Tried & Tested

Hotel review: Ibis Styles London Southwark

10 Sep 2018 by Tom Otley
Ibis Styles London Southwark-8

Background.

Ibis Styles is one of three Ibis brands, all of them budget hotels in the Accorhotels stable.

The “Styles” part indicates that this is the top of the Ibis range.

The brand is “all-inclusive”, which means breakfast and wifi are built into the price.

This property particular opened in September, 2017.

I have stayed in an Ibis Styles before, once in London in 2015

Hotel review: Ibis Styles Kensington

and also since then in other Ibis properties including in Berlin.

There are over 500 of them in 45 countries, and as Accorhotels puts it, the Styles properties offer “Multiple styles for a designer experience at an all-inclusive price”.

Ibis Styles London Southwark Lobby

What’s it like?

From the outside, it’s an Ibis. Inside, it’s baffling.

I walked into the hotel and wondered if I’d stumbled into the props room of a film studio or theatre. There were jumble sale chairs, a small mini grand piano, a bar area hidden behind a pillar and menus hanging from the wall, yet only a few seats gathered around a coffee table where someone would be able to drink or eat.

Convinced I had taken a wrong turn, I walked back out, checked the name of the hotel on the exterior, came back in, was still not convinced, and so asked a couple of people who were standing there who assured me that yes, it was a hotel. And after a while when an employee – unidentifiable as such other than his badge – checked me in, walked me through to the restaurant at the back end of the building to show where breakfast would be served the following morning, and then showed me to the lift, explaining my key card was necessary to open the lift and access my room floor.

Throughout the stay the staff were friendly and helpful, but partly because the lobby was so dark, and partly because there was none of the usual furniture that indicates who is who, often I was unsure whether I was asking help from guests or from staff.  It meant I was far more social than I normally am in a hotel, and none of the other guests seemed to mid my asking their advice or directions to Borough Market (or the toilet).

Reception

Rooms

The 114 rooms including eight suites also continue the film / theatre references, with red curtains and large black and white pictures covering an entire wall in the bathroom (which had a  shower only).

My room smelled very strongly of bleach when I arrived, giving me reassurance that it was clean. Luckily the windows open and so I opened both of them and propped open the door to create a breeze.

My double bed was firm but comfortable, and as a Gold member of the Accorhotels programme I also got extra toiletries in the room, a bottle of water and a bathrobe and slippers. Wifi is complimentary throughout the property. Rooms come as either as Queen or a duet (twin).

There was a small flat screen TV with a fair selection of channels, and my room looked out to the Shard at London Bridge, although with the construction going on behind the hotel, that might not be the case for much longer. The table was easily large enough to work at.

I slept well. The room was quiet, unlike the previous Ibis Styles I had stayed in, and the bed was comfortable. It was also easy to turn out all of the lights from the bed without having to walk around the room.

Shard view

Food and drink

There’s a large restaurant and cafe area for drinks in the evening, and this is also where the continental buffet breakfast is served (included in the price – see below). The choice was good – pastries, hot and cold drinks, cheese, hard boiled eggs, toast and a selection of fresh jams and marmalades.

The movie theme continues with lights hanging from the ceiling as though you are backstage, pulley ropes for lifting scenery up and down, spot lights on racks on the roof and a mix of long table seating and individuals tables and chairs.

Behind reception there is a bar area where you can buy your drinks from a member of staff and then take them either to your room or the restaurant area. You also order your food from here.

Ibis Styles Southwark Bedroom

When I woke in the morning I had an email message as follows:

“Check out – message when I woke up by email: “Sleep well? Looking forward to a lie-in, in our comfortable bed? Or a leisurely breakfast? Don’t blame you :). Good news. There is no need to formally check out in the morning. Simply leave the key in your room or hand to a member of staff on departure. You’ll find enclosed your summary of expenses at this time. We’ll send you the final invoice by e-mail within 24 hours. Any questions? Simply contact the Reception team, who will be happy to help. We look forward to welcoming you again someday soon.

In fact, I handed my card to a member of staff (again, I assume it was) and then left.

Business

There are two meeting rooms with a combined capacity of up to 70.

Leisure

None

Verdict

I think it’s admirable that a budget brand is trying something different. I probably would stay here again, although the price is higher than some of the other budget hotels we have recently reviewed (around £200 per night).

I think if you are looking for something quirky, it will appeal, but I simply didn’t see the connection between the area and the theme chosen.

Fact box

Price: a midweek stay is around £200 per night

ibis Styles London Southwark – near Borough Market, 43-47 Southwark Bridge Road.

 

ibis Styles London Southwark
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