Bank on a chic stay in the City

Room Service: South Place Hotel, London

It’s been a busy year for luxury hotels in the capital. A pre-Olympic surge saw the Bulgari and Thompson Belgraves open their doors to the well-heeled in Knightsbridge, the Dorset Square Hotel returned to its Firmdale founders in Baker Street, and CitizenM opened a design-driven outpost in Bankside. Latecomers to the party have included the Ampersand Hotel and Me by Meliá, with Café Royal and the Wellesley set to follow by the year’s end. However, the South Place Hotel is cut from different cloth, for this is the first hotel from D&D London – the restaurant empire founded by Sir Terence Conran.

It’s located in the heart of the City of London, and my fear was that it would be just another soulless financial sector dormitory. It’s housed in a gleaming glass-fronted block, squeezed between the usual Square Mile banks and fund managers. Inside, there are few bankers on show, but much more of a Hoxton vibe, with a buzzing bar, a resident DJ, striking sculptures from London art-school graduates and young, trendy staff in uniforms by East End tailors DS Dundee.

What helps South Place stand out is the Conran & Partners touch inside. It’s the same success story that saw the Great Eastern (now the Andaz Liverpool Street) transformed from a tired Victorian railway hotel into a modern classic. Similarly, the lobby of South Place feels like a wealthy hipster’s hangout, with exposed concrete and wooden floors next to colourful, statement furniture and dramatic lighting.

Not surprisingly, food is a big focus. Angler, the fine-dining fish restaurant on the top floor, could easily become a midweek financial favourite, with a wine list of 240 bins and fine views over east London. The bistro on the ground floor, where breakfast is served, is more at home with the east London groove, offering retro cakes and heavy dishes such as Lobster “Mac” and stuffed pigs’ trotters from a brown wrapping-paper menu. It’s heavy stuff, but throughout my stay it was packed with thick-rimmed-glasses-wearing creatives pretending they weren’t in the City.

Location

South Place is a short walk from Liverpool Street Station, with good Underground connections and the express to Stansted airport. West End theatres and galleries are 20 minutes away on the Tube, but the hotel’s outlook is definitely east to the markets, converted warehouses and pop-up shops of Shoreditch, Hoxton and Dalston.

Comfort

The hotel’s 80 rooms and suites were designed by Conran & Partners, but aside from some subdued art from the nearby Hoxton Gallery and some industrial-chic mirrors, it’s hard to see where the effort has gone. The rooms have a muted colour scheme of greys and browns, while the open-plan suites have feature walls in dark purples. It’s all fairly standard and they cry out for a splash of personality – a touch of the design magic that was used in the lobby and downstairs. They are comfortable, though (and quiet due to robust glazing), and the Josephine Home bed linen and vast marble bath are impressive. There is free Wi-Fi throughout and huge Bang & Olufsen televisions in the rooms, plus iPod docks and sleek, touch-sensitive pads to operate the lights, air conditioning, locks and blinds.

Luddites be warned, though; the touch-sensitive pad might look great but, after two days and nights of confused poking and prodding, mine took on a greasy complexion. Perhaps a light switch would have been easier.

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Suggested Topics
News
people
Sport
FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
music
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam