I love this hotel. Where else can you arrive with a stinking cold and come away cured thanks to a chicken noodle soup just like mum used to make? Where else offers you an on-site Terminator-style health club, with futuristic baths, a darkened steam room, saunas and a free towel included in your stay? And where else can you find a fella to sew a button back on your shirt right there in your bedroom while you wait to go out?
Four Seasons Hotel London at Canary Wharf. That’s where. Frankly, it feels like a home from home and I’ve only stayed here twice. One wonders what it feels like to businessmen and women who come here all the time. Slap bang in the pounding heart of Docklands, the hotel stands sentinel on a bend of the swirling, troubled Thames, with many rooms (including my spacious fifth floor suite) enjoying superb views across the river and beyond. Swank. The view gets better at night when the capital’s skyline winks back at you across the black water.
The Quadrato restaurant is an elegant place to enjoy a cocktail, meal or breakfast, although my black pudding was briefly interrupted by the track ‘Attack Of The Robot Cicadas’. At least, that’s what it should have been called, anyway.
Other than that, the Full English breakfast was a feast to behold. Shame, then, that afterwards I had to waddle across London with the rest of the Proletariat, heaving a suit carrier and wishing I hadn’t partaken of the pain au chocolat on top of bacon, eggs, sausage, tomato, poached eggs, previously mentioned black pud and coffee and toast. Glutton.
While a new hotel sometimes struggles to create a sense of character, FSCW – as I ostentatiously like to call it – swerves this potential pitfall to win you over with its suave efficiency. None of
this “Would you like to order a newspaper for the morning, sir?” nonsense here. When you get up in the morning, there’s one in a smart bag, hanging on the old doorknob. Complimentary.
And did I mention the Virgin Active health spa next door? Hotel guests are automatic shoo-ins, once again all part of the package. Quite apart from the bewildering array of showers, pools, dips, baths, steams, saunas and solaria on offer, when replete in your bathing attire you can even take a glass lift to the poolside – a glass lift, I tell you!
Once transported thus, the infinity pool stares out across the river, giving one the uneasy feeling that a wrong underwater turn may result in a landing at Rotherhithe. Squelch.
Thankfully, this did not prove to be the case, although I do wonder whether the ornate spa pool near reception I sat in was actually the club’s fountain…
Despite these minor distractions, nothing is too much trouble once you’re safely ensconced back in your hotel, whether you fancy a mid-afternoon massage in the hotel spa, a club sandwich at midnight – or need some last-minute laundry expertise, like I did. Donning my best whistle and flute (getting the hang of the lingo now, too), I discovered that my fine weave herringbone shirt had relieved itself of a button while in transit.
Right at about navel height, an unpleasant gap appeared, threatening to display my midriff to all who chanced to look. A mercy call was made to housekeeping and within five minutes, a cheerful chap came up and sewed the button back on, right there in my living room. Now that’s what I call service.
An evening on the town, bracing stroll by the Thames, and I was home from home once more. Smug.