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.

Suggested Topics
News
Sir David Attenborough
people
Life and Style
Young girl and bowl of cereal
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Henry VIII played by Damien Lewis
tvReview: Scheming queens-in-waiting, tangled lines of succession and men of lowly birth rising to power – sound familiar?
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
football
Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
News
i100
Life and Style
David Bowie by Duffy
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Hell, yeah: members of the 369th Infantry arrive back in New York
booksWorld War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel
News
advertisingVideo: The company that brought you the 'Bud' 'Weis' 'Er' frogs and 'Wasssssup' ads, has something up its sleeve for Sunday's big match
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
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

    Recruitment Genius: Group Sales Manager - Field Based

    £21000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Located on the stunning Sandban...

    Guru Careers: Email Marketing Specialist

    £26 - 35k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Email Marketing Specialist is needed to join...

    Recruitment Genius: Tour Drivers - UK & European

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join a is a...

    Old Royal Naval College: ORNC Visitor Experience Volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary work: Old Royal Naval College: Join our team of friendly volu...

    Day In a Page

    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
    World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

    Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

    The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
    Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

    Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

    Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
    Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

    Greece elections

    In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
    Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

    Holocaust Memorial Day

    Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
    Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

    Magnetic north

    The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
    Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

    Front National family feud?

    Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
    Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

    Pot of gold

    Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
    10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

    From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

    While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
    Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

    'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

    Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall