Hilton London Bankside

Hilton London Bankside has been on our radar since early 2019 when they launched ‘the first all vegan hotel suite in the world’. Being based in Cambodia, it would have taken a mammoth effort to travel from the other side of the world, but believe us when we say we were tempted, very tempted. So when 2020 served up a curve ball called COVID that saw us ‘stuck’ in the UK for 6 months, we just had to check in to Hilton London Bankside and see what all the fuss was about.

During these unusual times we had some concerns, would there be well executed COVID safe systems in place? We can report back that the Hilton London Bankside exceeded our expectations with temperature taken at check-in, private bookings for the swimming pool and masks in all public areas being just some of the measures. In fact, Hilton have developed an extensive policy for their portfolio of hotels called Hilton CleanStay that was in practice throughout our stay.

The location is a stones throw from cultural icons of the South Bank such as Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, whilst just a short walk over the Millenium Bridge offered easy access to St Pauls Cathedral and The City. We loved our early morning riverside strolls, before returning to the hotel for a veritable vegan breakfast feast at one the the most vegan friendly luxury hotels in London.

Hilton Bankside - Exterior
Hilton Bankside - Lobby

Where to start when trying to explain just how amazing our vegan suite was. Check in to room 149 at London Hilton Bankside and you’re in for a treat. Featuring renewable and sustainable bamboo flooring combined with responsibly sourced, organic cotton carpets throughout the two roomed suite this is a place to remain rooted in nature. Combined with pineapple leather cushions, furnishing and headboard from Piñatex it’s easy to understand how no stone has been left unturned to ensure the world’s first vegan suite is truly a vegan wonderland. Vegan stationery? Check. Vegan bedding? Check. Vegan cleaning products? Check. You get the picture, but there’s more, much more and we loved it…

Hilton Bankside - Vegan Suite Living Room
Hilton Bankside - Vegan Suite Bedroom

The Vegan Food

The service at OXBO Bankside was smooth with our waiter immediately knowing we were vegan when we gave our suite number and swapped our menus accordingly. There were no awkward conversations or uncertainties about whether they really know what being vegan means and we were straight into relaxation mode as we looked at the vegan breakfast menu. We were even sat on chairs upholstered in vegan leather, thats how vegan friendly this place is. Due to the current COVID situation the buffet was not open but the a la carte options were plentiful.

Our breakfast started with creamy smooth almond milk lattes whilst we perused the tantalising menu and after much discussion we selected 3 dishes to share. ‘Raisin and Coconut Muesli with a Berry Compote and Soya Milk’, ‘Carrot and Quinoa Pancakes with Crushed Avocado and Cumin Tumeric Potatoes’ and ‘Toasted Sourdough, Cherry Tomato Compote, Beetroot and Fried Tofu’. Enticing menu descriptions for sure but this doesn’t always translate to good eating, so we were delighted when our trio of plant based dishes turned out to be delicious plates of vegan food.

Our muesli was healthy and packed with slices of dried coconut, toasted nuts and seeds whilst the fresh berry compote was sweet, sharp and provided a wonderful contrast to the creaminess of the plant milk. The pancakes, savoury and hearty were accompanied by buttery smashed avocado and tiny cubed turmeric and cumin fried potatoes that were perfectly seasoned and full of toasted cumin flavours. These little gems were light and fluffy and a great addition to the pancakes. Finally, a crunchy toasted slice of sourdough stacked with cherry tomato compote, cubes of beetroot and fried tofu. Served with dressed salad leaves, this was basically heaven on toast, and who doesn’t want a slice of that for breakfast?

On our final day we ordered a combo of the two cooked dishes to be served to our vegan suite and we must say, this delivered on every level. It would have been so tough to leave without sampling them both again, so why not ask the chef to combine them in perfect, plant based harmony…

Hilton Bankside vegan pancakes
Hilton Bankside vegan breakfast
Hilton Bankside vegan latte
Hilton Bankside vegan breakfast platter

OXBO Bankside was not open for dinner during our stay due to COVID based operating changes, but we were able to order from a vegan menu that was served in The Distillery. Our starters included a salad with a generous helping of creamy rich avocado slices, tomatoes, baby gem lettuce and a house dressing. There were also rounds of palm heart which added an extra crunch to our salad bowl, again there was plenty of it, meaning you really got to experience all the different flavours and textures on offer. We also started with a mixed vegetable soup, one of those homely creations where you could really taste the vegetables. Topped with sourdough croutons, we could have happily eaten a few bowls of it. An enjoyable and healthy start to our vegan meal at Hilton London Bankside.

On to the main courses, a courgette, peppers with red onion risotto and a cauliflower with spiced vegetable fricassee. The risotto was comforting and generously doused in peppery olive oil. The roasted vegetables in the risotto added a slightly sweet flavour profile which contrasted the coconut creamy vegetable fricassee, the dish was completed with a generous dollop of thick and tangy coconut yoghurt on top. Rich, decadent and certainly not as healthy as our starters but delicous all the same!

For dessert we made a mistake, a big mistake. We decided to share. Never will we make that mistake again as the chocolate orange brownie with a trio of lemon, berry and mango sorbets was something that you just didn’t want to share. The brownie was divine, layered with chocolate and orange gel this dessert comes highly recommended. The trio of sorbets turned out to be a giant bowl full of scoops of fruity icy deliciousness which just about made sharing bareable. But to share the brownie was not our best choice to be honest. Top marks to the a Hilton London Bankside for putting a vegan dessert on the menu which was the perfect end to a very enjoyable plant based meal.

Hilton Bankside vegan soup
Hilton Bankside vegan risotto
Hilton Bankside vegan curry
Hilton Bankside vegan brownie

The Vegan Essentials

Don’t worry, the excellent vegan food on offer from OXBO Bankside and The Distillery is also available from the sanctuary of your vegan suite. There are complimentary vegan snacks and drinks in the minibar, an all vegan in-room dining menu and you can even order vegan breakfast in bed if you so wish. This really is a vegan friendly luxury hotel experience like no other. Small touches like our room key card having it’s very own pineapple leather key card holder made us a smile, and the Prija Collection vegan bathroom amenities from GFL Skincare were divine.

Hilton Bankside vegan suite

Upon arrival we were able to pre book the pool for private use, this was another excellent COVID safe initiative from Hilton London Bankside. Your hour long slot is for a maximum of 2 rooms with the pool divided with a rope allowing lap swimming in your own half of the pool. The changing facilities and showers were closed so after changing in your room you gain access to the pool via the lift and a keycard. Both sessions that we booked were 100% private as there was no other room booked, this was an absolute luxury that we enjoyed immensely. The gym is operated in the same way currently, but we were way too busy eating vegan food or relaxing in our vegan suite to find time for the gym…and we’re a little bit lazy too!

Hilton Bankside - Swimming Pool
Hilton Bankside - Swimming Pool

The Vegan Food Quest Verdict

The thought and creativity that has gone into introducing the vegan suite is second to none. At around 15% more than the cost of a ‘normal’ suite at London Hilton Bankside, the vegan suite offers a great value and unique opportunity to indulge in the future of vegan travel. Superb. It doesn’t get much better than this.

Vegan Food Quest small banner logo

We were guests of Hilton London Bankside but please rest assured that their generosity in hosting us didn’t influence our views.

Hilton London Bankside
2-8 Great Suffolk St

Telephone: 020 3667 5600
Cost From: King Room £105 / $135 or Vegan Suite £360 / $465 (October 2020)

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