Novotel Canary Wharf
39-storeys — Isle of Dogs
The tallest Novotel
The Novotel at Canary Wharf — situated at 40 Marsh Wall — is a slender 39-storey high rise solely occupied by the AccorHotels Group.
Rising 127 meters, the hotel is actually the tallest Novotel in the world. The £149 million development provides 305 hotel rooms and a wealth of amenities.
The hotel combines modern aesthetics with tributes to the areas docklands heritage. A great use of modern skyscraper design, in the small 40 Marsh Wall plot the Canary Wharf Novotel manages to cram in a swimming pool, several meeting rooms and three stories of bars and restaurants among much more!
Building and design
The AccorHotels group obtained planning permission for the hotel on the 40 Marsh Wall site in May 2010. Construction didn’t begin for another 4 years, starting in 2014 with the building completing in November 2016.
The design of the building was completed by BUJ architects. The firm have worked in many local developments, from the purely residential Ability Place to the mixed use Hilton hotel and residential Lincoln Plaza.
With a small but centrally located plot — 40 Marsh Wall provided some challenges to the architects. There was initially a 5-storey office building on the tightly packed site, which needed to be levelled.
To add to the complexities, the site is raised with Marsh Wall to the north significantly higher than Cuba Street at the southern border of the plot. The resulting design was a slender 39-storey tower with an external lift and stairs to bridge the height difference between the two streets.
Location and transport
Many developments in the area have substantial underground basements, usually providing limited car parking spaces for the residents. The Canary Wharf Novotel does have an expansive 3-storey basement, however it is not used for car parking.
Falling under Tower Hamlets development plans — despite not being a residential development — the 40 Marsh Wall site was required to be car free.
As a result there is only one car parking spaces for the entire hotel! This is a blue badge space, located to the rear of the hotel. If you can manage to fit your suitcases on the back of a bicycle, there are 38 bike storage spaces.
Access via public transport is much easier. The site is located very close to the Canary Wharf financial centre, around 5 minutes walk to the south across South Dock bridge. Access for the Jubilee tube line and later Crossrail Place are just under 10 and 15 minutes walk respectively.
There are two very close DLR stations Heron Quay; 5 minutes walk across South Dock bridge, and South Quay DLR station around 7 minutes walk east along Marsh wall — a slightly easier route with luggage.
Definitely worth a visit in its own right, Bōkan is a premium Canary Wharf restaurant with exceptional views.
It is located across the top three floors of the Novotel:
- 37th floor: a 70 cover restaurant
- 38th floor: a bar and smaller dining areas
- 39th floor: another bar, panoramic roof terrace, additional dining areas
Food is excellent and the restaurant has won two rosettes. As of 2020, it is led by french executive chef Guillaume Gillan — previously of Michelin-starred L’Atelier de Jöel Robuchon.
The location at the top of the hotel provides significant theatre, and the interior designers have maximised every aspect of this. There is an express lift to take guests directly to Bōkan from the entrance lobby next to the hotel.
Upon arriving, at the summit of the hotel the view is deliberately obscured to heighten this sense of drama. Placement of tables has also been cleverly thought out to maximise window seats — any seats that aren’t near the windows benefit from views via the large antique mirrors that are scattered around the interior.
The design inside is a similar but subtlety different nautical theme from the Novotel, with reclaimed timber, corten steel and exposed bolts featuring heavily to give an industrialised dockland feel.
This was a £149 million development and it shows. Only reaching completion in 2016, the hotel is thoroughly modern throughout and one of the AccorHotel groups flagships for the Novotel brand.
The striking concrete X shapes that form the entrance to the Novotel are not just for show. They actually help support the building, and were structurally essential in the design due to the narrow plot width.
Whilst a chain hotel, the interior of the Canary Wharf Novotel was designed by Koncept ID, a Manchester Based, award-winning design firm. Unlike other Novotel’s this hotel was designated as a brand flagship — with a brief to create a bespoke interior theme deviating from other Novotels.
In a similar vein to other local developments such as the Crossrail Place gardens, and West India Quay, Koncept ID settled on the areas import heritage and a docklands theme. The result is very impressive, with nautical themed conference rooms and tasteful nods to this heritage throughout — feature walls created of replica importation crates, rum bottles, warehouse crittal windows and more.
As a result, it’s arguably the nicest of the brands 33 UK-based hotels. The Canary Wharf Novotel has won the AA four Silver stars award — a first for the Novotel brand.
Views — Novotel live webcam
The multiple-use office / residential / public viewing platform combination of the Shard takes the crown as the highest building in the UK with hotel accommodation.
However, if we look at buildings that are solely hotels, the Novotel Canary Wharf is actually the tallest hotel in the entirety of the UK — and the tallest Novotel in the world. This record was previously held by the Hilton Park Lane, at 101 meters tall.
What would panoramic views be without the ability to share them? For those that can’t visit Bōkan or enjoy the panoramic view from the hotels’ rooftop terrace, there is a webcam installed at the summit of the hotel.
To get a taste of the views from the top, the webcam runs 24/7 and can be found below.