Mondrian London Hotel at Sea Containers
Mondrian London is a ‘Deco’ den of masculinity, with sleek flashes of golden copper and miles of plush velvet. Designed by Tom Dixon and his Design Research Studio, here old-school glamour pervades, harking back to the golden era of transatlantic travel. The nautical theme is made clear from when you enter: an imposing copper hull reception desk takes centre stage. From behind, you’ll find stylish staff clad in jumpers inspired by Kubrick’s ‘A Space Odyssey’.
Once the offices of the ship company Sea Containers, the hotel feels very much like boarding an opulent cruise liner. The lobby is evidence: a cobalt-blue sculpture looks very much like a ship’s anchor, a large model of a cruise liner sits next to the concierge’s desk and sofas look out onto a walkway resembling a promenade deck. Candle lit lanterns on the floor and fuchsia pink velvet cushions bring a surge of warmth to the cool copper and brass finishes.
Upstairs, my room is reflective of the design downstairs with brass touches and cool grey surfaces. Modelled after an ocean liner cabin, it is spacious with a Tom Dixon velvet wingback chair and footstool, a black slab desk paired with a grey felt chair and porthole-shaped lighted mirrors. The bathroom is minimalist with grey stone marble floors and white walls, and stocked amply with full-size Malin + Goetz toiletries. I particularly love the chrome-plated fortune cookie accessory placed on top of the mini-bar, with a fortune that reads: “Every child is an artist. The problem is staying an artist when you grow up. — Pablo Picasso.” Tom Dixon, the designer behind this room, has apparently managed to do just that: his black, pink and purple drip wall painting is displayed proudly on the bedroom’s walls. The mini bar is stocked with all sorts of delightful and quirky treats from Hope & Greenwood sweet bags to Joe & Seph’s popcorn. It’s a wonderful room and at £185, good value too.
Service veered between the impressive to the forgetful. I had to ask for a dental kit five times before one was brought up to my room. But all other requests were dealt with happily and in good time, from a late check out to a request to have a daytime peek at the evening-only Rumpus Room, the top floor bar overlooking the Thames.
Use the rest of your downtime relaxing in the upper ground floor spa, which offers weird and wonderful treatments such as the boob bar (a bust massage using all-natural remedies) and the mud cure (all-over mud exfoliation). But even if you don’t book in a treatment, make use of the lovely steam room and relaxation area.
After, head downstairs to the hotel’s very own Curzon cinema and watch the latest films. Or have a drink at the Dandelyan bar. Here mixologist Ryan Chetiyawardana serves up drinks such as puffed grains & chocolate and evil Manhattan. The vibe is young gentleman’s club: chesterfield sofas, dark green walls, pink leather seating, parquet flooring and wood-panelled walls. There are bar snacks too. I sampled the cod cheeks and aubergine dip with pitta bread, and both were delightful.
For a night on the town, take the lift to the rooftop bar, Rumpus Room. From here, there are contemplative views over the River Thames and the City of London, where at night, the city manages to look romantic, relaxed and at ease.
20 Upper Ground, London SE1 9PD
020 3747 1000
Doubles from £185