When staying in London we usually try and choose a hotel that is pretty central, and generally stick to W1, it's a stone's throw from all the shops and perfect for getting around.
So on a recent trip, we took a chance drove past W1 and headed south east and decided to stay in Bermondsey. Yes that's right, Bermondsey, it's come a long way since I last visited in the nineties. Bermondsey is now a thriving, trendy and up and coming neighbourhood. It's got an impressive restaurant, bar and club scene, some fab art galleries, design studios and very stylish boutique shops. It's a stone's throw from the City, and Tower Bridge is a fifteen minute walk.
We were staying at The Bermondsey Square Hotel. You may recognise the name; it was recently featured in a Channel Four reality programme.
You have to be very brave and very confident of your product if you are willing to allow the cameras in behind the scenes. And that's exactly what Bermondsey Square Hotel allowed Channel Four to do.
They brought in the highest ranking people to head the teams. Gordon Ramsay vs Mary Portas.
Gordon Ramsay was drafted in to run the restaurant; Mary Portas took charge of the accommodation. Gok Wan ran the bar and events. Phil Spencer was drafted is as Maitre D' and Dr Christian Jessen ran the gym. Kim Woodburn (of Kim & Aggie) was in charge of housekeeping, Kirstie Allsopp positioned as concierge and Katie Piper ran the spa.
The challenge was to make as much money for employment charities as possible, and to get the trainees into full-time employment by the end of the week. The experiment was an astounding success, every member of staff left their week at the hotel with at least one job offer. Two of the employees were offered jobs by Gordon and Mary. The winner of the challenge was Mary Portas.
After having featured so successfully in a Channel Four reality programme, we were really looking forward to visiting the hotel. And it didn't disappoint. We arrived to check in, late in the evening. There were two staff members on reception. They talked us through the usual, breakfast service times, complimentary wifi in the hotel etc. Tired from our hectic day out in London, we decided to bypass their offer of having a drink at the bar, and headed up to our room.
The room was quite compact, a little on the small side for two people sharing. It was clean, well presented and functional. It had a work space, Apple Tv, and tea and coffee facilities.
Next morning, for breakfast we headed down to Gregg's Bar and Grill, named after celebrity TV chef, Gregg Wallace. I ordered Eggs Florentine, it was a big healthy portion, and delicious. Dal opted for the Veggie Breakfast, again a generous dish of free range eggs, grilled tomatoes, grilled mushrooms, baked beans and toast. The staff were very attentive, polite and provided an excellent service.
All too soon it was time for checking out.
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Bermondsey Square Hotel, the staff were fabulous and the service was fantastic. Like I said it takes confidence to allow a camera crew into your business, and the staff here have every right to feel that confident.
We will definitely be back, next time we are in London.
Exterior view of Bermondsey Square Hotel