London Drum

Stay at The Tower Guoman, a 4-star hotel with view of London Tower Bridge

The Tower Guoman HotelPhoto: Craig Cross
Star rating: ★★★★ Address: The Tower Hotel, St. Katharine’s Way (by Tower Bridge) Contact: Tel: 0207 523 5063 Web: Facilities: Two restaurants, bar, concierge, gym, car park, room service, minibar, tea & coffee, Wi-Fi, TV, movies, telephone, hairdryer, ensuite bathroom, air-conditioning, safe Parking: Car parks near the Tower of London Buses: 15, 25, 42, 78, 100, RV1 Bus fares Trains: The closest station is Tower Hill Circle District Other nearby stations: Aldgate, Aldgate East, Monument and Tower Gateway Train fares

View of Tower Bridge from the hotel room

Craig’s review… I stumped up a bit extra for a “fantastic view of Tower Bridge” but I wasn’t expecting much. I’m the world’s biggest cynic when it comes to hotels, so I was assuming that I’d just get a little glimpse of a pylon through the trees, or six inches of roadway through a crack in the fence, or something like that, but it’s actually quite a nice view. I can see one whole tower plus the entrance roadway, which is all lined with cabs and vans and buses.

View of Tower Bridge and The Shard from the roomPhoto: Craig Cross
View of Tower Bridge and The Shard from the room

I’m not high up enough to see further down the river though, which is a bit of a shame. They’ve stuck me on the first floor with a big air vent outside, but it’ll do. You don’t want to be looking at this building too much anyway because it’s pretty ugly. Check out my photo of the outside – it looks like one of those places that Prince Charles is always complaining about.

Inside a room at The Tower Hotel

Happily the inside is much better. They’ve got all their smart receptionists lined-up behind the desk with fixed-grins on their faces, and a load of smartly-dressed porters to open the doors and press the buttons on the lift.

Room inside The Tower Guoman HotelPhoto: Craig Cross
Room inside The Tower Guoman Hotel
TV and desk inside the roomPhoto: Craig Cross
TV and desk inside the room

When you get up to the room you’ll find all the usual stuff: a bed, some carpet, some wallpaper and some lights. I’m getting close to middle age now so as long as I’ve got a TV and a bath then I’m happy.

When I was younger I used to stay in places that just had a thin little mattress tied to a tubular camp-bed and that was it. I always had a shared bathroom as well, and had to wander along the corridor to see if anyone was using it. But these days I have an inviolable checklist of two: I need a TV and a bath. And a teapot. (Okay, so that’s three.) And a proper lock on the door so I don’t have to wedge a chair against it. If I get those four then I’m happy. Plus a desk and preferably a radio. But apart from those I’m not fussed. (And a restaurant and a bar.)

Ensuite bathroom with bath and showerPhoto: Craig Cross
Ensuite bathroom with bath and shower

This room also has a widescreen TV, an iron and some posh bottles of soap and shampoo. The only things that I don’t like are the twelve teabags they’ve given me because they’ve only given me four milks to go with them. Aaargh! What is the bleedin’ point of that?

You don’t have to be a genius to see that twelve teabags and four milks won’t go. Maybe they want us to use three teabags in each cup? And they’ve given me a tiny teapot as well. You can’t even fit two cups of water in it! You literally have to fold the teabag in half and cram it inside. So that is basically a complete waste of time – you may as well just make it in the cup. I’m going to open the window and chuck the damn silly teapot in the river… that is how stupid it is.

The Gallery and Brasserie Restaurant

They have two restaurants at this hotel: The Gallery and The Brasserie. I’m in The Gallery at the moment looking out over St. Katharine Dock. The windows on the other side look out over Tower Bridge.

The help-yourself breakfast bar has everything you need: beans, bacon and eggs, sausages, cereals and toast. They’ve also got a very complicated conveyor belt-like toaster which looks like an electric mangle. You feed your bread in one end and it comes out the other side thirty seconds later all golden brown.

I quite like the sound of hotel restaurants in the morning because it’s all clink clink clink, clatter clatter as they put the plates out, tourists wandering in half-asleep planning what they’re going to do with their day. Young couples wracking their brains trying to remember what they did last night. City businessmen punching numbers into their phone whilst trying to read the paper. Waiters running around being nice and polite… that is probably my favourite thing about hotels, where everyone is very nice to you, all of the time. Obviously they’re all being paid to do that and wouldn’t give a toss if I dropped down dead, but hey, it’s nice to pretend.

Worth a stay? Value for money? Nice rooms? Good location?

London Squire bookThe owns and has spent the last decade reviewing the capital’s landmarks, attractions and hotels. His guidebook is available from Amazon

Your comments and questions

Anna Hi, is there car parking available at the hotel for three nights?

Craig Hi Anna. The hotel does have its own car park. At the time of writing it's £3 per hour or £25 per day -​en/​faq.html

PReed We stayed here for two nights and had a wonderful stay. The location was amazing by the London landmarks Tower Bridge and the Tower of London. I recommend to everyone to forgo the buses and catch the easy-to-use Thames Clipper boats which stop just by the hotel. We had such a lovely time travelling down the river every day

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