The Vibe: An ongoing cocktail party.
The Area: Approaching the hotel from Blackfriars Bridge, you’ll spot the imposing structure and its glowing fluorescent Sea Containers sign on the South Bank. This is a winning location, not least because it affords excellent views across the Thames towards St Paul’s Cathedral and the twinkling lights of The City.
The DNA: Originally planned as an hotel but opened as an office building in 1976, Sea Containers London was home to a maritime transport company, which gives the hotel its name and some of its design cues. A dramatic copper wall shaped like a ship’s hull dominates the lobby and forms the reception area, while a sculpture of bright blue twisted pipes evokes the inner-workings of the vessel. Overall, it’s an interesting blend of kitsch and slick, with touches such as a changing cheeky quote sign and bright billboard set to a backdrop of moodily lit corridors and brass fittings. Maybe the main attraction to the hotel, apart from its riverside setting and views, is Lyaness (formerly Dandelyan), which was voted the world’s best bar, and is an experience in itself.
Suite-Me-Up: The decidedly minimalist rooms and suites follow a grey and hot pink colour scheme and reference ship’s cabins, with wood-panelled effects and rounded mirrors. It is well worth upgrading to a Superior Room to secure river views or to the showstopping Riverview Balcony suites, with large furnished terraces that demand an al fresco cocktail overlooking the river. The cute custom-made bar areas and massive freestanding tubs in the centre of the bathrooms add to the allure.
✅ free Wi-Fi • size matters: 359 rooms & suites (29-112m2) (312-1,206 sq ft) • hotel opened: September 2014 (previously Mondrian London) • architect: Warren Plantner • interior design: Tom Dixon • bathroom amenities: Malin + Goetz • parking possible on-site (charged) • pets allowed • 24-hour front desk