Hotel Review: South Place Hotel, 3 South Place in the City of London
All good hotels tend to lead people to do things they wouldn’t necessarily do at home. With unfettered access, Nick Constance takes a mischievous peek.
Named one of the ‘Big Six Art Hotels’ by The Independent magazine, South Place Hotel (SPH) sits in the heart of Moorgate, a discreet corner of London where crumbly churches stand in the shadows of mirror-plated towers of Babylon.
It is, in fact, a rather anonymous building, looking not too dissimilar to the surrounding office blocks. However, inside all is calm and classy: tasteful colour palettes, plush King-size beds and touchscreen technology: Boutique chic, in other words.
Style & Character
Designed by Conran and Partners, the interior is stylish in ways I can’t quite put my finger on. Some hotels have got just the right blend of design, service, décor and y’know…ambience. Here, at South Place, they’ve cracked the formula. Some might call it characterless, but I’m all for the pared down, contemporary vibe…if it’s done well.
As the term ‘Art Hotel’ suggests, SPH has a great collection, including a commission for SPH by English artist and metal-smith Cathy Miles called 40 Shoes’. This piece, alone, is worth a visit.
Check out the hotel’s British Brasserie, where you’ll find a set of Lichtenstein-inspired prints by John Vincent Aranda, the American-born photographer / artist based here in London.
Other works – including prints by artist Nicola Green (to commemorate the London Olympics) can be found in 3 South Place Bar and an interactive wall of mechanical pixels made by AMD Studio are on display in the lifts corridor.
If this isn’t enough, prize-winning artworks are prominently displayed in a large window on the ground floor of the hotel. In fact, I could bang on all day about the art, but there’s more to see.
On the digital front, South Place offers good, strong Wi-Fi throughout. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been in hotels with woeful Wi-Fi, so this is definitely a blessing.
In fact, South Place has truly got its groove on when it comes to gadgetry. I was dismayed, for example, when I entered my room and found cream, linen drapes at the floor-to-ceiling windows. No blackout curtains, in other words.
However, I soon spotted the bedside touchpad, a deft tap of which operated the motorised blinds like a baddie in a James Bond film.
The King-size bed, discretely lit from beneath, seemed to be hovering magically above the carpet, as did the wardrobe. The kerzillion-thread count bed linen, sumptuous mattress, Bang & Olufsen TV and a bathrooms with plate-sized rain showers will keep the most uppity customers satisfied.
Platefuls to savour
No mucking about with a buffet breakfast, here. Once seated, I was presented with a copy of The Times newspaper, along with the à la carte menu. Perhaps it was the atmosphere, but my poached eggs, toast and oak-smoked Salmon were near-as-damn-It Perfect.
Upstairs at Michelin-starred Angler restaurant, the service is inevitably more theatrical, but the food and the striking presentation of the wines help lighten proceedings.
When it comes to menus, it seems every restaurant in the land does a menu of 5, these days. This is to say – a selection of 5 starters, 5 mains, puddings etc. I started with a delightful Tartare of Yellowfin Tuna. (£18.00)
Next up came a scandalously good Roast Goosnargh Chicken, stuffed cabbage, chervil root and chanterelles. (£28.00) Goosnargh Chicken is a speciality range of chicken raised and sold by Johnson & Swarbrick at Swainson House Farm in Goosnargh, near Preston, Lancashire, on the west coast of England.
The Angler restaurant has an adjoining roof terrace with great views across The City, It also comes with heaters and a retractable roof so, whatever Mother Nature’s mood, you’re sorted.
Anyway, where was I? Oh, yeah…the food in Angler restaurant is bloody marvellous. Try the Angler’s Tasting Menu at 90 quid a pop.
House Of Fun
SPH also boasts a protein-packed Chop House, inspired by the capital’s 18th-century predecessor to the restaurant.
Classic starters include Celeriac & Apple Soup and whacking great Waldorf salads. Meat and game such as Black Angus chateaubriand and milk-fed veal is sourced from HG Walter, a long-established butcher in Barons Court. Fish options such as pan-fried Dover Sole or steamed Cornish cod, are apparently sourced from across the British Isles.
Factor in a list of puddings such as Knickerbocker Glory and Cherry and coconut Choc-Ice and you’ve got the Chop House in a nutshell, so to speak.
Verdict: Plain on the outside. Holy flipping wow, on the inside.
Address: 3 South Place, City of London, EC2M 2AF.