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Review: the Hilton London Bankside hotel – great for spacious rooms in central London

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This is our review of the Hilton London Bankside hotel.

If the name ‘Hilton’ fills you with visions of bland, cookie-cutter hotels filled with IT contractors in white short-sleeved shirts then prepare to be surprised. Hilton London Bankside is a surprisingly trendy Hilton that opened in 2015.

It is so popular that, pre-covid, midweek occupancy was apparently at 95% and the hotel is in the middle of a £25m upper floor extension which will add 76 rooms. There was no disruption as far as I could tell – despite staying on the top floor – and the only reason I noticed was because I spotted the scaffolding from the outside.

Review: the Hilton London Bankside hotel

Thanks to Hilton for arranging my visit for review purposes. This is one of two London ‘staycation’ reviews we are publishing this month, with Hyatt’s Great Scotland Yard following next weekend.

The Hilton Bankside website is here.

Hilton London Bankside location

The hotel is just round the corner from Tate Modern in what is otherwise a residential area of the south bank, albeit amongst a cluster of hotels:

Review: the Hilton London Bankside hotel

As you can see, the closest stations are Southwark (Jubilee Line), Blackfriars (Thameslink and Circle & District Lines) and, across Millennium Bridge, St Pauls (Central Line). Waterloo and London Bridge stations are also not far.

Despite its central location, Bankside has the benefit of remaining a fairly quiet, residential area. Although it’s exceptionally close to the Tate Modern, Millennium Bridge and South Bank river walk, this isn’t an area overrun with tourists (unlike Soho and the West End, for example) which means it’s a pleasant place to stay.

Inside the Hilton London Bankside hotel

The exterior doesn’t give much away:

Review: the Hilton London Bankside hotel

…. but walk in and you can see that this is something different. The lobby itself is fairly dark, but they’ve gone for the industrial chic look with lots of metalwork and lighting:

Review: the Hilton London Bankside hotel

My room wasn’t ready when I arrived at 2:45pm (Hilton only guarantees rooms are available from 3pm) but the check-in process was done ahead of time. I was also given access to the Executive Club lounge (I am Hilton Diamond) whilst I waited.

Check-in involves a glass of prosecco, although it was poured from a screw-top bottle and mine was very flat …. so not sure if it was prosecco or just standard white wine!

Rooms at Hilton London Bankside

I returned to reception shortly after 3pm and picked up my keycard before heading up to my room on the seventh floor. I had been given a King Executive Room including lounge access, although as a Hilton Honors Diamond member I get that anyway.

The room was incredibly spacious for London at 34sqm, particularly as this was in a mid-tier category and not a suite. Entry-level rooms are not much smaller, at 30sqm, so the Hilton Bankside is a great pick if space is what you are after.

This is what you see when you walk in:

Review: the Hilton London Bankside hotel

Missing from the vestibule were hooks or hangers of any sort, which would have been ideal for coats and jackets. Instead you have to put them in the wardrobe by the bed or on the chaise longue.

As a modern hotel there is no heritage structure to contend with and the room was a conventional square shape. Centre stage was the king bed, but there was loads of space around it on all sides, far more than you can even see in the photo above.

You won’t run out of juice because there are two three-pin mains sockets and two USB-A ports on each side of the bed:

Review: the Hilton London Bankside hotel

To the left of the bed is a wardrobe, complete with (very high quality) bathrobes, a safe, iron, hairdryer etc.

Review: the Hilton London Bankside hotel

On the other side of the bed is a chaise longue:

Review: the Hilton London Bankside hotel

Whist, in the opposite corner, you’ll find a good-sized desk.

Review: the Hilton London Bankside hotel

The TV is mounted on the wall above a console table and mini bar. The fridge was stocked with water and soft drinks (chargeable) whilst a kettle and Caffitaly coffee machine were also available. It wasn’t until the next morning, when I was making myself a cup of tea, that I realised they had forgotten to replenish the coffee pods.

Review: the Hilton London Bankside hotel

The bathroom isn’t huge but is a far sight bigger than the tiny one I had in the Canopy Cannes recently. Whilst there’s only one basin, there’s enough space for two people to be in the room at the same time!

Review: the Hilton London Bankside hotel

The shower features rainfall and adjustable heads and the water pressure was great.

Review: the Hilton London Bankside hotel

One thing the hotel does not necessarily have is views – at less than 10 storeys it is surrounded by similarly-sized buildings. In my case, I had a view of an internal courtyard overlooking the Executive Lounge skylight:

Review: the Hilton London Bankside hotel

Service was generally good, although our request for a dental kit went unfilled multiple times and took an age when it finally did arrive. I was surprised to find a turndown service was performed, which I wasn’t expecting at a ‘standard’ Hilton in London.

