Situated just a stone’s throw from London Bridge station, the UK’s tallest building, The Shard, and the bustling Borough Market – in one of London’s most sought after postcodes (SE1) – the fabulous London Bridge Hotel is a unique independent four-star boutique hotel that prides itself on elegant design, exceptional service and a warm, friendly ambiance that reflects its history and vibrant, prime location.
The present hotel building was first erected in 1916 – built on the site of the 12th Century St. Thomas’ Chapel that originally lay there – and was notably used as telephone exchange during World War Two. The building was opened as London Bridge Hotel in 1998, but has undergone a number of renovation and regeneration projects over the last two decades to transform it into the elegant and classy hotel we see today.
Interestingly, many Roman and Medieval artefacts discovered during the redevelopment are now housed within the Museum of London, with many of the images, artwork, historic maps and ornaments found within the hotel a reflection of its rich history.
London Bridge itself (once the gateway to the city, and the lowest crossing point of the Thames) was of course built by the Romans in 43AD, and became a key location in the communication and transport networks of both Roman and Medieval Britain, with the area of Southwark having existed since prehistoric times.
Southwark’s fascinating, though gruesome Medieval and Victorian history can be evidenced in the numerous historic buildings and tourist attractions found around the area; The London Dungeon, The Old Operating Theatre and The Clink Prison are just a few local examples, with the Tower of London and Traitor’s Gate located just a short walk up the Thames (by Tower Bridge).
Stepping through the doors of London Bridge Hotel, you can’t fail to be impressed by the bright, graceful design, atmosphere and friendliness of the staff. The concierge team of Philippe and Chris were particularly helpful and approachable, as were all staff at the front desk.
(Tip – always make friends with the concierge(s) – they are often the heart and soul of any hotel!)
Accommodation available at the hotel ranges from Standard, Superior, Executive and Deluxe Rooms, as well as Studio Suites and Apartments (accessed via a private entrance next door to hotel), each with a stylish design and relaxed ambience.
The hotel notably offers its Amazing London Bridge Weekends packages from just £99.00 per room per night; a very reasonable price indeed given the location.
Standard rooms have a fair sized wardrobe – inside which you’ll find a spare duvet and pillows, an Iron and ironing board, a trouser press, a laptop safe (suitable for up to 17″ laptops) and bathrobes and slippers – and the large chest of drawers disguises a well stacked mini bar/fridge (not to be used for storing personal items) and tea/coffee making facilities.
All rooms do have decent sized LED flat-screen televisions (with Freeview HD), a useful working desk and good, fibre optic lighting – as well as a general cosy feel.
A handwritten note from the manager, a platter of fresh fruit and a box of chocolates on arrival too did not go unnoticed!
FOOD & DRINK
London Bridge Hotel is home to two food and drink establishments: the classic, contemporary Londinium Restaurant (open Monday – Friday: 5.30pm – 10.00pm) and the much more laid back Quarter Bar & Lounge (open Monday to Friday: 8.00am – 1.00am; Saturday: 11.00am – 1.00am and Sunday and Bank Holidays: 11.00am – midnight), both open to guests and non-residents, and incorporating a smart casual dress code.
The more high brow Londinium is closed on weekend evenings as it is often hired out as a private venue, however the Quarter Bar & Lounge has a much more chilled vibe and is open for dinner every night of the week. The Quarter Bar & Lounge offers a variety of hot and cold bar snacks from its own menu, though the full Londinium is also available to order from.
For guests staying at the hotel, a full buffet breakfast is served each morning in Londinium (Monday – Friday: 7.00am-10.00am; Saturday: 7.00am-11.00am; Sunday: Full buffet breakfast from 7.30am-11.00am) with plenty on offer to prepare hungry travellers for a full day of exploring.
The Quarter Bar & Lounge is also available for breakfast from 8.00am – 12noon Monday to Friday and 11.00am – 12noon Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays.
Londinium has a number of salad and grill options available, but the 2 or 3 course set menu is certainly the best way to go. Starters and mains are primarily meat and fish based, though there are a couple of beautiful vegetarian options to choose from.
A word of warning though, the portions are on the larger side so go with an appetite and don’t expect small, intricate plates.
The mouthwatering Trio of Beetroot starter would probably satisfy many as a main course as it is rather filling, mainly due to the rich crumbled goats’ cheese, mixed salad and balsamic dressing, though it is the lightest option available and is highly recommend.
Then onto the main; Fresh, meaty Monkfish, cooked to perfection and served on a bed of puy lentils with crispy lettuce leaves, crunchy samphire and carrot purée. Or why not try the Confit Duck Leg, served with creamy mash, savoy cabbage, carrot purée and a fabulous puff pastry rose, filled with a soft caramelised onion.
And finally … desert. Options range from a gooey Dark Chocolate Fondant to Homemade Ice Cream and Sorbet, a refreshing Fresh Fruit Platter and a sharp Glazed Lemon Tart – crisp pastry filled with rich lemon curd and served with a good dollop of clotted cream. For those without such a sweet tooth though, the sizeable Selection of British Cheeses – served with crackers/biscuits, sliced green apple, caramelised onion chutney and grapes – is the ideal way to round off a truly exceptional meal.
The restaurant staff and manager deserve special mention for a personal, welcoming manner and very efficient service.
As previously mentioned, the hotel’s prime location, not 30 seconds from The Shard, and just a short stroll from the incredible Borough Market, is arguably its biggest selling point, though with both the underground and train stations just around the corner, Theatreland, Westminster, Buckingham Palace and almost all major London attractions are within easy reach.
If the tube isn’t your thing then some of the most notable landmarks and attractions within close reach are St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tate Modern, Shakespeare’s Globe, The Gherkin, The Walkie Talkie, The Tower of London, Mansion House and The London Dungeon, though a longer stroll down the Thames will take you to the Southbank, National Theatre, London Eye, BFI, Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, and into the heart of the West End.
The hotel does have a Fitness First Gym adjoining, and accessible via an elevator within the building, though due to the corporate nature of their membership with local companies it is somewhat disappointingly closed at weekends.
The hotel does however have an arrangement with Fitness First in the Cottons Building on Tooley street, just a short walk away, which allows guests to access their gym and swimming pool at weekends and on Bank Holidays.
London Bridge Hotel is an extremely elegant and conveniently located hotel with exceptional food and service, and cosy accommodation.
For more information on London Bridge Hotel, and to book your stay, please Click Here.