Hotel Insider: Four Seasons Hotel London in Canary Wharf

A luxury cocoon in an unusual part of London.
The view from the window of a deluxe room at Four Seasons Hotel London at Canary Wharf. Courtesy: Four Seasons Hotel London at Canary Wharf
The view from the window of a deluxe room at Four Seasons Hotel London at Canary Wharf. Courtesy: Four Seasons Hotel London at Canary Wharf

The welcome

I walk to the hotel from Canary Wharf Station, which takes about five minutes. The entrance to the hotel is smart and businesslike but (especially as it’s midnight) there is no fanfare and the lobby is somewhat bland. There is, however, that comforting feeling of arriving at a Four Seasons, whereby you know that things are taken care of.

The neighbourhood

The hotel is next to Westferry Circus and is part of Canary Riverside, a modern development that includes apartments, and was one of the first places to open in Canary Wharf in the late 1990s. The wider Docklands area has been transformed and the surrounding area is a mixture of old warehouses and gleaming modern office buildings. Over 100,000 people now work in Canary Wharf, mainly in financial and related industries, and the area features some good restaurants and shopping areas. It is in Zone 2 on the Underground, making it easy to reach all the main sights from here. It’s also accessible by riverboat, with a terminal right outside the hotel.

The room

My room faces the river (across the health club and swimming pool, which featured in the Bond film Skyfall) and the broad sweep of the river up to the city is quite dramatic. The room is compact and comfortable, carpeted, with a round window and padded window seat. The window cannot open, however, leading to a feeling of stuffiness – a shame after a long flight.

The service

This is mostly a business hotel, and I get the sense that doormen are stationed to keep out anyone who doesn’t need to be there – their first comments are always, “Can I help you?” This is good for security though it’s not the most welcoming feeling. Reception has a can-do attitude and the concierge’s list of things to see and do impress me, a local. There could have been more attention at breakfast; service is faster at dinner when there are fewer people.

The scene

Most guests are on business. However, on the weekend that I stayed I see several local and international families. The adjacent Virgin Active health club, which guests have access to (they can also attend the fitness classes) has an aspirational feel and is mainly used by residents of the area. The swimming pool is excellent and has a great view of the river, and a large, well-designed (mixed-sex) spa has jacuzzis, saunas and an underwater foot reflexology area.

The food

The hotel has one restaurant, Quadrato, which has an elegant but laid-back atmosphere. The breakfast buffet is more extensive at the weekend and has breads, bagels, fruit, yoghurt and cheeses, and is appetising, as is the hot (à la carte) menu. Dinner is “modern Italian”. I try the spaghetti in seafood sauce (£10; Dh58) which is fresh and tasty, and the wild sea bass with mushrooms and home-made gnocchi (£28; Dh160). The fish, fresh from Billingsgate Fish Market, is lightly seared and good, though the Billingsgate mixed fish for £25 (Dh144) may have been a better deal.

Loved

The facilities at the health club.

Hated

The sealed bedroom window.

The verdict

A great base for a business trip, or for travellers who want to explore a new part of London.

The bottom line

Doubles at the Four Seasons Canary Wharf (www.four- seasons.com/canarywharf; 0044 207 510 1999) cost from £215 (Dh1,237) per night, including taxes but not breakfast.

rbehan@thenational.ae

Published: December 18, 2014 04:00 AM

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