London’s latest Hilton Hotels and Resorts property opened in October last year.
WHAT’S IT LIKE?
The £120 million new-build is one of what the brand calls its “next generation of design-led hotels”, and certainly the first impression is not of your typical Hilton. At the entrance of the seven-floor Brutalist-inspired building are two graffiti works by UK artist Niki Hare – designers Dexter Moren and Twenty2Degrees sought to create an industrial look inspired by the local area.
Inside, the mood-lit lobby features grey concrete-effect flooring (a nod to the Turbine Hall in the nearby Tate Modern), Tube station-style glossy tiling, wing chairs and monochrome art prints. Still, there are reassuringly traditional touches – a behatted doorman, floral displays, marble front desks – and the whole effect is polished rather than edgy. Staff were professional and friendly.
WHERE IS IT?
Great Suffolk Street, a five-minute walk from Southwark Tube station and ten minutes from both London Bridge and Waterloo stations.
There are 292 rooms, including 26 suites, with entry-level King and Twin Guest rooms measuring 30 sqm. The next level up, Deluxe, offers either more space or better views. Executive rooms come with access to the stylish ground-floor Club lounge, which serves complimentary breakfast, drinks and snacks.
Amenities offered as standard include free wifi, 42-inch LG TVs, desks with media hubs, fridges with free bottled water and soft drinks, tea and coffee facilities, robes, safes and iron/ironing boards. The sleek marble bathrooms have walk-in rainshowers or combined tubs/showers, plus Peter Thomas Roth products. The décor is attractive and quite masculine, in shades of grey, brown and dark green with glossy black, smoked-glass and leather touches.
My fifth-floor Guest room was quite dark, with a fairly narrow window looking down into the inner courtyard and across the rooftops, so the various lamps and bedside pendant lights were needed – other rooms have larger windows, and some on upper floors offer views of the Shard and Tate Modern.
It was a restful space to relax in – the bed was comfortable, with luxurious linens, and it was very quiet, despite the hotel being at full capacity. The lights were easy to control from bedside panels, but there was no plug socket near a mirror for the hairdryer.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS
The strong focus on design is continued in the gentlemen’s club-style Distillery bar and industrial-chic Oxbo Bankside restaurant. I was really impressed by Oxbo, which serves an all-day menu big on steaks, fish and seafood – I had a terrific lobster (£40) cooked on the open kitchen’s Josper grill.
Many ingredients are sourced from nearby Borough Market. It’s large, seating 168, but doesn’t feel cavernous, and the walls feature witty papier-mâché animal heads by David Farrer. Service was excellent, although the breakfast buffet was a little chaotic. The Distillery serves good cocktails, 50 types of gin and its own beer on tap.
There is more than 1,000 sqm of event space across the two levels below ground, including a 700-capacity double-height ballroom.
Also below ground are a 17-metre swimming pool – always nice to find in a London hotel, and lovely for an early-morning dip – and a gym.
An excellent addition to Hilton Worldwide’s stable of London properties. It’s good to see the group’s flagship brand taking more risks with design, and it has paid off here – it looks great, while at the same time providing the standards of comfort and service that Hilton is known for. A strong food and drink offering, too.
Internet rates for a flexible midweek stay in March started from £259 for a King Guest room.
2-8 Great Suffolk Street; tel +44(0) 203 667 5600; hilton.com