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Bermondsey Square Hotel, London 

See the London Guide ›
Bermondsey Square
Tower Bridge Road
England SE1 3UN
Tel: 44 870 111 2525
Fax: 44 870 111 2526
Tube: London Bridge, Borough, or Bermondsey
view web site ›'s insider take:

Comfy, funky, affordable, and cool, the Bermondsey Square Hotel is yet another sign of encroaching trendiness in the up-and-coming Bermondsey neighborhood south of the Thames. The hotel's design aesthetic is winkingly Pop-mod, with 1960s references showing up everywhere: plastic bubble chairs in the lobby, suites named for popular Beatles-era songs, and a buzzing restaurant called Alfie's Bar and Kitchen after the cult 1966 Michael Caine film. Retro influences aside, the hotel's 80 rooms offer forward-thinking amenities, including Apple televisions, free Wi-Fi, seriously plush Mattison beds, and luxe bathrooms with rain showers. Be sure to request a room far from the elevators, which can be distinctly audible when the hotel is busy. Or spring for one of the four loft suites with terraces overlooking the London cityscape (one even boasts a private outdoor hot tub); they are surprising affordable at about $340 per night. Bermondsey's increasingly hip zone of shops, restaurants, and pubs compensates for the hotel's being a bit out of the way (the West End is a 15-minute Tube ride), and the Southbank Centre and Globe Theatre are within a comfortable walk. Make sure to hit Alfie's for a seafood, cheese, or savory-pie "board," sourced at nearby Borough Market and ideal for an afternoon bite with a cocktail or coffee. Weekends, one of the city's largest flea markets moves into the square right outside the hotel for your browsing pleasure.—Siobhan Adcock

From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:
Don't judge a hotel by its cover. The sustainable tin and plank facade of this 79-room newcomer with exterior lights strung out as on clotheslines can initially seem a downer. But inside, the hotel's jaunty '60s-esque aesthetic is amusingly tongue-in-cheek. Eccentrically cantilevered red hanging lamp shades and Scandinavian crystal chandeliers team with a red cushioned Eero Aarnio plastic bubble chair suspended by the entrance. A papier-mâché Scottie garbed in bright Mondrian stripes stands guard by reception desk where the female staff carry on the theme in retro outfits. The modest size of the basic rooms is maximized by an ingenious layout, snazzy neon orange and turquoise decorative accents, and a stylish—if few frills—bathroom containing a shower with a massive Grohe showerhead (but no tub). Alfie's Bar and Kitchen serves breakfast all day, as well as local staples like fish or bangers and chips and treacle pie and custard. While you're within easy reach of a Thames-side stroll to much of the city's great arts institutions, don't overlook Bermondsey Street itself, where historic buildings now house stylish boutiques and the Fabric & Fashion Museum, which this year focuses on the swinging sixties.—2010 Hot List

Which room to book: If you're not going for the penthouse loft with a hot tub for eight, go for one of the Deluxe rooms on a high floor overlooking the action on the square; 603 is recommended.

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