Canary Wharf – named after the fruit trade with the Canary Islands and Mediterranean – is London’s main financial centre, along with the City of London.
Situated in Zone 2 on the capital’s Underground system, with good European access via City Airport, the area consists mainly of modern office buildings, employing over 100,000 people, and more than 300 shops and restaurants. The Qatar Investment Authority is a major shareholder of the Canary Wharf Group, whose tenants include HSBC, Credit Suisse and Citigroup.
Built on the site of former docks, the area is defined by water, with both the river and docks winding around the buildings. There are a number of business hotels in the area, including the Four Seasons Canary Wharf and Marriott at West India Quay, but a sometimes overlooked base is the Doubletree by Hilton London Docklands Riverside, situated on the other side of the river in Rotherhithe but with probably the best view of Canary Wharf you’ll ever get.
Connected to Canary Wharf by a regular ferry service – the crossing only takes about five minutes – the hotel offers both great access and a feeling of escape.
With 378 rooms in three blocks, the feel of the hotel is a bit of a mish-mash, with the best rooms in the historic Columbia Wharf building, and the others in two rather bland yellow-brick blocks connected by glass tunnels. The hotel has a business centre, 24-hour room service, a gym, over 9,000 square feet of events space and 14 meeting rooms; it can accommodate a conference of up to 350 people.
There is free Wi-Fi, although it’s not as strong as you would expect in a business hotel. Some of the rooms have balconies; the best come with river views. Rooms are functional, with tea and coffee making facilities, a safe, windows that can be opened and flatscreen televisions.
I was disappointed that no free bottled water was given in the rooms. At the bar, two small bottles cost Â£7.90 (Dh38). Rates fluctuate according to demand and cost from Â£108 per night, including breakfast.
Howard Lewis, General Manager, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel London Docklands Riverside, elaborates on the hotel’s appeal to the business traveller.
What is DoubleTree by Hilton?
DoubleTree by Hilton is a global collection of upscale hotels rooms in gateway cities, metropolitan areas and vacation destinations. Everything about DoubleTree by Hilton aims to return the human touch back to travel, starting with the presentation of a warm chocolate chip cookie upon arrival. Being on the receiving end of these goodwill gestures results in people being kinder to others, creating a ripple effect or, what we like to call The DoubleTree Effect.
Why London Docklands?
Docklands is the name given to the area in east London at the heart of the old Port of London, which was at one point the world’s largest port. This area has been redeveloped mainly for commercial and residential use.
How does the hotel connect travellers to the area’s history?
The hotel consists of three different buildings, one of which, the Columbia Wharf block, is a listed building which dates back several hundred years and was once used as a storage area for goods coming into London from the old British Empire. Next to the Wharf block is the Dry dock, which was used for shipbuilding from the 17th Century. Warships and clippers were built here right up until 1968 when the dock was closed.
Who are your business guests?
Given the hotel’s location, our typical business guest stays at the hotel for one or two nights while visiting offices in Canary Wharf. We also see significant number of visitors who are attending events at the Excel Centre when large conventions are taking place. The hotel also has a large amount of event space which also encourages business travel.
Given the businesses in the area, we see a large volume from financial services, banking and consultancy along with pharmaceutical clients and some local government clients.
At weekends, leisure guests often use the hotel for its easy access to the Greenwich O2 arena which hosts large concerts and events. It is also conveniently placed for London’s Westfield Stratford shopping centre.
* The writer was a guest of the hotel.
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