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art’otel London Battersea Power Station review: An ultra-modern hive of creativity

Vibrant interiors, an awe-inspiring art collection and some truly show-stopping views make London's coolest new hotel a destination rather than a mere stopover

By Jamie Tabberer

The rooftop pool at art'otel London Battersea Power Station (Images: Provided)
The rooftop pool at art'otel London Battersea Power Station (Images: Provided)

Lazing in the heated rooftop infinity pool of art’otel London Battersea Power Station and taking in its staggering view of pure iconography – namely, four huge 103m concrete chimneys that dwarf the viewer – is now surely one of London’s most weirdly glamourous experiences. It’s like getting a history lesson on the set of some flashy fashion shoot.

It’s fitting, then, the 16th floor of a hotel themed around art should boast such a sight. The Power Station itself, built in 1941 and designed by the late Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, also responsible for the distinctive red phone boxes dotted around the UK, Malta, and Bermuda, has always been more than just a building.

It should have all the elegance of Springfield Nuclear Power Plant; instead, it’s an enduring symbol of industrial chic. Not least since its October 2022 rebirth as a shopping mecca home to many designer boutiques.

The lobby at art’otel London Battersea Power Station (Image: KLUNDERBIE)

The area’s wider regeneration programme, spanning 42 acres, is jaw-dropping in its magnitude, but gives soulless Black Mirror vibes. Polished districts like The City of London and Canary Wharf, love them or hate them, evolved into what they are today. Meanwhile this “cathedral of industry”, as The Financial Times has dubbed it, just was. The art’otel, on the other hand, has charisma in spades. Too much, perhaps – this reviewer has to Google where to put the apostrophe every single time!

Everything about the 164-room hotel is fabulously over the top; most notably its twisty, snaking physical structure, which you sense the moment you enter the vibrant lobby and art exhibition space, which, like the Barbican’s Curve gallery, bends enticingly beyond the viewer’s eyeline. 

One of the bedrooms at art’otel London Battersea Power Station (Image: Provided)

The interior design, overseen by Spanish artist Jaime Hayon, is both modern and strikingly warm and human: think funky statement furniture and splashes of bright colour.

As per the hotel’s star-studded launch party last year, the vibe veers young, modern and professional, more in keeping with the Virgin Hotels brand than your typical, stuffy five star. Here, you don’t so much worry about knocking over an expensive vase, but rather spilling red wine on some unique piece of modern art.

The theme continues in the hotel’s excellent Italian restaurant TOZI Grand Café, which has the look and feel of a Pedro Almodóvar film, where characters often live in vibrant, ultramodern apartments full of irresistible knick-knacks. (Menu highlights include the pappardelle with braised wild boar, the lobster linguine and the artfully presented tiramisu; click here for our 2023 review of Tozi’s food offerings specifically.)

If you tire of the loudness elsewhere, JOIA Restaurant, Bar & Rooftop, serving Portuguese fare, has a much softer appearance, with its array of pastel pinks and plush furnishings.

The bar in the TOZI Grand Café (Image: Provided)

Our bedroom was filled with curious details, from a copy of Tate: Colour: A Visual History to a mirror shaped like a pair of spectacles to an elegantly bulbous jar with an incongruously jagged handle. It contained, for some enjoyable reason, a few stalks of wheat. (An artlessly basic bedside phone, with dialling instructions so small you need a magnifying glass and a floodlight to read them, is out of place.)

Meanwhile, a living, breathing work of art is visible through the floor-to-ceiling windows: Attitude’s view of South London is sweeping, taking in the arrestingly beautiful and the sublimely ugly.

Our lodgings came complete with free Wi-Fi, sumptuous KEVIN.MURPHY toiletries, a covetable Robert’s Radio Bluetooth digital radio and an IIIy Coffee Machine that I could not operate for the life of me.

The art’otel London Battersea Power Station is also home to a Portuguese eatery: JOIA Restaurant, Bar & Rooftop (Image: Provided)

Befitting a hotel that’s a destination rather than simply a place to rest your head, other features include a spa with two treatment rooms, sauna, and steam room, plus manicure/pedicure stations. ‘Must-do happenings’ taking place during our visit, handily displayed on the smart TV in our room, include pottery and candle-making classes and an 8am ‘skyline yoga’ class. It’s also worth popping your head in the studio on the ground floor to see what the current artist-in-residence is up to.

Another huge plus is the option to check-out effortlessly via email. You leave feeling respected and trusted as a guest; the antithesis of checking out in-person and being asked if you’ve incurred additional expenses, when you both know you haven’t – an experience always more uncomfortable than it needs to be.

Service, by the way, was flawless across the board, particularly in TOZI, where the warm, approachable staff demonstrate a palpable passion for the menu.

For more information, visit the official art’otel London Battersea Power Station website.