FIVE BEST BANK HOTELS

Sophie Lam and Lucy Gillmore bring you some safe choices for a luxurious break
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Indy Lifestyle Online
Threadneedles London

In the heart of the City lies Threadneedles, a boutique hotel in a converted 19th-century banking hall just a coin's throw from the Bank of England. The Grade-II listed property was once the headquarters of Midland Bank and sat empty for six years until it was taken over by the Eton Collection and renovated in 2001. Some of the original features that remain include an impressive stained-glass dome bearing the initials "CB" (City Bank) in what is now the hotel lobby. The interior is both modern and cosy, with wood panelling and muted tones, while guests are treated to an honesty bar in reception as well as wireless broadband and a CD library in the bedrooms.

Threadneedles, 5 Threadneedles Street, London EC2R 8AY (020-7657 8080; www.theetoncollection.com). Doubles from pounds 176, room only

Old Bank Hotel Oxford

The Old Bank Hotel dates back to the 16th century, when it was acquired and rebuilt by Christ Church college. In the late 18th century it became a drapers that offered banking services to the wealthy - a side of the firm that expanded dramatically during the industrial revolution. The building has been renovated many times, but original features such as safe doors and a cash-drop still remain. The hotel is now five years old and exhibits an impressive collection of 20th-century British art, including rotating monthly collections.

Old Bank Hotel, 92-94 High Street, Oxford OX1 4BN (01865 799599; www.oldbank- hotel.co.uk). Doubles from pounds 165, room only

The Westin Dublin

The Westin is an architectural hotch-potch, made up, as it is, of a number of buildings dating back to the early 19th century. The main hotel was remodelled in 1875 for The Scottish Widows Insurance Company in an Italian Romanesque style, and the Allied Irish Bank took up residence in 1966. Today the hotel celebrates the buildings' history with The Exchange Restaurant and the Mint Bar in the old vaults. The Banking Hall, which can now seat 250, has also been restored to its 1863 splendour.

The Westin At College Green, Westmoreland Street, Dublin 2, Ireland (00 353 1 645 1000; www.westin.com/dublin). Doubles from Û180 (pounds 129) without breakfast

Banks Mansion Hotel Amsterdam

Banks Mansion overlooks the Herengracht canal in Amsterdam's financial district. The 1920s building opened as a hotel last April after extensive renovations, but original features such as marble flooring and leaded glass can still be found throughout the building.

Banks Mansion Hotel, Herengracht 519-525, 1017 BV Amsterdam, The Netherlands (00 31 20 420 0055; www.banksmansion.nl). Doubles from Û255 (pounds 150) with breakfast

The Aleph Rome

The Aleph occupies the former headquarters of the Italian bank Credito Casse di Risparmio Italiane, near Rome's chic Via Veneto. The building was given a complete overhaul in 2002 by architect Adam D Tihany and its interiors are inspired by Dante's The Divine Comedy, although guests shouldn't expect moral enlightenment after spending the night amid such lavishness. One of the hotel's focal points is the bold lobby and reception (inspired by the "Inferno"), with its grand marble staircase, wood panelling - both retained from the original bank headquarters - and crimson furnishings. The original vault door now leads into the spa, and the hotel's bedrooms are sleek and contemporary in design.

The Aleph, Via di San Basilio 15, Rome, Italy (00 39 06 422 901; www.boscolohotels.com). Doubles from Û249 (pounds 146), room only

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