DoubleTree By Hilton London Docklands


Rotherhithe might not be the obvious getaway destination. But this renovated and freshly rebranded waterfront property could change opinions, not least for those wishing to make a night of it after a concert at the nearby O2 Arena.

The gift of a giant cookie was a nice touch on our arrival, reflecting the relaxed vibe staff say the revamped hotel promotes. More stressful was the search through narrow corridors to find the right lift for our sixth and top floor accommodation.

Rooms are compact but modern and well-lit with all the amenities you would reasonably expect. In a nod to its nautical heritage - the three buildings that comprise the hotel include the Grade I-listed Columbia Wharf - there was an artwork of a vintage Docklands map above the king-sized bed which filled one end of the room. A desk and wardrobe surrounded the wall-mounted TV on the other.

Although the bathroom was small, the gratis toiletries were plentiful, extending to mouthwash. The hotel was equally unstinting with the complimentary hot drinks.

If the view seemed initially unprepossessing, once out on the balcony, we enjoyed a nice panorama, taking in the Thames and Canary Wharf. On a gorgeous summer's day, we would have appreciated the vista even more over a leisurely tea or coffee had there been any balcony seating.

Yet given the weather, we were keen to explore the locality, taking a walk - and photos - along the adjoining Thames Path. And having travelled to the hotel by the non-scenic route of a bus from Canada Water tube station, we now discovered the irresistible alternative of a free ferry service taking guests to and from the Canary Wharf shops and restaurants.

Nautical features also pervade the communal areas, with timber, metal, brass and gold prominent. You can take dinner in the Columbia restaurant but the riverside terrace is by far the best dining and drinking proposition - and bar staff mix a mean cocktail. Otherwise, nab one of the outside tables for the buffet breakfast, where only the seafaring vessels disturb the calm.

There was no additional cookie on departure. On the upside, a farewell ferry ride.

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