A design reminiscent of a 1920s glamorous transatlantic cruise liner is the hallmark of Sea Containers London, a genuinely original hotel on London’s South Bank.
The Sea Containers building takes its name from one of its original tenants, and the location, right on the riverfront, makes it feel as if a cruise liner moored for the night in the heart of the Big Smoke.
It is a unique inspiration for London, even with all the seafaring credentials of the old England, but the creators of the hotel, including the British design guru Tom Dixon, made sure the concept never veered into the kitschy or banal (a giant plastic blue ship anchor included).
Interiors and rooms
The reception desk resembles a section of a massive ship’s hull. Made from beaten copper panels, it swoops through the reception area and leads into the depths of the hotel. It’s a first-impression design feature that wows and sets the tone.
The interiors strike a nice balance of modern interior design luxury and 1920s-inspired style. The 359 guestrooms only hint at a cruise ship vibe, with a confident Art Deco undercurrent, greyscale themes and shots of intense pink, with striking wingback chairs and art pieces.
The rooms are very spacious by the big-city standards, as is the amount of sunshine — a welcome departure from the cruise-ship theme. Modern marble bathrooms featuring heavy stone sinks, and rainfall showers are another.
Sundowners and skyline views
There are three distinctive eat & drink venues at the Sea Containers London. The 12thKnot is a rooftop bar and a stellar spot for admiring the views of London, with a ship’s ballroom concept as a source of inspiration. The Art Deco theme continues here, with velvet seats and copper fixtures completing the look.
There is also a bar, Lyaness voted as one of the top 50 World’s Best Bars, and specializing in cocktails and available for private functions. The vibe is very much DJs and live music, plugging into the South Bank energy.
The river-level (or sea-level?) Sea Containers Restaurant with the open kitchen champions seasonal cuisine, with an all-day menu of small and large plates designed to be shared. Dishes are influenced by the Mediterranean’s rich variety, color, and freshness.
The all-white Agua Spa combines cruise liner design elements and playful pampering, with ’70s tunes in the relaxation room and treatments that use brands such as Glamglow.
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