Collection, which comprises more than 150 hotels around the world.
WHAT’S IT LIKE? The hotel has gone big on art under interior designer Dayna Lee, who has partnered with Contemporary Collective in filling the property with modern and recycled pieces; there is even an artist in residence who produces works inspired by the area. Walk through to the lifts and you’ll see portraits by Helen Gorrill of Sir Christopher Wren, the Mona Lisa and Shakespeare with a skateboard. The public areas have handcrafted furniture by Galvin Brothers, and corridors feature Cy Twombly-inspired prints.
WHERE IS IT? Just next to Blackfriars Bridge, opposite the Thameslink station and a short walk from Southwark Underground station.
ROOMS The 161 rooms come in nine categories and are set over five floors. Entry-level Modest Doubles are 21 sqm. All rooms feature amenities including luxury robes, fabulous 300 thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets on very comfortable beds, Grown Alchemist bathroom products in large dispensers, remotecontrolled blackout blinds and Nespresso machines. Suites start at 41 sqm. Bear in mind that while one category of room contains the word “View”, this is a relatively low-rise property and the buildings around it are higher.
Ceilings are in polished concrete, and I liked the wooden floor with the faded colourful rugs. On the glass table was an artist’s box of coloured pencils. There were some expensive-looking desk lamps, a huge amount of plugs around the room, USB charging by the bed, free and fast wifi, and large TVs with Google Chromecast. Weirdly, this didn’t work with my Google phone (Pixel 3), but a helpful staff member came up and showed that it worked successfully with every other form of device, including my laptop. Instead of a minibar there is a vending machine on each floor containing everything from small bottles of good (but expensive) wine to “adult packs”. Each room also has a fridge containing bottled water and fresh milk.
FOOD AND DRINK Art Yard Kitchen and Bar is an attractive ground-floor space featuring, among other works, hand-painted tiles by Laura Carlin. Open all day, it offers a short but delicious menu in the evenings. I had a small pizza of buffalo ricotta, artichokes and tomatoes (£6) and a main course of sea bass with cavolo nero pesto and horseradish (£16.50), with side orders of roasted sweet potatoes with harissa and pomegranate molasses, and carrot with tahini and linseeds; just right for a freezing cold January night. A small bar is planned for the mezzanine floor this year.
MEETINGS The event spaces are split across the lower and mezzanine floors with the largest being the art gallery-like White Box, which holds 132 guests for a banquet.
There is even an artist in residence who produces works inspired by the area
LEISURE There is a fair-sized gym, or you can run along the Thames.
VERDICT If you’re not bothered about views, these are large, luxurious rooms with fantastic soundproofing, technology and service. Highly recommended. Tom Otley
Quirky design with all the mod cons of a top-class hotel
A drink and then dinner in the Art Yard
Internet rates for a flexible midweek stay in April started from £293 for a Modest Double room
Bankside Hotel, 2 Blackfriars Road, Upper Ground; tel +44 (0)20 3319 5988; banksidehotel.com