Bank­side Ho­tel, Au­to­graph Col­lec­tion

Business Traveller - - TRIED AND TESTED HOTELS -

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; bankside­ho­

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