While the area might suggest that the Crowne Plaza London is best for business, it surprises with a playful interior that’s as close to the creative neighbors on the South Bank as it is with the staid respectability of its City neighbors on the other side. Sited within a large block that was once a stationery warehouse and built on the same spot as Henry VIII’s old Bridewell Place, the hotel’s blocky façade is misdirection for an interior space that pays more than a little attention to interesting design. Sure, it’s still primarily a business property but tourists won’t feel out of place here.
The hotel offers regular weekend family package deals to attract parents with children to what can be a fallow period from Friday through Sunday in this area.
The Crowne Plaza might be part of a chain, which means almost identical rooms throughout, but the contemporary decor softens the edges with bright textiles, artwork and well-placed up-lighting to create an atmosphere that feels like more than just a place to lay your weary head.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Rooms come with Sky Sports and movies as well as Chromecast devices to enable guests to watch content through their own streaming sites. Guests staying in Club Rooms gain exclusive use of the Club Lounge.
Bright, marble-tiled bathrooms come with combined bathtub showers and Temple Spa bath products.
The bright lobby is arguably the most business-like part of the hotel, with its polished floor and parade of check-in desks. Still, for those here for business,
there are conference rooms for in-house events.
The hotel has a well-equipped gym with a collection of cardiovascular machines. To help keep you fuelled, they also provide complimentary fruit and bottled water.
While room service is available, the hotel has more than one option for dining out. Guests can pick between the Diciannove, for Italian food and the Chinese Cricket Club for contemporary Chinese food and dim sum.
Cocktail bar Voltaire is a subterranean spot that features the original vaults of the building’s previous incumbents, a prison and a bank. The vaults are a unique part of the bar’s appeal, used as private booths for those who want to enjoy drinks while banged up (as they say in this part of the world) in style.
Close to the City’s Square Mile but offering equally quick access to the South Bank, the hotel conquers both business and pleasure when it comes to location. Guests can hop on a Tube at Blackfriars—a two-minute walk—and be in Central London within ten minutes or make the short walk towards the city or South Bank, depending on the reason for the visit. Weekends can be quiet in the immediate vicinity, so make plans to go exploring at the end of the week.
If you’re in town for business then there’s nowhere quite like Coq d’Argent (14-minute walk) for networking. Enjoy the French menu and then head for the famous heated rooftop for drinks. When in the City, do like the City workers and enjoy steak for supper at the excellent Hawksmoor Guildhall (17-minute walk). This branch keeps the interior traditional, so expect wood panelling and red leather.
If the likes of Hawksmoor and Coq d’Argent are a little too ‘City’ for you then try The Folly (18-minute walk), a light-filled bar and brasserie bound to relax you. It may have little going on aside from its location right on the river, but for the Founders Arms (9-minute walk), that’s enough.
WHY WE LIKE IT
The City’s business hotels can often reflect the neighborhood on the weekend, feeling rather lifeless, however, the Crowne Plaza London the City is a different case. With a range of eating and drinking options the public areas are buzzy and the location means the hotel attracts a mixed clientele of guests visiting for business and pleasure.