As Scott Manson discovers, Canary Wharf’s Lincoln Plaza hotel is a quality weekend retreat in London’s financial heartland….
Can a business hotel ever really bill itself as “quirky luxe?” That’s the question I pondered as I made my way to Lincoln Plaza, part of Hilton’s Curio Collection. Set in the heart of London’s business district, among Canary Wharf’s towers of steel and glass, it represents something a little different for the hotel group. They’ve thought beyond the “trouser press and express check-out” tick-boxes, creating a new-build property that combines industrial chic with an homage to the area’s nautical roots.
For those who only visit Canary Wharf for its impressive shopping options (much more compact than central London, with most of the stores and boutiques you need), it’s easy to forget that it’s an area created by shipping, and was once home to the docks where fruit and vegetables from the Mediterranean and Canary Islands was unloaded.
While the seafaring design touches were present, it never veered towards theme hotel territory. So there were swishes of steel, brass and marble in the lobby and rooms – and a copy of Jackspeak (a dictionary of sailor slang) on the bedside table – but everything was done with taste and panache.
The cocktail bar, also called Jack Speak, is worth a look too. It’s a handsome, comfortable place with Chesterfield sofas that virtually demand that you slouch on them, plus a cocktail menu that does a fine selection of “navy-strength” creations.
The rooms themselves are compact but supremely comfortable, with quality furnishings throughout. There’s a marble bathroom with rainfall shower, decent coffee machine, huge TV and great armchairs. Take a room on one of the higher floors and you’ll enjoy the impressive view of Canary Wharf at night – think New York without the sound of non-stop car horns.
Elsewhere, the hotel’s basement houses a gym, meeting rooms, a sauna and an 18-metre pool. On the ground floor, the best of the two restaurants is Mr Todiwala’s Kitchen, with an Indian menu by chef Cyrus Todiwala. Set in a brightly-coloured atrium, with vast windows giving it a lovely sense of space, it’s an immediately welcoming spot. With a view to experiencing the best that the kitchen had to offer, we opted for Mr Todiwala’s Gourmand Tasting Menu. The two-hour culinary excursion included highlights such as beautifully light dosas, four different tikkas (chicken, salmon, duck and beef) and a Goan prawn curry that was generous in its serving and boldly spiced – perfect for the palate of a curry connoisseur.
Lincoln Plaza is something a little different from the identikit hotels that you’ll find in the area, and all the more refreshing for that. And while it may predominantly be used by business people through the week, it’s a solid choice for those looking for a weekend base in an area of London that’s increasingly worth investigating for leisure, too.
For more information or to make a booking, go to www.lincolnplazalondon.co.uk.