Haven’t you heard? South of the river is the coolest part of London nowadays, and Southwark is the place to be. Home to Tate Modern, Borough Market, Shakespeare’s Globe theatre, and only a short walk from Southbank’s cultural hub, it’s art and architecture is matched by a buzzing food scene. These are the neighbourhood’s five best hotels.
CitizenM Bankside is modelled on a shipping container | Courtesy of CitizenM Bankside / Hotels.com
Guests at CitizenM Bankside can expect a stylish, sleek hotel with a focus on art and modern living. The ‘M’ in the name stands for ‘mobile’, and doesn’t just reference the busy guests – the hotel is modelled on a shipping container, and took just nine months to build. The canteen is self-serve, but the delicious pastries from the local Gail’s bakery more than make up for the lack of table service.
This unassuming hotel regularly scores well in customer reviews thanks to its handy location (all rooms have a gorgeous view of London) and contemporary design. The owner is Middle Eastern and the hotel doesn’t serve alcohol, which could be ideal for families and those set on a peaceful night’s sleep. Stay on a Friday and make the most of the antiques market in the morning, or explore the local area, which was once one of London’s down-at-heel suburbs but is now a tourist favourite – home to the V&A Textiles Museum and White Cube gallery.
Rooms overlooking the Thames have an uninterrupted view over St Paul’s, the City and Canary Wharf, and London’s biggest landmarks – such as the Shard and Big Ben – are within walking distance. The hotel is something of a work of art itself. Styled to look like a ship, the reception desk resembles a hull, a giant anchor sits waiting for guests to admire and low lighting throughout gives an unexpectedly luxe feel. Oh, and the Dandelyan bar is one of London’s best thanks to its quirky Modern Life of Plants menu. There’s a lot going on here, but it so works.
The Mercure brand strikes again with this South London offering. The hotel’s decor is simple but stylish, and staff are as accommodating as you could wish for. The Marco Pierre White restaurant serves a cracking breakfast, while the bar area has a relaxed, informal vibe that’s appealing to almost all kinds of guests.
Bankside opened in September 2018 aimed at creative types, with a focus on workspaces and showcasing art. Unsurprising, when you discover the hotel’s Scandi-accented design was created by former film-set art designer Dayna Lee. Taking up six floors of the striking One Blackfriars development, it looks set to make many a must-visit list in coming years.