The Hilton group already has a presence in Canary Wharf, with a Hilton Hotels-branded property about a minute’s walk from Lincoln Plaza London. However Lincoln Plaza is part of Curio Collection, its smaller, upscale brand with around 60 properties around the world.
This 129-room hotel shares a building (though not an entrance) with a set of apartments, whose residents can also use the gym and pool facilities.
Where is it?
Millwall on the Isle of Dogs, just south of Canary Wharf.
The hotel is a ten-minute walk from the Jubilee line at Canary Wharf tube station. My companion, who was laden with bags and keen to minimise walk time, found the website’s instruction to leave the tube via the Jubilee Place exit confusing and ended up having to navigate through an underground shopping centre.
If you’re a Canary Wharf novice, make sure you head all the way up to the ground floor on the escalators, walk through the glass building containing Obica Mozzarella Bar and over South Quay footbridge. It’s straightforward from there.
Alternatively, it is an easy five-minute walk from South Quay station on the DLR.
What’s it like?
One of Curio Collection’s selling points is that it inhabits buildings that reflect the surrounding neighbourhood. This being Canary Wharf, that translates to a towering new-build with a sort of 3D tetris block effect on the exterior.
Inside it means ‘industrial’ design and a nautical theme in homage to the Docklands location. The former includes touches of steel, brass and marble in the lobby and rooms, large factory-style windows and an open-plan ground floor. The latter includes a themed bar serving ‘navy-strength’ cocktails, rooms named after roles on a boat and a copy of ‘Jackspeak’ – a dictionary of sailor slang – in every room. It’s done sufficiently so that the property feels well thought out, but not so much that it becomes an annoying gimmick.
The hotel has made good use of subterranean space, with a gym, multiple meeting rooms, a sauna and a pool. I had a peek in, and the 18-metre pool room is impressively large, but a plumbing problem has delayed its opening till March 31.
This also means the ground outside the hotel is currently all dug-up and adorned with scaffolding and skips. Presumably when complete it will be neatly presented in the concrete-heavy style of the rest of Canary Wharf.
Like a lot of new hotels, Lincoln Plaza promotes the sustainability of its products. Suppliers include ethically-conscious brands Mozzo Coffee, Brew Tea, and toilet paper makers Who Gives a Crap. Toiletries are by Kent-based Stone Street and the minibar is stocked with Surrey-based One Gin and London’s Toast lager.
A lot of these items are available to buy at Food Store, part of the large lobby space, which sells drinks and dried goods. It also features a deli with artisinal breads, cheeses and charcuterie, which is aiming to attract customers outside of just hotel guests.
Rooms come in a slightly confusing six tiers, with twins, queens and doubles within the categories Bargemaster, Keeler, Lighterman and Tillerman. Accessible rooms are available in each type.
All come with 46-inch TVs, a minibar, a hot drink station with coffee machines, high-quality tea bags and pretty china, and a large wardrobe with a hairdryer, iron, robes and slippers. Having looked around each room category, the only real difference I could discern is the size. I stayed in a Tillerman twin, one of the smallest, which didn’t feel at all cramped. Hilton doesn’t give the floor dimensions but you can have a look at the options here.
The furnishings felt high-quality, with soft carpeting, a white marble bathroom with a rainfall shower and a good selection of coffee table books. There isn’t a proper desk, but there are properly comfy armchairs (as opposed to decorative ones) and a large coffee table. There is also a lot of seating in the lobby where you could work.
The bed was comfy, with crisp cotton bedding. For me, both pillows were too high for comfort, a fact I only realised at a point when I definitely couldn’t be bothered to see if there was an alternative. Fellow face-down sleepers are advised to check earlier in the day.
Food and drink
There are a few options, which is handy as the area is not the most inspiring when it comes to dining destinations.
There is the aforementioned Food Store and deli, opposite which is Food Store Restaurant (pictured above), a casual all-day dining space. The dinner menu mainly features meat dishes, pizza and pasta.
We had a very nice breakfast here of scrambled eggs, smoked salmon and sourdough toast with strong coffee and orange juice. Breakfast is an optional cost with your room which gets you unlimited food and drink ordered a la carte. Alternatively you can just pay by dish on the day. See the breakfast menu here.
It is worth a visit to the main restaurant, Mr Todiwala’s Kitchen, with an Indian menu by chef Cyrus Todiwala. The high ceilings, large windows and brightly-coloured walls give it a relaxed atmosphere, but it’s smart enough for a business dinner.
The menus are extensive, with drinks including four types of champagne and an array of wines, spirits and beers. Bottles of wine start at £24.
Starters include dosas, samosas and tikkas ranging from £8 to £24 (the latter getting you a sharing platter). We tried the mixed platter, with four vegetarian bites including samosas and bhajis, and four tikkas (chicken, salmon, duck and beef), which were all delicious.
Mains are primarily curry dishes around the £20 mark. I was recommended the Goan Prawn Curry, which had huge juicy prawns and a sweet coconut flavour punctuated by a good kick of spice.
For £70 per person you can get Mr Todiwala’s Gourmand Tasting Menu, promising a two hour “culinary excursion”, though we weren’t brave enough to embark on it.
For an excellent round-off to the meal (though we certainly didn’t need it by that point) we tried a selection of kulfi, an Indian-style ice cream, in pistachio, hazelnut and rose flavours.
Upstairs is Jack Speak bar, apparently styled after a nineteenth century British Navy Officer’s Wardroom. Again it’s a subtle nod, not an overbearing theme.
The bartender was very knowledgeable and talked us through the menu to make recommendations, though that might not be possible on busier nights. The heavy dinner followed by a strong whiskey sour was more than enough to send me straight to sleep.
There is an underground warren of event space spread across 465 sqm, with a central lounge area providing access to seven meeting rooms. All are nicely decorated but can’t avoid a bit of a bunker feel.
There is an underground gym, plus the 18-metre pool opening in April.
The website enthuses that the “local area is not all business and global headquarters,” but realistically this is best for corporate travellers. It would be a good base for both short and long stays, with the on-site deli and pool particular draws. The property as a whole feels new, spacious and welcoming, and the staff are very friendly.
Business travellers spending an extended period in or around Canary Wharf.
Dinner at Mr Todiwala’s followed by a nightcap at Jack Speak bar.
A flexible midweek stay in February starts at £120, though most dates fell between £150-£210. There is a 15 per cent discount until March 31.
2 Lincoln Plaza Canary Wharf, London E14 9BD, United Kingdom