Experience Historical Grandeur At The Dixon, Tower Bridge, Autograph Collection

The Dixon Hotel takes immense pride in its prestigious status as a gleaming luxe hospitality beacon, which has been swathed in trappings of priceless historical chronicles with an eclectic boutique verve, nestled right amongst the throng of the bustling vibrance of London’s SE1 neighbourhood.

Embracing a union of classic quintessential characteristics with a swirl of contemporary vigour, this hotel landmark is currently basking in the midst of a prestigious badge of laurels.  The Dixon very recently triumphed at the Travel & Hospitality Awards to earn the title of “Luxury Hotel of the Year 2024”, and continues to cement their stature as one of the Capital’s most imposing lodgings worthy to host their pedigreed coutured clientele, and corporate workcationers alike.

Experience Historical Grandeur At The Dixon, Tower Bridge, Autograph Collection

Stately Modernity

Just a trivial 10-minute ramble from London Bridge station on Tooley Street, the Dixon was born into the suave entourage of the Marriott’s luxury Autograph Collection in February 2019, housed within a resplendent Grade II-listed building bedecked in a red brick and smooth cream stone facade.  

Boasting a fascinating attested timeline that traces back to the period of 1905, this magnificent palatial premises had in its astonishing lifetime, served as the Tower Bridge Magistrates’ Court housing courtrooms, a police station and 20 jail cells right until 2013.  Upon purchasing the property from the government, what followed was a lavishly ambitious renaissance blueprint tallying to the minted multimillion-pound figures, that has successfully embosomed the exquisite timeless grandeur of the hotel’s beloved bona fide fixtures, with an artful twist of cultural newfangled modernity. 

Experience Historical Grandeur At The Dixon, Tower Bridge, Autograph Collection

This esteemed staycation odyssey has their discerning jet-setters captivated right from the pivot of the grand entrance door.  The space unveiled a majestic, earthy hued lobby attired in regal design trappings of the original restored oak panelled features neighbouring a bountiful artworks assemblage, all showering accolades on many a distinguished titles renowned within the SEI district, from English novelist George Orwell to the idolised silent screen comic, Charlie Chaplin.

For all that the copper metalwork display of the actual steel cell keys had added a spell of riveting charm to the hotel’s former inception, the tour de force sat with the regal carpeted backdrop of the sweeping staircase heightened to Herculean dimensions, encircling a gargantuan chandelier of golden beaded-crystal radiating with ceremonial pomp, as it showcased the intricacy of 60 iridescent conjoined handcuffs nestling within the luster.

The Dixon also pays homage to their namesake and the hotel’s primary architect, John Dixon Butler. Unavailing in their quest to locate his photos, the team remained resolute in their pursuit to bestow the deserved accolades to this ingenious creator, with an eccentric playful take on Dixon’s portrait that had his face in a cocooned in a floral bouquet, brimming with vibrant luminous tones.

Avant-Garde Lodgings

The Dixon features over a colossal 190 rooms within their imperial abode in both the original quarters and new built extension, which also includes their 10 equally discerning suites.

Each habitat encompasses a varying array of tailored attires for their debonair guests to luxuriate within, including the buildings untainted Edwardian features of original fireplaces and decorative covings, interweaved with a contemporary glossy splash of mammoth crisp white beds, blackened steel accents, pale grey and lemon toned furnishings and trailblazing imagery, not forgetting the bounteous cosmetics collections courtesy of our treasured British perfume house, Penhaligon’s.  

Experience Historical Grandeur At The Dixon, Tower Bridge, Autograph Collection

My palatial overnight residence was generously designated within the courtly chambers of the Orwell Suite.  Drawn out to a munificent 400 square foot of surpassing silken decadence, the suite opted for a soothing light-toned palette of pristine snow-tinged walls and muted silver shades to capitalise on the airy latitude and lofty high ceilings bathing in lashings of natural balmy rays beaming from the windows, while the chocolate wooden flooring, style moderne lighting and turquoise scatter cushions elevated the habitat’s ambience with their dazzling pops colour bursts. 

It is incontestable however to unanimously concur on the Orwell suite’s jewel in the crown. The captivating views of London’s towering skyline starlet of the 72-storied Shard, glimmered with vivacious vigour as the daylight hours steadily eclipsed into the twilight interval, whilst I indulged my way through the champagne and savoury reservoir graciously laid out by the endearing Dixon hosts in anticipation of the fulsome evening repast.

