Tried & Tested

Hotel check: Four Seasons

29 Aug 2013 by GrahamSmith

BACKGROUND

Four Seasons made its Baku debut last September, further boosting the Azerbaijan capital’s rapidly developing hotel scene – other new properties include the Fairmont, which opened in June in one of the three Flame Towers, and the JW Marriott Absheron, open since last year.

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

The 171-room property is housed in a palatial new-build Beaux Arts-style building with elegantly expensive interiors. The airy marble lobby features a beautiful floral centrepiece. There are ten floors, the upper ones offering sweeping views of the Caspian Sea, while rooms at the back face the old city. As one would expect from Four Seasons, staff are highly trained and hard working, always smiling and welcoming of guests whenever they are passing through.

WHERE IS IT?

In a prime position on the corner of Neftchilar Avenue, which is lined with designer boutiques and runs alongside the attractive waterfront promenade. It is 30 minutes’ drive from the airport, five minutes from the Crystal Hall convention centre (built for the 2012 Eurovision contest) and a few minutes’ walk from the old town.

ROOM FACILITIES

Entry-level Deluxe City View rooms start from 48 sqm and offer everything a traveller could need – from large workdesks, 42-inch LCD TVs, minibars, iPod docks and safes to sumptuous beds, walk-in wardrobes and marble bathrooms with L’Occitane products, walk-in rainshowers, TVs embedded in mirrors, separate tubs and twin sinks.

Décor is delicately modern, with a palette of blue, cream, white and taupe. Fresh flowers and fruit are left in the rooms. Wired/wifi internet is 20AZN (£16) per 24 hours, and iron/ironing boards are available on request. My seventh-floor Deluxe Caspian room (50-52 sqm) had a small balcony offering panoramic views of the coastline.

Suites start from 75 sqm and have free internet. There is no executive lounge.

RESTAURANTS AND BARS

The hotel has two restaurants – Zafferano, off the lobby, and Kaspia, on the top floor, which serves seafood and has a terrace for 24 people. The latter was closed for a light renovation when I visited but was scheduled to reopen on September 3.

I had breakfast in Zafferano, where an extensive buffet was laid out (there was even a traditional Azeri offering of local cheese, fresh tendir bread, baby cucumbers and tomatoes), and also lunch and dinner out on its 38-seat Piazza terrace. On summer evenings a DJ plays and you can enjoy views of the magnificent new trio of Flame Towers lit up in thousands of LED lights.

The mezze selection, barbecued kebabs, giant prawns and smoky vegetables were excellent, though I found service a little slow at times. The Mediterranean menu also included pizza, pasta and fish.

Also on the ground floor is Bentley’s whisky and cigar bar, a cosy, masculine den with regular live music and a walk-in humidor with dozens of different cigars.

BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES

On the first floor is the grand Segah ballroom, which seats 330 people cabaret-style, and the Rast banquet room, which accommodates 390 for a reception. There are also four break-out spaces, a business centre and five smart meeting rooms. Kaspia offers private dining for 16 guests.

LEISURE FACILITIES

There is a 25-metre pool (complete with glass roof and vitality pool) on the seventh floor, and a sleek Technogym-equipped fitness centre on the third. Both are open 24 hours.

On the ninth level is the tranquil Jaleh spa, which has ten treatment rooms, a marble hammam, steam rooms, saunas, spa baths, heated loungers facing the sea, and a relaxation room. I had a wonderful Jaleh signature Moroccan Argan oil massage, and was impressed with the therapist’s attention to detail.

VERDICT

A superb new luxury business hotel for Baku, combining an enviable location with top-class facilities. The staff were also very charming.

FACT FILE

  • HOW MANY ROOMS? 171 in total – 142 rooms (Deluxe City View, Deluxe Caspian, Premier) and 29 suites (Executive, One-Bedroom, Two-Bedroom, Liman Presidential and Khazar Presidential).
  • HIGHLIGHTS The elegant décor, Caspian Sea views, the spa and 24-hour swimming pool, and the barbecued food on the outdoor terrace.
  • PRICE Internet rates for a flexible midweek stay in October started from £247 for a Deluxe City View room.
  • CONTACT Four Seasons Baku, 77/79 Neftchilar Avenue; tel +994 124 042 424; fourseasons.com/baku

Jenny Southan

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