This is our review of the Bankside Hotel in London, part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection.
I had been keen to take a look at Marriott’s Bankside Hotel for some time now. It is, stylishly, a substantial cut above your normal Marriott hotel and I had visited it briefly when I attended the 2018 British Airways Christmas media party.
Autograph Collection is a group of luxury independent hotels which choose to be part of the Marriott ‘system’ because it helps with their marketing. In return, they respect Marriott Bonvoy status benefits and you can earn and redeem points when you stay. There are no ‘brand standards’ except a general commitment to qualify.
Bankside Hotel was recently advertising a special £125 ‘2nd birthday’ rate with breakfast, which is still available. This is a substantial discount to the normal rates, although these are not normal times.
It was also taking part in the current ‘£75 back on £200 spend’ promotion offered to many Marriott Bonvoy American Express cardholders. This seemed like a good excuse to move in for a day and a half, since I get a guaranteed 4pm check-out due to my Platinum Elite status.
Where is the Bankside Hotel?
If you are live or work in Central London, you can’t help to have noticed the new One Blackfriars residential tower, above, at the foot of Blackfriars road bridge.
Bankside Hotel is NOT in the tower itself – let’s be clear about that – but is in a low building built on the same plot.
It is hard to photograph because of its shape and how it is hemmed in – the CGI image above is as good as I could find, even though you can’t see One Blackfriars looming up behind it. You are actually looking at the back of the hotel which contains a Gail’s bakery. You enter on the opposite end.
The location is excellent for everything that the South Bank has to offer, including Tate Modern. This is not prime business hotel territory, however. Whilst I’m sure it attracts high-end tourists who want to spend time at Tate Modern, it feels a little off-centre for its market. The immediate area around the hotel is particularly lacking in excitement. That said, on a sunny day it is a lovely walk into the City.
Check-in was quick. Instead of a formal desk, agents are sat at tables. As a Platinum Elite I was given a multi-level upgrade from the entry level ‘Modest’ room to (I think) an ‘Ample’. This is the biggest room they have which is not a suite.
The best word to describe Bankside Hotel is classy. You need to remember that I have spent a lot of time in recent weeks in cheap and cheerful hotels, using them as office space. This was a breath of fresh air.
A proper high-end Nespresso machine (not the cheap black plastic ones) ….. free popcorn and chocolate in the minibar ….. a lovely wooden box on the desk containing lovely wooden pens and pencils. You could get used to this.
These three photos are from the hotel. They are identical to the pictures I took, but better, so I thought you might as well have the good ones:
There is a very interesting design feature which is shown above but isn’t obvious. The ceiling is exposed concrete. It has been nicely finished, but it is still raw concrete.
The bathroom has only one sink, which wasn’t a problem for me as I was on my own. At this level it is not unusual to expect two sinks, however.
Toiletries come in large dispensers so you can’t take them home. Well, you can (they are not bolted to the wall) but it would be unreasonable. They are branded ‘Grown Alchemist’.
This interesting painting was above the loo:
There was a decent desk. Note that it has a glass top, so if you have a computer mouse and it is not the trackball variety you will need a piece of paper to sit it on. The room, of course, has been stripped of paper.
Here is a close-up of the box of stationery:
Whilst the view wasn’t much – the block of flats across the small road – I didn’t mind. I doubt that any rooms here have much of a view, given that I was on the penultimate floor.
All in all, it is about as good as you are going to get – at this price point – from a shoebox shaped room.
Art Yard bar and restaurant
The hotel bar and restaurant, Art Yard, has been designed as much for local residents and workers as hotel guests. It has its own website here and you have to read very closely to realise that it is part of a hotel.
Breakfast is a la carte. I’m not sure if hotel guests get a buffet in normal times, but as it also serves breakfast to walk-ins it may not. If you qualify for free breakfast, you can choose one cooked item (from a selection of seven) plus one pantry or bakery item (from a selection of six, including cereals, cheese, charcuterie, pastries or porridge). Coffee and juice is also included.
I went for smoked salmon and scrambled egg on toasted brioche. It worked well although I admit it looks a bit messy in the picture:
Bankside Hotel is, without a doubt, a classy experience, albeit not in the classiest part of London. It was a pleasure to wallow there for a day.
The £125 ‘2nd birthday’ rate is still available, and if you have Marriott Bonvoy status you should be upgraded to a good sized room as I was. Even if you don’t have status, the fact that you get a breakfast included with your £125 is not to be sniffed at.
The Bankside Hotel website is here if you want to find out more.