Arrival and Check-In
I walked up to the hotel from the tube – both Green Park and Hyde Park Corner are within easy walking distance. The hotel is on Hamilton Place, just off of Park Lane, with the entrance directly opposite the InterContinental.
A bellman immediately walked up to me and asked me if I was checking in, offering to take my bag and asking for my name. He walked me up to reception and from then on I was either acknowledged as a guest or addressed by name by all hotel staff.
Check-in was done in less than five minutes; one of the receptionists escorts you to your room and gives you a tour, pointing out various features of the hotel along the way.
Pierre-Yves Rochon, who also designed the George V in Paris (a Four Seasons hotel), was engaged to overhaul the interior spaces of the hotel and I have to say I love the result.
Everything is of course brand-spanking new but at the same time feels like it has always been there. There is a lot of interesting art work on the walls such as the Vogue covers from the 1920s that line the hallways and sculptures around the lounge and restaurant area that are used instead of the abundant flower displays you see at the FS in Paris.
There are books scattered around for guests to read or flip through, something more hotels should pick up. I loved the vibrant red that pops up in a chair, a sofa, or the leather in the elevator (!). There are a lot of different textures and materials mixed together everywhere: leather, suede, chrome, wood, fabric.
The ground floor has reception straight ahead from the entrance with concierge to the right, a small lounge area to the left in front of the elevators, then further to the left the staircase to the first floor function spaces and the continuation of the lounge as well as Amaranto bar and restaurant. At the tip of the property there is a terrace and small garden with outside seating if the weather allows, which in February, it certainly did not.
There is also a lounge area for guests arriving on early morning flights from North America, which can also be booked for private functions. The view from the balcony takes in everything from Big Ben and the London Eye to St Paul’s Cathedral and the City.
I stayed in a Deluxe Room, which is the third category up in the sequence of Standard / Superior / Deluxe / Premier. I really liked the walk-in closet that leads off of the marble entryway to the bathroom which adds significant space and a lot of cachet to the room – you will only find these in Deluxe and Premier types, so would recommend those.
Rooms come with Four Seasons beds, double-night stands with lights that have a little white pod with dimmers. There is a desk against the wall opposite the bed that offers plenty of workspace, with a panel that hides multiple country outlets and all the various bits you need to plug into the internet, which despite the hefty room rates comes at a charge. A chair and side table complete the room set up.
My room had a separate rainshower and deep-soaking tub, toilet and bidet. I would have expected a double vanity, but those you only get from suites and up, which surprised me.
A negative comment relates to the sliding bathroom door, which leaves a gap of several inches on each side, meaning very little privacy. Some might not care, but I really dislike this – especially for a hotel of this standard.
There was an odd wastebasket in the bathroom that wouldn’t fit next to the vanity which meant it sat in the middle of the room in your line of sight. I kept knocking it over; not very practical.
I saw a few other room types, including very spacious junior-suite-like Conservatory rooms that include an outdoor space and use lighter sycamore wood compared to the darker wood in my room. A Mayfair suite was enormous with a huge terrace, where a weekend must cost as much as a brand new car.
Amaranto restaurant uses a flexible dining concept meaning you can choose to have dinner either at one of the tables in the restaurant area or eat at one of the seating areas scattered throughout the lounge.
I only had breakfast in the morning, opting for two scrambled eggs with potatoes and roasted balsamic cherry tomatoes. The food was delicious and nicely prepared; the potatoes came in the shape of a little baklava-like cake.
Five days after opening almost guarantees you will not have spotless service, even at the Four Seasons. There were a few minor issues that I wrote off to start up problems: after check-in and having just been shown to my room, a room service waiter knocked on my door with a delivery that clearly was not meant for me. Shortly after someone else came by to check the mini-bar which shouldn’t happen if the room has been given the green light for a new guest. The internal booking system was down when I checked out so it took a while for breakfast to be charged to my account, but they profusely apologised for the inconvenience.
I liked the intelligence and sincerity of the service though, and the sense of pride among staff to be part of the new hotel.
There are two Rolls Royce Ghosts as house cars that can take you within a few mile radius on a first-come, first-served basis. As only a limited number of rooms were occupied one of the cars was almost consistently available, but I am sure that if the hotel is fully booked these might be harder to come by. Do try though, the cars are an experience to be driven in and get you a lot of stares when you are dropped off somewhere in central London.
The spa was not open yet aside from the gym but was scheduled to be ready by March (Ed. note: It's now open.) I did have a chance to look around and the views of London from the top floor are pretty spectacular. There are various treatment rooms, hydro-pools and relaxation areas as well as male and female changing facilities.
I really enjoyed my stay here – especially the special feeling of being at a hotel that brand new. Rooms do shoot up to far over the 400GBP range once opening offers are gone, so be prepared to splurge…