An architectural marvel, the 5-star hotel, Sea Containers London dons a design that evokes the stylish transatlantic cruise liners of the 1920s. With a host of award-winning food and drink offerings, it’s undoubtedly the hotel to stay at on the South Bank.
Ideally situated right on the River Thames, as the hotel says, it’s where glamour meets brutalism and of course, there are plenty of maritime references throughout the interior too, from the statement copper hull and knot artwork in the lobby to porthole windows. This contemporary décor is continued throughout the 359 guest rooms and suites – think slick marble bathrooms, bespoke furniture, and dimmable lighting to set the mood.
It’s the place to hit for food and drinks too, with 12th Knot, the oh-so-glamorous rooftop bar that dons incredible views across London along with the award-winning Art Deco-inspired Lyaness bar on the ground floor, and the Sea Containers Restaurant that offers modern and casual dining overlooking the River Thames.
For those who want to relax further, the agua London spa is a therapeutic playground in the hotel with a long treatments menu from custom hot stone massages to prebiotic facials and luxury manicures/pedicures.
At the helm of the hotel is Sergio Leandro, General Manager, and he shares his insight into this architecturally significant hotel.
What is the hotel’s USP?
Sea Containers London sits directly on the River Thames within the iconic Sea Containers building on London’s South Bank. We like to say we’re an urban playground of exciting concepts including Lyaness, an experimental cocktail bar by Ryan Chetiyawardana, better known as Mr. Lyan, 12th Knot, our rooftop bar, and terrace, restaurant with a riverside terrace plus our award-winning spa and 56 seat cinema. I’m also personally a fan of the views across the river towards St Paul’s Cathedral and many other London landmarks. Personally, I’m also proud of how the hotel acts as an anchor for the Southbank community and the work we do with our chosen charities.
Tell us about the architecture and interior design?
The hotel was designed by visionary Tom Dixon, who created a bold look and paid homage to the building’s heritage with a number of nautical features including a handcrafted copper hull that sweeps from the entrance through the lobby into the heart of the hotel, Sea Containers Restaurant. The guestrooms and suites are inspired by the golden age of transatlantic ship travel and ocean liner cabins, incorporating metallic and brass throughout. Each room features bespoke furniture from Tom Dixon and a one-off piece of art on the wall.
How would you define the guest experience?
We invite guests to create unique experiences within our award-winning food and drink venues, destination spa, and design-led guestrooms. Amenities such as complimentary wifi, Malin + Goetz products, and adaptable plug sockets make guests feel at home while visiting London. You also can’t beat the views from our riverside bedrooms and suites.
What are your favorite aspects of this hotel?
I love how the hotel combines glamour and brutalism, honoring its roots with maritime-inspired design while still feeling very modern and exciting. Lyaness is also a favorite as the incredible Mr. Lyan and team have a distinct ability to make delicious cocktails out of unique flavors and unexpected ingredients.
What can you recommend/highlights/hotspots in the local vicinity?
Our location makes us the ideal starting point for cultural experiences with London’s best cultural institutions and theaters including the National Theatre, The Old Vic, Young Vic Theatre, and British Film Institute on its doorstep. The Tate Modern is also worth a visit for revolutionary, thought-provoking art exhibitions, and adjacent to the hotel is Somerset House, the city’s historic working arts center. Our location and transport links also make it easy to access all major London landmarks and attractions with very short travel time.
Sea Containers London sits in London’s cultural district of Southbank – home to London’s most well recognized cultural landmarks, including The National and Globe Theatres, Tate Modern, Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, and Borough Market. An area for theatre, art, and food lovers alike.
Set within the prominent Sea Containers building, it has been an anchor of the South Bank since it was first built in 1978. It was originally designed by the highly acclaimed American architect and designer Warren Platner, and as a perfectionist, he famously attended to every last detail of the design of the building during its construction in the ‘70s. Coming into the full circle of design use, it was originally commissioned as a luxury and stylish American hotel, however, the 1970s recession hit, and saw it become an office building instead. Fast forward, and is rightfully a hotel again.
“Comfort. Ease. Style” is on offer at the Sea Containers, and this is evident throughout their 359 guest rooms and suites. As with the exterior being reminiscent of the 1920s transatlantic liners, this is continued throughout the floors and through to the rooms, which feature double, queen, or king beds. The little design touches include soft, dimmable lighting, bespoke furniture, and oh-so-luxurious en-suite marble bathrooms. Plus, many of them have enviable views of the Thames and across London.
At the Sea Containers, there’s a whole host of F&B offers to suit the mood and the occasion. First up is the Containers Restaurant, a relaxed-yet-upscale setting that sits beside the Thames. Here, the focus is on fresh, local, seasonal ingredients for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and there are also fizz bottomless brunches. It boasts a rooftop lounge with stunning panoramic views of the capital, as well as an award-winning cocktail bar.
12th Knot is the roof terrace bar and lounge, and in keeping with the design, there’s an open-plan layout donning plush seating, relaxed lighting, and panoramic views take center stage. Again, seasonal and ingredient-led cocktails and food, along with DJs and live music.
The creation of multi-award-winning bartender Ryan Chetiyawardana a.k.a Mr. Lyan is the revered cocktail bar. Not only does the space ooze style, but so do the concoctions, which are carefully curated and produced from unusual ingredients to offer drinks that are truly unique.
As the hotel says, agua London is a therapeutic playground, and it’ll transport visitors away from the hustle and bustle of London to a quiet sanctuary. As expected, there’s glamour galore in line with the hotel’s aesthetic, and when it comes to treatments, there’s a whole host of authentic, integrative health experiences and personalized therapies, from custom hot stone massages to diamond cocoon facials.
Sea Containers London
Address: 20 Upper Ground, London SE1 9PD
Telephone: 020 3747 1000