No tea or coffee making facilities in the rooms, but they can be requested from reception
You can hear hustle and bustle from the Secret Bar in some of the courtyard rooms during the day, but it shuts at 10 p.m.
Located in London's financial quarter; the area can be pretty quiet on weekends
Parking on site
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Hip design hotel near London's East End, with local artwork and a showstopping rooftop restaurant
Sandwiched between Moorgate and Liverpool Street, where the City of London gives way to the East End, the South Place Hotel plays harmonious host to both city slickers and creative types. The brainchild of D&D’s Des Gunewardena and David Loewi, this 80-room hotel has some serious design credentials: The interiors come courtesy of Conran and Partners, and Allies and Morrison are behind the sleek architecture. The exterior brings together two Victorian buildings and eight stories of shimmering glass and aluminum panels, topped with a mansard roof. The slate-walled reception area showcases a George Singer hurricane light sculpture and a beautiful installation of wire shoes by Cathy Miles. From the artwork to the uniforms (the women are kitted out by Field Grey and the men wear DS Dundee, with Grenson brogues), the South Place Hotel encapsulates London’s energy and quirky cool style.
Bed and Bath
The emphasis on artwork continues in the Conran-designed guestrooms, which feature limited edition prints from the Hoxton Gallery, framed Penguin book covers and subtly erotic Tom Gallant butterfly prints in the penthouse. South Place King Rooms have a deep mulberry feature wall, a dogtooth check swivel bucket chair, oak wardrobes, a 40-inch Bang & Olufsen TV (with free movies and specially compiled playlists) and huge dapple-framed mirrors propped up against the wall. Oversize King beds are illuminated from underneath and seem to hover above the plush carpets. Stacking tables are filled with the latest London mags, from Time Out to Monocle, and the minibars are tricked out with British classics, from Sipsmith gin to Hope & Glory mints to the retail menu on which you can pick out hip souvenirs such as Liberty print lingerie. Many of the gray marble bathrooms come with a giant Eero Saarinen soaking tub and a separate walk-in double shower, each stocked with beautifully packaged St. Clement’s toiletries by James Heeley.
Given that the hotel was created by the D&D restaurant group, the rooftop dining room is a bit of a showstopper. Angler is decked out with slanted floor-to-ceiling windows, a leaf-print mirrored ceiling by Grace & Webb and a wine wall. Head chef Tony Fleming’s dishes are an artform in themselves, from the incredible yellowfin tuna tartar to the seared scallops. Pop out to the rooftop bar, with its patio heaters, for a well-shaken post-dinner cocktail, or sink into a cowhide sofa with a nightcap in the ground-floor bar. People-watch over poached eggs in the morning in the New York–style 3 South Place Bar & Grill; perch on pea-green suede chair at a concrete banquet table or on one of the butter-soft gray leather chesterfields. If you’re looking for somewhere more private, try the Secret Garden (a leafy tiki bar) or Le Chiffre, a James Bond–inspired game room, with a library of design books and an old-school turntable. There’s a small gym and bijoux spa with Aromatherapy Associates products and massages that range from Air Mile Junkies to Jet Lag Cures.
In the Area
London’s creative scene is right on your doorstep. Potter through the Spitalfields, Broadway and Brick Lane markets to pick up vintage treasures, or stroll to Columbia Road for a browse around its historic flower market. The Rich Mix and the Hackney Picture House are great for art house movies, and for summertime classics there’s a rooftop cinema at the Queen of Hoxton. For dinner and views of the entire city, take the speedy lift up to Duck and Waffle, on the 40th floor of the Heron Tower, or to one of the three restaurants in the Shard. For a bit of green space, head for 212-acre Victoria Park, with its boating lake and art gallery.