London’s Bankside — a stone’s throw from Shakespeare's Globe theatre and the imposing Tate Modern museum — has evolved in recent years as development along this stretch of the Thames has boomed. Low-rise buildings and industrial spaces have given way to gleaming skyscrapers, including the irregularly shaped, 52-story One Blackfriars, which now towers over the neighborhood like a hovering spaceship. Just next-door to this new notch in the London skyline, you’ll find Bankside Hotel, which is set into another swooping, glass-clad contemporary building, albeit one not quite as tall as its imposing neighbor. We stayed following its autumn, 2018 grand opening. Here’s what we saw.
Budget Level: Luxe ($300+ per night)
Lodging Type: Large Hotel (161 rooms)
What You Need to Know
The interior of Bankside Hotel is as polished and contemporary as its exterior, with art — much of it sustainable and created by local talent — and custom furniture in every space. A shelf of monochrome porcelain vases, tile set in a riot of geometric shapes, mock-serious portraits of eighteenth century lords and ladies with cheeky modern details; all of it creates a feast for the eyes. Rooms combine blond wood, concrete, and richly textured fabrics to highlight the building’s best natural asset — floor-to-ceiling windows that throw lots of light into the rooms and give you views of the street scene below.
Independently owned but part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection — you won’t see the word Marriott anywhere at this property — Bankside Hotel naturally attracts a wide swath visitors. You’ll find lots of business travelers here during the week, as well as couples in their thirties, forties, and fifties enjoying a quick city break or staycation.
Who Will Love It
If you love contemporary art and design, and staying in a “new” neighborhood, you’ll enjoy all of the meticulous detail and the energetic vibe here.
Who Might Not
If you need to be within walking distance of London’s central tourist attractions — Parliament, Trafalgar Square, theaters in the West End — you may want to stay elsewhere. Bankside is fast-changing and vibrant, but somewhat apart from the city’s major sights.
Art Yard Bar & Kitchen, the hotel’s restaurant, serves haute versions of flatbread pizzas, burgers, and fresh salads alongside a roster of share plates like mushroom arancini and sourdough bread with seaweed butter. Heartier mains like wood-fired chicken with sumac, olives, and za’atar yogurt; spelt risotto; and rump steak with chimichurri and shoestring fries are flavorful, attractive, and unpretentious. This lovely space, which is covered in eye-catching tile, also serves brunch.
Just your room is included in the rate. Internet is included, as is turndown service, and there are water fountains on each floor that serve both still and sparkling water at all hours.
Fees and Extra Costs You Should Know About
You can bring along up to two pets (55 lbs or less) for 75 GBP (about $95) per room.
How to Get a Deal
Late autumn and the first months of the year are always the time to save in London, when chilly, dreary weather sets in and the crowds dissipate for the season.
In the Neighborhood
A visit to the Bankside neighborhood wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the Tate Modern. This iconic modern and contemporary art museum, situated in a former power station, is packed with beautiful, controversial, and downright puzzling pieces. Stop by the vast Turbine Hall, which hosts large-scale sculpture exhibitions, to see work by some of the world’s greatest living artists. Get to the museum in about five minutes from the Bankside Hotel via a walking path that follows the Thames and makes for excellent people watching on a sunny day. You can also book tickets at Shakespeare’s Globe, a reconstructed version of the famous Elizabethan-era theater, which is just an eight-minute walk to the hotel.
Expect at least an hour either on the tube, or in a taxi or ride share, to reach Bankside Hotel from Heathrow Airport. It takes about the same amount of time to reach Gatwick Airport. Ride share pricing can fluctuate significantly depending on timing, but expect to pay at least 50 GBP (about $65) each way to reach London’s main airports.
Nearest Public Transit
The hotel is located just a few minutes’ walk from both the Southwark tube station where you can catch the Jubilee Line and the Waterloo Station, where you’ll also find the Jubilee Line, as well as the Bakerloo and Waterloo & City lines.
The Bottom Line
If you love exploring what’s new and stylish in a big city, this is the place to stay in London.