This is a new-build hotel on the north bank of the Thames and straddles the busy 4-lane Upper Thames Street which runs along that north bank. Westin is the Marriott brand that focuses on five star ‘wellness’, and this is the first Westin to open in the UK. The property is owned by 4C Hotel Group and managed by RBH.
Where is it?
On Upper Thames Street. There is an area where taxis can pull in for the south building. If you are coming by public transport head for Huggin Hill and then Huggin Court or alternatively you can use the footbridge across the road.
What’s it like?
As you can see my photo (above), the hotel is two buildings – south and north, with the connecting ‘bridge’ containing the hotel lobby, the main restaurant and four floors of rooms.
The ‘meaningful wellness’ brand attribute has ‘six pillars of well-being – sleep well, eat well, move well, feel well, work well, and play well.’ The moment you step inside there’s a sense of leaving the city behind, with the entrance lobby (‘The Haven’) having a beautiful triple-height ceiling, windows opening onto the view across the Thames and also the sky which you have probably forgotten about walking through the City, and a beautiful bespoke paper sculpture by Dutch artist Peter Gentenaar.
The interior of the hotel is by British architect and interior designer Dexter Moren Associates which also did the the Vintry and Mercer hotel nearby (see review in 2019).
The lift takes you up to the fourth floor reception, though note that this is the third level if you enter from the north because the ground slopes towards the river. At the time of this review in December 2021 there was no lockdown but instead the government was warning people to not go out, so it was quiet in the hotel and there was no problem checking in. There is a seating lobby area opposite (‘The Refuge’) with a fire warming the room. To access the lifts you walk past the Westin Club (for top tier members in the Marriott Bonvoy programme) and note the undulating interior design of the corridor.
The 222 rooms are on floors 5-8, and have a variety of views with the best looking (just about) across rooftops to the Shard. Note that despite the riverside location of the hotel only the Penthouse has a river view (and a terrace to go with it), as do the nine apartments that are for sale.
Instead, most of the hotel rooms look to the surrounding city and along the road which runs underneath. Soundproofing is, thankfully, very effective, and I assume so is the air filtration system, since this is a very polluted area because of the traffic.
There are four room categories. Entry level Signature rooms are 28sqm and have a good working desk, sophisticated lighting which again took some working out, material on the walls, wood floors but with a carpet around the very comfortable ‘Westin Heavenly’ beds, large recessed headboard with lights, plenty of charging and USB charging. There is a large flatscreen TV which is operated by a tablet in the room that we could not understand, though we did occasionally get the television to work. The hotel is in the process of putting in normal handheld controls because of guest feedback. There are amenities including tea and a coffee maker, Heavenly Spa toiletries, robes and slippers and a minibar, which is currently unfilled because of Covid.
Food and drink
The hotel has two options here. ‘Hithe and Seek’ on the third floor takes it name from the location – a ward of the City of London called Queenhithe. The views from here, both day and night, across the Thames to Shakespeare’s Globe are what makes it special. There is a long cushioned bench like seat facing the window to that’s what to aim for (though at night the view is slightly obscured by the bright atrium behind which reflects on the windows). It offers small plates of food, but really is a pre-drinks venue before dinner (or for drinks after dinner) with an excellent wine bar (cocktails, also) and a focus on lesser-known wines guided by an excellent sommelier.
On the main floor, straddling the road, is Mosaic, the all-day dining venue along with a Champagne Bar. This has a wide range of food. Sample dishes include a main course of pumpkin and sage tortelloni, roasted pumpkin purée, pumpkin seeds (£20) and from the Westin Eat Well menu, pan-seared Cotswold free-range chicken breast, corn purée, confit Datterini tomato, dill (starter portion £10, main course £22) or a crispy quinoa salad, broccolini, blueberries, pecans and orange slices, lemon vinaigrette (starter, £5, main £10).
The spa facilities on the second floor of the north building are very impressive, with a 370sqm2 area including a 12 metre swimming pool, six treatment rooms with a wide range of treatments on offer, a relaxation area and a well-equipped gym.
In the north building there is a total of 1,060m2 of meeting rooms including a ballroom which could seat 190 for a banquet and a further five meeting rooms.
A short walk away from the shops around St Paul’s and Bank in the City, this is an excellent hotel with superb service. It’s a shame about the lack of views, but for the spa and the bars and restaurants, as well as the comfortable rooms, it’s an oasis where you leave London behind the moment you walk into reception.
A drink in Hithe and Seek at sundown to watch the river traffic go by.
Relaxing in the heart of the City yet being able to forgot all about it because of the serenity of the hotel.
60 Upper Thames Street, London EC4V 3AD; +44 (020) 3146 2690;