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Hilton London Bankside. Urban luxury on the Southbank.

09/11/2023 by .
Hilton London Bankside

Helen Warwick reviews Hilton London Bankside, right in the middle of London’s foodie scene.

In a city bursting with hotels, from the olde-worlde grand dames to the hipster newbies, figuring out the great from the good is a challenging task. They need to have beautiful design, an excellent location and cut-above service that won’t make you question the cost of your room – for in a city such as London, there’s nothing cheap about a hotel stay.

Hilton London Bankside is just the place when you’re seeking an urban hotel in south London, stepping distance from The Shard and Shakespeare’s Globe. Inside, you are greeted with the golden light of pendants strung from the ceiling, walls of modern art and a scattering of oversized lounging chairs gathered in a circle.

It’s an unexpected soothing space, away from the buzz of Borough and London Bridge, and sets the tone for a surprisingly remedying stay. The theme is far more design-led than the generic feel of other Hiltons, and the rows of smiling staff on hand to gather up your luggage and check you in means you’ll be heading to your room in no time at all.

Hilton London Bankside

There’s a sense of restraint in the rooms, but one of self-assuredness – interiors are masculine and smart with a surprising amount of space for this part of London. There’s a sort of moody, industrial feel to the rooms: hanging amber lights beside the bed, wooden panels, a soothing colour palette of orange and olive green.

We had a separate room that doubled as a workspace for me, a pocket of quiet filled with plenty of power points around a desk and the mini bar. It’s all a pleasure to cosy up in. But the bed was the standout for me – a giant, white, pillowy thing that was like sleeping on a cloud and conjured the best night’s sleep I’ve had in months (and that’s with nine-month-old, Mia, snoozing in a cot at the foot of the bed). And really, when it comes down to it, a good night’s sleep is the holy grail of any hotel.

Penthouse bathroom 2

Cosied up in my duvet, on pillows as smooth as the check-in-service, I could spot the familiar roof of the Tate Modern, poking out between the shiny, high-tech blocks. This pioneering art gallery is only a five-minute walk away from the hotel – as is the Southbank. We walked from the hotel, grabbing a coffee from Gail’s, and stretched out on one of the verdant lawns beside the river, gazing at passerby and the unmistakable thrill of the London skyline. I lived in London for more than a decade and I still can’t get over that tangible buzz swirling through its streets.

After an hour or two mooching around the Tate Modern, staring at a giant Matisse and standing in the emotive light installations of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, we wandered over to Borough Market and nabbed a table at Saltyard. Here, finely executed tapas are dished out from the open kitchen towards diners gathered around wooden tables. Prawns sizzling in garlic; tempura cod with splodges of a charcoal piri piri; vinegary boquerones  – every plate a revelation, all washed down with a crisp rose amid the eternally fun din of Borough Market.

Penthouse living room 2

That’s the thing about Hilton London Bankside. You’re right in the thick of this groundbreaking foodie hub and it’s immeasurably easy to just wander along the Southbank and around the warren of streets, old-school pubs, and smoky street food stalls that define the area.

But that’s not to say Hilton London Bankside itself doesn’t pull off culinary prowess. Guests bedding down in the Executive Rooms have full access to the lounge, where an immaculately dressed staff member poured me a sharp G&T and we grazed on olives and exquisite canapes. There’s a gorgeous pop up play area next door, too, designed by imaginative toy specialist Melissa & Doug – so it’s perfectly feasible for one parent to hang out in the lounge, whilst the other takes the little ones to play with the wooden puzzles and crayons before dinner.

Hilton London Bankside

We managed to rock Mia to sleep in the pushchair before settling into a table at OXBO Bankside, feeling very smug as we sipped on Cosmopolitans whilst looking through the menu that focuses on seasonally-led British classics.

Our sirloin steak was excellent and pink with salty chips and a potent barbecue sauce. We had wanted to hunker down on one of the bar stools in the Distillery bar for a nightcap, but Mia woke so we headed off to bed, full, content and drunk on London’s lingering spirit.

Hilton London Bankside will surprise you. I love its reams of character, its sharp interiors and its ridiculously comfy beds. And with an incredible location, pitched between the steely waters of the Thames and the buzz of Borough, I love the fact this hotel couldn’t be anywhere else than London.

Tell me more about Hilton London Bankside

Hilton London Bankside, 2-8 Great Suffolk Street, London, SE1 OUG

T:0203 667 5600

Room rates start from £361 B&B.


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