"It's not what you'd expect from a Hilton," C&I Traveller's guest remarked as we traversed the ground floor of the global hotel behemoth's shiny new London offering.
The soundbite summed it up well. While still offering the reassuring, business-friendly services and amenities you might expect of a Hilton, the Bankside property has taken a more design-led approach to the interior, no doubt in the face of competition from a raft of handsome hotel peers to have opened across the capital in recent years.
After all, it is located on the 'Design Trail', just a paintbrush's throw from the South Bank, Tate Modern and Borough Market, so keeping up appearances was probably wise. Each of the hotel's 292 guestrooms boasts original artwork, while the public spaces, bar and restaurant are all adorned with quirky design touches, including miniature fox sculptures to honour a local vulpine resident who used to pad through the site during construction. There is even an 'Art Concierge', who can offer tips on weekend walks to nearby creative hotspots.
Event space is extensive. If you're seeking a sizeable venue on the South Bank, here's a ballroom with its own entrance that can host 500 for a banquet or 700, theatre-style. In total, there's more than 1,000sqm of space, across 11 'flexible meeting suites'. Further work amenities are available in the Executive Lounge.
For the less serious business, OXBO Bankside (above), the hotel's restaurant, serves British-based dishes in a lively atmosphere overlooked by mock taxidermy animal heads, which, perhaps surprisingly, don't put you off your steak. Chefs performing the open kitchen add to the experience. The Distillery bar, on the site of a 19th century essence factory, is no less interesting, offering a wide range of cocktails incorporating homemade aromatics, infusions and bitters.
Elsewhere, facilities include a fitness centre and indoor heated pool.
C&I Traveller stayed at Hilton London Bankside on 26 November 2015.
Largest Meeting Room Capacity: 700
Day Delegate Rate: From £80
Tel: 0207 593 3950
Wi-fi: Free throughout
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