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Mary | 28 Mar 24

Enness Lifestyle FirstEdition Fifty Six

Enness Lifestyle First


Bone marrow, bread, and Marmite butter are not an every-night dinner appetiser, but Sea Containers London is no template hotel. The name alone certainly evokes an image of international shipping. Maritime does, indeed, manage to manipulate this uniquely original hotel, a ten-minute walk east of Waterloo Station.


It’s literally on the South Bank of The Thames, and tugs, perhaps filled with small containers and pleasure boats loaded with photo-popping tourists, ply up and down. The 14-floor building, originally conceived as a hotel, was for decades the headquarters of Sea Containers, founded in 1965 by James Sherwood with an investment of $100,000. He went on to open hotels to complement his ships. Copacabana Palace in Rio, The Mount Nelson in Cape Town, and others, now all part of Belmond, owned by the Behemoth LVMH.

Lyaness - March 2019 - James McDonald - shot from entrance looking towards back wall mirror with green marble bar and seating on either side-min.jpeg


Sea Containers, a Lore Group hotel, is luxury with an edge. The crew wear striped tops and blue jeans or, if hostessing, size-zero minimalist black dresses and white sneakers. The lobby deliberately has elements of maritime heritage, with thousands of nails holding copper-rivet wall panels together. A chain link sculpture, acting as a counterpoint to London-brick walling, seems inspired, in Claes Oldenburg style, by South Bank graffiti. 


Perhaps the Klein-blue Jeff Koons-like sculpture where Lore Group CEO David Taylor chose to sit, above, is supposed to be Nellie out of Loch Ness Context. 
The 359 bedrooms have been described as brutalism blended with glamour. Curved walls based on ships’ cabins interiors enclose marble bathrooms with Hollywood mirrors of Marilyn magnitude.


Kering, or rather its bosses, also own Ponant, the 11-ship boutique cruise company that adds a French je ne sais quoi to the at-sea experience. On Ponant's icebreaker cruises, for instance, luxuriate in onboard hot tubs as the ice breaks around you. Watch Ponant make even more waves now that the new CEO, Americas is erudite Sam Chamberlain. He comes from the embryonic Four Seasons Yachts, and before that, he was Mr Hilton luxury – Waldorf Astoria - for many years.

Sea Containers Restaurant Corner near entrance  Sea Containers London  JamesMcDonald-min.jpeg


Imagine her, in palest pink crêpe de chine, bias cut of course, titivating in room 463, its balcony giving 270° views from Big Ben east to Blackfriars Bridge. She’d go down to the ground floor, to Lyaness cocktail lounge, its all-wall windows giving a nonstop panorama of commuters rushing along the paved towpath. Lyaness’ youthful mixologists design the cocktails, described in a hologram-cover booklet. Perhaps a Diamante Swizzle, Fords Gin,  Tattie Gold, apricot and Champagne.


The evening continues. Sea Containers, the restaurant, is invariably full, Thames-watchers and National Theatre buffs and more. CEOs galore, away from the financial spotlight. An English rosé, Hattingley Valley 2022, to enhance the appetiser, perhaps their Pinot Noir for the Gressingham duck with blackberries. If she’s still up for more, head to the 12th floor indoor-out terrace to dance the night away, or at least until earliest morning. Overlooking the Thames.
Modern luxury, atmosphere and fun. Sea Containers special.