I stayed at Bankside house for over three weeks this past summer while at a summer school for the Globe Theater. I am in my 40's too, let me put that right up front.
Bankside is a dormitory for the London School of Economics...and it is great for what it is...it's not a four star hotel, it's not a resort, it's a economical place to stay in a great location. I had a single dorm room, so I had privacy...I shared a bathroom with one other room, but it was never a problem - I only saw my suitemate once. The food provided for breakfast is fantastic - great English breakfast and good portions. Big selection!
My room was basically clean...as a dorm room would be. The mattresses were dorm mattresses...a bit lumpy, a bit small, but still, I was able to sleep OK on them - I would advise bringing your own pillow and blanket if you can - their's is a bit paltry, but then again - think dormroom!! The other furniture in the room was comfortable - a desk, nightstand, small chest and a wardrobe. There are no TVs in the rooms, but there are TVs in the cafeteria and in the bar in the basement. The bathroom was kept clean, although it is small. One must rememember they're in Europe...not the USA...for a Eurpoean bathroom, this was was fairly roomy - a toilet, a sink and mirror with mirror light and a shower about the side of a phone booth - but again, I say - think dorm room!
The noise level is a problem on lower floors if you're older like me and want it quiet during sleeping time...but since I was on the 7th floor, it wasn't an issue for me at all. Fellow teachers did complain of this though as they were on the first floor. To be fair, the staff does try to keep the noise level down, but when you host hordes of visiting teenagers as the Bankside House does every summer, then it's going to be impossible to keep it quiet all the time.
Great location - on the South Bank near the Globe and the Tate Modern...there's a Starbucks, Leons, and several other restaurants right beside it. Comfortable walking distance to pharmacies, groceries, the tube, the river, London Bridge, the Borrough Market, and so much more! It's a safe and clean area, not incredibly busy and not very "touristy" - yet...I have a feeling it will become much more so in the future as Bankside is building up.
Most of the staff were very nice...a couple of the men were somewhat rude, but considering the sheer number of people they dealth with every day, I can cut them some slack there...on that note, it is nice that the inner doors to Bankside remain locked unless a human being lets someone in...so it makes it all the more safe in that regard.
My biggest complaint was lack of Wi-Fi...they claimed to have it - touted that they had it - but of the three weeks I was there, I only had wi-fi twice...the rest of the time I either had to go outside and down the block and sit outside Leons or go to Starbucks (which is only open from 9-5). This was very frustrating for me - being a professional, being my age, being there for so long...if they had said up-front, "no wifi" or "very spotty wifi" then I wouldn't mention it, but since they said "free wifi" and advertised it so well...it bothers me that they didn't deliver.
The key here is to remember two things - #1 - this is a dorm for college students, being used in the summer as a hostel. It's not a hotel or motel...it's not a resort. #2 - this is Europe, not the US - so things are going to be different - noise levels, size of rooms/bathrooms, food, etc. IF you have that soundly in mind, then the Bankside house is great for what it is...if you want a reasonably priced place to stay that is decent and safe, this is your spot! If you want hotel-like amenities, then don't stay here...you'll be disappointed...
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Bankside House provides Bed & Breakfast accommodation near the Tate Modern Gallery - it's just a one minute walk away from the front door. Bankside House is also located near The Shard, Shakespeare’s Globe, Borough Market and St Paul’s Cathedral as well as being within easy reach of the City of London and the West End. With its location and price, Bankside provides incredible value for anyone wishing to stay in central London. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Bankside House Hotel London
- Bankside Hotel London