Pool & gym at Hilton London Bankside

Anyone staying also gets use of the leisure facilities, in this case the pool and gym in the basement.

Hilton Bankside gym

Here is the pool, which is a decent size for a central London hotel:

Hilton bankside pool

You can see a jacuzzi in the rear corner but this is the same temperature as (and is indeed connected to) the pool, which I always find a bit odd. It would’ve been nicer to have a ‘proper’ hot tub. There are no saunas or steam rooms.

Hilton Bankside Executive Lounge

One thing you might not expect from a seemingly more leisure-focussed hotel such as Hilton Bankside is an Executive Lounge, but it’s actually very pleasant.

Review: the Hilton London Bankside hotel

It’s very quiet in between the service periods of breakfast and happy hour in the evening, and a large skylight means it is a pleasant spot to sit and work should you need to. When the food and drinks come out it gets fairly full, but only for an hour or two.

Review: the Hilton London Bankside hotel

During the day the offering is relatively sparse, with hot drinks and soft drinks available as well as a surprisingly extensive selection of fruit juices including lychee:

Review: the Hilton London Bankside hotel

In the evening, during happy hour, cava, wines, beers and basic spirits are available and offered by an attendant – you can’t help yourself.

Food features a few salads, some cold cuts and 2-3 hot items which involved gnocchi and chicken the day I was there.

Review: the Hilton London Bankside hotel

Whilst I wasn’t there for breakfast, I did pop in afterwards when they were in the process of clearing it away and it looked much more extensive – extensive enough that you could easily get by.

Saturday Brunch at OXBO Bankside

The hotel’s restaurant, OXBO, offers a bottomless brunch on Saturdays which we decided to check out. It’s available from 12:30 (after the main breakfast service) and is £42 for four courses or £58 for four courses + two hours of bottomless cava.

Review: the Hilton London Bankside hotel

The offer is not bad. It includes unlimited access to the starters from a market table (ie help yourself) as well as made-to-order egg dishes such as eggs benedict or omelette. The market table impressed, with prawn cocktail, miso salmon, various salads, cold cuts and more.

Review: the Hilton London Bankside hotel

The main course is served to share at the table and features three dishes:

  • slow cooked short rib on polenta
  • baked cod with celeriac puree
  • gnocchi and roasted root vegetables

The quality is arguably not as good as the starters. It comes with the right number of items per table:

Review: the Hilton London Bankside hotel

Desserts are self-serve as well, also from the market table:

Review: the Hilton London Bankside hotel

Conclusion

The Hilton London Bankside is quite unlike other mainline Hiltons thanks to its design-led style. (Hilton Bournemouth, reviewed here, is similarly design-led.) If it wasn’t for the Hilton branding you might think you were at a different chain entirely.

Base rooms here are some of the largest I’ve seen in London, so if space is important to you then the Hilton Bankside is definitely worth consideration. If you’re here on holiday or with kids then the pool is also a good insurance policy against inclement weather!

Overall, this is an excellent Hilton and well worth a visit if it suits you location-wise.

You can find out more, and book, on the Hilton London Bankside website here.


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Comments (43)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • HampshireHog says:

    Mmm so it’s in a poor location with not much nearby nor close to the tube, this being what’s put me off before, furthermore you’ve a good chance of s as room facing a brick wall? Not really feeling it tbh

    • phatbear says:

      Its not in a poor location you are are a 3min walk from the tate modern therefore 5min walk from st pauls, 5 mins from blackfriars on the northside etc etc.

      If youre worried about a view in a london hotel then you are doing london wrong.

      For me i prefer the hilton bankside to the conrad when i stay in london, although i prefer the conrads breakfast

    • NicktheGreek says:

      It’s a 6 min walk to the tube one way, and 6 mins to the south bank the other way. Considering it’s got a pool and decent sized rooms, the trades offs are reasonable. I also can’t recall staying at a similarly priced hotel in London that does consistently have decent views (but I’ve only stayed in maybe 10 total, so certainly not a fountain of knowledge on this particular topic)

    • executiveclubber says:

      It’s right by Southwark tube station & a 2 minute walk from Tate Modern & the Thames…

      • ianM says:

        About a 5 minute brisk walk, hardly ‘right by’, but it is a good location. It’s pricey tho, we got a twin room for £199 but the week before the rate had gone up to £488.

