Review: the new Westin London City hotel, where work and play meet
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This is our review of the brand new Westin London City hotel.
The Westin is the latest hotel to open in the City of London. In recent years the Square Mile and neighbouring Aldgate and Whitechapel have seen a number of new hotels open, breathing life (and tourists) into the City at weekends.
As the first Westin to open in the UK we were keen to see what the brand had to offer. Marriott considers Westin a ‘premium’ brand, so it sits just under luxury brands like St Regis, The Ritz Carlton and W Hotels.
Curiously, given its location in the heart of the City, Westin is not pitched as a ‘business’ hotel but more of a leisure brand that offers ‘premium luxury wellness hotels’.
Marriott offered me a free night at the hotel to try it out. As it would reduce my commute the next day to under 5 minutes walk, I jumped at the chance!
Where is the Westin London City?
The Westin London City hotel occupies an exceptional river-front site previously used as Queensbridge House, an office building from the 1960s as you can see above.
Mansion House tube station is just around the corner from the north entrance, which gets you onto the District and Circle lines, whilst St Paul’s and Bank are a modest stroll away.
This is a unique spot, because the building stretches from the Queenhithe Dock (the oldest in London, with Roman features still buried in the inlet) all the way across Upper Thames Street, the main arterial road in the City, connecting to a further building on the north side of the road.
If you are coming via Mansion House then the hotel entrance is rather discreet, down Higgin Hill:
You have probably seen the connecting bridge if you work in the area:
As far as I can tell, the building’s original structure was mostly retained in the conversion, although it looks like major modifications were made on the riverside building to incorporate a full-height lobby.
The result of the conversion is a long and thin hotel, set back slightly from the river due to the listed dock but with spectacular views across to the Globe and Tate Modern on the South Bank.
As previously mentioned there are two entrances to the hotel, although the South entrance is the more prominent one:
It is, I admit, not the most imposing entrance – the difficult shape of the development means it is underneath the bridging element and next to the busy Upper Thames Street.
Walk in and you’ll see a grand, full height atrium with a skylight and riverside views:
An attendant has been helpfully stationed at the entrance to let you know that the hotel reception is on the fourth floor – it is not particularly obvious otherwise.
In fact, this whole ground floor atrium is a bit odd. Because the hotel reception is upstairs, it is deserted, despite the fact that it has views across the river. The space is hugely underutilised, although I am told the hotel will be using it for ‘pop-ups’ such as a collaboration with Taittinger. At the moment, however, all the space and views go to waste – a massive shame.
Having the reception on the fourth floor makes sense, though. This is the floor that connects the two buildings on either side of the road and features the majority of the public areas. Coming out of the lifts you can admire the view down to the ground floor and the rather lovely floating sculptures:
As the bridge between the north and south buildings, the fourth floor is effectively a long corridor. It has been well decorated, with a couple of seating areas as well as beautiful stone flooring and textured stone wall panels:
There are two large marble check-in desks, plus plenty more casual seating opposite:
The staff were super friendly when I arrived and checked me in quickly. One thing to note is that the hotel is cashless.
Rooms at the Westin London City
There are 222 guest rooms as well as nine luxury apartments as part of the hotel. I believe the majority are in the larger North building, although there are also four floors of rooms on the bridge part.
I was given a Signature Family Room with two double beds on the top (8th) floor. I quite liked the green carpets, which I thought tied in nicely with the riverside location:
The room is a good size for London, although the two double beds wipe out considerable floor space:
As you can see, the style of the Westin London City is fairly neutral and relaxing with greys, browns and greens. There is no overhead light but a number of lighting features around the room.
By the door is a built in wardrobe and mini-bar:
The wardrobe features a spare gown, safe and ironing board:
To the right is the mini bar, with Nespresso machine, Kettle and (empty) mini fridge. The tea bags are by Jing, which is the brand used throughout the hotel and indeed at all Westins, whilst the coffee pods were unbranded:
Annoyingly there were two types of coffee pods although – as is often the case in hotels – it wasn’t clear what the difference was. There were instructions on how to use the machine, however.
You’ll also find a small armchair in this corner as well as the only window in the room, albeit with decent views of the nearby church and with The Shard in the distance:
The two beds make up the majority of the room, both with large bedside tables:
…. and plenty of plug sockets:
I did find the dimmer switches slightly fiddly, as depending on how far you turn them they turn different lights on.
There was also a ‘sleep well’ lavender pillow spray:
The Heavenly Beds were very comfortable and the pillows just the right level of firmness for me. I have to say I slept very well.
Opposite the beds is the desk and TV:
This also featured a small tablet-style console with information about the hotel:
To the left is a small green padded bench.
At the far end is the bathroom, clad in fake marble tiles:
On the right is a shower and bath set up:
Toiletries are by Aqua Vita whilst the soap was a funky leaf-shape and from the Heavenly Spa by Westin branded:
I wasn’t blown away by the shampoo and shower gel although I liked the soap – the Aqua Vita products looked a bit cheap.
Westin London City spa and gym
Part of the wellness offering at the Westin is the spa and gym. These are in the basement of the north building:
Unfortunately the pool area was pretty busy when I went so I wasn’t able to get any photos, but here are some PR pictures which are pretty accurate:
It is nicely done, with a 12 metre swimming pool and jacuzzi in the main room whilst a (all gender) steam room and sauna are in a separate area just off the pool:
The whole area is impressive. Between the pool and the spa reception are six treatment rooms, and I had a lovely 60 minute massage with Dani who was very friendly.
