When I was asked whether we would like to stay the night at the Hilton Bankside in exchange for a blog review, I jumped at the chance. I’m often asked for hotel recommendations in London and because I live here, I’ve never been able to recommend anywhere that I have actually stayed myself. So it seemed like a great opportunity to do something a little bit different with the children, explore a part of London that I didn’t know too well and hopefully have a good family hotel recommendation in my back pocket.
We set off for the hotel at around 2pm on a saturday afternoon. Both children (only two as our eldest was staying with a friend for the night) were beside themselves with excitement. Staying in a hotel with three children can be prohibitively expensive, so it’s not something that we have done very often and Charlie thought Christmas had come early. He had a little trouble remembering the word ‘hotel’ in the days leading up to our adventure and woke up one morning and said, ‘Mummy, I can’t wait to stay in the cafe tomorrow!’ (I am putting that comment here for safekeeping. It’s a memory I wanted to bottle!) We travelled via tube to Borough Tube station and went straight to Borough Market. I am ashamed to say it was my first visit, but it definitely won’t be my last.
If you love your food, I would highly recommend a trip to Borough Market. We had the most delicious pulled pork baguettes for lunch and there is a really lovely, festive vibe, especially at this time of year. It’s a stone’s throw from the hotel and there are also some really great shops close by. I spotted Aesop, Paul Smith, Borough Kitchen (amazing shop for the at-home chef!) and a Konditor and Cook (one of the best cake shops in London) on our little walk to the hotel. Just remember that Borough Market is closed on Sundays.
Outside the hotel there are two giant toy soldiers and a large ‘BANKSIDE’ sign. A perfect opportunity for a photo but such a lovely touch, as the children’s excitement levels escalated before we even got inside. The hotel lobby had a luxurious, boutique feel to it. Christmas filled the senses (I forgot to ask them what candles they were burning, but the scent was amazing) there were tasteful decorations and a very friendly doorman with top hat to welcome us.
The hotel lobby has an industrial chic feel to it. It is really spacious (four check in desks) and when we arrived there was a real buzz about the place. We were checked in quickly and the children were given a map and told that if they found all the foxes in the hotel, they would win a little prize. I thought it was such a nice touch for families and it felt like their excitement levels were turned up another notch.
We stayed in a family room, which was essentially two rooms with an interconnecting door. As Liv wasn’t with us, the children’s room had twin beds, but I was told that if we had been three they would have put us in a room that was big enough to accommodate three beds. The children received gift bags with bath toys, teddy bears and Johnson and Johnson bath products and each child had been left the correct size robe and slippers. Little touches that really make you feel welcome as a family.
The children changed into their robes and swimming costumes straight away and headed straight for the pool which was really impressive. It’s a 17 meter heated pool with an adjacent bubble pool and I loved the design of the space.
Unless I absolutely HAVE to, I generally swerve the swim (very much a ‘Daddy duty’ in my book!) so I left them to it and went to find the bar instead. It was Saturday, early evening, so there was a great atmosphere and the bar had a real New York buzz about it. That might have something to do with the fact that it’s one of the few places we actually stay in hotels because we are usually without the children, but I do think it had something to do with the atmosphere and the great design of the bar. Once again I was struck by a really good use of space and beautiful lighting. Comfortable seating (giant chesterfields and comfy banquettes) large industrial pendants and a really well stocked bar. Oh, and let’s not forget happy hour!
The children loved their swim but were keen to crack on with finding the foxes which kept them busy while we enjoyed a few pre-dinner drinks. We booked an early table for dinner in the Oxbo restaurant so . Once again, a great space with quirky animal heads on the walls, a stunning Xmas tree and a lively vibe.
The food was really good. I had a fillet steak which was cooked to perfection and a generous size and my husband’s rump was also given a big thumbs up. The children’s menu had a great selection of choices and both ordered a starter of cucumber and melon and burgers for their main courses. We drank the house red which was really good and by the time we had finished our starters and main courses we were all too full for pudding, so they very kindly let the children have their puddings sent to our hotel room.
After a really good night’s sleep we were woken by a knock at the door at 8.45 as we had chosen a room service breakfast. Breakfast was a real highlight for the children, as you can see from these photos!
One of us was far too comfy and sleepy to wake up for breakfast. How anyone can sleep through the smell of bacon I will never know!
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the Hilton Bankside and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking to stay in London, especially those with young families. The children’s highlights were the fox hunt, the swimming pool and room service breakfast. My husband loved the bar (of course!) and I had one of the best night’s sleeps in a really comfy bed.
A big thank you Hilton Bankside for having us to stay for the night.