Casual Dining With A Refined Twist

Dining enthusiasts are summoned for a flavoursome voyage where culinary provenance meets timeless grandeur, which seeks to embody the essence of wholesome uncomplicated produce and ingredients, with a subtle urbane essence zeroing in on their mission to gratify the tastebuds of their besuited visitors.

An evening affair at the Dixon should never be deemed tenable with the absence of a pre-dinner aperitif or 4, whipped up within the hotel’s eminent cocktail destination of the Courtroom bar where the judge’s bench once presided. 

With a marble-clad sunken bar resting under the fascinating luminous assemble of a 193 spheres chandelier adorned in trimmings of the original wood panelling, the Courtroom bar is enveloped in an aura of enthralling nostalgia unlike anywhere else in London as you are watched on by the once accused convicts, now immortalised in a series of framed black-and-white mugshots aligned around the walls.  

The mixologist team take great fulfilment in offering and serving up their cocktail connoisseurs a medley of exquisitely crafted concoctions to sip and savour, heavily drawing on their deliverables of sharp elegance and sapid flavours of SE1 using locally sourced spirits and liqueurs. 

Adopting their twist on a beloved classic, the “Shakedown Fashion” played to butterscotch candy notes of caramel entwined with the toasted spiced roast lashings from the coffee rum, before moving onto my evermore staple favoured classic of a cosmopolitan shake and mastered to that ideal rose pink hue, brimming with a mildly bitter, yet sweet and floral alliance from the splash of cranberry juice and Cointreau liquor.

Nestled just down the hall, guests will discover the hotel’s dining sanctum of the Shakedown restaurant. The design aesthetics chose to borrow their influence from the European’s witty sphere of design quirky and café culture, with colourful accent furniture, coral walls and bold pastel booths that resulted in a casual yet relaxed and inviting atmosphere, while simultaneously respecting to the building’s prized history as the space where the 20 cells once stood, evident from the marks etched across the terrazzo tiles.

A menu which chooses to hone in on unpretentious yet delectable comfort notion, Head Chef Marco Quarta has effortlessly infused his cherished Italian heritage with delicious Mediterranean dishes that also highlight our locally sourced, fresh British harvest. The smooth encasing of the burratina starter revealed a silken, velvet core of air-light liquid cheese sprinkled with soft light sweet tomatoes, whereas the meaty firm tiger prawns married harmoniously with the delicate yet rich flow of melted butter brimming with spiced garlic hints.

Although partial to a tender melt-in-the-mouth steak offering,  Marco’s Italian roots steered me to the tagliatelle helping simmered to meticulous perfection, as it married into the wooded creamy contents of the mushroom and black truffle sauce. Perfectly concluding was South Africa’s fine red wine offering of the Journeys End merlot, elegant, clean and soft with a fruit-cake sensation from the medley of ripe blackberries, and ruby red fruits. 

Breakfast at Shakedown proves an equally pleasing morning encounter, presented with a copious buffet feast of piping hot English breakfast servings or freshly cooked alternatives, while the resident baristas brandish their credentials with indulgent selections of aromatic coffee collections, created only using coffee beans proudly roasted right on site.

The Verdict

The Jury is out. The Dixon Hotel offers a refreshing vacation encounter, that transports their suave courteous guests and overnight residents a universe away from the normalised pretentious stigma, periodically attached to their fellow London hotel siblings residing in the hedonistic playgrounds of Mayfair and Chelsea.

Although they form one of many hospitality personas of the Marriott group, the hotel has proven victorious in their conquest to carve their unique and distinctive identity with their artsy emanation, whilst intrinsically linking back to the origins of the building and the iconic location that is a heartbeat away from the enlightening experiences of Tower of London and Tate Modern.

Flowing with profuse volumes of fascinating history and witty charisma with chic style, the Dixon has cemented its culture vulture stature within these quirky wiles, that forms the fabric of their fascinating SEI territory.

Anuja Gaur

Anuja Gaur is a freelance luxury restaurant and travel writer based in Hertfordshire, UK. She is also an associate at an award-winning hedge fund in Mayfair. Her passion for fine food, illustrious hotels and an all-round love for the finer things in life has sent her to the most prestigious establishments, creating high-quality writing content that is honest, detailed and enjoyable, which invites readers on her immersive luxe filled writers journey.