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I discovered Hilton London Bankside soon after it opened a couple of years ago, and it instantly became my favourite London hotel. Reasons will become clear (I hope) as you read this review, but it has personal attraction for me, as it’s just over a 10 minute walk from my employer’s City office.
Let’s get this covered first. It’s not the first place one might look for a Central London stay; it’s south of the river for a start, so clearly you’ll not get a black cab to take you there 😉
I’m quite happy walking considerable distances, and would consider this a suitable base for reaching most of Central London’s tourist areas. I appreciate not everyone is so willing or able to walk that far, so you have the following London Underground options nearby;
- Southwark (Jubilee Line) 0.3 miles
- Blackfriars (Circle, District Lines) 0.5 miles
- London Bridge (Jubilee, Northern Lines) 0.5 miles
- Waterloo (Jubilee, Bakerloo, Northern, Waterloo & City Lines) 0.6 miles
and the following National Rail options;
- Blackfriars (Thameslink, Southeastern) 0.5 miles
- Waterloo National Rail (South Western Railway) 0.6 miles
- Waterloo East National Rail (Southeastern) 0.6 miles
- London Bridge (Southern, Thameslink, Southeastern) 0.7 miles
The nearest bus stop is within 0.1 miles, with further options on the A201 (Blackfriars Road) just 0.2 miles away. The doormen are always willing to arrange transport, and if water is your preferred mode of transport, Bankside Pier is under 0.5 miles away, where you can pick up RB1, RB2 and RB6. Hopefully, you’d find a convenient method of getting where you need to be, and there’s always Uber.
The vehicle drop off is manned by uniformed doormen, who are always extremely polite and welcoming. On every visit I have made, they always ask if you need help with luggage on the way in, or transport arranging on the way out. Unlike most London hotels, this is a brand new building, and it really shows. Despite being open for a couple of years, it still looks (and smells) new. The reception staff are always happy and welcoming, and I’ve never had to wait more than a couple of minutes to check in.
I’ve stayed here several times, and generally get upgraded from the room I have booked, which is generally a standard room (I’m not Craig, I am capable of sleeping in a room that is not a suite, although this is mainly due to my employer’s expense policy!). All of the rooms I’ve seen are still immaculately clean and undamaged with tasteful wooden panelling.
As a general rule, I find a plate of fruit, “with the compliments of the chef”. Occasionally, and rather oddly, there is also a set of cutlery wrapped in a napkin, which I find redundant when eating an apple. There’s usually a card from a manager welcoming me back. All of these things are easy to do, but it’s a nice touch that makes you feel appreciated.
Bathrooms have a very modern feel to them with lots of premium looking ceramics on the walls, and an excellent shower with rainfall or standard shower head attached to a hose.
Neatly arranged items on the sink, with plenty of spare towels.
And of course, every frequent traveller’s favourite toiletry brand. This hotel included a moisture infusion; some offer a massage bar. Why can’t they be honest and call it a bar of soap?
As a general rule, I would say the staff at this hotel have provided the best service of any Hilton hotel I have stayed in. Some things that set it aside;
Turndown service! A sign of a quality hotel. I haven’t yet figured out how someone as important as me gets into the bed without touching the floor, but they have me covered when getting up, with a little mat and slippers (that don’t fit my size 11’s too well!). They also rather thoughtfully turn on the reading light, place a bottle of water (and a glass – we are civilised people you know), along with the TV remote control all within easy reach.
In addition to the complimentary water, Deluxe rooms and above (remember how I always got upgraded?) offer some chilled drinks.
When the hotel first opened, they also included some snacks, and I’d usually find a jar of salted peanuts and a couple of chocolate bars, but that seems to have been trimmed back, or could only be available in executive rooms. The ‘problem’ with being upgraded, is you sometimes lose track of what’s what with each room type.
To be continued….
In the next part, I will review the Executive Lounge as well as dining and fitness facilities at Hilton London Bankside.