My second hotel visit of the month – the non-refundable stay.
A few months ago, my Mum and I discovered the Hilton London Bankside – it was perfectly located for our impromptu shopping trip, exceptionally well appointed, and not stupidly expensive. So when Husband and I decided to stay overnight after the Flight of the Conchords gig at the O2, I figured the Hilton would be perfect as it’s just a couple of stops down the Jubilee Line. Sure, it was non-refundable but of course there wouldn’t be any problems
And then the Flight of the Conchords gig got cancelled. Sigh.
Rather than waste the room, we went up to London anyway and had a touristy afternoon. A grey, very rainy, touristy afternoon – classic London.
We managed to check in early which was a relief as we got soaked in the short 15 minute walk from Waterloo. Once again, the service we received was fantastic – I’ve never come across anything like it in the UK before. Hilton allows you to select a room online the day before, but I wasn’t quick enough to get a good one so we did end up with a view of a wall. I still loved the room though – the decor is so minimalist and understated, the bathroom has beautiful tiles and concrete floor, and the Peter Thomas Roth toiletries are great.
Husband had never been to the Switch House at the Tate Modern (which is apparently now called the Blavatnik Building) so we spent most of the afternoon in there. Although a tip for tourists – never visit on a bank holiday because it was hellish. It was especially bad in the Turbine Hall with the Superflex exhibition which is basically just free childcare. We did manage to get to the viewing platform without losing our minds, and because of the weather, it was very peaceful up there. We also saw part of the Joan Jonas exhibition which was most enjoyable.
After the Tate Modern, we wandered down the South Bank, visited Mr Jones Watches (I suspect another watch post is needed), and a few more of the shops alongside the river. It was still very wet, but this meant there were less people around. After the scrum at the Tate, a bit of peace and quiet was needed.
After a quick drying-off back at the hotel, we went for a very sophisticated dinner at Sea Containers House in the Mondrian hotel. We decided to go in through the hotel entrance rather than the entrance on the Thames – it is a very beautiful hotel and I have this noted for any future stays. Dinner itself was really lovely, although we ate three courses so by the time I got to my caramelised banana dessert, I was so full. We were lucky enough to sit by the window, so we people watched as we ate. It was a great meal.
After a little bit of a restless night – the bed wasn’t particularly comfortable this time round – we met up with Tim for brunch at the Refinery where we all had excellent eggs, before we headed back home and Tim visited a significantly quieter Tate Modern.
As we fiddled about with our bags and coats after checking out, I took the opportunity to take in the Hilton’s lovely Easter display. They really make such an effort here, and we’ll definitely be back. It’s such a great hotel.
It was fun to be a London tourist for the day, and did mitigate somewhat against the disappointment of not seeing Flight of the Conchords. Fingers crossed the re-scheduled gigs go ahead as planned.