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Located near the Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s globe, Bankside is one of the Hilton’s most well-reviewed hotels in London. With a google average score of 4.6, it rates highly for customer satisfaction and service and general experience.
I booked at stay in February, using the ‘points and cash option’. A typical points redemption for a standard room is between 60-90,000 honours points. That puts it at the higher end of the brand’s portfolio, but it’s not the most expensive hotel per night.
I arrived at the hotel a little earlier than 2pm. There were several people at the reception at separate desks.
There was no one greeting at the door which was a little strange. In nearly all of the five star London hotels there is at least one if not two door staff.
The receptionist found my booking and asked for a card to enter into the system. I find this one of the more irritating aspects of staying in Hilton hotels.
I asked if they had any twin beds available and I was told that they were very busy and couldn’t offer one. I was given room number 236. I looked around for someone to help me carry my luggage to the room, and I then gave my room key to one of the staff in the lobby. I was taken aback when he thought I was checking out of the hotel. If had been paying attention he would have noticed that I was checking in just two minutes earlier.
I’m not sure if it’s their policy but not assisiting customers with luggage is very unwelcoming.
I was shown the lifts and found the room.
I needed to swipe the key to access the floor number. It’s bizarre that Hilton need to do this. You would think they would easily be able to distinguish genuine guests from intruders.
The room was a standard room, with some design features I quite liked. But there was a separate floor area that wasn’t particularly comfortable. The bath room had a walk in shower, but no bath. There were the standard fixed toiletries on the wall, with no disposable toiletries that you might have been given before the no-plastic rule.
The hotel had a hidden closet that is part of the streamlined design of the hotel, but it would have been nice if the closet was easier to access. There was an ironing board, iron, and hairdryer in a box on the desk. Stangely, there were no dressing gowns in the room . a real disappointment. I rang housekeeping to ask them where I could find a robe and they couldn’t tell me. I found this quite upsetting.
The room had a kettle with some teabags, instant coffee and two packs of biscuits. I was really hoping that they would have some espresso pods, but it wasn’t to be…. This would distinguish hotel from lower cost brands such as DoubleTree and Garden Inns.
The hotel has an open and airy bar/restaurant in the ground floor. Coming in, it was not clear to us where we could sit. It didn’t feel like it was a bar or a restaurant and more like they were trying to fit both into the same space.
I started to film the empty area on my phone but was quickly approached by the member of staff on duty who wanted to know what I was doing. It was quite upsetting to be spoken to like this. I explained that I wanted to record the bar for a video, he seemed satisfied by this explantion.
The bar menu had a usual drinks menu, and we didn’t want any of the food. I made a point of ordering the Valentine’s cocktail which was strong and well-mixed, but a little pricey at 12 pounds, My partner ordered the sparkling rose. The bar is running a promotion with Chapel Down, but unfortunately, they had already run out of it, the manager was unable to explain when they would have any bottles delivered.
I felt that the bed was certainly a higher quality than that of other Hilton brands. I got a reasonable night’s sleep. In the morning, I went down to the restaurant for breakfast. At 9.20, I had probably chosen the busiest time of all for breakfast.
Staff led me to my table and explained some of the choices available.
The food was artistically displayed. I took my phone out and was ready to record the display. Sadly, I wasn’t able to film very much as two members of staff hurried over to ask me to stop filming right away. I was quite annoyed at this point. One of the reasons that I stay in hotels is to record the experience for myself and other guests. If I can’t do this , I will be less willing to use Hilton Hotels.
It was £20 for the full breakfast. That’s a lot. But do note you can order bespoke items from the kitchen, such as home-made waffles, and omelettes. I tried both, and the omelette was really superb. I certainly didn’t need to order any more eggs after that. The other selections of food were very much in line with what you would expect to see. Maybe they could add something uniquely British, such as a Chelsea bun or an eccles cake?
Pool and Gym
After making a video in the room. I went back down to tuse the fitness area. There is a gym and a swimming pool. The gymn was empty, so I was able to get a good workout done.
Then it was into the pool, this was quiet too. Hilton have designed a very impressive pool that is the highlight of the hotel. It’s lit in such away that the area feels bigger than it is. It’s just a pool, there is no sauna. It wasn’t a problem for me as I wanted to swim and that’s what I did.
I left my key with reception and I was on my way. To be honest, the staff could have treated me with more gratitude, I expect after the phone filming incident they were happy to see me leave. In fact, felt that the staff could have been more proactive and helpful during my stay.
I’m not in love with this hotel. It’s small, the design isn’t very impressive. If you are a first time visitor, it will be a good first place to stay but bear in mind you will be miles from decent shops. There are many hotels nearby that may offer better value, so look around.