Tried & Tested

Hotel check: Four Seasons Canary Wharf

5 Nov 2009 by Mark Caswell

What's it like? The hotel was one of the first five-star properties to open in Canary Wharf and will celebrate its tenth anniversary on December 6. Over the past decade the whole area has changed dramatically. When Four Seasons arrived there were 27,000 people living and working in the area compared with 90,000 people today. Excel, the O2 arena and London City airport, especially with the recently launched all-business class BA flights to New York, have all contributed towards the buzz and attraction of the area. The hotel is in a grand building, but the décor is low-key and modern and all rooms were refurbished earlier this year.

Where is it? Between Canary Wharf tube station and Westferry DLR station on the Thames. There is a pier at the back of the hotel where you can disembark from the Thames boat service.

Room facilities Rooms are modern with American black walnut furnishings. Standard and Superior rooms have city views and Deluxe rooms have river views. My room was a one-bedroom suite on the fifth floor (room 516). Décor was beige, cream and white with green and grey chairs and sofas. There was an extra toilet on the left as you enter the living room, as well as a wardrobe for hanging coats – both useful if you are having a business meeting. The living room had a spectacular view with a large window and cushioned window seat. It had a sofa and dining table with chairs, tea and coffee-making facilities, a minibar, a TV and CD player. The bedroom had another TV, an alarm clock and a king-size bed with a superb mattress and amazing pillows. There were two more wardrobes in the corridor by the bathroom, where I found the hairdryer and slippers and a laptop safe. The bathroom was large with a separate power shower and deep bath and a spacious sink area with a shaving mirror, a useful clock, L'Occitane toiletries and white hooded bathrobes. I needed to do some ironing, and an ironing board and iron with starch was brought to my room quickly. Later in the evening I ordered a club sandwich and as it was for two the table in the dining room was laid for me. The food was very good and the service discreet.

Restaurants and bars There is a lobby bar with seating around the stairs, which lead to the mezzanine level. The bar stays open until the last guest leaves (usually about 1am). Quadrato restaurant offers modern Italian fare and seats 100 people (plus 30 on the terrace in warmer months). It's a large bright room with some tables near the window and others with soft sofa seats. There’s an open kitchen and guests can see the chefs at work, which gives it a lively atmosphere. A three-course lunch menu costs £25 and the catch of the day (fresh from Billingsgate market) is about £15, while a popular Tuscan brunch menu is served from 12.30pm to 3.30pm. This is also where breakfast is served. Breakfast is à la carte and I had the eggs royal, which was lovely – the service was impeccable. Coffee and orange juice and water were topped up as I ate. Breakfast is served from 6.30am to 11.30am Monday to Saturday and 8am to 11am on Sundays. If you just want to grab something to eat on your way out, coffee and croissants are available for free in the lobby until 8am.

Business and meeting facilities There’s a business centre on the mezzanine level. Wifi access in rooms and public areas is charged at £15 per 24 hours. There are three meeting rooms and a ballroom, which has a capacity for 200 people theatre-style. The rooms have breakout areas on the mezzanine level and all have natural daylight.

Leisure facilities Guests have access to the Virgin Active gym right next to the hotel on the River Thames. Ask at reception in the hotel and you will be given a pass. The pool at the gym is stunning, as it is right next to the river, and towels and robes are provided. The gym also has access to an outdoor tennis court, and there is a spa that guests can access, with treatments at a cost. The hotel also offers a 24-hour fitness room on the second floor.

Verdict A top-class hotel with all the comforts and service levels you would expect from a five-star property. The location is great for London City airport and you can be in the centre of London in about 25 minutes on the Underground.

Fact file

How many rooms? There are 142 rooms, including seven Executive suites, five one-bedroom suites, 28 Standard rooms, 40 Superior rooms, 60 Deluxe rooms, a Penthouse suite and a Presidential suite.

Room highlights Stunning views over the Thames and the London skyline, with the London Eye on the horizon. The bed was incredibly comfortable and the pillows were great too (you can buy them for £55 each).

Price There are various packages on the website – you can book a Standard room for £150 on specific dates. Online prices for mid-December started at £250 for a Standard room or £520 for a Junior suite.

Contact Four Seasons Hotel Canary Wharf, 46 Westferry Circus; tel +44 (0)20 7510 1999;

Felicity Cousins

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