Last Updated on August 24, 2020 by Fiona Maclean
A staycation with a difference in the City
Coming out of lockdown I am keen for an adventure again, to go somewhere new and do something different; with travel abroad still posing problems, a staycation is a perfect solution.
Docklands is a forever changing landscape, with plenty of places to explore and amazing views along the river. I was really excited to be invited to stay at the Sunborn Hotel, for a staycation which is a little out of the ordinary; a stationary luxury yacht hotel set in the heart of London’s Docklands at Royal Victoria Dock.
It’s conveniently located and nice and easy to find. I took the DLR to Custom House which is right next to the ExCel centre, but there is also a car park nearby. Walking towards the river, you can’t miss the Sunborn, a huge white yacht which sits majestically on the water at the dockside. On boarding ship, one can’t help marvel at its grandeur, with its glistening gold and glass fittings and a central staircase which takes you to the cabins.
Once we checked in, we were cordially greeted by a member of the Sunborn Hotel team waiting at our cabin door with a tempting plate of sweet treats.
Our executive air-conditioned cabin was a delight (especially as we were in the middle of a heatwave), elegant wood fittings, a super comfortable bed, drinks cabinets, a small sofa, TV and a private shower room. It was kitted out with everything we needed; we were wrapped in luxury made all the more special by a waterside balcony which boasted a breath-taking vista across the River Thames.
Once settled, we made our way to the Sunborn bar which provided a stunning view of the towering spires of Canary Wharf and the O2 Dome. We sat and enjoyed the sunset whilst drinking cocktails chosen from their signature cocktail menu. The hot and sultry summers’ evening called for something refreshing, we chose a classic orange Aperol Spritz and a Gin Garden, mixed with Hendricks, St Germaine, cucumber, basil, lime, agave syrup and tonic…. both perfect summertime drinks.
Unfortunately, due to Covid-19 the hotel’s Lands End Restaurant was still closed, although we were told that they are hoping to reopen it shortly. Dinner was served in the Sundown bar instead, made all the more lovely by the fantastic view of the docks which was accentuated by the dazzling night lights.
It was good to know that Sunborn Hotel had put measures in place to ensure the safety of their customers; everywhere was very clean and social distancing was in place in the bar, the food arrived in black lacquered boxes and the cutlery was in sealed plastic bags. For starters, we shared some light and fluffy goats’ cheese and chive croquettes served with an intense rich tomato sauce and wild rocket and some freshly cooked falafel made with sweet chunks of beetroot, chickpea and a touch of cumin on a bed of hummus and wild rocket.
For mains, there was a good choice of classic dishes including burgers, steak, fish and chips and mac n cheese. We had the chicken supreme – tender sliced breast of chicken in a tarragon sauce with potato purée, tender stem broccoli and pan-seared salmon with crushed new potatoes, gremolata green beans and a beurre blanc. They were less exciting than the starters but the vegetables were crisp and the salmon properly cooked with a crisp skin.
Our meal paired well with a bottle Longue Roche Sauvignon Blanc, France 2019 fresh and zesty with lemon and melon notes.
And for something sweet…who can resist a sticky toffee pudding ice cream!
Breakfast was served on the deck of the Sunborn Hotel, with a choice of continental or cooked breakfasts including Salmon and eggs, avocado on toast and my favourite eggs Benedict.
Afterwards, we went and explored the docks. This bustling district offers plenty to see and do, from water sports including paddle boarding to taking a ride on the Emirates Air Line cable car for those brave enough to see London from the air.
There’s a small man-made beach and lots of docklands pubs, bars and restaurants all of which are beginning to open their doors again. It’s definitely a happening area with some great architecture and a fabulous cityscape, I really enjoyed mooching around before heading back to the luxury of the Sunborn Hotel.
To reach Sunborn By Car
Please put the postcode E16 1AA in your navigation system and it will guide you directly to Sunborn London Yacht Hotel.
By Train / Tube / DLR
Custom House DLR station has now re-opened after improvement works and is a short 2 min walk from the yacht. The walking bridge connecting both sides of the Custom House station from Freemasons Road remain open.
For a similar experience in Edinburgh, we recommend Fingal Hotel, Leith