Sometimes it’s great to just be a tourist in your own city so not so long ago I travelled to SE1 to stay at the Bermondsey Square Hotel. This 90-room property in trendy South London offers an alternative twist on the London City break as it’s conveniently located amidst buzzing restaurants, design studios, boutique shops, an indie cinema and vibrant antiques market.
I arrived early on a Sunday, eager to check in and with my suitcase in tow. As I waited for the key to my room I looked around the lounge and took in the industrial aesthetic. The staff were all wearing a nonchalant denim and didn’t fuss over the guests too much – I like that! The interior seemed to absorb the local artisan style with its exposed brick walls, vintage furniture and eccentric lighting.
My favourite thing about the lounge was that one corner had a pantry area offering home-made cakes and pastries. The chalk boards topped with banana bread and brownies made me feel as if I were in someone’s home rather than a hotel. Everything about the lounge oozed authentic hospitality.
I had a slice of red velvet cake, it was the weekend after all, and read the paper whilst I waited. I insisted there was no rush with my room so that I could spend some more time in the quirky calm of the hotel lounge.
I was expecting my room, a Superior Room, to be just as quirky but when I opened the door I was a little surprised. It was light and modern but lacked the individuality and unique touches that I loved about the lounge.
As well as a big, and very comfortable bed, there was a stretch of work space which would be very useful for city visitors. The room was nice – don’t get me wrong! It just didn’t live up to the crafty and quirky environment downstairs. As it felt a bit ‘conferencey’ I didn’t feel bad about heading out of the hotel to explore the area.
We decided to walk to Tower Bridge and take in the riverside views only a short walk away. It was a perfect Sunday afternoon – not too busy, a clear blue sky and just enough of a chill in the air to remind you that it’s autumn.
The Bermondsey Square Hotel is quite ideally located and some of London’s finest sights, including a few of my favourite, aren’t far away. Tower Bridge, Borough Market, The Shard and Tate Modern are all a short distance away so you don’t have an excuse not to be at least a little bit cultured during your stay!
After a busy day of sightseeing in our own city we ate dinner at the hotel’s restaurant. The food was wholesome and yummy so if you’re away for work and want a home-style hot meal then you won’t be disappointed. There is also a huge amount of choice for local restaurants nearby so if you love good gourmet food then adventure on to Bermondsey Street for a meal to remember.
The friendly staff would happily recommend you a good spot nearby so don’t be shy if you’re heading out to dinner. When I asked where was good nearby for a relaxed lunch they suggested a local restaurant with a unique outdoor dining area. When we stopped by Tanner & Co I was pleased that it lived up to their rave review and we shared a meat board and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc.
When we went to sleep that night I decided to leave the curtains half open so that we would wake up with a view of Bermondsey! After a good nights sleep it was lovely to have the light streaming in through our window. As much as I didn’t want to leave the comfort of our room I was tempted downstairs by the thought of a hot pot of coffee…
Breakfast was served in the lounge where a large wooden table was full of fresh fruit, pastries, juice and yoghurt. I opted for a healthy bowl of muesli, raisins and yoghurt drizzled with honey. But then I saw the homemade banana bread…and decided one slice wouldn’t hurt. The hotel coffee was fantastic so I happily asked for more as we enjoyed our breakfast.
The Superior Rooms are perfect for city visitors and designed for comfort but perhaps not quite as stylish as you would expect from the rest of the hotel. If you want a weekend away in London with a difference then I couldn’t recommend Bermondsey more.
Luckily for you the Bermondsey Square Hotel will also be introducing six new 1st Floor Terrace Suites with private balconies overlooking the Square and antique market on Fridays. Or, if you really feel like a luxurious stay, book a Loft Room which has an outdoor hot tub for eight people! You can browse or a book a room here: bermondseysquarehotel.co.uk/