The new Hilton Bankside is a million miles away from what you’d usually associate with the Hilton hotel chain. Set in what used to be the fragrance factory of Stevenson & Howell’s Standard Works with the Tate Modern, Haywood Gallery and hip new restaurants and bars as it’s neighbours, the hotel really makes a statement with its impressive design – the work of design studios twenty2degrees and Dexter Moren Associates.
You won’t have any problem spotting the hotel with ‘Bankside’ spelt out in huge illuminated letters right on the pavement. We checked into a king deluxe suite, with an emphasis on ‘king’… there is a bed you could get lost in and separate living space with a sofa, armchair and TV. The bedroom had views looking out towards Theler Shard and the urban chic style had us taking photos to as inspiration for our own home, particularly the wood cladding on the walls. The bathroom was just as enticing, with a huge walk-in rainforest shower.
The hotel restaurant, OXBO Bankside, is modern British with Executive Chef Paul Bates, formerly of The Beaumont and Intercontinental Park Lane, at the helm showcasing produce from Borough Market. To start, we dove into the sea with seared spiced scallops, avocado yoghurt, palm heart and sweet vinegar peppers, which was fresh, light and a great combination of flavours.
Mains were from the grill with a sirloin of Gloucestershire beef, aged on the bone and cooked to perfection. If you’ve room for more, definitely finish off with the rich and intense Valrhona dark chocolate terrine with mandarin glace and gold leaf.
The Distillery Bar is housed in what used to be original building’s perfumery and the cocktails are shaken up in front of the bar stocked high with bottles of all shapes and sizes. There are plenty of other quirks too; the penny wall is a nod to old Bank and is made up of over 17,000 pennies, and last orders are rung out on a bell sourced from a local factory.
The Bankside also has a 17-metre heated swimming pool, a gym and a huge ballroom. Whilst it might just be the using the design to adopt London into its identity, it’s certainly a world away from the business hotel approach.
Guest doubles from £189.
2-8 Great Suffolk Street, London SE1 0UG