After your treatment you can chill in the relaxation space, which has various teas and infused waters as well as snacks:
Also on this floor is the gym which mostly features cardio equipment, although it was bigger than I expected:
The Westin Club
Despite being a more leisure focussed brand there is a Westin Club lounge on the fourth floor, just a few metres down from reception.
It’s not huge – I think it would feel pretty busy with 25 guests – although it was empty when I went mid-afternoon:
It’s a beautiful space with lots of tables to work at although very few plug sockets, annoyingly. The end next to the buffet is more dining and table-oriented, with a more casual lounge space on the other side:
The Westin Club serves a decent buffet breakfast, although it’s not too dissimilar from the restaurant across the corridor, with all the bits for a full English:
There’s also a happy hour in the evenings with free house wine, beer and nibbles, although I wasn’t able to check this out.
In between breakfast and happy hour you can get hot and soft drinks.
I was very impressed with this space – lots of natural light and great design meant that it was a good space to get some work done and one of the best lounges I have used in some time.
If you have Platinum Elite status or higher in Marriott Bonvoy, and so get automatic lounge access on any room rate, this hotel should be high up your list.
Restaurants and bars
There are just two venues in the hotel. The main restaurant, Mosaic, is just across from the Westin Club:
This is also where breakfast is served. It is split into roughly three areas, one either side of a bar plus a third space next to a show kitchen:
This side has views across the road towards the church and the footbridge:
The menu isn’t huge – just 3-4 each of small plates, large plates, sides and desserts, plus an ‘Eat Well Menu’ with healthier options with whole and half portions. I had the smoked trout flatbread for lunch, which was exactly what I needed:
For breakfast, the buffet is laid out by the show kitchen. The hotel had clearly designed this space with the buffet in mind, with a wide console along one side of the room featuring hot items as well as cold cuts and fruit and cheese:
There were two different types of smoked salmon on offer, plus some smoked trout:
In the middle was an island with juices, yoghurts and granola:
Whilst the pastries were by the show kitchen:
There’s also an a la carte menu, and I opted for the Eggs Royale which were very good:
Hithe and Seek is the flagship bar, located on the third floor with views across the Thames:
This is where I spent most of my evening. It is interspersed with very casual seating – a lot of stools, as you can see above.
The views are great, and if you’re lucky you’ll get a lovely sunset. Over the course of the evening you can watch the tide come in and out of the history dock:
The best seats in the house are these by the window, on a slightly lower level:
It’s a great space, although shockingly underused. Hithe and Seek only opens at 3pm whilst breakfast and lunch served in Mosaic. It seems like a massive waste of such a stunning space.
In fact, I liked it so much that I had my dinner here as a series of small plates. Here is the duck terrine:
Plus a heritage tomato salad:
Grilled Galatian (Galician?) octopus:
…. and, finally, lamb kofta:
One thing that did annoy me at both Mosaic and Hithe and Seek is that they’ll only give you a real menu if you ask for one – otherwise it’s all via QR code. Nothing beats having a proper menu versus faffing about on a phone and with covid restrictions now virtually non-existent there’s no reason not to go back to the old fashioned paper menu.
I was impressed with what I saw at the Westin London City. I wasn’t sure what to expect given the hotel’s location straddling the main road through the City but Marriott and the developers have done an exceptional job.
It’s all the more impressive when you consider that Westin is ‘only’ one of Marriott’s ‘premium’ brands (rather than luxury) – and yet it felt more luxurious than many of the ‘luxury’ hotels I have been to. The spa and Westin Club, in particular, stand out.
My only criticism is that I think the riverside spaces are massively underutilised. With the ground-floor lobby basically unused and Hithe and Seek not opening until 3pm you can spend most of your day at the hotel not having enjoyed these fantastic spaces. It seems a shame not to serve breakfast in Hithe & Seek or turn the ground floor into a cafe or another restaurant.
The Westin London City is Marriott Bonvoy Category 7 hotel, which means you’ll need between 50,000 and 70,000 points per night. Cash rates start from just under £300. You can find out more, and book, on the hotel website here.
How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (May 2023)
There are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.
The official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card comes with 20,000 points for signing up, 2 points for every £1 you spend and 15 elite night credits per year.
You can apply here.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 30th May, the sign-up bonus on the Marriott Bonvoy American Express card is doubled to 40,000 Bonvoy points – and you get a free night voucher too! Apply here.
Marriott Bonvoy American Express
40,000 bonus points and a free night voucher – only until 30th May! Read our full review
You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points by converting American Express Membership Rewards points at the rate of 2:3.
Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Marriott Bonvoy Gold status for as long as they hold the card? It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Premium and MeliaRewards Gold status. We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 13th June, the sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card is doubled to 60,000 Membership Rewards points (worth 90,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) – and you get £200 to spend at Amex Travel too! Apply here.
The Platinum Card from American Express
60,000 points AND a £200 Amex Travel voucher until 13th June! Read our full review
You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points indirectly:
- American Express Gold (20,000 bonus Amex points)
- American Express Rewards Credit Card (10,000 bonus Amex points)
and for small business owners:
- American Express Business Gold (20,000 bonus Amex points)
- American Express Business Platinum (40,000 bonus Amex points)
The conversion rate from American Express to Marriott Bonvoy points is 2:3.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which can be used to earn Marriott Bonvoy points.
(Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)