Greg and I both love London, England. Naturally when Greg had to make plans to go to London for work I quickly said yes to tagging along.
Friday morning we woke up very early and brought Fred to my parents house (they spoiled him rotten and he actually gained a pound). We parked in central parking at Logan Airport and made our way to the British Airways check in desk.
Once inside we had a short wait for the British Airways counter to open up. We checked in the day before and printed our boarding passes so all we had to do was drop off our checked luggage. Since getting Global Entry we have yet to be able to use TSA pre-check (only certain airlines participate). We waited in the security line and after a short while we made it through.
The British Airways staff in Boston were very efficient and boarding was incredibly easy. We had economy seats (paid for seat assignments when booking though) and settled into our window and middle seat. What I don't like about British Airways is the lack of leg room and the lack of personal air vents.
Our 6 hour flight was relatively smooth, had friendly flight attendants, and a decent selection of movies. When it came to meals Greg opted for the regular meal and I chose the lactose free meal. I was pleasantly surprised to see ripe fruit, breakfast polenta with stewed blueberries, a roll, and vegan butter (this is the first flight I actually received dairy free butter).
We landed in London a few minutes early and unfortunately got stuck in an hour long line at immigration. Luckily we arranged a pick up with Eddie Manning Transfer Service. Our driver patiently waited for us and also called us to check in just as we were picking up our bags. We met our attentive driver right at the exit and had a short walk to the car. We made our way from the airport to CitizenM London Bankside. We noticed a major difference between London 4 years ago and right now....Construction! Construction is happening at the same time all throughout London. You will find narrowed lanes, closed roads, detours, and tons of congestion!
We arrived at CitizenM Bankside and walked into a fun and vibrant atmosphere. The self check in computers are easy to use but we did also get some assistance from an employee. We made our way to our assigned room but once we got there we weren't thrilled with it being right next to the elevators. The employee at check in gladly switched our room to one further away.
We had room 546 which offered a large bed, desk and chair, sink/shelf, mini fridge, rain shower, toilet, safe, hanger space. While I can appreciate the design, the tv, ipad, and mood lights I must admit the room is small. We had to leave 90% of our belongings in our suitcases (which would take up the entire width of the floor when open). The other downfall to the room was that when you would turn on the sink for the first time each day there would be an unpleasant smell from the drain.
During our stay we didn't dine at the hotel but we did enjoy drinks downstairs on multiple locations. The bartenders were friendly, fast, and made excellent cocktails. If you would like to tip your bartender you must have cash on you as they can't process tips on cards.
Everyday the cleaning staff did a wonderful job. Our room and the entire property were always immaculate!
The location of the CitizenM Bankside is perfect! It was a 10 minute walk to Greg's work, easy walking distance to to multiple sites (Shakespeare's Globe Theater, Borough Market, Tate Modern, London Bridge, Tower Bridge, etc), has a lot of restaurants nearby, and a small grocery store across the street.
While the room size was a problem for us I would stay at this property again and recommend it to others.
After dropping off our luggage we realized we were starving so we walked up the street towards Borough Market and decided on our favorite burger restaurant Honest Burger. I find it incredibly interesting that in London people readily queue up for restaurants. There was a line of about 3 couples ahead of us but we only had a 10 minute wait.
We were seated and brought drink and food menus. Greg ordered a beer and I chose a mint julep for drinks. For food we both chose the Beef burger (mine was on a gluten and dairy free bun). All of the burgers come with rosemary salted chips known to us as french fries.
The burgers are seared beautiful and cooked to the correct temperature. The onion relish is sweet and tart and the lettuce is fresh and crisp. The chips are hot, crispy, and the addition of rosemary is perfect!
We settled our bill and had a fun chat with a friendly staff member about other travelers/visitors. We would have loved to stay for another drink but the long day of traveling was catching up with us and we were ready to crash so we left and walked back to our hotel and easily fell asleep.