        One curious thing when we stayed there a couple of weeks ago – the external windows in our room, 3rd floor maybe? were frosted so you couldn’t see out. Never had that before.

        • HampshireHog says:

          Yikes re frosted glass, someone mentioned another hotel with that the other day, planning permission re being over looked I believe

        • Tom says:

          It is very close to Southwark tube if you cut through the side streets rather than walking the long way around on the main roads.

          Personally I do not like hotels that are almost on top of a tube station – too congested.

      • R_B says:

        Definitely not ‘right by’. A right by example would be the Kimpton and Russell Square

        • TGLoyalty says:

          I always find “right by” entrances to the tube interesting as it often doesn’t bare resemblance to how far it is from the actual platform.

    • Cicero says:

      5 minutes walk to the tube, the Globe, Tate Modern, Borough Market nearby, lots of good pubs and restaurants in the area, St Paul’s, Blackfriars, the National Theatre in easy walking distance. Thames Clipper from Blackfriars to see London from the river. No, nothing to do here…

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Why I skipped past it. Odd comment as there’s so much within literally mins of walking

        • George says:

          A 5 minute walk is far these days, apparently

        • HampshireHog says:

          Ok well I’ll rephrase what I said. It’s not in my view a proper neighbourhood such as Islington, Earl’s Court or Kensington. Yes theirs various stuff but not a feeling that’s to my liking

  • Neil says:

    I stay at The Bankside regularly. Staff are amazing, breakfast is wonderful and the rooms are fabulous (if just a little lacking in natural light). The hotel is really well run and friendly, and they have a sweet trolley in the afternoon which the kids love. Everyone I take there comments how lovely it is.

  • Kev says:

    This hotel is an easy walk from Blackfriars (take the south exit from the platform). It is also an easy walk to Borough market and riverside walks with loads of retail and attractions.

    Sadly the lounge offering has been getting less over the last year or so with no afternoon tea being served. Likewise in the breakfast restaurant the prawn cocktail and salmon offerings had disappeared on my last visit. Despite this, it is one of the better Hilton hotels in London.

  • His Holyness says:

    Wow, the food in the lounge has been severely downgraded.

  • Phil G says:

    It’s more fun when they have their ‘bottomless brunches’ and the reception and front is full of drunken people fighting

  • jj says:

    What a snob: “IT contractors in white short-sleeved shirts.”

    That sentence doesn’t cast you on a great light, @Rhys. I’m not an IT contractor, but I have employed many of them over the years. I would never want to speak of my colleagues in such pejorative terms.

    Sorry, but I stopped reading after the first paragraph.

    • Ken says:

      Rhys must have thought he was Giles Coren for a minute…

      • His Holyness says:

        The marketing intention vs reality means all these brands are just full of typical boomer gammons anyway. Step into that lounge and you’ll see the red faces with glasses filled to the brim with tanker wine getting their “moneys worth”.

      • The Savage Squirrel says:

        Giles Coren’s predecessor (Jonathan Meades) once wrote in a review something along the lines of everyone from some Somerset town being illiterate yokels. When this generated complaints, he doubled down the next week by suggesting that as they couldn’t possibly have been able to read the review in order to be offended, some visitor to the county must have stood in the town square and read his review out to them all. Quite a good riposte, I thought [I’m from Somerset BTW]

        Rhys, I’d follow that road!

    • Bagoly says:

      @jj: When someone pithily refers to a group of which I am a member, I laugh rather than take offence.
      And it’s not as though the group in question is underprivileged.

      @rhys: Excellent evocative phrasing. Please don’t go bland.

    • Rhys says:

      Rob put that in, not me!

  • John Murray says:

    You picked up on a particular (minor) bugbear of mine – so many hotel rooms have space for a couple of coat hooks just inside the door but don’t have them – such an easy thing to do.

    Also another thumbs down from me for the lazy IT consultant stereotyping comment.

    • Rob says:

      Was pleasantly surprised to see 2 coat hooks in my Marriott Berlin suite (see yesterday).

      Public toilets without coat hooks are a bigger issue.

  • Bagoly says:

    Shows the variation that is possible within brand standards, especially about the room size.
    One thing that would be interesting to see in each review: Who are the Owner and Operator?
    Rob has educated us that the chains-with-the-big-name are mainly marketing organisations, and the brands are just checklists variably enforced.
    So the key distinction is the Operator (although sometimes also the Owner who gives the Operator a steer on what they want?)
    The Owner in this sense is the person/organisation which controls the operations and presumably receives the bulk of the marginal profit – no doubt often different from the owner of the physical building.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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