A kind of gravelly, soft, intense, scrabbling sound nudged me awake from my slumbers enveloped as I had been by princess perfect plump pillows in our enormous double bed.

The early morning sun pierced the blinds creeping into the river suite room at London’s sumptuous Sea Containers Hotel on the South Bank.

Tip toeing through the floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors onto the double balcony, I peered over the edge from the fourth floor. There below on the river shore 'beach' were a couple of 'Mud Larkers' making the most of low tide to search for treasure.

Meanwhile the never-ending life on the world’s most famous river continued just a few metres in front of our luxurious room - one of a select few at Sea Containers with a balcony giving unhindered views across London’s St Paul’s skyline.

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(Sea Containers has views of St Paul's in the heart of London)

We'd arrived the afternoon before. Our distinctly un-posh overnight bag was taken from us in the street outside as we arrived from the nearby Underground by maritime-inspired, blue-and-white striped uniformed staff member - our first glimpse of the level of service offered at the hotel.

The grand entrance to Sea Containers conjours up an transatlantic liner from the 1920s complete with stylised gang way and marvellous copper check in desk.

The ocean liner theme is repeated throughout this truly jaw-dropping hotel.

The 359-room hotel, which features double, queen or king-sized beds in each of its rooms, is the last word in swish, other age luxury.

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(Hotel reception at Sea Containers)

The excellence of the initial welcome from the staff to the intriguing decor delivers surely beyond even the most demanding expectations.

The decor, created by award-winning designer Tom Dixon, carries the liner theme throughout the whole hotel from the sumptuous spa and cinema 'below decks' to the eclectic rooftop bar 12th Knot with its terrace overlooking the Thames and London beyond.

Only in town for a night, we could easily have decided not to leave Sea Containers and instead enjoy all it had to offer.

But we had pre-booked the Mary Quant exhibition at the V&A - which was definitely worth trekking across the city to see.

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(If you love fashion you must go to the V&A to catch the Mary Quant exhibition, which is on until February 2020)

After learning all about the fashion icon whose inspirational and quirky eye changed the way women dress, it was back to Sea Containers for pre-dinner cocktails in the Lyaness bar.

Created by multi award-winning mixologist Ryan Chetiyawardana AKA Mr Lyan, this bar is set on the ground floor of the hotel.

The knowledgeable Scots bar tender Bill, from Inverness, who served us, with the help of the bar’s handy guide book, helped us through the seemingly endless drinks combinations and options and delivered some awesome concoctions. A raspberry Mojito? No problem. A Penicillin? Coming up.

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(Lyaness, the cocktail bar at Sea Containers)

A few paces away we were seated in the Sea Containers Restaurant, where we enjoyed a quite fantastic meal of sharing plates starting, naturally, with deep fried haggis croquettes.

Again, the waiter was so helpful. Talking us through the menu, not batting eye lid at the two vegetarians who joined us for dinner, and even suggesting we'd ordered too much!

As with the rest of this marvellous hotel the restaurant staff were superb, advising on choices from the varied menu, and ensuring our evening was totally memorable.

After dinner cocktails were equally esoteric. What did we have? Can’t remember the names but they were each in their own way divine.

Our suite, well more like a compact apartment with sweeping views across the River Thames to London, was exceptional.

The marble-floored bathroom, with its Niagara-force walk-in shower and huge stand-alone bath, was quite fantastic. We had two TVs, loads of sofa space to lounge on, a full-width balcony and a fully-stocked mini bar. Oh, and room service was just a call away.

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(Comfort and luxury at Sea Containers)

The enormous bed was probably the most comfortable ever; dimmer lights all round allowed the creation of a distinct vibe.

Breakfast was taken on the terrace of the restaurant with early morning joggers mixed with tourists, noses buried in Lonely Planet guides, passing just feet from where we feasted on our smoked salmon, scrambled eggs and sour dough toast.

After what was definitely one of the best ever hotel stays we've had, it was off to explore some of the other experiences of one of the best cities in the world - London. (We took in Greenwich on day two but the hotel is so well placed we could have picked any of the sites).

If you’re going to have a short stay in London, don’t slum it at some dowdy, edge of town joint. Take the plunge and head to the South Bank and Sea Containers, which is quite literally in the heart of the metropolis and undoubtedly the place to choose.

I don't know what Mud Larkers are looking for but for me the real treasure on the South Bank of the River Thames is Sea Containers.

For more information about Sea Containers and to make a booking go to www.seacontainerslondon.com/.

For more details of the Mary Quant exhibition at the V&A go to www.vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/mary-quant.