January – our favourite venue this month is…

January – our favourite venue this month is…

When it comes to getting the right venue, our intrepid venue hunter Aimee Nicholas tests the very best that the City has to offer – all in the name of business you understand! Here’s our take on this month’s favourite.

This month we visited The Dixon Hotel in Tooley St. You know, the noisy back road off Tower Bridge Road. It doesn’t sound that appealing does it? Slap bang opposite a block of flats on a busy main road, what’s to like? Surprisingly, everything!

The Dixon is part of the Marriott Autograph Collection (alongside Bankside, and another favourite of ours, Threadneedles Hotel, with its Marco-Pierre White Dining) so it oozes quality – and it’s a pretty fine example too. The façade is stunning, but easily missed if you arrive from London Bridge (just an eleven minute walk) or Tower Bridge (about 8 minutes battle through tourists!). A better view of the building itself is from across the tarmac on Tooley St.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step inside and you’ll see a world full of imagination and quirkiness – by the bucketload! The Dixon serves up a healthy plate of WOW that is steeped, no, soaked, in history – and it’s got the medals to prove it too!

 

 

 

 

 

Until 2013 this magnificent hidden gem, which dates from Edwardian London in 1905, served as Tower Bridge Magistrates Court. Brought back to life in 2019 after a major refurb, it’s a bit more salubrious nowadays. Thankfully the references to it’s past of, ahem, less compliant visitors, hang in the air, off the walls and on the floors – in fact, there are medals etched and scraped into surfaces that the architect and designers have captured beautifully during the refurbishment. Who would have thought to use every key as an art installation on the lift surround? Well, that would be the project team from Dominvs Group and McAleer & Rushe, the project’s main contractor.

It’s worth taking a look at project designer’s website twenty2degrees for more photos, and to get a feel for the full scope and creativity of what was essentially a sympathetic regeneration project. They even kept one of the original cells (I wouldn’t want to spend half an hour in it, let alone overnight) which has been cunningly converted into  roast house where the hotel grinds its own coffee. Cleverly positioned tiled flooring throughout The Provisioners Restaurant outline the original floorplan of the cells and thin corridors, and you can almost hear the clanging echo of the heavy metal doors slamming shut and inmates yelling at each other, or calling out for their mums.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take a step into the Courtroom Bar, where photographs of previous inmates like James Davidson (main pic) who were all banged up here awaiting sentencing for various improprieties, hang in memory of their troubled times (no one knows how many!) here –

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edgy: yes, elegant: yes, stylish: yes. Are we going to return? Yes!

All photographs © Marriott Hotels

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