Travel

This is what it’s like to stay in the world’s first vegan hotel suite

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Alessia Armenise
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Veganism is taking the world by storm, and finally the luxury hotel realm is catching up to the trend.

Plant based eating has been on people’s lips (pun not intended) for a few years now but 2018 has seen what was labeled ‘just a fad’ grow from a niche interest to a worldwide trend.

According to The Vegan Society, demand for meat-free food increased by 987% in 2017. Veganism was definitely the biggest food trend of 2018 (seeing the UK launch more vegan products than any other nation) and Veganuary had its best year yet this past January.

It’s not just about food though. New vegan and cruelty free beauty brands are bursting into the market and the world of fashion is definitely starting to follow. But what about hospitality? Changing a whole hotel (or hotel chain) design is not that easy but things are moving fast and the big names are starting to get on board with veganism.

London, as the pioneering city it is, has seen the first vegan hotel suite in the world enter its buzzing hospitality scene – but what is it really like to spend the night there? Stylist’s resident vegan expert, Alessia Armenise, tried it – here is what she thought of it. 

The first impression

I’m not going to lie, when we first got the news that the Hilton Bankside was opening the first vegan suite in the world, I was quite sceptical but very intrigued. With veganism being such a big trend right now, it’s easy to see brands jumping on the bandwagon until it’s profitable and then just reverting back to their old habits. What I was expecting was a very minimalist approach to the concept, maybe without leather in the room but also not much attention to the details – gladly, I was pleasantly surprised.

The hotel is modern and very stylish, just a few metres away from bankside and the Tate Modern museum. Entering the lobby, we headed to the frontdesk and we were immediately redirected to the guest service desk where two faux leather brown chairs were waiting for us. Little did we know, those comfy seats were actually made of Piñatex, an innovative material made from…pineapple. That alone, completely blew my mind. We were given our keys in a burnt orange Piñatex case and escorted to our room for more textile amazement. 

The design

We enter the room and I just couldn’t get over how great Piñatex is. The room was built with not only veganism but sustainability in mind. From the floor to the curtains to the products they use to wash the sheets, everything is eco-friendly and cruelty free. The flooring and the wooden-like features of the room are actually sustainable bamboo and the silky curtains are made of soy. Soy that feels like silk, mind blown all over again.

We had lovely orange pillows on our sofa with a pineapple design and I really want everything I touch for the rest of my life to be made of Piñatex. Did I mention I absolutely love this new discovery?

The suite, created in collaboration with design studio Bompas & Parr, is spacious and stylish. The living room is a very comfortable area to start the night and just relax and the room is cosy and inviting. The en-suite bathroom is quite large, with a big rain shower and a second toilet is located next to the entrance – which makes the room even more comfortable for a longer stay.  

The products

I am told that every bit of the room is vegan and eco-friendly so I head to the bathroom to look closely at the products they use. The toiletries are supplied by Prija, an organic brand that only uses recycled materials, paper and soy ink. They smell like a warm night in an exotic location – heavenly.

The cleaning process is also unique for the room. The sheets are washed with eco-friendly detergents (and separated from the rest of the hotel laundry) and every other cleaning product needed for the suite is also certified to be organic.

In the mini bar, only vegan friendly treats like Deliciously Ella’s snacks, raw chocolate or nuts and a generous selection of juices and vitamin fueled drinks – no alcohol in sight. The room is vegan, sustainable and very healthy. 

The food

Once we get to the restaurant for dinner, our special vegan table is waiting for us and we are reunited with my favourite Piñatex chairs. The vegan menu is full of sophisticated dishes, far from being boring or tasteless like a lot of people like to describe plant-based dining. I opt for a delicious mix of Portobello mushrooms and tofu and my partner for a crunchy pizza, all accompanied with a delicate vegan wine.

We went back there for breakfast and the menu is just as full of options, maybe a bit too refined for my half asleep millennial brain that just wanted avocado on toast. Fortunately, the main buffet is rich with fruits, vegetables and all sorts of delicacies and I probably ate enough to get me through the week.

Looking back at the whole experience, the Hilton Bankside really went the extra mile for this project and the attention to details was quite impressive. If it works, the hotel will expand their vegan offering and, hopefully, we’ll see more vegan-friendly suites (or entire hotels) popping up all over the country and beyond. 

The Vegan Suite is available from £549 at Hilton Bankside, room only.